The Parson. You’ll see how far you can lift yourself up by your boot-straps.
Herbert. I wonder what influence on the quality (I say nothing of quantity) of news the coming of women into the reporter’s and editor’s work will have.
Our next door. There are the baby-shows; they make cheerful reading.
The mistress. All of them got up by speculating men, who impose upon the vanity of weak women.
Herbert. I think women reporters are more given to personal details and gossip than the men. When I read the Washington correspondence I am proud of my country, to see how many Apollo Belvederes, Adonises, how much marble brow and piercing eye and hyacinthine locks, we have in the two houses of Congress.
The young lady. That’s simply because women understand the personal weakness of men; they have a long score of personal flattery to pay off too.
Mandeville. I think women will bring in elements of brightness, picturesqueness, and purity very much needed. Women have a power of investing simple ordinary things with a charm; men are bungling narrators compared with them.
The Parson. The mistake they make is in trying to write, and especially to “stump-speak,” like men; next to an effeminate man there is nothing so disagreeable as a mannish woman.
Herbert. I heard one once address a legislative committee. The knowing air, the familiar, jocular, smart manner, the nodding and winking innuendoes, supposed to be those of a man “up to snuff,” and au fait in political wiles, were inexpressibly comical. And yet the exhibition was pathetic, for it had the suggestive vulgarity of a woman in man’s clothes. The imitation is always a dreary failure.
The mistress. Such women are the rare exceptions. I am ready to defend my sex; but I won’t attempt to defend both sexes in one.
The fire-tender. I have great hope that women will bring into the newspaper an elevating influence; the common and sweet life of society is much better fitted to entertain and instruct us than the exceptional and extravagant. I confess (saving the Mistress’s presence) that the evening talk over the dessert at dinner is much more entertaining and piquant than the morning paper, and often as important.
The mistress. I think the subject had better be changed.
Mandeville. The person, not the subject. There is no entertainment so full of quiet pleasure as the hearing a lady of cultivation and refinement relate her day’s experience in her daily rounds of calls, charitable visits, shopping, errands of relief and condolence. The evening budget is better than the finance minister’s.
Our next door. That’s even so. My wife will pick up more news in six hours than I can get in a week, and I’m fond of news.