The Forerunner: Volume 1, No. 1 (November 1909) (Table of Contents, Charlotte Perkins Gilman)






1.00 A YEAR

.10 A COPY

Volume 1. No. 1


The Charlton Company, 67 Wall Street, New York

Copyright for 1909, C. P. Gilman

Said the New Minister: "I shall not give you a text this morning. If
you listen closely, you will discover what the sermon is about by what I

The Forerunner (1:1): "Calendula" (Advertisement, Charlotte Perkins Gilman)


This is a gratuitous advertisement, benefitting

a) The Child; whose pain stops;

b) The Mother; who doesn't have to hear him cry;

c) The Nearest Druggist--a little.

CALENDULA is a good standard old drug--made of marigolds--in the
materia medica. You buy a little bottle of tincture of calendula, and
keep it on the shelf. Nobody will drink it by mistake--it doesn't taste

Presently Johnny falls down hard--he was running--he fell on a gritty
place--his poor little knee is scraped raw. And he howls, how he howls!
square-mouthed and inconsolable.

Then you hastily get a half a tea-cupful of water, a little warm if you
have it, and put in a few drops of calendula. Wet a soft clean rag in
it, bind it softly on the wound, keep it wet--and the pain stops.

Many many times has this quieted my infant anguish; also have I used it
as a grown up. The effect is the same.




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The Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909): Table of Contents

The Forerunner (1:1): "A Toilet Preparation" (Advertisement, Charlotte Perkins Gilman)

I cannot give the name of this article, because they have not given me
the advertisement--yet.

But I hope to get it later on; for it is supremely good. It is
scientifically and honestly made, by good people in a good place; a
place comfortable and pretty enough to live in.

It claims a good deal as to what it is good for, and as far as I have
tried it, in several capacities, it does the things it claims to do,
does them well.

It is clean and sweet to use, isn't sticky or greasy, is reasonable in
price, smells good and is nice to look at.

You can get it anywhere--it is an old standby.

I have used it exclusively for years and years, and my mother used it
before me.

And I cannot recommend any other--for I don't use any other!

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The Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909): Table of Contents

The Forerunner (1:1): "The Forerunner" (Advertisement, Charlotte Perkins Gilman)

The Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909): Table of Contents






What is The Forerunner? It is a monthly magazine, publishing stories
short and serial, article and essay; drama, verse, satire and sermon;
dialogue, fable and fantasy, comment and review. It is written entirely
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

What is it For? It is to stimulate thought: to arouse hope, courage
and impatience; to offer practical suggestions and solutions, to voice
the strong assurance of better living, here, now, in our own hands to

What is it about? It is about people, principles, and the questions
of every-day life; the personal and public problems of to-day. It gives
a clear, consistent view of human life and how to live it.

Is it a Woman's magazine? It will treat all three phases of our
existence--male, female and human. It will discuss Man, in his true
place in life; Woman, the Unknown Power; the Child, the most important

Is it a Socialist Magazine? It is a magazine for humanity, and
humanity is social. It holds that Socialism, the economic theory, is
part of our gradual Socialization, and that the duty of conscious
humanity is to promote Socialization.

Why is it published? It is published to express ideas which need a
special medium; and in the belief that there are enough persons
interested in those ideas to justify the undertaking.


We have long heard that "A pleased customer is the best advertiser."
The Forerunner offers to its advertisers and readers the benefit of this
authority. In its advertising department, under the above heading, will
be described articles personally known and used. So far as individual
experience and approval carry weight, and clear truthful description
command attention, the advertising pages of The Forerunner will be
useful to both dealer and buyer. If advertisers prefer to use their own
statements The Forerunner will publish them if it believes them to be


The main feature of the first year is a new book on a new subject with a
new name:--

"Our Androcentric Culture." This is a study of the historic effect on
normal human development of a too exclusively masculine civilization.
It shows what man, the male, has done to the world: and what woman, the
more human, may do to change it.

"What Diantha Did." This is a serial novel. It shows the course of
true love running very crookedly--as it so often does--among the
obstructions and difficulties of the housekeeping problem--and solves
that problem. (NOT by co-operation.)

Among the short articles will appear:

"Private Morality and Public Immorality."
"The Beauty Women Have Lost"
"Our Overworked Instincts."
"The Nun in the Kitchen."
"Genius: Domestic and Maternal."
"A Small God and a Large Goddess."
"Animals in Cities."
"How We Waste Three-Fourths Of Our Money."
"Prize Children"

There will be short stories and other entertaining matter in each issue.
The department of "Personal Problems" does not discuss etiquette,
fashions or the removal of freckles. Foolish questions will not be
answered, unless at peril of the asker.


If you take this magazine one year you will have:

One complete novel . . . By C. P. Gilman
One new book . . . By C. P. Gilman
Twelve short stories . . . By C. P. Gilman
Twelve-and-more short articles . . . By C. P. Gilman
Twelve-and-more new poems . . . By C. P. Gilman
Twelve Short Sermons . . . By C. P. Gilman
Besides "Comment and Review" . . . By C. P. Gilman
"Personal Problems" . . . By C. P. Gilman
And many other things . . . By C. P. Gilman



_____ 19__

Please find enclosed $_____ as subscription to "The Forerunner" from
_____ 19___ to _____ 19___





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The Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909): Table of Contents

The Forerunner (1:1): "Moore's Fountain Pen" (Advertisement, Charlotte Perkins Gilman)

I have had, and lost, perhaps a dozen fountain pens, of various kinds.
Never one of them that didn't distribute ink where--and when--it wasn't
wanted, till I happened on Moore's.

1 didn't notice the name of it till after considerable use, with perfect
satisfaction; and then I looked to see who was responsible for this

It is all very well for men, with vest pockets, to carry a sort of
leather socket, or a metal clip that holds the pen to that pocket
safely--so long as the man is vertical.

But women haven't vest pockets--and do not remain continuously erect.

A woman stoops over to look in the oven--to pick up her thimble--to take
the baby off the floor--and if she carries a fountain pen, it stoops
over too and spills its ink.

If the woman carries it about in a little black bag, it is horizontal,
and the ink ebbs slowly from the pen into the cap, afterwards swiftly to
her fingers.

With Moore's you pull the pen into the handle, and then the cap screws

That's all.

The ink can not get out.

You can carry that pen up, or down, or sideways; it doesn't care.

I use it with joy, with comfort, with clean hands. It is a constant

American Fountain Pen Co.

168 Devonshire St., Boston, Mass.

Please mention THE FORERUNNER when purchasing.

C. P. G.

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The Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909): Table of Contents

The Forerunner (1:1): "Holeproof Hosiery" (Advertisement, Charlotte Perkins Gilman)

The Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909): Table of Contents



Few women like to darn stockings, but most women have to.

They have to darn their own,--not many; their husband's--more; and their

The amount of time they waste in this Sisyphean task would, even at
charwoman's wages, buy socks and stockings for a dozen families.

Spent in reading, it would improve their minds--darning doesn't. Spent
in rest, it would improve their health--darning doesn't. Darning
stockings is one of the most foolish things women are expected to do.

"But what are we to do? Stockings will wear out," protest the darners.

Buy new ones.

"But they wear out so fast!"

