Imagini ale paginilor

crying as for the dead, and dancing the funeral dance. And as each conscript walks the long plank from the shore, the women send forth curses on the despoiler, and stretch out their arms in hopeless agony to the poor victim who is to render unwilling service to the captors of his country, the foes of his faith. These sad sights, the constant passing of transports with sick soldiers down the river, and the general unrest of invasion, have for five years prevented intelligent travelers and invalids from visiting Upper Egypt, and destroyed the long-known luxurious peace and healthful repose of the Nile voyage.


Among the rejected Gospels of the New Testament is the Gospel to the Egyptians, in which it is related that Solome asked our Lord how long death should prevail, and the Christ answered; “As long as ye women are mothers.” These words have been quoted to support celibacy; but it is through this strongest element in the Egyptian that Egypt's deliverance must come. The mother loves her child, and her love is perpetual, and it has enabled her, under the oppression of these last years, to overcome her indolence and sustain herself and her children, and hold her possessions. And other women, without possessions, have sold in the market, tilled the fields, made trinkets, carried water and driven donkeys for the strangers, that they and their army-orphaned children might live. The class of women known as dancing girls are the pest of the villages, and the beauty that we have read of does not appear; they have not even that excuse for being. But the slave women from the Soudan and Abyssinia are the live, industrial female power of Upper Egypt. Their strong, well-shapen bodies and amiable intelligence, promise a coming race that may equal the Memlooks in daring.

But to what source can we look for any speedy elevation of Egyptian women, with a religion which teaches them they must depend on the wish of a man for immortality, that the envious eye

of a neighbor may destroy their children, that their guardian angel may play ridiculous tricks, cause them illness and even death, that to be the mother of many children is their justification for existing, that the marital chastisement, authorized by the Prophet, is the best proof of the husband's love ; that the daughter is purer and more to be desired in marriage, if she cannot read or write; that if she must go to school, she may not remain after she is ten or twelve years old; that she who has never been seen by her husband is the truly virtuous girl; and that it is the mother's duty to marry her daughter, even if she does not desire to be a wife?

Verily, a wide sea lies between the old, beautiful Land of the Sunrise and the new, fresh Land of the Sunset.



NE who attempts the study of this subject encounters surprises

at the very threshold of investigation. Consider how recently the propriety of permitting women to become educated, was a frequent topic of heated discussion. Remember that up to a still nearer date the expediency of permitting women to be educated was seriously disputed. Bear in mind that the degree to which a woman may be educated profitably, and the extent and manner in which she may use her education without violating the laws of propriety and expediency, are considered still debatable questions.

In the light of these reflections, the mere phrase “Women as Educators” reveals a surprising situation.

Public schools were established in this country, i. e. to say, in Massachusetts, in 1642. For one hundred and forty-seven years, men monopolized the work of teaching; in 1789 a law was passed regulating the administration of the Massachusetts school system and recognizing women as legally eligible to the position of teacher. But with all of the advantages that a monopoly lasting a century and a half might be expected to secure to them, men have lost the prestige of numbers in the department of education. The census of 1880 states the number of men then engaged in the United States in teaching and in Scientific pursuits as 73,335, while the number of women thus employed was recorded as 154,375.

Think of this number until both its real and its relative vastness are comprehended. Think of it as embracing teachers of every grade of culture, from the raw product of the country district school, who regards with pride the hardly earned third-class certificate which entitles her to teach without further examination for six months, to the fine fruit of College and Normal School, who, not content with the certificate of the one and the diploma of the other, looks from her post-graduate degree to a fellowship at Bryn Mawr as the first goal at which she may safely rest. Think of this number as including teachers of every varying degree of professional rank, from the pupilteacher in the Charity-Kindergarten, to the Principals of High Schools and the Presidents of Colleges.

These reflections will impart to the phrase, “Women as Educators' a natural accent and will assist one to measure justtly its significance. The assertion that the home training of children is almost exclusively in the hands of women, passes without challenge. That more than two-thirds of the actual teaching in the schools is done by women, is, as has been shown, matter of statistical proof.

The student who has these two stupendous facts in mind, will, as she pursues her inquiries concerning this question, be astonished to find that the class currently toasted as the natural educators of the race, the class from which civilization, following the hint of Nature, is forming the professional educators of the race, has, notwithstanding, contributed so little to the theory or to the history of education. Lexicographers regard the words teacher and educator as synonymous; but as used to-day, the word educator implies more than the word teacher. To the popular mind the latter term presents a person actually engaged in the work of tuition, whose direct professional influence is measured by the number of pupils with whom he has personal relations; while the former term suggests a person who may or may not be engaged in the work of tuition, but whose professional influence in either case seeks broader channels than are afforded by the pupils whom he actually instructs. It is as true as it is amusing that in some sections of our country all women connected with the work of education, whether in high or in humble places, are called teachers; while all men so connected, whether in places humble or high, are addressed as “professor,” and mentioned as eminent educators.” In other sections of our country, persons filling the lower places in the schools, without regard to sex, are always called teachers, while those occupying the higher places are named educators. These habits of speech are not without significance to the student of social science, but may not detain us here. Returning to the distinction made between the two terms by the popular mind, it must be admitted that of the 170,000 women probably engaged in our own country at this hour in the work of tuition, of the scores of thousands now similarly engaged in other countries, and of the many thousands

[ocr errors]

whom departed generations have employed in the same work, few relatively, would by the popular voice be named educators.

Of the eighty-seven authors named in the list of standard books on Education, appended to Quick's “Essays on Educational Reformers,” only three are women. Of several hundred authorities on different questions pertaining to education, quoted by Compayré in his invaluable “History of Pedagogy,” but sixteen are women.

In a series of Educational Classics, now being issued by a popular firm, of the twenty volumes that are already out, only one is by a woman, although several, the works of eminent foreigners, are indeed translated by women. These lists fairly indicate the percentage of writers on Education who are women. The facts above stated are not accidental; they are not without meaning; they show that in education as in other departments of labor, women tend rather to activity than to speculation ; that their talents lend themselves more readily to the illustration of the principles of a science through its correlative art, than to the development and formulation of those principles. In short, they show that in education as in religion, women, for the most part, are content to practice what men preach. It is quite true that fro the works and the Letters of Mme. de Genlis, de Maintenon, Pape-Carpentier, de Rémusat and de Staël, with those of Hannah More, Harriet Martineau, Elizabeth Hamilton, George Eliot, Frances Power Cobbe, Margaret Fuller, Elizabeth Peabody and Anna Brackett, there could be deduced a complete discussion of she Psychology of childhood; and from the same sources there could be compiled an invaluable treatise on Pedagogy, from which might be derived incomparable discussions of method in both mental and moral tuition.

However, for the reasons already intimated, we shall find it most profitable to discuss “Women as Educators," not with a view to ascertaining what they have contributed to the Literature of Pedagogy, but with the intent of finding out how they have already modified the practice of Pedagogy; of indicating the further modification that may reasonably be expected from their influence; and of measuring the responsibilities which their present dominant numbers imply. Briefly, in this discussion, we shall consider the term educator equivalent to to the term teacher.

Nothing more bare and hard than the common school under the undivided sway of man, can be imagined. Pestalozzi recommended sympathy and tenderness as the proper agents of discipline, saying if

« ÎnapoiContinuați »