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life in rioting and wantonness—and who has brain is conventionally the least degrading. been first beguiled by the temptations of the Lords are as ready to receive their money streets. Is this any concern of hers? Does for article writing as commoners, and are she ever think how
quite as able to drive a bargain with a pub
lisher; whilst peradventure, my lady drives “Even-handed justice
the hardest bargain of all. Any gentlewoman Commends the ingredients of the poisoned chalice may make money by authorship without To our own lips ?”
losing caste. But how few are competent
to earn money in this way-how few men We have but little space now at our dis- can so earn it! In discussing such a question posal, and that little ought to be devoted to as the Employment of Women, which inå branch of the subject, which, for its suffi- volves the interests not of tens but of thoucient consideration, would require such an sands, it is hardly worth our while to take article as this to itself
. We have written this matter of authorship into account; and of the amateur work of those whom necessi- yet, it may be said that literature (if it be a ty compels not to work; we have written of profession) is the only profession, except its the professional work of those who are born near kindred, music and painting, which do to work; but we have not written of the not jealously exclude women from all parprofessional work of those who are not born ticipation in its honours and its profits. to work; and yet there are many toiling and There is no injustice done to women here. suffering women in the world, who, born to The road is open. The race is fair. If woaffluence and ease, born to be watched over man be the fileeter, she wins. We have little and provided for by other bread-finders, are in the way of practical suggestion to offer compelled to become bread-finders them- upon this point. Women, who can write, selves. In many respects their case is even do write; though, perhaps, it is more comharder than that of their more lowly sisters. mon for women of small parts to rush into There are fewer paths of occupation open to print, and for women, who need not the them. True; it may be said that what one gains of literature to endeavour to grasp woman may do, another woman may do; them; while women of great parts remain and that no honest labour is degrading. silent, and the needy hold back their hands. Verily, no honest labour is degrading; but, But there are some subordinate literary apart from the consideration (on which some positions in which women might be employ. stress must be laid) that women tenderly ed with advantage to themselves and to litnurtured, and surrounded in youth by all erature. They are frequently expert copythe enervating influences of a high state of ists-accurate and rapid in their work; they civilisation, are not physically capable of are more patient than men, and therefore hard work, it is not to be forgotten that the are better index-makers; they are good cor. employing classes are unwilling to place rectors of the press-on the whole, we are women, perhaps as well-born and well-edu. inclined to think, more careful and sharpcated as themselves, in menial offices about eyed than men. In any one of these capatheir households; and that if a lady, in re- cities, women of education may be honouraduced circumstances, were, in her despair, to bly and not unpleasantly employed in their apply for a parlour-maid's or house-maid's own homes; and we believe that employsituation, in all probability she would not ment of this kind might be found for them, get it; and that, not on the score of her in- But here again, we meet the old diffiefficiency, but the score of her gentility. All culty. The employers stand on one side of this is too intelligible to require explanation. the stream, the employees on the other. The reasons lie in the nature of the service. But the stream is impassable. They cannot It is not mere fastidiousness, therefore, help one another. There is no bridge by which closes the doors of employment against which they may pass from one bank to the well-born and well-educated women. What- other. Nothing is so difficult to obtain as ever their own inclination may be to forget, literary assistance of a humble kind. Literor to “sink” their birth and education, ary men, with extensive and multiform enothers will not overlook such disqualifying gagements, have sometimes exchanged excircumstances; and we can hardly say that periences on this point. Each has felt that they are to blame.