That is where you are wrong; they do not wear out fast--if you buy the

I bought some once. Did they wear out? They did not wear out. I wore
them and wore them and wore them, till I was so tired of those
deathless, impervious, unnaturally whole stockings that I gave them

Seriously, the Holeproof Hosiery does what it promises. I have used it,
other members of my family have used it, friends of mine have used it
and I have never heard any complaint, except of the monotony of whole

If you don't believe it, try it--but be sure and get the real thing; of
your dealer or

The Holeproof Hosiery Co., Milwaulkee, Wis.

Please mention THE FORERUNNER when purchasing.

C. P. G.


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The Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909): Table of Contents

The Forerunner (1:1): "Fels-Naptha Soap" (Advertisement, Charlotte Perkins Gilman)

I took a trolley trip in New England, one Summer, carrying for my only
baggage a neat thin German "mappe"--about 15 by 12 by 2.

"But what do you do for clean underwear?" inquired my friends.

Then I produced from one corner of that restricted space, a neat small
box, and a piece of a cake of Fels-Naptha.

"Wash 'em over night, they are dry in the morning," said I.

"But are they clean?"

"Of course, they are clean, chemically clean,--if you use Fels-Naptha."

Suppose you are camping, and hot water is hard to come by; or travelling
in places where it may not be had at all; or that you merely live in the
country and have to heat it "by hand," as it were; it is warm weather,
very warm weather, and the mere thought of hot water is unpleasant; or
that you burn gas,--and gas costs money, as indeed does other fuel; or
that your laundress is unreliable and will not boil the clothes:--

In any or all of these cases, use Fels-Naptha, and use it according to

It is easy, it is quick, it is inexpensive, and the clothes are clean,
artistically and antiseptically clean.

This soap has been a solid comfort my kitchen for years. It is a steady
travelling companion, and I have recommended it to many grateful friends
before now.

C. P. G.

Fels & Co., Philadelphia, Pa.

Please mention THE FORERUNNER when purchasing.

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The Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909): Table of Contents

The Forerunner (1:1): "Lowney's" (Advertisment, Charlotte Perkins Gilman)

The Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909): Table of Contents



I speak as one who has cared little for candy of any kind and less for
chocolate candy.

I don't like chocolate cake, nor chocolate blanc mange, nor chocolate
pudding, nor chocolate to drink--unless it is cocoa, very hot, not too
sweet, and strained carefully.

Nevertheless I fell in with friends, who feasted upon Lowney's; they
beguiled me into feasting upon Lowney's, and since then my attitude has
changed as to candy.

I had a box of Lowney's, a particularly well-made, attractive box, that
is still kept to put small treasures in, and brought it home for my
family to eat.

Always before, I had looked on with the unselfishness of a pelican, to
see others eat candy; but now I strove with them, like a frigate bird,
and made them give up some of it. I wanted it myself.

Furthermore, I bought a small box of Lowney's chocolate almonds in
Portland, Oregon, on the fourteenth of June, and with severe
self-denial, brought it home on the twenty-ninth of July.

Then it was eaten, largely by me, and every single one of those
chocolate almonds was fresh and good.

I can state further, on the evidence of personal friends, that all the
Lowney preparations are pure and honest and perfectly reliable.

They are as good as the best in the world.

As to the candy,--That's better.

C. P. G.

Walter M. Lowney Co.


Please mention THE FORERUNNER when purchasing.


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The Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909): Table of Contents

The Forerunner (1:1): "Thanksong" (Poem, Charlotte Perkins Gilman)

The Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909): Table of Contents

Thankful are we for life
--And the joy of living.
Baby-pleasure of taking;
--Mother-glory of giving.

Thankful are we for light
--And the joy of seeing.
Stir of emotion strong,
--And the peace of being.

Thankful are we for power,
--And the pride ensuing;
Baby-pleasure of having,
--Father-glory of doing.

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The Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909): Table of Contents

The Forerunner (1:1): "Personal Problems" (Advice, Charlotte Perkins Gilman)

The Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909): Table of Contents

A passionate interest is shown by many persons in consulting anonymous
advisers through the columns of various publications. Their inquiries
are mainly as to small matters of etiquette, and the care of the

In one of the current women's papers we find such questions as these:
"When one is introduced, how does one acknowledge the introduction?
Must it be by a mention of the weather? How should one receive a small
gift?" (x) All these by one breathless inquirer.

Another asks pathetically: "Will you tell me how soon after a husband's
death it is permitted to a widow to return formal calls? What is the
present form of visiting cards for a widow?" (y)

Another rudderless ship, in a somewhat less recent issue of a very
popular woman's paper, writes: "I am wearing mourning. In the hot
weather I find the veil very heavy and close, and wish to throw it back.
What shall I do?" (z)

These are apparently bona fide questions, but in most cases they are
answered in a style too palpably oracular. If the questioners are
genuine and want help they get precious little. If it is merely a game,
it seems rather a flat one. But the popularity of the pastime

The Forerunner will give no answers to foolish questions; unless at
peril of the asker. But to sincere inquirers, who are interested in
some moot point of conduct, some balance of conflicting duties, honest
attention will be given, and their questions answered as sincerely.

The intention is to promote discussion of the real problems of life, and
to apply to them the new standards afforded by the larger knowledge and
deeper religious sense of to-day.

If any of the above questions were sent to this office they would be
thus dismissed:

(x) Read "How To Do It," by E. E. Hale. Learn to be sincere; have real
feelings and express them honestly.

(y) If you are truly prostrated by grief you cannot return calls. If
you are able--and like to do it--what are you afraid of? Whose
"permission" are you asking? See answer to x.

(z) Mourning is a relic of barbarism, kept up by women because of their
retarded social development. But if you must wear a heavy veil and wish
to throw it back--why don't you?

These persons would be displeased and not write again. Truly. Such
questions are not wanted by The Forerunner. They would discontinue
their subscription. Doubtless. But this is a waste of anxiety, for
such would never have subscribed for The Forerunner in the first place.

Suppose, however, that a question like this is sent in:

"I am a girl of twenty. My mother is an invalid. My father is in
business difficulties. They want me to marry an old friend of
father's--a good man, but forty years older then I am. Is it my duty to
marry him--for their sake?" (B)

Answer. (B) Marriage is not an institution for the support of parents,
or the settling of business difficulties. If you loved that old man you
would not be asking advice. To marry a man you do not love is immoral.
Marriage is to serve the best interests of children and to give
happiness to the contracting parties. If your parents need your
financial aid go to work and give them your earnings, but do not make a
business of matrimony.

Or again: Query. "My mother is a widow living on a moderate income.
She has two married children, but does not like to live with them. I am
a college graduate and wish to work at a profession. She says it is not
necessary for me to work, and wants me to live with her--says she needs
me, claims my filial duty. Is this right?" (F)

Answer. (F) No, it is dead wrong. Parental duty is a natural
obligation--not a loan. Filial duty is the same from son and daughter.
You owe your mother care and service if needed, just as your brother
would. She has no more right to prevent your going to work than if you
were a son. By all means live with her if you both like it, but live
your own life. You have a duty of citizenship as well as of

Or again: Query. "My wife is spending more of my income on dress than I
can afford. How can I stop her?" (G)

There is not room to answer this in this issue.

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The Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909): Table of Contents

The Forerunner (1:1): "Comment And Review" (Non-fiction, Charlotte Perkins Gilman)

The Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909): Table of Contents

Why criticize?

Why does anybody criticize anything? And why does THE FORERUNNER
criticize--the things herein treated?

