ART. V.—WOMAN IN INDIA: HER INFLUENCE AND POSITION,
UR present subject is not that of the Indian native lady. Her hapless case, in all its pathetic helplessness, has not failed in securing eloquent pens to paint its disabilities ; and noble lives, inspired by unselfish devotion, are spent in seeking its amelioration. But though that on which we are - about to dwell, touches ourselves more nearly, it yet bears more closely, than may at first sight appear, on a subject that is deservedly attracting, from the highest to the lowest circles, much sympathetic interest in our land. While the native lady, immured from infancy to age, within the bare and silent walls of those castles of ignorance and listlessness, they call their homes, calls for our compassion; is there, we would ask, no touch of pathos, no appeal to sympathy in the position of the Englishwomanin India? No need ofa friendly voice to plead with and for her? No call to reflect as to her actual condition ? as to the influences of the new mode of life to which she is subjected on her mind and character, as well as upon the influence she herself-is having on the destinies of that great Empire, over which her husbands, brothers, or fathers in va- rious Capacities, are exerting a certain sway ?
The days are long past, when in units or by twos and threes; English ladies landed on these shores, braving the dangers of the sea and risks of climate ; to be eagerly ap- propriated by the lucky-favored few, out of a host of as- pirants to their hands: and who reigned henceforth the petted and adored queens of the little circles they adorned. They now come in scores; and as facilities for travel in- crease, means of communication multiply, and our picked men elect India as the scene of their career, so must their wives, daughters and sisters follow in larger numbers, Year by year, the eastward emigration is increasing. English mothers are sending forth their sons and their daughters, and while steam and wire do their work of unification, are not India and England being yet more firmly welded into one Empire by the unseen yet indestructible threads that unite millions of loviag_hearts across the seas ?
Must not, then, such questions as these become both nation- ally and individually of ever-increasing importance. What is the influence of Indian life and surroundings on England’s
348 Woman in India:
daughters? Do the circumstances of their Indian homes tend to the development of that which is noblest and best in them? Are their lives, as a whole, on a higher or a lower level than those of their sisters at home? Does their wider knowledge of the world, their opportunities of travel and observation, tend to their intellectual advancement? Are their lives telling for good or for evil on the people among whom their lot is cast, and between whose women-kind and themselves so great a oulf i is fixed ?
Surely these are questions that must be issuing in differing words from hundreds of mothers’ hearts who have seen their young daughters, their faces to the East, leave fearlessly the shelter of their happy English homes, to share for weal or woe, the fate of bridegroom or brother, as well as from those of others who through long years of separation have antici- pated, with mingled feelings of hope and dread, their daughter’s adolescence, and their consequent return to the land that gave them birth, and to the risks and chances of Indian life !
English ladies in India may generally be classed under three several heads :—
ist—Those who might par excellence be termed Anglo-In- dians. Whose parents, and it may be grand-parents, were In- dian officials; whose antecedents, early associations and future naturally are linked to Indian life, and whose en- forced residence in England for educational purposes has been 1egarded as a parenthesis in their existence.
2zndly.—Ladies who come to India at a maturer age, with habits and character formed, and tastes developed.
3rdly—Those who first come to India as young brides, but who have had no previous Indian associations.
Let us picture to ourselves the case of the young girl, who, at a tender age, was deported to England for education, and whose bringing up has remained in the hands of relatives or others to whom she was entrusted by her parents.
What to the young and clinging heart of childhood must have been the agony of that moment, when either on the plat- form of a railway station or on the deck of one of our great steam vessels, she felt for the last time the clasp of a mother’s arms and the impress of a father’s kiss ? But years pass quickly ; and impressions on the waxen tablets of childhood’s memory rapidly succeed and obliterate each other. ; Fainter and fainter become the memories of a distant home: and with home, of the parents with whomt her life in it was passed.
