Ideal Women Essay

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IDEAL WOMEN It is often objected against fault-finders, writers or others, that they destroy but do not build up; that while industriously blaming errors they take good care not to praise the counteracting virtues; that in their zeal against the vermin of which they are seeking to sweep the house clean they forget the nobler creatures which do the good work of keeping things sweet and wholesome. But it is impossible to be continually introducing the saving clause, 'all are not so bad as these.' The seven thousand righteous who have not bowed the knee to Baal are understood to exist in all communities; and, vicious as any special section may be, there must always be the hidden salt and savour of the virtuous to keep the whole from falling into utter corruption. This is specially true of modern women. Certainly some of them are as unsatisfactory as any of their kind who have ever appeared on earth before; but it would be very queer logic to infer therefore that all are bad alike, and that our modern womanhood is as ill off as the Cities of the Plain, which could not be saved for want of the ten just men to save them. Happily, we have noble women among us yet; women who believe in something besides pleasure, and who do their work faithfully, wherever it may lie; women who can and do sacrifice themselves for love and duty, and who do not think they were sent into the world simply to run one mad life-long race for wealth, for dissipation, for distinction. But the life of such women is essentially in retirement; and though the lesson they teach is beautiful, yet its influence is necessarily confined, because of the narrow sphere of the teacher. When public occasions for devotedness occur, we in some sort measure the extent to which the self-sacrifice of women can be carried; but in general their noblest virtues come out only in the quiet sacredness of home, and the

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