Page images

more humble, in the world's opinion, that of teacher in a charitable institution for colored children, established in Providence, R. I., and known as "The Shelter." Here again, for many years, she gave of her best work to the little, dark-skinned waifs, with small compensation save as she read on each dusky brow "Inasmuch as ye did it unto the least." One of her associates writes: "We can think of the Shelter only as permeated with her sunny, loving presence; teachers, no less than the children, felt the helpfulness of her very glance and tone, and the wonderful influence she wielded so unconsciously."

"I remember," adds a niece, "of visiting her there when a child, and how astonished I was to see the little black children climb upon her knee and caress her; and how, when she met them on the street, they always claimed a kiss."

This unshrinking, untiring love, which followed the pupil to his lowly home and into his future life, giving to each a feeling that somebody cared for him, individually, is the secret of a true teacher's success, and adds to all other teaching a revelation of the Father's care for the poorest and weakest of his creatures. As long as she lived, Miss Mann received letters from these pupils, full of grateful recollections of all she was to their ignorant, unloved childhood.

A school for colored children in Washington, founded by Miss Miner, was her next field of labor, Miss Miner leaving it in her charge, while she, herself, sought a much needed rest. It was of this time, spent among entire strangers, a relative writes, "I recall aunty telling of eating alone, and of standing her brother Horace's picture opposite, for companionship."

That, to her strong love of home, was added a true genius for home-making, the cheery, home-y atmosphere of her own little sanctum, wherever her tent was pitched, gave evidence; while her lady-like ways, her punctiliousness in regard to the proprieties of life, and the keen wit and delightful humor flashing out in the most unexpected times and places, made her ever a most welcome and enjoyable guest. Not the least of her daily sacrifices must have been the frequent necessity of fitting herself to some uncongenial domestic circle, or sitting apart, lonely but never forlorn, among her books, pictures, and memories.

Dr. Vincent, in the lecture from which my title is quoted, pays this charming tribute to true womanhood, wherever found:

"Not all women are to be wives or mothers. And yet these childless women are often the best of mothers, — mothers to other people's children, mothers to mothers who, themselves, have need of mothers. And this mother-spirit in a woman, whether she be single or married, is her glory; the mother-spirit which delights in home-life, the care of children, in the blessed ministry of the nursery, in the æsthetic devices by which home, from attic to cellar, is made a place of neatness and beauty, and in the intellectual and spititual life of the parlor, by which all breadth and purity and effectiveness are promoted. I honor old maids. I know one, her step was quiet; her voice was low and sweet, the light of her beautiful blue eyes was like the light of heaven, and the wrinkles in her dear old face were lines of beauty."

[ocr errors]

A truer pen-portrait of our friend, Miss Mann, could not be drawn. Always caring for others, she had a great dread of being in any way a care or burden herself. On one occasion, while still able to visit her friends, but so feeble they feared to have her go about by herself, assistance being offered down a flight of steps, she laughingly remarked: "Everybody is in league to make me out a helpless old body. To prove the contrary, I insisted upon walking out alone, last week. To be sure, I fell down, but I had a perfect right to." Which remark was the strongest one savoring of "woman's rights," the writer ever heard her utter. True, she had her own staunch opinions, and throughout her fourscore years and ten, was interested in, and kept herself thoroughly acquainted with the leading questions of the day. And her rights" were inherent, world-wide, God-given. But the only larger privilege she coveted, was the making of still more happiness for others, shown in a characteristic remark often repeated: "If I had such an one's money, I would make the desert blossom as the rose."


In the pleasant home, where she was made welcome and most tenderly cared for, during her last years, she passed her ninetieth birthday, the body gradually weakening, but her mind clear, and strong, and youthful as ever, till the long-looked-for release was granted, and, "awaking in His likeness," after which she had striven so faithfully, she was "satisfied."

The last time it was the writer's privilege to visit her, on retiring for the night, a plain vase, holding apparently a few green leaves, attracted a mere passing glance. But what a vision of loveliness greeted our waking eyes! A shimmer of pale pink, deep blue, purple, rose-color and white, each unfolding blossom. reflecting the morning glory without, one of the dainty surprises she was constantly planning for those she loved.

Typical was it of her own life. Unnoticed, hidden away in humblest walks and lowliest service, as were the buds in plain green leaves, but gathered in due time by the Master, to blossom into the grand, sweet, heavenly glory of an eternal morning.