On examination, we find several sources of criticism. The earliest and
commonest is the mere expression of personal opinion, as is heard where
young persons are becoming acquainted, the voluble "I like this!" and
"Don't you like that?" and "Isn't such a thing horrid?" For hours do
the impressionable young exchange their ardent sentiments; and the same
may be heard from older persons in everyday discussion.

This form of criticism has its value. It serves to show, even
relentlessly to expose, the qualities and deficiencies of the critic.
What one "likes" merely shows what one is like.

The vitality dies out of it, however, when one learns two things; first,
that likings change with growth of character and new experience, and,
second, that few people are interested in an inventory of limitations.

Following this comes another painfully common source of criticism--the
desire to exhibit superiority. The aged are prone to this fault in
discussion of the young and their achievements. The elect in general
show it, seeking to prove to common people that these are not as they
are; the conservative rests his objection to anything new and different
on the same broad base; and the critic, the real, professional critic,
can hardly trust himself to approve warmly of anything, lest it weaken
his reputation. If he does, it must be something which is caviar to the

Then comes that amiable desire to instruct and assist, born of parental
instinct, fostered by pedagogy, intrusted by St. Paul to the "husband at
home." Moved by this feeling, we point out the errors of our friends
and mark examination papers; and thus does the teacher of painting move
among his pupils and leave them in ranks of glimmering hope or dark

Another fruitful source of criticism is a natural wish to free one's
mind; as the hapless public sputters on the street, or in letters to the
papers, protesting against the stupidity and cruelty of its many
aggressors. Under this impulse bursts forth the chattering flood of
discussion after play or lecture, merely to relieve the pressure.

Then comes a very evil cause--the desire to give pain, to injure.
Certain persons, and publications, use their critical ability with great
effect to this end. In England it seems to be a sort of game, great
literary personages rush out into the open and belabor each other
mercilessly; while the public rejoices as at a prize-fight. We
sometimes see a newspaper offering its readers a form of entertainment
which is not even a fight, nor yet a prompt and needed execution, but a
sort of torture-chamber exhibition, where the dumb victim is vilified
and ridiculed, grilled and "roasted," to make an American holiday.

There is one more cause of criticism--the need of money. Some people
are hired to criticize others, the nature of their attentions wholly
dictated by the employer. A shadowy bridge is opened here, connecting
criticism with advertisement. Many cross it.


For any criticism to have value it must rest clearly and honestly upon a
definite point of view.

"The Toad beneath the harrow knows
Exactly where each tooth point goes.
The Butterfly upon the road
Preaches contentment to that Toad."

If one elects, for instance, to criticize an illustration in
particular--or a particular illustration--or the present status of
popular illustration in general--the position of the critic must be
frankly chosen and firmly held. If it is that of the technician, either
the original artist or the reproducer or even the publisher, then a
given picture in a magazine may be discussed merely as a picture, as a
half-tone, or as a page effect, intelligently and competently. If the
purely aesthetic viewpoint is chosen, all the above considerations may
be waived and the given picture judged as frankly ugly, or as beautiful,
quite apart from its technique. If, again, the base of judgment is that
of the reader, in whose eyes an illustration should illustrate--i.e.,
give light, make clear the meaning of the text--then we look at a given
picture to see if it carries out the ideas expressed in the tale or
article, and value it by that.

On this base also stands the author, only one person, to be sure, as
compared with the multitude of readers, but not a dog, for all that.
The author, foaming at the mouth, remote and helpless, here makes common
ground with the reader and expects an illustration to illustrate.
Perhaps, we should say, "the intelligent reader"--leaving out such as
the young lady in the tale, who said they might read her anything, "if
it was illustrated by Christie."*

[*--This does not by any means deny intelligence to all appreciators of
Mr. Christie's work, but merely to such as select literature for the
pictures attached.]

THE FORERUNNER believes that it may voice the feelings of many writers
and more readers; almost all readers, in fact, if it here and now
records a protest against an all too frequent illustrative sin: where
the gentleman, or lady, who is engaged and paid to illustrate a story,
prefers to insert pictures of varying attractiveness which bear no
relation to the text. This is not illustration. It is not even honest
business. It does not deliver the goods paid for. It takes advantage
of author, publisher and public, and foists upon them all an art
exhibition which was not ordered.

To select a recent popular, easily obtainable, instance of vice and
virtue in illustration, let us take up the "American Magazine" for
August. Excellent work among the advertisements--there the artist is
compelled to "follow copy"; his employer will take no nonsense. That's
one reason why people like to look at them--the pictures are
intelligible. Admirable pictures by Worth Brehm to Stewart White's
story--perfect. You see the people, Mr. White's people, see them on the
page as you saw them in your mind, and better. Good drawing, and
_personal character_--those special people and not others. The insight
and appreciation shown in the frontispiece alone makes as fine an
instance of what illustration ought to be as need be given.

Those light sketches to the airy G. G. Letters are good, too--anything
more definite would not belong to that couple.

But Mr. Cyrus Cuneo shows small grasp of what Mr. Locke was writing
about in his "Moonlight Effect." The tailpiece, by somebody else, is
the best picture of the lot.

Mr. Leone Brackner does better in Jack London's story, though falling
far short of the extreme loathsomeness Mr. London heaps so thickly. J.
Scott Williams follows "Margherita's Soul" with a running accompaniment
and variations, in pleasant accord with the spirit of that compelling
tale. He gives more than the scene represented, gives it differently,
and yet gives it.

Mr. McCutcheon and George Fitch are also harmonious in clever fooling of
pen and pencil, and Thomas Fogarty, though by no means convincing, goes
well enough with Mr. O'Higgins' story, which is not convincing, either.
The hat and dress pictures are photographs, and do artificial justice to
their artificial subjects in Mrs. Woodrow's arraignment of the Fantastic

But--. Go to your library after, or send your ten cents for, or look up
on your own shelves, that August number, and turn to Lincoln Colcord's
story of "Anjer," to see what an illustrator dare do. Here's a story,
the merits of which need not be discussed, but in which great stress is
laid on a certain Malay Princess, the free nobility of whose savage love
healed the sick heart of an exhausted man. "I saw how beautiful she
was," says the narrator: "her breast was bare in a long slit, and
shadowed like the face of the pool." "The most glorious native woman of
the East I've ever seen." "She walked like a tiger, with a crouching
step of absolute grace." "Her eyes called as if they'd spoken words of
love: the beauty of her face was beyond speech--almost beyond thought."
Thus Mr. Colcord.

And how Mr. Townshend? It is on Page 334, Mr. Townshend's
"illustration." ("Whit way do we ca' it the Zoo?" "If it wasna' ca'd
the Zoo, what would we ca' it?") A bit of railing and a pillar is the
only concession to the scene described; that and the fact that there is
a man and a woman there. One more detail is granted--a forehead
ornament, as alleged. For the rest?

Since the picture is so unjust to the words of the author, can the words
of the critic do any justice to the picture? The man will do, as well
one man as another, apparently. The big blob of an object that seems to
have been suggested by a Gargantuan ginger jar, and to be put in for
tropical effect, as also a set of wooden bananas, may be forgiven.

But the Princess--the tigress--the free, graceful, passionate woman--the
beauty beyond speech. Look at it.