True, at greater and lesser intervals, these parents will have appeared upon the scene, and taken a brief part in her exis- tence. But by the time the estrangement of forgetfulness was beginning to melt into use and fellowship, the furlough
Fler tnfluence and Position. 349
has expired, and the bond with difficulty woven, ‘has ‘been ruth- lessly snapped asunder. Youth is impatient of suffering. Only the very small minority among the young happily, are capable of long retention of useless regrets. Those who most con- stantly and actively are occupied with a child’s comfort and well-being, will naturally, to a certain extent, supersede in its memory the parents, whom it sees but rarely. Thus the saddest, yet inevitable result of Indian life, is the loosen- ing of the sacred family bond. It is the fashion now-a-days to talk of the luxurious lives of Indian officials. Has it ever occurred to those who thus indulge in such cheap and cruel reflections on some of Her Majesty’s most conscientious and laborious subjects, at what an expense to them the work of the yvreat Empire of India is carried on? It is said, and said truly, that the Englishman is pre-eminent among the nations of the earth for his love of ome!’ Let it be remembered, theu,. that. it is at the sacrifice of his ome-life that the En- glishman in India earns his, by no means, immoderate and ever-decreasing income.
To the child, fortunate in her care-takers, however, the filial sentiment will often go far to supply the impulse withdrawn by the absence of her parents, and this sentiment may be- come a powerful factor in the formation of her character. As time and distance obliterate their actual memory, so will their fancied image gain in charm and beauty. Should there be no adverse influeiitte at work, each one’s ideal of her own parents will be that which, in her estimation, combines all that is most perfect in man or woman.
The mere memory of a dead mother, as in the case of Cowper, will influence. more powerfully the character of one man than the actual presence and existence of his own, that of another. Ideality in the case of the former, be his imagin- ation and sentiment ever so strong, runs no risk of rude com- parison with fact. Not so with the Indian girl separated for long years from her parents. As advancing time brings the hour of reunion nearer, the ardent temperament of youth will constantly add in glowing tints, new touches to the original picture. And the moment of meeting will be rehearsed with an. intensity of effect known only to the roseate atmos- phere of a young girl’s affection.
The other evil to which the inevitable separation exposes both parent and child, is that of zadzfference. Endowed with less imagination and consequently more at the mercy of her immediate surroundings, another girl will attach herself more easily to those with whose kindness she is in daily contact. As the time approaches for her rejoining her parents, her anticipa- tions will perhaps largely partake of the nature of presentiment.
— PT AR TON AION SOM ;
35O Woman in India:
Not without distrust can she view a life, in itself unknown, which is to be passed with beings, who, although the authors of her existence, are in all essentials strangers, and for all she can know, may prove unsympathetic.
Crucial tests these of the strength of natural ties. The results in either direction are not difficult to foresee. In the first place, the parents must be brought face to face with that preconceived ideal, and the happiness of the family will greatly depend on the result of the ordeal. They either stand or fall. If the latter, great will be the fall, and the influence on the young life for which they are responsible, disastrous. Like a boat loosed from its moorings, her mind and conscience will be tossed and battered about, between duty to her parents and that higher moral standard, which the whole course of her training may have helped to build up. Their faults and failings to which daily use would have blunted her perceptions, will be painfully obvious should she have been religiously brought up; any defect in reverence of faith, will comeas a terrible shock. ° If she has learnt to look upon life as the battle ground for good against evil, and vanity, frivolity, idleness have hitherto been regarded as baneful vices, what must be her reflexions, if from the day her outfit became an all-absorbing question, she finds the duties of the toilet erected into a religion ; and arrayed in garments of a variety and richness to which she has hitherto been a stranger, she finds that “ looking well,” is for the future to be one of the chief aims of her existence. If instead of that vie tntime to which she has taught herself, with infinite yearnings, to look forward, she finds her life mapped out in an endless cycle of engagements :—and dancing, theatricals, lawn-tennis, bad- minton, &c., and its all important pre-occupations,—what must be, we ask, the reflexions of a thoughtful girl ? and ere she can accommodate herself to an ephemeral existence such as this, what must be the revolution of which her own bosom is perhaps the only witness?
Bewildered, puzzled, hesitating, must we not, looking with painful anxiety on the mass of our countrywomen in India, picture her, as letting slip, one by one, her nobler impulses, the untested principles of a schoolgirl’s code, and as half unwillingly but surely, gliding down the current? Soon the waters of fashionable life will engulph her; anon she will be in their vortex, and if, in the evermore rarely recurring moments of quiet reflexion, she pauses to ask whither she is tending, must not her scruples be easily laid to rest if she find her father, her mother, her friends look on approving, if not even participating ? Must not her natural conclusion be, that her earlier impres- sions of life and duty, were a tradition of puritanism, and that to laugh, to dance, to sing, to beguile time, and to chase
Her Influence and Posttion. R51
dull cares, these are the true objects a woman has to seek,—the end and aim of her being ?
