He, too, should learn to dance, swim, fence, and ride. His bounding vitality needs directing in wholesome channels. I have never understood the prejudice against dancing.
To me, it is a form of religious praise of the Creator of youth, health, vitality, and grace. I have always loved dancing, and the exercise, besides being eminently beneficial to the health and wonderfully conducive to grace is, to my thinking, highly moral in its effect. Its only danger lies in wrong associations, and these seem to threaten young people who are restricted from the enjoyment in their homes and among their rightful companions.
I cannot help thinking that Loie Fuller should have a niche in the hall of fame, among the “Immortals,” for having given the last century her exquisitely beautiful creations in dancing.
No woman has given us a great epic, or a great painting, or a great musical composition, but she has given us a great dance-poem, which is at the same time a painting and a song. Oh, you poor starved, blind soul, to be deprived of such beautiful spectacles. How I pity you, and how I pray you to give your children the privileges you have missed through a belittling idea of your Creator.
Do you fancy God would punish beautiful young Rebecca for dancing, any sooner than he would blight the willow-tree for waving its graceful arms to the tune the wind-harps play?
Come up out of the jungles of ignorance and bigotry, my dear cousin, and live on the hilltops and bring your children with you. For there you will all find yourself nearer to God and to humanity.
To Mrs. Charles McAllister
Formerly Miss Winifred Clayborne
I am glad that for once you have written and asked my advice before you began your course of action.
You wrote me after you entered Vassar and asked me what I thought of your doing so.
You wrote me after you married Doctor McAllister, and asked me what I thought of that. My reply was a wedding gift and a telegram of good wishes. Now, after three years of married life, you write again and ask me to decide a question which has caused some discussion between you and the doctor.
“He did not take my view of the matter at first,” you say, “but he does now. Still, I feel that I would like another unprejudiced opinion before I take the contemplated step. You knew I left college before finishing my course. I was in love and the doctor urged me not to make him wait another year. He said I knew enough to make him happy, and so I consented.”
Then you proceed to tell me that you have never regretted this step, and that you have the best husband in the world. But you have decided musical gifts, and before meeting the doctor you intended going abroad to cultivate them after you finished at Vassar. This old ambition has taken hold of you again, and you want to join a friend, one of your classmates, who sails in June to study art in Europe. You desire to take a two or three years’ course, and then you will be equipped with an accomplishment which could be made a profession if necessity demanded.