A crooked, crouching, awkward negroid type, a dress of absurd volume and
impossible outlines, the upper part a swathed bath towel, one stiff,
ugly arm hung helpless, one lifted and ending in a _hoof,_ a plain pig's
hoof; the head bent, chin sunk on chest like a hunchback's; and the
face--! One could forgive the gross, unusual ugliness; but why no hint
of interest in her lover? Why this expression as of a third generation
London pauper in a hospital? What explanation is there of this meagre,
morbid, deformed female in the midst of that story?

Frank incapacity on the part of an artist is possible. To try and try
and try again and utterly fail is possible. To write to the author and
say, "I cannot visualize your character, or express it, and must decline
to undertake the order," or to the editor and refuse the job, is
possible. But to take the order, to read the story (if he did read it),
to send in and accept pay for a picture like that--"Whit way would ye
ca' it?"

Originally published in Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909).

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The Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909): Table of Contents

The Forerunner (1:1): Our Androcentric Culture; or, The Man-Made World, "As to Humanness" (Serial Non-fiction, Chapter I, Charlotte Perkins Gilman)

The Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909): Table of Contents

Let us begin, inoffensively, with sheep. The sheep is a beast with
which we are all familiar, being much used in religious imagery; the
common stock of painters; a staple article of diet; one of our main
sources of clothing; and an everyday symbol of bashfulness and

In some grazing regions the sheep is an object of terror, destroying
grass, bush and forest by omnipresent nibbling; on the great plains,
sheep-keeping frequently results in insanity, owing to the loneliness of
the shepherd, and the monotonous appearance and behavior of the sheep.

By the poet, young sheep are preferred, the lamb gambolling gaily;
unless it be in hymns, where "all we like sheep" are repeatedly
described, and much stress is laid upon the straying propensities of the

To the scientific mind there is special interest in the sequacity of
sheep, their habit of following one another with automatic imitation.
This instinct, we are told, has been developed by ages of wild crowded
racing on narrow ledges, along precipices, chasms, around sudden spurs
and corners, only the leader seeing when, where and how to jump. If
those behind jumped exactly as he did, they lived. If they stopped to
exercise independent judgment, they were pushed off and perished; they
and their judgment with them.

All these things, and many that are similar, occur to us when we think
of sheep. They are also ewes and rams. Yes, truly; but what of it?
All that has been said was said of sheep, genus ovis, that bland
beast, compound of mutton, wool, and foolishness. so widely known. If
we think of the sheep-dog (and dog-ess), the shepherd (and
shepherd-ess), of the ferocious sheep-eating bird of New Zealand, the
Kea (and Kea-ess), all these herd, guard, or kill the sheep, both rams
and ewes alike. In regard to mutton, to wool, to general character, we
think only of their sheepishness, not at all of their ramishness or
eweishness. That which is ovine or bovine, canine, feline or equine, is
easily recognized as distinguishing that particular species of animal,
and has no relation whatever to the sex thereof.

Returning to our muttons, let us consider the ram, and wherein his
character differs from the sheep. We find he has a more quarrelsome
disposition. He paws the earth and makes a noise. He has a tendency to
butt. So has a goat--Mr. Goat. So has Mr. Buffalo, and Mr. Moose, and
Mr. Antelope. This tendency to plunge head foremost at an
adversary--and to find any other gentleman an adversary on
sight--evidently does not pertain to sheep, to genus ovis; but to any
male creature with horns.

As "function comes before organ," we may even give a reminiscent glance
down the long path of evolution, and see how the mere act of
butting--passionately and perpetually repeated--born of the beliggerent
spirit of the male--produced horns!

The ewe, on the other hand, exhibits love and care for her little ones,
gives them milk and tries to guard them. But so does a goat--Mrs. Goat.
So does Mrs. Buffalo and the rest. Evidently this mother instinct is
no peculiarity of genus ovis, but of any female creature.

Even the bird, though not a mammal, shows the same mother-love and
mother-care, while the father bird, though not a butter, fights with
beak and wing and spur. His competition is more effective through
display. The wish to please, the need to please, the overmastering
necessity upon him that he secure the favor of the female, has made the
male bird blossom like a butterfly. He blazes in gorgeous plumage,
rears haughty crests and combs, shows drooping wattles and dangling
blobs such as the turkey-cock affords; long splendid feathers for pure
ornament appear upon him; what in her is a mere tail-effect becomes in
him a mass of glittering drapery.

Partridge-cock, farmyard-cock, peacock, from sparrow to ostrich, observe
his mien! To strut and languish; to exhibit every beauteous lure; to
sacrifice ease, comfort, speed, everything--to beauty--for her
sake--this is the nature of the he-bird of any species; the
characteristic, not of the turkey, but of the cock! With drumming of
loud wings, with crow and quack and bursts of glorious song, he woos his
mate; displays his splendors before her; fights fiercely with his
rivals. To butt--to strut--to make a noise--all for love's sake; these
acts are common to the male.

We may now generalize and clearly state: That is masculine which belongs
to the male--to any or all males, irrespective of species. That is
feminine which belongs to the female, to any or all females,
irrespective of species. That is ovine, bovine, feline, canine, equine
or asinine which belongs to that species, irrespective of sex.

In our own species all this is changed. We have been so taken up with
the phenomena of masculinity and femininity, that our common humanity
has largely escaped notice. We know we are human, naturally, and are
very proud of it; but we do not consider in what our humanness consists;
nor how men and women may fall short of it, or overstep its bounds, in
continual insistence upon their special differences. It is "manly" to
do this; it is "womanly" to do that; but what a human being should do
under the circumstances is not thought of.

The only time when we do recognize what we call "common humanity" is in
extreme cases, matters of life and death; when either man or woman is
expected to behave as if they were also human creatures. Since the
range of feeling and action proper to humanity, as such, is far wider
than that proper to either sex, it seems at first somewhat remarkable
that we have given it so little recognition.

A little classification will help us here. We have certain qualities in
common with inanimate matter, such as weight, opacity, resilience. It
is clear that these are not human. We have other qualities in common
with all forms of life; cellular construction, for instance, the
reproduction of cells and the need of nutrition. These again are not
human. We have others, many others, common to the higher mammals; which
are not exclusively ours--are not distinctively "human." What then are
true human characteristics? In what way is the human species
distinguished from all other species?

Our human-ness is seen most clearly in three main lines: it is
mechanical, psychical and social. Our power to make and use things is
essentially human; we alone have extra-physical tools. We have added to
our teeth the knife, sword, scissors, mowing machine; to our claws the
spade, harrow, plough, drill, dredge. We are a protean creature, using
the larger brain power through a wide variety of changing weapons. This
is one of our main and vital distinctions. Ancient animal races are
traced and known by mere bones and shells, ancient human races by their
buildings, tools and utensils.

That degree of development which gives us the human mind is a clear
distinction of race. The savage who can count a hundred is more human
than the savage who can count ten.

More prominent than either of these is the social nature of humanity.
We are by no means the only group-animal; that ancient type of industry
the ant, and even the well-worn bee, are social creatures. But insects
of their kind are found living alone. Human beings never. Our
human-ness begins with some low form of social relation and increases as
that relation develops.

Human life of any sort is dependent upon what Kropotkin calls "mutual
aid," and human progress keeps step absolutely with that interchange of
specialized services which makes society organic. The nomad, living on
cattle as ants live on theirs, is less human than the farmer, raising
food by intelligently applied labor; and the extension of trade and
commerce, from mere village market-places to the world-exchanges of
to-day, is extension of human-ness as well.