But underneath this seemingly gay surface, she will, by imper- ceptible degrees, discover a more serious underlying stratum. No one will perhaps hint it in words, but is not this sentiment in the very air she breaths? Reluctantly she discovers that the chief duty of girlhood is to secure a good match. Her friends and companions are passing one by one into bridehood, and the wisdom or the reverse of their choice is discussed with a reck- less freedom before her, that once she would have felt bordered on the indelicate. Verily, she will find that she, who in the matrimonial market doeth well to herself, will in India be well spoken of. Not the tender daughter, the loving sister, the studious modest girl will be the theme of station applause. If she, too, is not to be considered by all, parents included, a failure, must she not bethink herself of fulfilling their unex- pressed ambition, by securing an eligible parti? The. least sophisticated, cannot long mix in Indian society without early learning wherein success or failure lies for her, And the bloom and: sacredness from her sweet maidenhood seems brushed away, when she inadvertently hears herself referred to as one of a list of unsuccessful “ spzxs” who has not yet ‘gone off.”
Can we wonder if she takes the plunge and becomes, with the rest, the devotee of dissipation, and her modest, retiring manners: are exchanged for their reverse? Her ambition is now to bea skilful lawn-tennis player, a good dancer, a brilliant fabricator of chaff—chaff being the staple commodity of Indian conversation! She now chaffs with the best, and her admirers speak of her as “ awfully jolly.” - Probably, a season or two will land her in anew home. Her husband, engaged in his office for all the long hours of the sultry Indian day, time will soon begin to hang heavily on her hands. Confined by the necessities of the climate for its greater length within the four walls of her home, she will soon long for the freedom and excitement of scenes of amusement! She will recoup herself for the dreary hours of imprisonment by snatching all the liber- ty she can in those of emancipation. When the hot weather has laid its veto on station festivities, she will long to follow in fashion’s wake, and recommence its monotonous round upon the hills’ Her husband distressed to see her‘ mope,” and anxious for her health, will easily be persuaded, even if he does not originate the idea, that the plains do not suit his wife in the hot weather. In this way, the Indian husband shows great un- selfishness. Condemned-by the exigencies of the public service and of his private purse, to remain below in the melting heat, he resigns himself to six months of celibacy, and takes what consolation he can find out of life in his club, which alone
3452 Woman in India: /
offers him a resource against the intolerable loneliness of his home. A semi-estrangement, or at least indifference, springs up, Husband and wife have learnt to seek their pleasures apart. A “home” ifit can bear the name, whence the pre- siding genius of home,—the wife and mistress is absent half the year,—is at best a hollow pretence. The taking for” better and worse” has on one side become a broken compact, To take for the better, viz. the cool weather—to forsake for the worse, the hot—has become the order of the day.
Happy, if that were all. But is it possible that the detached better-half will content herself with a sad and solitary existence on the hills? Her work, her place in the social circle abandoned, is she not in terrible danger of seeking out consolations? Other idlers than herself will be on the hills also. What more alluring than the charm and excitement of flirtation without its possibilities and risks? Besides, can one see one’s friend’s wife ride and walk, unchaperoned, when one has nothing better, certainly not more agreeable todo
than accompany her ?
Is this the life an English mother would covet for her child ? Is this the ideal of the fresh young maiden whose errant thoughts, straying into the dim future, picture a life Of mutual sympathy and affection with that unknown one, to share whose lot and to bear whose burdens she will be ever ready. Could such a woman be brought face to face with her future as above depicted, and see her likeness there, and were some seer, as of old, to pronounce on her the sentence “ Thou art the woman,” might we not hear her indignant rejoinder as she disclaims it and asks: “ AmTla dog?”
There is the next, but less common type, vzz., the young lady of riper years and experience, who comes either married or perhaps single to cheer a brother’s lonely bungalow, and share the ups and downs of his career, She may at home have been a visitor of the poor, a Sunday-school teacher, or leader of a village choir. It has not occurred that such. pursuits may be all but impracticable in India. On the contrary, she rather comes seeking a wider sphere, a less beaten track for her energies. She is at the prime of her zeal, her enthusiasm, and her health.
The gradual chill of disappointment creeping into the heart of such an one, may beeasily divined. Obstacles of which she could have no previous conception spring up in her path at every turn. The climate, the difficulties of locomotion, the absence of that parochial machinery which offers to innumer- able ladies of active and philanthropic tendenci¢s in England, an easy and well worn path of usefulness, are wholly absent.