there must be hundreds of families in Lon. All kinds of menial service, then, being don, to whom such employment as they denied to women well-born and well-educa- have been willing to give to a son, or in the ted, what remains for them, if they are com- case of work that may be done at home to a pelled to earn their bread by labour and daughter of good ability and industrious that thousands are so compelled we know habits, would be a veritable godsend. But only too surely. Of all labour, that of the all have known that they have sought in vain for what they have felt must exist in abund-come her own bread-finder, it is almost inance, and they have been doubly disappoint- variably decreed that she shall become, in ed; firstly, because they have not obtained some way or other, a teacher. If she has what they wanted; and, secondly, because any especial talent for music or drawing, it they have lost a means of conferring hap- is possible that she may be counselled to depiness on others. Here again such agency vote herself exclusively to these branches of as we have suggested might be turned to education; but, in the greater number of profitable account. It may be observed, cases, she“ goes out” as a
“ governess." that whenever it is desirable, there might Perhaps, of all kind of female employment, be, in the first instance, & reservation this has the advantage of the best organizaof the name and address of the person tion—the best external machinery. There seeking employment. Nothing would be are two or three excellent institutions in easier than to keep a double set of books London to which heads of families may ad-one open to the public; the other a vantageously betake themselves for informaprivate record only to be referred to, at an tion, with something approaching to a ceradvanced stage, when the inquiry is known tainty that the persons recommended are to be of a bona fide character, and there is capable of fulfilling properly all the condia fair chance of an engagement resulting tions of governess life. But local agencies from it.
may still be resorted to with advantage, Painting and drawing may give remuner- especially in the case of daily governesses. It ative employment to a few educated ladies. you live in Belgravia, it is of no use to you But here the supply is greater than the de- to hear of an excellent daily governess remand; and we do not know that anything siding in the neighbourhood of Russell Square. can be said to increase the latter. Of late Where non-resident teachers are required, it years photography has been taken up by is obviously necessary that you should seek women as a means of earning a livelihood; them in the vicinity of your own house. but we are disposed to think that the pro- A great deal has been written, at various fession is overstocked, and that the subsist- times and in various places, about the miserence it affords is scanty and precarious. ies of governess-life. Novelists and romance Ladies, for the most part, prefer sitting to writers, and fervent essayists, have found in female photographers, which is one argu- this description of white slavery an unfailing ment in favour of their occupying their fair subject of fictitious illustration or didactic share of the ground. The colouring of discourse. There are, doubtless, some pursestereoscopic drawings requires considerable proud and arrogant ladies in the world, not delicacy of touch, and will generally be bet- disinclined to treat the young person," ter done by women than by men. In wood- whom they condescend to employ, with engraving women generally excel for the hauteur and unkindness. Moreover, there same reason; a light supple hand is required. are such things as disagreeable children, very We are inclined to think that more women trying to the patience, and often requiring might be employed in this branch of art than much correction, which the governess is not now devote themselves to it. Some women permitted to administer. But we have a make a good income by designing patterns profound conviction that these are the excepfor the manufacturers—but this is a gift; and tional cases; and that, in the present day, they who possess it are exceptional cases. the governesses of England are treated with What we have to do is to suggest means of all possible courtesy and kindness. Their employment for those who have no special position is, in some respects, a trying one. gifts.
But the trials are only such as good sense Music affords employment to many. and good feeling will enable them to overProfessional singers of the first class are ex- come. Every position has its trials. That travagantly remunerated. But in the lower which has many privileges has also many grades the recompense is scanty. They who penalties and provocations. Scarcely one of publicly exhibit, are, however, comparative- us, man or woman, is not subject even to ly few. By far the greater number of those rougher attrition than the “poor governess, who devote themselves to music, as a means whom it is so much the fashion to compasof earning & subsistence, are teachers. Now, sionate. It may appear to be a fine thing to teachers are a very large class—the largest be a minister of state; but night after and the most important class of educated night he goes down to Parliament with the women earning a livelihood by their own ex- certainty of being badgered and bullied in a ertions. They demand, therefore, conspicu- manner compared with which the occasional ous attention