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“Do you not hear them, Brother Glles?” Listening with sidelong head he smiles. "Giles, do you hear the novices, That are the Lord's bees and my bees?
* “ Brumby': the Australian name for a wild borse.
HAVE WE THE GRIT OF OUR FOREFATHERS?
This is a question that all who love parents and of her husband, and that their country should ask themselves, in ber conduct she should consider the for upon the answer depends not only interests of the State. She was taught the existence of the Empire, but also that her first duty in life was to marry, the very continuance of the British and produce children who should carry race as one of the dominant peoples of on worthily the traditions of the famthe world.
il; and of the race to which she beThe writer of this article, whilst lougec Whilst unmarried she was recognizing that the “grit” of our fore- trained in the virtues of obedience, refathers (to use an expressive and well spect for authority, endurance, and diliunderstood, though perhaps not strictly gence in the prosecution of all houseclassical, word) is to be found in its hold and domestic duties. She was full strength and vigor amongst large expected to prepare herself for the marnumbers of our people, doubts whether ried state. When married, honor deit permeates the entire mass of the manded that she should face the obpopulation in anything like the propor- ligations of the marriage tie and the tion it did, say, a hundred years ago. sufferings and dangers of childbirth (ten The writer understands by the word times greater in her days than in ours) "grit" that virile spirit which makes with as much coolness and courage as light of pain and physical discomfort, was expected of the man on the field and rejoices in the consciousness of of battle or in the presence of deadly victory over adverse circumstances, peril. and which regards the performance of Society was merciless to those of duty, however difficult and distasteful, either sex who failed in the exhibition as one of the supreme virtues of all of courage in the face of their respectrue men and women. Having ex- tive duties. pressed this doubt, he will endeavor What is the attitude of some of the to justify it by pointing out some of the women of to-day towards these special signs which appear to him indicative (luties and obligations of their sex? of a decadent spirit and of a lack of Is it not a fact that amongst the richer virility amongst portions of all classes classes, at all events, some girls decline of the community.
to marry unless their suitors are in a Let us give in this matter, as is right, position to supply them with luxuries due precedence to the ladies.
unheard of by their mothers? And The deeds of former generations of have we not heard of girls marrying British men and women, patent to all a man for his money, or his position, who read history, render it unneces- and then refusing to live with him?sary to argue the possession by our an- an act of cold blooded treachery and cestors of this virile spirit.
of heartless cruelty, which society Do our women of the present day should punish by a stern ostracism of carry on the noble traditions of their the offender. forerunners in this respect? The word We know that the birth-rate is di“duty” was as sacred to our grand- minishing year by year. Does not mothers as it was to our grandfathers. this mean that women are showing the
Duty demanded of a woman in for- white feather, and are shirking one of mer days that she should subordinate the principal duties of their sex? Again, her own inclinations to those of her are the present generation of mothers
to be found as often in the nursery even amongst a certain class of these and in the schoolroom as their ances- there is a tendency to shirk any training tors? I think not. The general com- which entails long and concentrated efplaint is that amongst the richer moth. fort, and a happy-go-lucky impression ers the children are more and more be
prevails in some minds that general ing left to the care of governesses and adaptability and native wit will enable nurses. The desire for pleasure and them to seize the chances of life and for personal ease seems to have taken steer themselves into a haven of comfirm hold of the minds of many well-to- parative prosperity. The instability do women, and to have driven out the of much women's work, and the conmaternal instincts. I do not say that stant creation, through the whims of the women of to-day are altogether fashion and other causes, of new occulacking in physical or moral courage. pations, tend to develop a habit of To gratify her ambitions in the world lightly disregarding the performance of of sport, or of society, the modern monotonous duties; while the demands woman not infrequently displays a fine made by class custom upon many proquality of endurance and great tenacity fessional women for extravagant dressof purpose.
The question is, Do the ing, and for the acquisition of the latmajority of the women of our nation est social accomplishment, create exercise these same virtues of self-con- love of luxury, of excitement, and of trol and discipline in the performance constant change, that seriously miliof daily duties, both great and small? tates against the development of the
The middle-class woman apes her more stable traits of character. fashionable sister. In former days Let us descend again in the female the wife of the professional man took social world. an active, personal, intelligent part in Has not the modern domestic caught the management of her home. She the fever of an easy life and of equalwas to be found in the kitchen, as well ity of condition? Is she to-day as soas in the nursery; she was careful of licitious of her employer's interest, as her husband's money, and did not at- hardworking, as skilled in her profestempt to vie with her social superiors. sion, and as proud of it as the servant Now all this is altered. She must run of former days? in the same race as her fashionable sis- Without being a pessimist I fear the ter, with perhaps only a tenth part of answer to these questions cannot be the latter's income, to the financial ruin truthfully given in the affirmative. of her hsuband and of his professional If there be some grain of truth in prospects. Not infrequently the hus- what I have said, is there not reason band also, imbued with the theory to inquire why the women of to-day that "nothing succeeds like success," take a less serious view of their duties urges her to keep up the level of so- than did those of former generations? called smartness and style, in order to Let us now consider briefly the case maintain the impression of his profes- of the men, and the attitude assumed sional prosperity, and because he too by them in regard to duty. Do they enjoys the luxuries of good living, possess the same measure of “grit" as costly dressing, and frequent social their forefathers? pleasures.