Fler Influence and Position. R53
Poor, there are none ; nor perhaps children to instruct. At least between her and the only poor she sees, the natives, a ulf is fixed, for they cannot understand her, nor she them.
She will then, perhaps, bethink herself of learning the language, but here again new difficulties await her. She applies to her male protector, expressing her desire for the ser- vices of a Moonshiora Pundit. To her surprise her apparent- ly reasonable request is far from favorably received. Many Englishmen have an insuperable objection to the ladies of their families having intercourse of any kind with natives: their plea is, that natives regard woman from so low a standpoint. It is quite possible that they do so regard the women of their own nation, whom their customs have systematically de- graded for centuries; but the revelation has possibly never been made to them, of what generations of religious and moral culture, has done for the ladies of the West. But it is un- deniable that this feeling, well grounded or otherwise, has proved a seriousimpedimemt in the way of numerous ladies intelligently studying native tongues. Thwarted in this direction she takes her Primer and commences to study alone. Her progress is slow and unsatisfactory: but she has been told that “ if bent on learning the language, which she had much better let alone, he himself, husband or brother, will help her.” Making the best of circumstances she struggles on, but soon discovers that, immersed from morning til! evening in business, he has little inclination for a “drill in language, or the meagre mental relaxation to be found in dictionaries and grammars during his few hours of repose.
Thus, by degrees, her abortive efforts are abandoned, and the key which might indeed have opened before her many closed doors of usefulness, is let slip from her hand. This type is too sensible, too cultivated, to subside into the mere votary of station dissipation. She reads, studies, and is often missing at the general rendezvous. Indian society is impatient of revolt from its dominion. To be well with her, you must let yourself be led captive at her will. On lawn-tennis nights .you must not be found wending your way in an opposite direction. It is expected of you that bat in hand you should converge to the general centre! On the night of a station ball, it is the height of churlishness if you prefer a quiet evening at home. At least, this sort of thing cannot be allowed to recur too often. Very soon, if refractory, you will find yourself con- fronted with the cold shoulder, and when you enter among your . compeers, you wil lat oncé- discover you are not au courant. Every body is discussing the last ball, the last theatricals, or the approaching tournament. You were not there ? You are not going to join 2?” C’est bien assez.”
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Ladies of a studious and thoughtful turn are not so rare in India as they have been, But they are still sufficiently so to find their social position far from happy. She, who is a reader or thinker, when she enters society, at a loss perhaps on the all-absorbing topic of the hour—the last tournament— or the coming Race week, has nevertheless her own contri- bution to bring to the general fund. But, alas! these other ladies neither read nor think. Their tongues are indeed ready with airy nothings: and in the society they frequent, such airy nothings are the staple commodity of conversation, The discussion of politics, social reforms, literature, _ still more religion is decidedly in “bad form.” There is, indeed, plenty of chaff, but of wheat and the heavier crops, butterflies in general have but a poor opinion! They savour too much of the market and the corn exchange when one has nothing to exchange.
The third class may be looked for among the many charm- ing girls whocome out as brides. They may belong even- tually to either of the preceding classes, but there is a certain difference in their way of looking at or accepting Indian life. Unlike the first they have no Indian ¢raditions : “ Bara Mem Sahib” and “Chota Mem Sahib” are still terms for them. without meaning. They have not found out that the dearly prized prerogative of the one isto patronize, and the first duty of the other is to obey! No early association has robbed the freshness of a new country and new surround- ings of their charm. Young love has not brushed the bloom from its petals, and her husband by her side, she gazes at the unknown with a tender interest, for this is the home of his adoption, and she too is ready to adopt it asher own. Not all at first does she awake to the monotony, the soullessness of the eternal round of society engagements. Early motherhood, per- haps, is in the near horizon, and the sanctity of bridehood, still throws its glamour around her. The youngest addition is herself a welcome ingredient, for she affords a fresh topic for discussion. The frailties of the Jones and Smiths are, alas! worn threadbare. All the rents and fissures in the domestic and social relationships of every one in the station, are com- mon property. Is Mrs. Primptemps Verts pretty, or can she be merely said to be good looking? Here, in itself,isa subject which will occupy several sittings ere each and every. lady will have aired her own, and refuted her neighbour's opinions. Who was she? Has she any money? Some think her very young, but another is nearly certain she is not as young as she seems. Some one has heard that she sings, another is equally sure she merely plays. . Buta third, better informed, knows positively she does neither.