in such an article as this." As "snubbings" to which a governess is exsoon, indeed, as a woman discovers, or her posed are but as the roarings of a nightparents discover for her, that she must be ingale or a sucking dove. Who in high place or in low place escapes the rubs of|condition of life to the cheerful fulfilment of the world? The mother of a family won- its duties, if we try to discover what are ders, perhaps, how Miss Grey can suffer the the blessings it possesses, rather than the children to ink their pin-befores so unscru- ills which attend it. Let us apply this repulously; or sends her off somewhat im- mark to the position of governesses, and see peratively to the piano, when she is listening, whether there are not many causes for in the drawing-room after dinner, to some thankfulness in their lot. One marked adamusing story that the eldest hope, fresh vantage they enjoy is this, the freedom from from Cambridge, is telling her: and when domestic cares; they have no household to she goes to her chamber at night, she proba- provide for, no risk as to their income, none bly bemoans her hard fate, and wishes that of that attention to servants which is so she were a man, and independent like the heavy a burden to many mothers, none of master of the house, who pays her the annual these innumerable arrangements to make sixty guineas. Little does she think what which occupy so much time and thought, rubs the envied master has endured in the and which necessarily fall upon wives and course of the day, or how the offending mis- parents."* If the salary of the governess tress is, in her return, often offended. The be small, her wants also are small. Everymaster has been annoyed and aggravated, thing is provided for her, except her clothes, almost past endurance, by some official and perhaps her washing. If she falls sick, superior, of smaller capacity than himself; the medical attendant of the family, in most or, if in trade, he has been insulted by some cases, is called in, at her employer's expense. exacting and purse-proud customer; or his When she travels, the expenses of her jourbanker has refused, in no very compliment- ner are paid. If she goes to a place of pubary manner, to make him any more advances. lic amusement, her seat or her voucher is He returns home, irritated and out of spirits; secured for her at the cost of her employer. finds fault with the domestic arrangements; She has books, and music, and newspapers hints that his wife is extravagant and a bad at his expense. And, if some of these manager; and says all sorts of unkind privileges are permitted to her, as it were things to her, until she cries herself to sleep. on sufferance, the gain is substantial, whilst Miss Grey, we may be sure, is not the only the loss of dignity is a mere vapour of the person in the house who has been dragged mind. through a quickset hedge in the course of We have great respect for governesses as a
class. We rejoice exceedingly in the increasAgain, it is not pleasant, in the abstract, ing tendency of the present age to treat to labour for one's daily bread work. Hard them with consideration and kindness. work has its penalties and privations, and They cannot be treated with too much conunless one can look seriously and solemnly sideration and kindness. But it is no kindat it, and feel an elevated delight in the ness to them to exaggerate the evils of their sense of doing one's duty" in that state of position, or to teach them to regard, as pelife to which it has pleased God to call us,” culiar to their own lot, the trials inseparable it is irksome to toil, without intermission, from a life of labour. The real evil of gov. from morning to night. But this is not erness life is, that the supply of governesses peculiarly the lot of governesses.
Inde- is in excess of the demand ; that many perpendent," much-envied manhood works still sons undertake this important office, not harder and is really much more dependent. because they are fitted for it, either by But it is said, that governess labour is so ill- nature or education, but simply because it is requited. High accomplishments and a life desirable, perhaps necessary, that somehow of toil are demanded in return for " a miser- or other, they should earn a cerlain number able pittance.” From time to time, start- of pounds every year by their own exertions. ling advertisements appear in our newspa- The ordinary question in such cases is not, pers, showing how educated female labour “What am I fit for ?" but, “What is fit for is assessed by some people requiring gov- me?" Most girls with a little smattering ernesses for their children or assistants in of knowledge think that they are capable of schools. But these we believe to be excep-teaching children; and, if they do not, their tional cases.
A very • large number of parents assume the fact for them. But beresident governesses receive from £50 to yond this assumption, there is, in most cases, £100 per annum—and many considerably the glaring fact, that there is positively more. This may appear to be a snail nothing but governess life to which they can income for an educated gentlewoman. But, on such a salary, she is often richer than her
* From an excellent little volume, called “Gov. employer. “It is a great help,” says an by the author of “Memorials of Two Sisters." Pub
erness Life; its Trials, Duties, and Encouragements:'' intelligent writer on governess-life, “in any lished in 1849 by Mr. Parker of the West Strand.