The writer desires to make no sweepThe ever-increasing body of profes- ing generalizations. He proudly acsional and of working women is per- knowledges the splendid qualities of haps less exposed to the dangers engen- courage and of endurance displayed dered by easy and sheltered living, but within recent years by large numbers of Britons, both in peace and in war. of amateur training, or to take the Ile fully recognizes the heroic deeds of rough and tumble of the game itself. our soldiers, of our sailors, in action, The writer is fully aware that large and of our civilians in times of acci- numbers of men are laboring steadily dent and of peril to life; nevertheless, and honestly in their respective he would ask whether it is not a fact spheres for small and often most inadethat surrenders to the enemy without quate pittances without grumbling, serious loss of life took place during content as long as they can worthily the Boer war more frequently than it is perform the tasks which duty demands agreeable to the patriot to hear about? of them; but is this the usual attitude In previous wars, when surrenders oc- of men towards the work of their lives? curred, they were almost invariably in and do our men compare favorably in accordance with superior orders and this respect with those of some other after such serious loss of life as showed nations, such as the German and the that ultimate success was a practicable Scandinavian? impossibility. But in the Boer war The average Englishman is often too some British soldiers are reported to phlegmatic and heavy of brain to forehave thrown down their arms without cast the future with any detail. He is orders, and this on more than one oc- content to trust to inherited instincts casion; and it is even said that a great of pluck and resource to pull him surrender took place owing to a junior through all difficulties and adverse cirofficer having raised the white flag cumstances. He forgets that these without instructions. I do not like same instincts of pluck and of resource to dwell on this subject, as it may seem were only developed in our forefathers to cast a slur-which is the last thing by the hard and strenuous conditions I should desire to do-on an Army of their daily lives, conditions which which I firmly believe to be still the enforced the continual, not the occaequal in courage of any in the world. sional, use of these qualities.
Let is turn to the civil side of life. The national and individual successes It may be argued that our supremacy
of former times, of which we are so in the Olympic Games is sufficient proud to-day, were won by the unrelaxproof of the healthy condition of our ing “grip” which our ancestors, as a national qualities of pluck and endur- rule, kept on themselves in the performance. I do not regard this as suffi- ance of duty; and this was combined cient proof. The excellent results with an ever-watchful outlook on the achieved by a few selected experts, future, and a foresight which was who are subjected to long and severe largely the result of the stern discipline training, is no guarantee that there of the day, which never failed to visit is a high standard of physical efficiency with instant and condign punishment and of courage among the people as a any dereliction of duty, or even innowhole. Even in this realm of sport, cent failure in the execution of superior dear as it is to the heart of the nation, orders. We are justly proud of the tbere is an increasng tendency, among
victories of Nelson, but how many of both rich and poor, to enjoy it as a us know or realize that he was conspectacle rather than to take an active stantly and untiringly, in all spare part in it, and there are large numbers hours, preparing himself and his capof men who are far readier to criticize tains for every possible contingency of the "form" of some notable footballer naval warfare? The battle of the Nile or cricketer than they are to submit was mentally won before ever it took themselves to even the mild severities place. yet most Englishmen attribute it to the brilliant genius of the moment. is for an individual master. Hence Pluck and quick-wittedness are invalu- the feeling arises that it is sufficient able national assets, but they cannot if just enough attention be given to be maintained without frequent daily business to prevent the possibility of use, much less can they be retained dismissal, and that nothing more can at that high level of perfection at be demanded. Surely this is a deplorawhich we are wont to estimate them ble attitude of mind, and one far reif their use be relegated solely to the moved from the mental "grit” of our emergencies of life.
forefathers, and incompatible with The German works longer hours, their stern regard for duty. Whilst takes fewer holidays, and often spends other nations commence work at five his leisure in perfecting himself in his and six o'clock in the morning, and business, with the result that he is cut- even earlier in summer, in the West ting out our men in many spheres of End of London no business can be life. Whilst the young Englishman's transacted before nine or ten in the head is filled with thoughts of sport, morning. So engrained are our idle and that far too often from the point habits that, hopeless of being able to of view of the spectator rather than of induce the present generation to a participant, the German is gaining change its hours, Parliament bas, knowledge which will avail to advance through one of its Committees, aphim in his profession. The waste proved of a Bill to legalize the alteraplaces of the earth used formerly to tion of the clock on certain dates, so as be colonized by the Briton; now he to induce people to rise earlier than finds the labor of subduing nature too they are accustomed to do by making severe for his enfeebled energies, and them believe that the hour is later than settles in the towns, leaving the health- it really is. Can anything show more giving tillage of the virgin soil of new clearly than does the discussion of such countries to the hardier races, whose a Bill how idleness has eaten into the minds and muscles have been strength- bone of some portions of our people; ened by discipline and who recognize for, of course, if of our own free will the nobility attached to strenuous labor. we chose to rise earlier in the morning,
Labor in the present day is a thing no legislation would be necessary. to be avoided-not to be proud of. It No other nation maintains an army is a disagreeable necessity, which must of paupers out of the enforced taxabe made as short and as easy as possi- tion of the industrious. No other State ble, compatible with the earning of the provides hotel accommodation gratis daily bread-and-butter.
for those of its citizens who dislike The substitution of the limited com- work and prefer to roam from workpany for the old-fashioned private busi- house to work house and enjoy, at the ness tends to make men less conscien- expense of their hard-working neightious in regard to the service they give bors, the delights of the country in to their firm of employers.
The man- the summer. With such facilities for aging director of a company is not so idleness it is not astonishing that Great severe a taskmaster as the head of a Britain can show a larger number of private firm-he has not so much at idle men living on the industry of othstake, either financially or in the mat- ers than any other country in the world. ter of commercial reputation; and These men claim to be unemployed, neither is there the same incentive to but, as John Burns is reputed to have work hard for the benefit of an im- said-and he ought to know—“their one personal body of shareholders as there prayer on rising, if they ever pray, is