Humanity, thus considered, is not a thing made at once and unchangeable,
but a stage of development; and is still, as Wells describes it, "in the
making." Our human-ness is seen to lie not so much in what we are
individually, as in our relations to one another; and even that
individuality is but the result of our relations to one another. It is
in what we do and how we do it, rather than in what we are. Some,
philosophically inclined, exalt "being" over "doing." To them this
question may be put: "Can you mention any form of life that merely 'is,'
without doing anything?"

Taken separately and physically, we are animals, genus homo; taken
socially and psychically, we are, in varying degree, human; and our real
history lies in the development of this human-ness.

Our historic period is not very long. Real written history only goes
back a few thousand years, beginning with the stone records of ancient
Egypt. During this period we have had almost universally what is here
called an Androcentric Culture. The history, such as it was, was made
and written by men.

The mental, the mechanical, the social development, was almost wholly
theirs. We have, so far, lived and suffered and died in a man-made
world. So general, so unbroken, has been this condition, that to
mention it arouses no more remark than the statement of a natural law.
We have taken it for granted, since the dawn of civilization, that
"mankind" meant men-kind, and the world was theirs.

Women we have sharply delimited. Women were a sex, "the sex," according
to chivalrous toasts; they were set apart for special services peculiar
to femininity. As one English scientist put it, in 1888, "Women are not
only not the race--they are not even half the race, but a subspecies
told off for reproduction only."

This mental attitude toward women is even more clearly expressed by Mr.
H. B. Marriot-Watson in his article on "The American Woman" in the
"Nineteenth Century" for June, 1904, where he says: "Her constitutional
restlessness has caused her to abdicate those functions which alone
excuse or explain her existence." This is a peculiarly happy and
condensed expression of the relative position of women during our
androcentric culture. The man was accepted as the race type without one
dissentient voice; and the woman--a strange, diverse creature, quite
disharmonious in the accepted scheme of things--was excused and
explained only as a female.

She has needed volumes of such excuse and explanation; also, apparently,
volumes of abuse and condemnation. In any library catalogue we may find
books upon books about women: physiological, sentimental, didactic,
religious--all manner of books about women, as such. Even to-day in the
works of Marholm--poor young Weininger, Moebius, and others, we find the
same perpetual discussion of women--as such.

This is a book about men--as such. It differentiates between the human
nature and the sex nature. It will not go so far as to allege man's
masculine traits to be all that excuse, or explain his existence: but it
will point out what are masculine traits as distinct from human ones,
and what has been the effect on our human life of the unbridled
dominance of one sex.

We can see at once, glaringly, what would have been the result of giving
all human affairs into female hands. Such an extraordinary and
deplorable situation would have "feminized" the world. We should have
all become "effeminate."

See how in our use of language the case is clearly shown. The
adjectives and derivatives based on woman's distinctions are alien and
derogatory when applied to human affairs; "effeminate"--too female,
connotes contempt, but has no masculine analogue; whereas
"emasculate"--not enough male, is a term of reproach, and has no
feminine analogue. "Virile"--manly, we oppose to "puerile"--childish,
and the very word "virtue" is derived from "vir"--a man.

Even in the naming of other animals we have taken the male as the race
type, and put on a special termination to indicate "his female," as in
lion, lioness; leopard, leopardess; while all our human scheme of things
rests on the same tacit assumption; man being held the human type; woman
a sort of accompaniment aud subordinate assistant, merely essential to
the making of people.

She has held always the place of a preposition in relation to man. She
has been considered above him or below him, before him, behind him,
beside him, a wholly relative existence--"Sydney's sister," "Pembroke's
mother"--but never by any chance Sydney or Pembroke herself.

Acting on this assumption, all human standards have been based on male
characteristics, and when we wish to praise the work of a woman, we say
she has "a masculine mind."

It is no easy matter to deny or reverse a universal assumption. The
human mind has had a good many jolts since it began to think, but after
each upheaval it settles down as peacefully as the vine-growers on
Vesuvius, accepting the last lava crust as permanent ground.

What we see immediately around us, what we are born into and grow up
with, be it mental furniture or physical, we assume to be the order of

If a given idea has been held in the human mind for many generations, as
almost all our common ideas have, it takes sincere and continued effort
to remove it; and if it is one of the oldest we have in stock, one of
the big, common, unquestioned world ideas, vast is the labor of those
who seek to change it.

Nevertheless, if the matter is one of importance, if the previous idea
was a palpable error, of large and evil effect, and if the new one is
true and widely important, the effort is worth making.

The task here undertaken is of this sort. It seeks to show that what we
have all this time called "human nature" and deprecated, was in great
part only male nature, and good enough in its place; that what we have
called "masculine" and admired as such, was in large part human, and
should be applied to both sexes: that what we have called "feminine" and
condemned, was also largely human and applicable to both. Our
androcentric culture is so shown to have been, and still to be, a
masculine culture in excess, and therefore undesirable.

In the preliminary work of approaching these facts it will be well to
explain how it can be that so wide and serious an error should have been
made by practically all men. The reason is simply that they were men.
They were males, avid saw women as females--and not otherwise.

So absolute is this conviction that the man who reads will say, "Of
course! How else are we to look at women except as females? They are
females, aren't they?" Yes, they are, as men are males unquestionably;
but there is possible the frame of mind of the old marquise who was
asked by an English friend how she could bear to have the footman serve
her breakfast in bed--to have a man in her bed-chamber--and replied
sincerely, "Call you that thing there a man?"

The world is full of men, but their principal occupation is human work
of some sort; and women see in them the human distinction
preponderantly. Occasionally some unhappy lady marries her
coachman--long contemplation of broad shoulders having an effect,
apparently; but in general women see the human creature most; the male
creature only when they love.

To the man, the whole world was his world; his because he was male; and
the whole world of woman was the home; because she was female. She had
her prescribed sphere, strictly limited to her feminine occupations and
interests; he had all the rest of life; and not only so, but, having it,
insisted on calling it male.

This accounts for the general attitude of men toward the now rapid
humanization of women. From her first faint struggles toward freedom
and justice, to her present valiant efforts toward full economic and
political equality, each step has been termed "unfeminine" and resented
as an intrusion upon man's place and power. Here shows the need of our
new classification, of the three distinct fields of life--masculine,
feminine and human.

As a matter of fact, there is a "woman's sphere," sharply defined and
quite different from his; there is also a "man's sphere," as sharply
defined and even more limited; but there remains a common sphere--that
of humanity, which belongs to both alike.

In the earlier part of what is known as "the woman's movement," it was
sharply opposed on the ground that women would become "unsexed." Let us
note in passing that they have become unsexed in one particular, most
glaringly so, and that no one has noticed or objected to it.

As part of our androcentric culture we may point to the peculiar
reversal of sex characteristics which make the human female carry the
burden of ornament. She alone, of all human creatures, has adopted the
essentially masculine attribute of special sex-decoration; she does not
fight for her mate as yet, but she blooms forth as the peacock and bird
of paradise, in poignant reversal of nature's laws, even wearing
masculine feathers to further her feminine ends.

Woman's natural work as a female is that of the mother; man's natural
work as a male is that of the father; their mutual relation to this end
being a source of joy and well-being when rightly held: but human work
covers all our life outside of these specialties. Every handicraft,
every profession, every science, every art, all normal amusements and
recreations, all government, education, religion; the whole living world
of human achievement: all this is human.

That one sex should have monopolized all human activities, called them
"man's work," and managed them as such, is what is meant by the phrase
"Androcentric Culture."


