It has been so from the first, though from the first she has been thwarted by the accidental superior strength of man. Whatever she has obtained has been by craft, and by the same coaxing which the sun uses to draw the blossoms out of the apple-trees. I am not surprised to learn that she has become tired of indulgences, and wants some of the original rights. We are just beginning to find out the extent to which she has been denied and subjected, and especially her condition among the primitive and barbarous races. I have never seen it in a platform of grievances, but it is true that among the Fijians she is not, unless a better civilization has wrought a change in her behalf, permitted to eat people, even her own sex, at the feasts of the men; the dainty enjoyed by the men being considered too good to be wasted on women. Is anything wanting to this picture of the degradation of woman? By a refinement of cruelty she receives no benefit whatever from the missionaries who are sent out by—what to her must seem a new name for Tantalus—the American Board.
I suppose the Young Lady expressed a nearly universal feeling in her regret at the breaking up of the winter-fireside company. Society needs a certain seclusion and the sense of security. Spring opens the doors and the windows, and the noise and unrest of the world are let in. Even a winter thaw begets a desire to travel, and summer brings longings innumerable, and disturbs the most tranquil souls. Nature is, in fact, a suggester of uneasiness, a promoter of pilgrimages and of excursions of the fancy which never come to any satisfactory haven. The summer in these latitudes is a campaign of sentiment and a season, for the most part, of restlessness and discontent. We grow now in hot-houses roses which, in form and color, are magnificent, and appear to be full of passion; yet one simple June rose of the open air has for the Young Lady, I doubt not, more sentiment and suggestion of love than a conservatory full of them in January. And this suggestion, leavened as it is with the inconstancy of nature, stimulated by the promises which are so often like the peach-blossom of the Judas-tree, unsatisfying by reason of its vague possibilities, differs so essentially from the more limited and attainable and home-like emotion born of quiet intercourse by the winter fireside, that I do not wonder the Young Lady feels as if some spell had been broken by the transition of her life from in-doors to out-doors. Her secret, if secret she has, which I do not at all know, is shared by the birds and the new leaves and the blossoms on the fruit trees. If we lived elsewhere, in that zone where the poets pretend always to dwell, we might be content, perhaps I should say drugged, by the sweet influences of an unchanging summer; but not living elsewhere, we can understand why the Young Lady probably now looks forward to the hearthstone as the most assured center of enduring attachment.