betake themselves. They would willingly | tioned by Shakespeare as free maids, who weave earn a livelihood in some other field, if they their threads with bones’ for anatomical demon
strators. At Boston, moreover, there are eight only knew where to find it. Hence the numbers that jostle each other doctoresses with diplomas in full practice. We
suppose some of these female physicians are along this road, the crowds who press on, married. And this involves a great social mys eager to take any remuneration for their tery of which we have as yet received no account. services rather than obtain no employment when the Mrs. M.D.'s are attending to patients at all; hence the occasional exactions of in their boudoirs of consultation, or pointing out those who, knowing that the market of fe pathological nicknacks in their anatomical drawmale labour is overstocked, take advantage in their bonnets, what are their husbands doing ?
ing-rooms, or going their rounds with stethoscopes of their knowledge to drive hard bargains, Do they superintend the perambulators, or are such as would disgrace a slave-driver on the these bitched on to the professional broughams of other side of the Atlantic. Hence, too, in the mammas ? Is it a part of the husband's marsome instances, the imperfect education and ital duty to manage the nursery-in short, to the bad moral training of some of our Eng. attend to the domestic affairs geuerally? Perhaps lish girls. But what is the remedy? matrimony is ignored altogether. Indeed we do There is only one. We must endeavour to not well see how a conscientious doctoress could open out new channels of female employ- promise to love, honour, and obey a husband who ment. But how often this is said, how gen- strychnia all round."
might order her to give her patients a dose of eral is the proposition, how accustomed we are to hear the sneering request, “Give us Surely this is not the way to deal with so something practical !" But when the some grave a question. Argument must be wantthing practical is given, the sneer is generally ing, or the sneer would not be resorted to more significant than before.
by so distinguished an authority. The same We are not afraid of this. If we have questions as are here put might be enonly brought a few readers to think more ployed also to write down any description seriously of the question, we have not writ- of independent female labour. When women ten in vain. But the something practical go out to teach drawing or music, or when where is it? We believe that a great deal, they attend to shops, or make caps and bon. which is very practical, is scattered over nets, gowns or mantles, what, it may be this article. But we have still some further asked, are their husbands doing? Attend. suggestions to offer. Not very long ago, a ing to their own business, if they have any, statement “ went the round of the papers, or living on their wives' earnings, Mantalini. to the effect that there were already eight like, if they have not. We do not mean to diplomatized female physicians practising say that there are no practical difficulties in in Boston, (U.S.) and that there were thirty- the way of the effectual working of this eight students in the Female Medical Col- scheme. Objections will readily suggest lege. Whenever," says an American wri themselves; but they are not insuperable ter, “ there are sufficient data to establish objections. All women may not be fit for the truth (now little if at all disputed in such work. But all men are not fit for it. America), that childbirth is freed from its Many woman will lack the necessary amount worst difficulties and dangers when the un- of nerve; but many men lack it also. In natural presence of men is dispensed with, difficulty and danger woman have great pre. the medical and surgical care of women and sence of mind. They are often calm and children will pass into the hands for which collected where men are unbinged and unnature designed it." There would appear balanced, and incapable of exertion. Woto be nothing very unreasonable in this, but men have more tenderness and more paon the contrary something extremely rational tience, and they must necessarily understand and hopeful. But see how the facts stated many female ailments better than men. above are received by the Faculty in Eng. They will always have one great advantage land. The leading medical journal of this over male practitioners. Female patients country thus comments upon them :- will be more unreserved in their communi
cations to them. Many woman have been “ Female physic thrives apace in America. At sacrificed to their delicacy-to their repug. Boston, where Columbia gave birth to the young nance to state fully their ailments to menconstitution, which is now sowing its wild oats doctors; perhaps even to call them in until broadcast, there is a female medical college num- it is too late. Let such objections as these bering thirty-eight students. A grant of Gov- be fairly balanced against those which may tablishing a similar institution at New York. be adduced against female practitioners, and This is to be under the immediate superintendence let us calmly consider the average result. of Elizabeth Blackwell, M.D., late of St. Bar- We do not pretend to know, under the tholomew's, with a bevy of those spinsters men-existing order of things in Great Britain,