Originally published in Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909).

Etext from Project Gutenberg.

This public domain text has been presented as found (with some minor format changes); this website and its owners are not responsible for errors, substantive and/or minor.

The Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909): Table of Contents

The Forerunner (1:1): "Thanksgiving" (Poem, Charlotte Perkins Gilman)

The Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909): Table of Contents

I never thought much of the folks who pray
--The Lord to make them thankful for a meal
Expecting Him to furnish all the food
And then provide them with the gratitude
--They haven't grace to feel.

I never thought much of this yearly thanks,
--Either for what once happened long ago,
Or for "our constant mercies." To my mind
If we're to thank a Power that's daily kind,
--Our annual's too slow.

Suppose we spread Thanksgiving--hand it round--
--Give God an honest heartful every day;
And, while we're being thankful, why not give
Some gratitude to those by whom we live--
--As well as stingy pay?


Originally published in Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909).

Etext from Project Gutenberg.

This public domain text has been presented as found (with some minor format changes); this website and its owners are not responsible for errors, substantive and/or minor.

The Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909): Table of Contents

The Forerunner (1:1):"Where the Heart Is" (Sketch, Charlotte Perkins Gilman)

The Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909): Table of Contents


A small stone city, very old, built upon rock, rock-paved, rock-bound
with twenty centuries of walls.

A Ghetto, an age-old Ghetto, crowded into a stony corner of the crowded
stony city; its steep and narrow confines not more a boundary than the
iron prejudices that built them.

In the Ghetto--life, human life; close-pressed, kept to its elemental
forms, with a vitality purchased at nature's awful price--by surviving
slow extinction.

This life, denied all larger grouping, finds its sole joy in fierce deep
love of family and home. This home a room, a low and narrow room,
unwholesome, dark, incredibly filled up, yet overflowing most with love.

Here was peace. Here was Honor wherewith to face the outer Scorn. Here
was Safety--the only safety known. Here, most of all was Love, Love,
wound and interwound with the blood-tie, deepened by religion,
intensified by centuries of relentless pressure, strengthened a
thousandfold by the unbroken cruelty of the environment. Love, one with
the family; the family one with the home; the home, for generation after
generation--one room!


A miracle! Some daughter of this house, strayed as a child, found by
eccentric travellers, taken to England, reared with love and care to
strange exotic beauty, marrying a great landowner so lost in passionate
devotion that he gave her all he had, and, dying, left her heir to vast

She following, her family inherit the estate, and come to take

They enter the tall pillared gates; they wander up the shaded avenue, a
little group, huddled and silent, timid, ill at ease. They mount the
wide, white marble-terraced steps, the children crowding close, the
mother frightened, the father striving to hold up this new strange pride
under his time-swollen burden of humility and fear.

These towering halls, these broad-curved stairways, these lofty
chambers, even the great kitchens and their clustering offices, are to
this timid group as wide and desolate as deserts or the sea.

They seek a room, a room that shall be small enough and low enough and
dark enough; they reach at last one friendly sheltering little
room--crowd into it with tumultuous affection, and find a home!


It is home where the heart is!


A new age where new power has conquered a new element, and sky-sailors
seek for large discoveries compared to which the old "new world" was but
a dooryard venture. Our little world now known from coast to coast and
pole to pole; its problems solved, its full powers mastered; its sweet
serviceableness and unfailing comfort the common joy of all.

Later science, piling wonder upon wonder, handling radiant energy,
packing compressed air for long excursions into outer space, sends out
some skyship on tremendous errands of interstellar search. Days, weeks,
they flit, with speed incredible, our earth a speck, our moon invisible,
our sun a star among the others now; then having done their work, turn
the sharp prow and study their vast charts for the return.

Out of that blackness, wider than our minds, back from the awful
strangeness of new stars, they turn and fly. All know their charts, all
have their telescopes, all see that old familiar system swinging nearer.
They greet the sun as we Fire Island--the moon like Sandy Hook.

But that small star, bigger and bigger now, its heavenly radiance fading
softly down to the warm glow of earthly beauty, coming out round and
full at last--ah! how they choke, how they cry out to see it!

Nearer--the blue skin of the all-enclosing sea, the green of
interrupting continents; now they can recognize the hemisphere--the
tears come--this is home!


It is home where the heart is.


Originally published in Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909).

Etext from Project Gutenberg.

This public domain text has been presented as found (with some minor format changes); this website and its owners are not responsible for errors, substantive and/or minor.

The Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909): Table of Contents

The Foreunner (1:1): What Diantha Did, Chapter I: "Handicapped" (Serial Fiction, Charlotte Perkins Gilman)

The Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909): Table of Contents

One may use the Old Man of the Sea,
--For a partner or patron,
But helpless and hapless is he
Who is ridden, inextricably,
--By a fond old mer-matron.

The Warden house was more impressive in appearance than its neighbors.
It had "grounds," instead of a yard or garden; it had wide pillared
porches and "galleries," showing southern antecedents; moreover, it had
a cupola, giving date to the building, and proof of the continuing
ambitions of the builders.

The stately mansion was covered with heavy flowering vines, also with
heavy mortgages. Mrs. Roscoe Warden and her four daughters reposed
peacefully under the vines, while Roscoe Warden, Jr., struggled
desperately under the mortgages.

A slender, languid lady was Mrs. Warden, wearing her thin but still
brown hair in "water-waves" over a pale high forehead. She was sitting
on a couch on the broad, rose-shaded porch, surrounded by billowing
masses of vari-colored worsted. It was her delight to purchase skein on
skein of soft, bright-hued wool, cut it all up into short lengths, tie
them together again in contrasting colors, and then crochet this hashed
rainbow into afghans of startling aspect. California does not call for
afghans to any great extent, but "they make such acceptable presents,"
Mrs. Warden declared, to those who questioned the purpose of her work;
and she continued to send them off, on Christmases, birthdays, and minor
weddings, in a stream of pillowy bundles. As they were accepted, they
must have been acceptable, and the stream flowed on.

Around her, among the gay blossoms and gayer wools, sat her four
daughters, variously intent. The mother, a poetic soul, had named them
musically and with dulcet rhymes: Madeline and Adeline were the two
eldest, Coraline and Doraline the two youngest. It had not occurred to
her until too late that those melodious terminations made it impossible
to call one daughter without calling two, and that "Lina" called them

"Mis' Immerjin," said a soft voice in the doorway, "dere pos'tively
ain't no butter in de house fer supper."

"No butter?" said Mrs. Warden, incredulously. "Why, Sukey, I'm sure we
had a tub sent up last--last Tuesday!"

"A week ago Tuesday, more likely, mother," suggested Dora.

"Nonsense, Dora! It was this week, wasn't it, girls?" The mother
appealed to them quite earnestly, as if the date of that tub's delivery
would furnish forth the supper-table; but none of the young ladies save
Dora had even a contradiction to offer.

"You know I never notice things," said the artistic Cora; and "the
de-lines," as their younger sisters called them, said nothing.

"I might borrow some o' Mis' Bell?" suggested Sukey; "dat's nearer 'n'
de sto'."

"Yes, do, Sukey," her mistress agreed. "It is so hot. But what have
you done with that tubful?"