_ Her Influence and Position. S55
Mts. Primptemps Verts will find herself very well received ! Each lady will be bent on being better informed than her neighbour as to her tastes and antecedents, when the station meets at the next lawn-tennis party, perhaps the awaken- ing may in her case be long in coming, but it will come at last. How different this life from that of her English home! How dearly her love is purchased! She clings passionately to husband and child, but the cloud of early separation darkens her sky. Soon it will be the choice between that husband and that child. She knows where her’s will fall, but she sees herself in the not distant future—a Rachel weeping for her children, uncomforted, because they are not, nor can be, where she is. She asks herself with deep heart-sinkings, how she will spend all the long sad days, when separated perforce by the necessities of his position from her husband, the walls and verandahs of her empty bungalow echoing no longer to the pattering feet and ringing laugh of her children, she will find herself alone.
Her heart involuntarily tells her the only salve to her sorrow would be a life of benevolent activity in the service of others, How many aching hearts have stilled their throbbings by ministering to those yet sadder than themselves. She will devote her life to useful or philanthropic pursuits. As one hails the flickering blaze of the lighthouse across a troubled sea, so does she welcome this glimmering hope. By living for others her own life may escape shipwreck. But how shall she accomplish her-desires?. If ina heart-crisis such as this, a woman turns for help to her male companion, ten to one she gets small comprehension, little sympathy, still less will he aid her. That imperative demand for work on which he makes his manhood’s boast, appears to him unreasonable, if not importunate, when coming from the other sex. His pride and his prerogative is to work for her, and beyond a little ladylike supervision of his domestic arrangements, the part he would assign to her in life is too generally that of an on- looker. Can we wonder that so many sink into a life of inanition, varied only by an occasional flare up into the intox- ication of pleasure, if this is the view taken by their protectors. A man will tell you that as long as he is hard at work the in- conveniencies, not to say the miseries of the climate sit on him comparatively lightly: but that the moment his attention and thoughts are unemployed, time becomes intolerably heavy. Why should we-suppose that the mere difference of sex should so completely alter the character and predilections of beings of otherwise the same race and traditions, that what is utter weariness to the one, should be a satisfying existence to the other? No: we do our countrywomen the justice to believe
356 Woman in India ;
that much of that apparent devotion to frivolity and amuse- ment that so painfully characterises their Indian existence, is the result of misdirected energy: they having found, too often, every other field for its exercise practically closed against them,
But then it is argued a woman’s sphere is in attending to her house-keeping and her children, Let it be distinctly under- stood that all our preceding remarks refer almost exclusively to the unmarried, the childless, and the married ladies whose children no longer call for their care. To her whose children still share her home and her maternal tenderness, we can hardly too strenuously insist on the sacredness of the trust of mother- hood, nor the absorbing nature of its claims A task more difficult, nor one requiring more unremitting self-devotion than that of rearing our Anglo-Indian children, does not exist. In India everything is against them. Delicate exotics, they languish and pine beneath these sultry skies, these scorching winds, this death-dealing sun. Hours of infancy, by nature ordained to be hours of joy and innocent delight, are here too often but one weary martyrdom of sickness and misery. If ever motherhood deserved the dignity of being recognised as a mission, requiring all the exclusiveness of enthusiasm and of self-devotion, it is in- India. Here is needed the vigilant eye to mark the earliest symptoms of disorder, as well as to ward off the pestilence that walketh in darkness, and the arrow that flieth by noonday. So great are her difficulties, so bright are the rewards of a faithful discharge of her duties, so disastrous are the results of neglect, that the English mother in India might well aspire to rank is a queen among mothers. For faith- fulness or neglect mean to her offspring the enjoyment or the forfeiture of what comes to them but once, and the memory of which will be the fairest heritage of age, a happy childhood. Who can have failed to mark the difference, perceptible at a glance, between the neat, trim, chubby English child in India, smiles on its lips and dimples in its cheek as it sits complaisant and content in its ayah’s arms or trots cheerily by her side, and the pale, listless infant, with flabby spotty skin, tasteless ill- fitting garments, eloquent of the skill of the native durzze, dragging its weary footsteps along the dusty roads. In the one you see the mother’s darling, in the other the offspring of the woman of fashion, who, dancing or acting by night and sleeping by day, finds full occupation for her few / industrial hours in refurbishing old costumes and concocting new ones, to meet the incessant demands of toilet consequént on her constant appearances in public. This sad and listless child, innocent victim of the violation of Nature’s laws, abandoned by its natural protectors to the tender mercies of ignorant and irresponsible native servants, will retain no reminiscences
Fler Influence and Position. 357
of its ‘early home, but of dreary recurrences of fever and of colds, of mosquito bites and of prickly-heat. As its mind ex- pands, its sufferings begetting fretfulness, it will revenge the neglect of its parent by acts of cruelty and. petty tyranny on its care-takers, and when eventually deported to England, will be but another example of that already much deprecated creature—the passionate, mischievous and ill-behaved Indian child.
