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the occasion, and catch up the of these old water - mills in Virsecond verse :

ginia ! - not very old, perhaps

fifty to a hundred years at the “O Scindy, do you love me?

most, but still venerable - looking She said she loved me some,

with their weather - stained and An' I threw my arms around her, Like a grape-vine round a gum.” spray-moistened timbers and big

rumbling wheels, to whose music If the dawn of summer in Vir- four or five generations at any rate ginia, when the fields grew gay in had gossiped and foregathered as colouring and the shadows deep- to a local landmark whose site ened in the forests, animated the nature had firmly fixed beyond Ethiopian breast, the autumn in the caprice of change or fortune. dreamy, balmy splendour was by no Pleasant places above all were means without consolation either these old-fashioned water-mills in to blacks or to whites, who lived, the fierce hot August days; and so to speak, with nature. The how cool was the draught which tobacco was hung up and curing blew up from the foaming caldron in the barns; the crops, such as beneath the wheel as it churned they were, were stored away-all round and round amid a white but the Indian corn, which still wreath of crystal waters fresh from hung its big heads from the bare dark mountain hollows, where stalk stripped of its leaves and its trout leapt between banks top fodder. The leanest of stock flowery evergreens and beneath had grown fat in the rank growth overarching avenues of beech and that covered pasture and stubble chestnut! And the millers, too, fields alike, and carpeted even the of Virginia—all that I ever knew,

at any rate—were cheery beings All nature rested from its la- of stout frame and well-powdered bours—and man, too (in Virginia), exteriors and strong lungs, who for the most part.

There was would crack jokes above the whirr plenty for all present needs, and and throb of their rude machinery weeks of bright, still weather with all comers, black and white, often intervened before the chill and tell stories of the gigantic breath of winter with its flurries of crops that men made before the snow stripped the forests of their war in the brave days of old. golden mantle, and the heavens of No living soul could look fortheir long unclouded brilliancy. ward to an English autumn for its

The sunny days of October and own sake with pleasure or recall November were days of plenty on it with tenderness. Certain enthe plantations. The lean times joyments, it is true, belong to it,

Hogs were fat, and but that is wholly another matter. the new crop of corn was ready The season itself is one of sadness, to grind into meal for those hot of drippy decay, of blustering cakes which were the Ethiopian's winds, of rarely unmitigated gloom. staff of life. The mill-wheels in But October and November in the valleys were humming, and Virginia, and indeed not seldom along the tortuous red roads went December also, are not merely shambling work - horses or mules, the sportsman's saturnalia, but whose backs presented the familiar are largely composed of days in spectacle of a bare- legged negro which mere existence is a joy, urchin just visible behind a big and every one worth living for sack of meal.

itself alone a dream of golden How delightful, too, were some foliage and cloudless skies, of dewy

very forests.

were over.

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mornings crisp and fresh, of balmy negro had it all to himself, and noons, of sunsets wondrous and male and female, leaving their incomparable. There is no breath master to get on as best he could, of melancholy in the light and abandoned themselves to those stimulating air, no suggestion of social joys so dear to the Ethiopian decay in the dazzling splendour of breast. "Cake-walks" and frolics the woode : winter will come, we and preachings filled the cabins know, but it will fall like the with sound and merriment; whisky curtain of a th'atre on some splen- of a fearsome sort flowed freely, did pageant which we have en- and stimulated with its unwonted joyed till the last moment, and fires the merry antics of the colshall hope again to enjoy. Mid- oured revellers. Even William winter, it must be said, had little Henry Higginbottom once gave to offer to the plantation-owner in a party at Christmas, though to be

a Virginia. Without doors, there sure it was one of those social was snow and rain, cold and sleet, speculations called a "pay-party," iron frost or red mud of a depth where every guest paid twenty-five and tenacity beyond the dreams cents at the door, the profits going of Englishmen. Within, it is true, to the genial host, who provided there were immense brick fire- food, liquor, and music. Ag

for places and big brass andirons, on the cake-walks, who has not heard which oak-logs of noble propor- of them ?—though that indeed is tions crackled and blazed, throwing a poor substitute for the privilege a cheery light over the wainscoted of having witnessed the inimitable walls. Visiting was no longer spectacle of the sable beaux and thought of, farming was at a stand- belles strutting in couples arm-instill, shooting was over, though the arm before the judge, with solemn horn of the fox-hunter now and efforts to outdo each other in again woke the echoes of the elegance of movement and dignity gloomy mornings. The thud of of bearing, and thus win the tooththe axe rang from the dripping or some prize. frozen woodlands, and spoke of the But volumes could be filled with ceaseless


for firewood that came the queer characters of both colfrom the draughty insatiable chim- ours, the quaint customs and the neys of cabin, farmhouse, and unsophisticated ways that obtained mansion.