"Why, some I tuk back to Mis' Bell for what I borrered befo'--I'm always
most careful to make return for what I borrers--and yo' know, Mis'
Warden, dat waffles and sweet potaters and cohn bread dey do take
butter; to say nothin' o' them little cakes you all likes so well--an'
de fried chicken, an'--"

"Never mind, Sukey; you go and present my compliments to Mrs. Bell, and
ask her for some; and be sure you return it promptly. Now, girls, don't
let me forget to tell Ross to send up another tub."

"We can't seem to remember any better than you can, mother," said
Adeline, dreamily. "Those details are so utterly uninteresting."

"I should think it was Sukey's business to tell him," said Madeline with
decision; while the "a-lines" kept silence this time.

"There! Sukey's gone!" Mrs. Warden suddenly remarked, watching the
stout figure moving heavily away under the pepper trees. "And I meant
to have asked her to make me a glass of shrub! Dora, dear, you run and
get it for mother."

Dora laid down her work, not too regretfully, and started off.

"That child is the most practical of any of you," said her mother; which
statement was tacitly accepted. It was not extravagant praise.

Dora poked about in the refrigerator for a bit of ice. She ho no idea
of the high cost of ice in that region--it came from "the store," like
all their provisions. It did not occur to her that fish and milk and
melons made a poor combination in flavor; or that the clammy,
sub-offensive smell was not the natural and necessary odor of
refrigerators. Neither did she think that a sunny corner of the back
porch near the chimney, though convenient, was an ill-selected spot for
a refrigerator. She couldn't find the ice-pick, so put a big piece of
ice in a towel and broke it on the edge of the sink; replaced the
largest fragment, used what she wanted, and left the rest to filter
slowly down through a mass of grease and tea-leaves; found the raspberry
vinegar, and made a very satisfactory beverage which her mother received
with grateful affection.

"Thank you, my darling," she said. "I wish you'd made a pitcherful."

"Why didn't you, Do?" her sisters demanded.

"You're too late," said Dora, hunting for her needle and then for her
thimble, and then for her twist; "but there's more in the kitchen."

"I'd rather go without than go into the kitchen," said Adeline; "I do
despise a kitchen." And this seemed to be the general sentiment; for no
one moved.

"My mother always liked raspberry shrub," said Mrs. Warden; "and your
Aunt Leicester, and your Raymond cousins."

Mrs. Warden had a wide family circle, many beloved relatives,
"connections" of whom she was duly proud and "kin" in such widening
ramifications that even her carefully reared daughters lost track of

"You young people don't seem to care about your cousins at all!" pursued
their mother, somewhat severely, setting her glass on the railing, from
whence it was presently knocked off and broken.

"That's the fifth!" remarked Dora, under breath.

"Why should we, Ma?" inquired Cora. "We've never seen one of
them--except Madam Weatherstone!"

"We'll never forget her!" said Madeline, with delicate decision,
laying down the silk necktie she was knitting for Roscoe. "What
beautiful manners she had!"

"How rich is she, mother? Do you know?" asked Dora.

"Rich enough to do something for Roscoe, I'm sure, if she had a proper
family spirit," replied Mrs. Warden. "Her mother was own cousin to my
grandmother--one of the Virginia Paddingtons. Or she might do something
for you girls."

"I wish she would!" Adeline murmured, softly, her large eyes turned to
the horizon, her hands in her lap over the handkerchief she was marking
for Roscoe.

"Don't be ungrateful, Adeline," said her mother, firmly. "You have a
good home and a good brother; no girl ever had a better."

"But there is never anything going on," broke in Coraline, in a tone of
complaint; "no parties, no going away for vacations, no anything."

"Now, Cora, don't be discontented! You must not add a straw to dear
Roscoe's burdens," said her mother.

"Of course not, mother; I wouldn't for the world. I never saw her but
that once; and she wasn't very cordial. But, as you say, she might do
something. She might invite us to visit her."

"If she ever comes back again, I'm going to recite for her," said, Dora,

Her mother gazed fondly on her youngest. "I wish you could, dear," she
agreed. "I'm sure you have talent; and Madam Weatherstone would
recognize it. And Adeline's music too. And Cora's art. I am very
proud of my girls."

Cora sat where the light fell well upon her work. She was illuminating
a volume of poems, painting flowers on the margins, in appropriate
places--for Roscoe.

"I wonder if he'll care for it?" she said, laying down her brush and
holding the book at arm's length to get the effect.

"Of course he will!" answered her mother, warmly. "It is not only the
beauty of it, but the affection! How are you getting on, Dora?"

Dora was laboring at a task almost beyond her fourteen years, consisting
of a negligee shirt of outing flannel, upon the breast of which she was
embroidering a large, intricate design--for Roscoe. She was an
ambitious child, but apt to tire in the execution of her large projects.

"I guess it'll be done," she said, a little wearily. "What are you going
to give him, mother?"

"Another bath-robe; his old one is so worn. And nothing is too good for
my boy."

"He's coming," said Adeline, who was still looking down the road; and
they all concealed their birthday work in haste.

A tall, straight young fellow, with an air of suddenly-faced maturity
upon him, opened the gate under the pepper trees and came toward them.

He had the finely molded features we see in portraits of handsome
ancestors, seeming to call for curling hair a little longish, and a rich
profusion of ruffled shirt. But his hair was sternly short, his shirt
severely plain, his proudly carried head spoke of effort rather than of
ease in its attitude.

Dora skipped to meet him, Cora descended a decorous step or two.
Madeline and Adeline, arm in arm, met him at the piazza edge, his mother
lifted her face.

"Well, mother, dear!" Affectionately he stooped and kissed her, and she
held his hand and stroked it lovingly. The sisters gathered about with
teasing affection, Dora poking in his coat-pocket for the stick candy
her father always used to bring her, and her brother still remembered.

"Aren't you home early, dear?" asked Mrs. Warden.

"Yes; I had a little headache"--he passed his hand over his
forehead--"and Joe can run the store till after supper, anyhow." They
flew to get him camphor, cologne, a menthol-pencil. Dora dragged forth
the wicker lounge. He was laid out carefully and fanned and fussed over
till his mother drove them all away.

"Now, just rest," she said. "It's an hour to supper time yet!" And she
covered him with her latest completed afghan, gathering up and carrying
away the incomplete one and its tumultuous constituents.

He was glad of the quiet, the fresh, sweet air, the smell of flowers
instead of the smell of molasses and cheese, soap and sulphur matches.
But the headache did not stop, nor the worry that caused it. He loved
his mother, he loved his sisters, he loved their home, but he did not
love the grocery business which had fallen so unexpectedly upon him at
his father's death, nor the load of debt which fell with it.

That they need never have had so large a "place" to "keep up" did not
occur to him. He had lived there most of his life, and it was home.
That the expenses of running the household were three times what they
needed to be, he did not know. His father had not questioned their
style of living, nor did he. That a family of five women might, between
them, do the work of the house, he did not even consider.

Mrs. Warden's health was never good, and since her husband's death she
had made daily use of many afghans on the many lounges of the house.
Madeline was "delicate," and Adeline was "frail"; Cora was "nervous,"
Dora was "only a child." So black Sukey and her husband Jonah did the
work of the place, so far as it was done; and Mrs. Warden held it a
miracle of management that she could "do with one servant," and the
height of womanly devotion on her daughters' part that they dusted the
parlor and arranged the flowers.

Roscoe shut his eyes and tried to rest, but his problem beset him
ruthlessly. There was the store--their one and only source of income.
There was the house, a steady, large expense. There were five women to
clothe and keep contented, beside himself. There was the unappeasable
demand of the mortgage--and there was Diantha.