Dear fellow teacher, does the daily task seem common, trivial, and insignificant? the ruts of dull routine too often narrowing into the single pathway of loveless, life-long duty? Remember: out of this solitary by-path, may lead myriads of other paths, through which your influence, like hers, shall make the world gladder, stronger, purer; and, more blessed still, the end of each be "an entrance ministered . . . . abundantly into the everlasting kingdom" the joy and glory and crown "of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ."




HERE is so much activity of thought and examination of edu cational issues today that one must have a hundred pairs of eyes to see it all, and one must be a modern Briareus to clip all the items caught by printers' ink. It would be enough to occupy one's hope and attention to study a single movement, that in Germany looking to the higher education of women there. It is a little stir to give the privileges and ennobling of larger educational opportunities where there has been a comparative dearth of them for women, except in the case of specially favored ones, few in number.

An association for the purpose of securing advanced education for women was founded, just where it ought to have had its origin, at Weimar,. in 1888. The ladies of the association forwarded to the Ministers of Education of Bavaria, Wurtemburg, and Prussia a petition asking for the admission of women to the universities in these parts of the empire, urging the privilege of following certain scientific courses. Their argument was that women should be more extensively employed in teaching girls, especially in teaching ethical subjects and those forming character, and that the government should provide schools where women might receive training adequate to these demands. They argued further, that

schools for girls were organized on the wrong principle, and that they should aim to train all the faculties of girls, to produce womanhood of the highest and complete type, just as the present system of education for men aims to produce manhood of the ideal kind.

The paper frankly admitted that women of the kind desired do not grow on every wayside bush, but that they must be trained and thus provided. The petition was marked by a wise conservatism that neither asked nor favored the admission of women to the universities, but pleaded for the erection of public colleges similar to those for women in England, viz., Girton and Newnham. The memorial further showed that women are mentally and physically equal to the severe course of study asked for them, and that they will gain in womanliness by having such a course.

After eight months, Minister von Gossler replied that the evils had been exaggerated, that women were already extensively employed as teachers, and that the best positions were open to those who would qualify themselves for them; that the government was already making generous provision for the training of women in the seminaries attached to girls' schools.

The idea that women should teach religion was preposterous in that it seemed to deny, the usefulness of the confirmation instruction, which, as now given by men, is a "most blessed institution."

The separation of the women who went to college would end in their estrangement from family life. Finally - and the finally is a little idiomatic when logically considered many poor but respectable young women, now finding employment suited to their abilities in the girls' schools, would be unable to pay the expense of the proposed course, and would be thus driven out of the business of teaching.

The petition has accomplished nothing directly. As soon as the attitude of the ministry was known the document was pigeonholed by the Prussian House of Representatives. The indirect benefit, however, can hardly be estimated. The public press has taken up the cause and is eagerly discussing it pro and con. Influential leaders of public opinion are airing the arguments of the petitioners and are emphasizing them to the people. The weakness of Minister von Gossler's argument has furnished the target for so many arrows of wit that the air is full of their whir

and whiz. The conscience of the Prussian government is so pricked by this that it has lately sent an envoy to England to inquire into the methods and workings of the English colleges for


Moreover, a higher course of instruction for women who are to teach has been established in connection with the Victoria Lyceum at Berlin. The ideal and method of this course are essentially the same as those of the universities, and it is thought that the Lyceum will develop into a university for women. The courses are to be systematic and obligatory, to extend over three years, to combine lectures with seminary work, and to terminate. in a state examination with a diploma for those who pass,

Another movement is the Realkurse für Frauen, just inaugurated at Berlin, which aims to give women advanced instruction in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Political Economy, and German, the instruction being such as will make women more independent in their relations to modern life.

Parallel with all this is the decision of the Prussian ministry in regard to women teachers. In 1870 when men were scarce, because the war needed so many of them, women were tried as teachers. Now it is decreed that wherever a female teacher's place becomes vacant it cannot be filled by a man, as was proposed by a provincial government, but must be filled by a woman. This is an entering wedge in the matter of higher education, and every one is watching eagerly for the outcome.

The whole position is better understood when one realizes that the girls of Germany enter school at seven or eight years of age and are graduated at fifteen or sixteen. "The last years are devoted to a furious cramming process, and at nineteen their education is merely a reminiscence." The ambitious and talented young women are obliged to go abroad to study, because they have no opportunity at home.

After all the longing eyes that able and appreciative women have cast at the opportunities for learning in Germany, is it any wonder that movements like that of the Weimar Association are awaited with breathless interest? Germany does things so well and thoroughly that the imagination o'erleaps itself in picturing the final results of Germany's awakening to her obligations to women and to the state in this matter.

In France, as one has keenly noted, the greatest progress shown

« PreviousContinue »