in the country districts of Virginia The very mountains, that in the in the days I write of. These days greenery of their summer dress and

are gone for ever. Half the cabins the gorgeous splendour of their in the State have rotted away or autumn robes were beyond all de- been burnt for firewood. Agriculscription beautiful, looked now only ture of a large and careless sort is savage and almost terrible, with almost dead. The negro still in their miles and miles of black a measure follows the plough or and leafless woodland stretching wields the hoe, but more often, over their snowy carpet to the as I have already remarked, is a cheerless skies. Worst of all these factory-hand, a miner, a waiter, or dreary weeks to the planter was what not, and wears on Sunday that which intervened between a covert coat and a pot-hat, while Christmas and New Year,—that his wife struts at his side attired season which to other Christians in a caricature of the latest New with a white skin is a period of York fashion. festivity and rejoicing. Here the




It will not be gainsaid that, if The present situation in respect the closing years of the present of the voting powers proposed to century are pre-eminent for any- be conferred on women is anomthing, it is for the prodigious alous and uncertain. And the number of fads, cranks, nostrums, action of Mr Walter M‘Laren, durand neologisms which are started ing the passage of the Parish Counand put about for the quasi- cils Bill, in moving and carrying reformation of humankind. In an instruction empowering the the words of a great statesman, Committee of the House of Com“Every man has a project, every mons to insert provisions in the

thinks he is going to re- bill practically enfranchising, for generate society by some perfectly the purposes expressed therein, all unselfish but chimerical scheme, women, married or single, upon fitted more for Utopia than for equal terms with men, has not tendmodern society.” 1

ed to settle matters, but rather the Among these modern evolution- reverse. Down a mountain-side ary novelties must be placed the one sometimes sees an alternation movement for the so-called Eman- of steep slopes with comparatively cipation of Woman. This move level platforms or ledges. Now, ment divides itself into two main if a heavy rock or stone be set branches, social-economic and po- agoing at the summit, it will roll litical, The former appertains down the declivity with acceleratmore to the general attitude of ing motion till it reaches a plateau, the sex towards men in the main and peradventure be arrested there relations of life, such as morals, in its downward career perilously manners, employments, personal near the edge of the next steep. independence, freedom from re- In course of time, by the action strictions, and so forth. In the of nature's forces of disintegration latter we

are asked to concern by flood, landslip, or what not, ourselves with woman as an elec- the boulder will roll down a tive unit desiring to vote further incline, and so on till it exactly equal terms with men reaches the lowest depth of all. for all offices of the State. In So with political questions, in the present paper I propose to the present era especially. Some confine myself to the last-named new-fangled notion is dragged aspect of the question, her de- from obscurity by dint of much mand for the parliamentary fran- leverage and platform exertion. chise, or, as it is commonly termed. It is pushed to the front, and Woman Suffrage, with all the con- travels a little

then sequential claims which, as its rest awhile without making much logical corollary, arise out of it. perceptible progress, till one day




1 Speech at Manchester by the Right Hon. Arthur Balfour, M.P., in May 1892.

2 Since become the “ Local Government Act, 1894,” and now in force. Under section 43 of this Act a married woman is not disqualified by marriage from being on the Local Government register of electors, or from being an elector, provided “the husband and wife shall not both be qualified in respect of the same property.” And by section 3 (2) “no person shall be disqualified by sex or marriage for being elected or being a member of a parish council.”

some rash legislator springs a of

my own party.” Be this as it resolution in its behalf upon Par- may, to yield woman the parlialiament, the effect of which is to mentary suffrage as a bid for her hurry the thing on incontinently vote would of a surety be a long another haphazard stage, possibly step downwards in political degrainvolving the most momentous dation. consequences,

which the

very Although it has received a cermover himself may never have tain support from both sides of contemplated. The Lower House, the House of Commons, the cause in fact, as Mr Courtney said not of female suffrage has hitherto long since, is becoming more and been discussed in Parliament rather more responsive to ebullitions of as a subject of lively academical popular feeling; it might be add- interest than as one of primary ed, to ebullitions of spasmodic im- importance. It has been champpulse.