We think that we have in nowise overrated the trials, the drawbacks, the difficulties that beset the path of the English- woman in India: In our next paper we hope to deal more fully with her influence and her responsibility. We will enter into the question whether her present position is the highest or the happiest to which she might reasonably aspire. We shall ask whether there are insuperable obstacles to her life rising to at least a level with the lives of our noblest and best at home. Among whom, in their pure and lofty lives, our Queen’s daughters shine conspicuous ; and in their active de- votion to works of mercy and benevolence, call on England’s daughters to be true to the traditions of their race, their ennobling faith, and the honour of the great nation whom they represent,
J. E. DAWSON.
SR er A Se STREP a
THE ENGLISHWOMAN IN INDIA: HER INFLUENCE AND RESPONSIBILITIES.
THERE are but few, we venture to think, of those assisting to carry on, in its various branches, the Government of this great country, who are not oppressed, if even only occasionally, by a sense of the magnitude of the undertaking, and who do not, in a greater or minor degree, recognise their own share in their country’s responsibilities. Recognised or not, these are in fact enormous. Collectively and individually the trust that has been reposed in us of shaping the destinies of India’s millions, is a tremendous one, nor need we doubt that a very large proportion of our civilians. and other officers are alive to the fact, and bring to the discharge of their work an energy and zealas well as earnestness of purpose, for which perhaps a parallel can scarcely be found in history, Compared with the conquering nations of the past, whether for the mildness of its administration, the purity of its intentions, and the equal justice that it seeks to deal to all classes as well as races, and to evéry creed alike, the rule of the English in India stands out on the page of history as a phenomenon that really appears unique. We are inclined sometimes to wonder in reading the criticisms of the native press, notably of the Bengalee Babu, on the Government to which he is entirely indebted for his very ability to write, by what previous train- ing he has sought to qualify himself to pronounce an opinion on so remarkable a problem. Has he acquainted himself with the histories of the great dynasties that have in turn over- shadowed and trodden inthe dust the nations of the earth? Is he familiar with Egyptian, Assyrian and Roman history? Has he enquired how the monuments they have left to posterity were erected? Has he marked the tracks of the conquerors of the ancient world, their ruthless indifference to human misery, and the waste of human life that ministered to their glory? These are the data from which his conclusions are to be drawn, and not from the ideas of liberty, borrowed at second hand, which the English have known how to win for them- selves by centuries of dogged perseverance and endurance. His comparisons must be drawn between the India of the past and of that of to-day, and of nations wearing a foreign yoke in past ages. It is sometimes laid to our charge as a reproach, that were we to leave India to-morrow no trace of our presence would remain aceutury hence. Rather let us take this asa
The Englishwoman tn India, &e. 359
high testimony to the disinterestedhess of our rule. Not great and useless monuments, wrung out of the groans and sweat of a down trodden people have we given India. But works of practical utility, such as roads, railroads, and canals, by which her internal resources may be developed, and the evils of drought and famine minimized as far as practicable. In addition we have secured to harrassed and distressed millions the inestimable blessings:of peace within their borders, and we think our Bengalee friend would be better employed in studying the past history of Hindoostan, and comparing it with the present, than in inditing wordy diatribes on subjects of which at present he appears to be profoundly ignorant.