When Mr. Warden died, some four years previously, Roscoe was a lad of
about twenty, just home from college, full of dreams of great service to
the world in science, expecting to go back for his doctor's degree next
year. Instead of which the older man had suddenly dropped beneath the
burden he had carried with such visible happiness and pride, such
unknown anxiety and straining effort; and the younger one had to step
into the harness on the spot.

He was brave, capable, wholly loyal to his mother and sisters, reared in
the traditions of older days as to a man's duty toward women. In his
first grief for his father, and the ready pride with which he undertook
to fill his place, he had not in the least estimated the weight of care
he was to carry, nor the time that he must carry it. A year, a year or
two, a few years, he told himself, as they passed, and he would make
more money; the girls, of course, would marry; he could "retire" in time
and take up his scientific work again. Then--there was Diantha.

When he found he loved this young neighbor of theirs, and that she loved
him, the first flush of happiness made all life look easier. They had
been engaged six months--and it was beginning to dawn upon the young man
that it might be six years--or sixteen years--before he could marry.

He could not sell the business--and if he could, he knew of no better
way to take care of his family. The girls did not marry, and even when
they did, he had figured this out to a dreary certainty, he would still
not be free. To pay the mortgages off, and keep up the house, even
without his sisters, would require all the money the store would bring
in for some six years ahead. The young man set his teeth hard and
turned his head sharply toward the road.

And there was Diantha.

She stood at the gate and smiled at him. He sprang to his feet,
headacheless for the moment, and joined her. Mrs. Warden, from the
lounge by her bedroom window, saw them move off together, and sighed.

"Poor Roscoe!" she said to herself. "It is very hard for him. But he
carries his difficulties nobly. He is a son to be proud of." And she
wept a little.

Diantha slipped her hand in his offered arm--he clasped it warmly with
his, and they walked along together.

"You won't come in and see mother and the girls?"

"No, thank you; not this time. I must get home and get supper.
Besides, I'd rather see just you."

He felt it a pity that there were so many houses along the road here,
but squeezed her hand, anyhow.

She looked at him keenly. "Headache?" she asked.

"Yes; it's nothing; it's gone already."

"Worry?" she asked.

"Yes, I suppose it is," he answered. "But I ought not to worry. I've
got a good home, a good mother, good sisters, and--you!" And he took
advantage of a high hedge and an empty lot on either side of them.

Diantha returned his kiss affectionately enough, but seemed preoccupied,
and walked in silence till he asked her what she was thinking about.

"About you, of course," she answered, brightly. "There are things I want
to say; and yet--I ought not to."

"You can say anything on earth to me," he answered.

"You are twenty-four," she began, musingly.

"Admitted at once."

"And I'm twenty-one and a half."

"That's no such awful revelation, surely!"

"And we've been engaged ever since my birthday," the girl pursued.

"All these are facts, dearest."

"Now, Ross, will you be perfectly frank with me? May I ask you an--an
impertinent question?"

"You may ask me any question you like; it couldn't be impertinent."

"You'll be scandalised, I know--but--well, here goes. What would you
think if Madeline--or any of the girls--should go away to work?"

He looked at her lovingly, but with a little smile on his firm mouth.

"I shouldn't allow it," he said.

"O--allow it? I asked you what you'd think."

"I should think it was a disgrace to the family, and a direct reproach
to me," be answered. "But it's no use talking about that. None of the
girls have any such foolish notion. And I wouldn't permit it if they

Diantha smiled. "I suppose you never would permit your wife to work?"

"My widow might have to--not my wife." He held his fine head a trifle
higher, and her hand ached for a moment.

"Wouldn't you let me work--to help you, Ross?"

"My dearest girl, you've got something far harder than that to do for
me, and that's wait."

His face darkened again, and he passed his hand over his forehead.
"Sometimes I feel as if I ought not to hold you at all!" he burst out,
bitterly. "You ought to be free to marry a better man."

"There aren't any!" said Diantha, shaking her head slowly from side to
side. "And if there were--millions--I wouldn't marry any of 'em. I
love you" she firmly concluded.

"Then we'll just wait," said he, setting his teeth on the word, as if
he would crush it. "It won't be hard with you to help. You're better
worth it than Rachael and Leah together." They walked a few steps

"But how about science?" she asked him.

"I don't let myself think of it. I'll take that up later. We're young
enough, both of us, to wait for our happiness."

"And have you any idea--we might as well face the worst--how many years
do you think that will be, dearest?"

He was a little annoyed at her persistence. Also, though he would not
admit the thought, it did not seem quite the thing for her to ask. A
woman should not seek too definite a period of waiting. She ought to
trust--to just wait on general principles.

"I can face a thing better if I know just what I'm facing," said the
girl, quietly, "and I'd wait for you, if I had to, all my life. Will it
be twenty years, do you think?"

He looked relieved. "Why, no, indeed, darling. It oughtn't to be at
the outside more than five. Or six," he added, honest though reluctant.

"You see, father had no time to settle anything; there were outstanding
accounts, and the funeral expenses, and the mortgages. But the business
is good; and I can carry it; I can build it up." He shook his broad
shoulders determinedly. "I should think it might be within five,
perhaps even less. Good things happen sometimes--such as you, my heart's

They were at her gate now, and she stood a little while to say
good-night. A step inside there was a seat, walled in by evergreen,
roofed over by the wide acacia boughs. Many a long good-night had they
exchanged there, under the large, brilliant California moon. They sat
there, silent, now.

Diantha's heart was full of love for him, and pride and confidence in
him; but it was full of other feelings, too, which he could not fathom.
His trouble was clearer to her than to him; as heavy to bear. To her
mind, trained in all the minutiae of domestic economy, the Warden family
lived in careless wastefulness. That five women--for Dora was older
than she had been when she began to do housework--should require
servants, seemed to this New England-born girl mere laziness and pride.
That two voting women over twenty should prefer being supported by their
brother to supporting themselves, she condemned even more sharply.
Moreover, she felt well assured that with a different family to
"support," Mr. Warden would never have broken down so suddenly and
irrecoverably. Even that funeral--her face hardened as she thought of
the conspicuous "lot," the continual flowers, the monument (not wholly
paid for yet, that monument, though this she did not know)--all that
expenditure to do honor to the man they had worked to death (thus
brutally Diantha put it) was probably enough to put off their happiness
for a whole year.

She rose at last, her hand still held in his. "I'm sorry, but I've got
to get supper, dear," she said, "and you must go. Good-night for the
present; you'll be round by and by?"

"Yes, for a little while, after we close up," said he, and took himself
off, not too suddenly, walking straight and proud while her eves were on
him, throwing her a kiss from the corner; but his step lagging and his
headache settling down upon him again as he neared the large house with
the cupola.

Diantha watched him out of sight, turned and marched up the path to her
own door, her lips set tight, her well-shaped head as straightly held as
his. "It's a shame, a cruel, burning shame!" she told herself
rebelliously. "A man of his ability. Why, he could do anything, in his
own work! And he loved it so!

"To keep a grocery store--

"And nothing to show for all that splendid effort!

"They don't do a thing? They just live--and 'keep house!' All those

"Six years? Likely to be sixty! But I'm not going to wait!"


Originally published in Forerunner: 1:1 (November 1909).

Etext from Project Gutenberg.

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