what proportion of children are annually public press, contending that we might make brought into the world without the assistance many more and much cheaper watches, and of any male practitioner. But we know at the same time help to solve some of the that in humble life it is very common to great social problems of the day, if we employ only a nurse or midwife. And we would employ women in watch-manufacture. do not believe that, under such circumstan- He has written and lectured largely on this ces more dangerous cases of parturition subject; and is giving practical effect to his occur, than where men are professionally views by the employment of a large num. employed. But if such were the case, if ber of women, (some, we believe, well born the number of deaths or injuries were pro- and educated women,) in the manufacture portionately greater, no argument could be of his watches. In one of his letters to the derived from the fact against the employ. Times, he says: ment of educated and diplomatized women. If, in the present state of things, accidents “We must have a complete directory, giving arise from the absence of men, it is not on the name and special capabilities of every man account of the sex, but on account of the and woman available ; a minute subdivision of ignorance of the practitioner. The same
labour, adjusting to each person's abilities the amount of knowledge, as indicated by the best do, and neither more nor less ; we must
exact quality of the work which he or she can diploma, existing in both cases, we cannot never employ a man to do what a woman can do help thinking that the advantage, in most as well or better; we must get Lord John & Co. cases, will be on the side of the female to look to Switzerland for a system of public attendant.
education so admirably liberal as to constitute We might pursue this subject much fur. one essential element of their superiority. They ther, but time and space have alike narrow
well know the absolute necessity of the utmost ed to a small compass; and we have by no are wise enough never to expect excellence in the
care in manufacturing the manufacturers. They means exhausted our notes. · In the early work until they have thoroughly trained and tupart of this paper we have touched on the tored the future workman. And, lastly, we must subject of nurses, but rather in connexion despise the libel that any man may dare to cast with amateur than with professional labour. upon his country women, impating to them inabiMany women of a better kind might find lity to execute works of precision. Thousands of profitable employment in this path of life; women are at this moment finding profitable emand if licenses, or diplomas of an inferior ployment at the most delicate portions of watch
work throughout the district round Neufchatel. class, indicating a certain amount of medical The subdivision of labour is there wisely made so and physiological knowledge were granted minute as to adjust itself precisely to the special to them, the business would not be beneath capabilities of every woman's individual dexthe adoption of women of birth and educa. terity. For any man to declare, whatever bis tion. But here again, perhaps, the jealousy motive, that the women of London are sure to do and selfishness of men would step in and badly what the Swiss women are now doing so thwart our efforts; for the
well, is an insult and a fallacy in which I refuse of such
presence educated nurses would often render it wholly prove their capabilities. Thousands of the womeu
to join. I know better, and will before long unnecessary to call in a regular practitioner of London, now in dire distress, have the power at all.
to equal, and perhaps to outstrip, their Swiss sisSuggestions of an extended field of female ters in a rival race for an honourable and abanlabour, altogether in a different direction, dant means of subsistence. I know the realizahave been recently put forth, and have pro- and I believe there are few men of any worth
tion of my suggestions to be within their reach, voked in London some public discussion. who will refuse to join me in the wish that
. It is said that a large number of women, of Heaven may grant that this desirable means of a better class than those who ordinarily gain rescuing so many from their present misery may their livelihood by manual labour, might be speedily removed from the necessity of news find profitable occupation in the manufacture paper discussion.” of watches, especially the more delicate part of the work, the minute engraving, &c. The Our readers will, in all probability, antinumber of watches made in England, and cipate one of the results of Mr. Bennett's the number of people employed in making suggestions. They were vehemently opthem, (men, of course,) are wonderfully posed by men, whether “men of any worth" small in proportion to the numbers of both we do not know. The newspapers, not long in Switzerland, (the other great watch-pro- ago, reported a public meeting of the watchducing country,) where women are exten- making trade, somewhere in London, consively employed. And an eminent watch vened for the express purpose of denouncing maker of London (Mr. Bennett of Cheapside) Mr. Bennett as a mountebank and an imposhas brought the subject prominently for- tor. The speakers declared that Mr. Benward at public meetings and through the nett knew nothing about watchmaking, and