ioned by amateurs, but no GovThe same thing is not unlikely ernment of this country has ever to happen with the question of ventured to include female suffrage woman suffrage, though, now that in its programme of measures. the forces of faddism and fanati- During the session of 1895 the cism have been put to rout in the question practically stood still, great electoral awakening of 1895, and the efforts of Mr Wyndthere should be less risk of rushing ham and Mr Faithfull Begg to any startling legislative novelty get it a hearing in the last through the Lower House. Hap- sitting of Parliament came to pily, though there is danger of its nought.2 becoming so, the female franchise The chief points in connection has not as yet been made a party with this woman suffrage moveissue, for our two great political ment seem to be as follow :camps are at the present time 1. How and where did the agicuriously divided over it. Lord tation originate? Salisbury, addressing a Primrose 2. Is it a spontaneous moveLeague meeting so recently as ment on the part of the majority 29th April last, made this point of women ? quite clear. “I warn you," he 3. Would female voting be said, "that there is no question likely to alter the character of at present which divides parties legislation ? and if so, beneficially more completely, and” (in relation or the reverse ? to his own views on the subject) 4. Is a mixed electorate of the I am not certain even that I

sexes necessary for the removal of express the opinion of the majority female disabilities?

1 Speech at Liskeard, 27th March 1894.

2 Since this article was written the member for St Rollox has again brought in a Women's Franchise Bill, and it has passed its second reading in the Lower Chamber by a considerable majority. In a house of 385 members, “amid the irresponsible frivolity,” says the “Times,' “ of a Wednesday afternoon, a vote was taken approving in principle the doubling of the electorate, the shifting of the whole basis of the Constitution, and the initiation of an experiment for which there is no precedent in the history of mankind.” The bill bristles with implied anomalies, and many of the majority, like Sir Charles Dilke, doubtless voted for it simply as an abstract declaration in favour of its main principle. In the opinion of our leading journal, the bill “ can hardly be expected to pass through all its stages.”


5. Is woman's claim to full upon Congress itself. Up to the rights of citizenship a valid one? present time, however, it would

6. What are the ulterior aims seem that the net result in the and logical outcome of the woman occidental Republic is small. Prior suffrage movement ? and are these to 1890, in no State had the sufsuch as to commend the movement frage in elections to the State to our support?

legislature and State offices been In his very able, fair, and tem- extended to women, and therefore perate treatise on the American they nowhere enjoyed the right Commonwealth, Mr Bryce has left of voting in Federal elections. In us in no doubt as to whence three Territories, however, the right and when the outbreak or "re- of voting at legislative elections volt” of modern woman from the was given by the territorial Legistraditional limitations of her sex lature, and in one of these, Wyotook its origin. The movement is ming, the population of which is barely half a century old. It be- relatively very insignificant, the

. gan to stir when the question of right was retained when the Terrinegro emancipation became a burn- tory received Statehood in 1890. ing one, and its seat and home was In the other two, Utah and Washthe United States of America. ington, both of which have also If the uncultured black, it was become States of the Union, the said, was to be liberated and de- female legislative vote was abolclared free and equal with the ished. On the other hand, in 1893 white, and entitled to the same Colorado adopted woman suffrage, political rights, then what about mainly, says Mr Bryce, through women? The claim of woman to the action of the is Knights of the franchise and to public office Labour” and other working-men would, Mr Bryce thinks, have groups among whom abstract probably been made sooner theories of equality prevail." On later ; but the circumstances of the whole, the female franchise its origin in the Abolitionist agita- movement appears distinctly to tion, he considers, have tinged the have lost ground in America. subsequent course of the woman's And it is noteworthy that in movement. In this country, no June 1895 the Canadian House of doubt, the cause of the fair Pro- Commons threw out the Woman gressive was helped on by the Franchise Bill by a large majority; advocacy of John Stuart Mill and while still later, in December 1895, the disciples of his peculiar sex the Legislative Council of the tenets. The first Women's Con- colony of Victoria similarly revention in America was held in jected female suffrage. “ The utter 1848; and, after the Civil War lack of interest,” we are further and subsequent admission of the told, “taken by most women in negro to the franchise, the ques- the woman suffrage question” both tion of the female vote

in Massachusetts and Connecticut speedily to the front. Women's has been emphasised by the recent suffrage societies grew apace, and referendum in the former State. united efforts were brought to “Although there are over 600,000 bear on the State legislatures, and

in Massachusetts, only




1 The American Commonwealth. By the Right Hon. James Bryce, M.P. Macmillan (revised edition), 1895.

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