While, however, the Indian official is honestly striving to further the objects of a philanthropic Government in benefiting its people, he must not fall into the error of imagining that itis only by his more public functions that he can exert a beneficent influence. Physical prosperity is, after all, but an item in human happiness: and it must be by its moral results that the success of our administration must’be judged. The Englishman in India is closely watched, and his character keenly canvassed, not alone in public, but in private life equally. It is by that silent atmosphere with which each man unconsciously surrounds himself, the tone of his ‘thought and life, the influence of his personality, that he will in reality mould, for good or evil, his Hindoo ‘ brother :’ and it is in failing to grasp the importance of this truth that our great danger lies. The value of truth and rectitude, of honour and honesty, we areall apt to recognise; but gentleness, kindness, con- sideration and sympathy, are graces we seem often in danger of underrating, and of seeing ourselves surpassed, at least in outward seeming, by our darker fellow subjects: these are, however, qualities the more carefnl cultivation of which would be fruitful in happy results in our intercourse with Hindoos of every grade, One cannot help observing, with more or less amusement or regret, that an era of imitation has set in: and this tendency, flattering as it may be considered, must. often engender in us the wish, that our imitators could mingle with their emulation of our customs, more discrimination as to. what is really admirable. ©
There are, however, points on which we think we are fairly entitled to claim indisputable superiority : and among these we place in distinct relief our domestic institutions. When we find on a great occasion that a picked élite of ten thousand of our countrymen and Women are moved to tears at the sympa- thetic rendering by one woman’s voice of the popular’ little song * Home, Sweet Home,” we must feel convinced that both the sentiment and the music appealed to one of. the strongest
360 The Englishwoman in India:
and most deep rooted of our national passions. Must not such a spectacle have offered a profound problem to foreign visitors—especially strangers from this country? We pride ourselves much, as Teutons, that to us alone belongs that sweet and magic word—“ Home—Heim!” Onno other race can it exert so potent a spell! Thus, looking out on our Hindoo friends, we draw a contrast wholly to our own advantage, Our highest sensibilities are shocked by the thought that two young lives should be irrevocably united long before they are, or can be, capable of appreciating the gravity of the event. We feei not only that thus manhood is robbed of one of its most sacred rights—the right of choice,—but we are painfully op- pressed by the sense of the possibility of happiness precluded, and of misery entailed, by such a custom ; and, in her enforced marriage being denied a voice in the disposal of her own hand, the fate of the little Hindoo bride appears to us pathetic. Again it is with something akin to horror that we shrink from the thought, that so large a proportion of our fellow subjects should be doomed, without a hearing, to the same fate, imprison- ment for life—which our laws reserve for our blackest crimi- nals: her only crime being the involuntary one of being born a woman! We cannot wonder at the perversion of maternal love, that leads so many to seek an outlet from’ their own hard lot for their innocent babes, and renders the crime of infanticide so awfully common as itis. In the same way all that is best in us awakes in indignant protest against the fate which inexorable custom, in its stern relentlessness, has decreed for the Indian widow.
That a being, perhaps, still in the artless innocence of child- hood,* or in the earliest bloom of maidenhood, or perhaps at the very moment when the hope of maternity is awakening for the first time her heart to rapture, should fall under this terrible blight, and be doomed to a lifelong penance more rigorous than that set up by the most bigotted of ascetics, thrills us with horror, Nor can we wonder at the eagerness with which the young and ardent widow embraced her only chance of escape from her misery, vzz., the brief but for her glorious agony of Suttee. We, ourselves, can only marvel that all that a beneficent and en- lightened Government has been able to do on her behalf, is to
Her Influence and Responsibilities. 361
close to her this, her sole door of hope, and leave her the help- less victim of a fate, than which none more harshly cruel has ever stained a nation’s annals, The Hindoo widow is as practi- cally beyond the reach of the law, as the Pariah dog of which, in her degradation, she is but the human antitype. Hunger, thirst and weariness are her lifelong companions. In sickness, as one under the bann of the gods, none will tend her: in health, she is the despised drudge. In the midst of the family, she lives alone, shunned and unpitied. When at last starvation, sickness, and sorrow have done their work, and she gathers up her poor shrivelled form to die on the cold stone floor, none will weep for her or lament!
These facts hem us in, their evidences confront us, on every side. Each time we drive abroad we are reminded of them. Those luxurious equipages that crowd our maidans or public promenades *are filled, we observe, with native gentlemen only. Yet we know that by Hindoo law they are each and all compelled to marry, many of them doubly and trebly! “ Where, then, we may well ask are their wives? , Where their daughters, their sisters? After the weary, stifling hours of a tropical summer’s day, have the swift drive in the cool evening air, the softened tints of sunset skies, the mingled perfumes from a thousand flowering shrubs, no charm for them? Is it the men only who appreciate these delights? To argue thus, would be to misapprehend completely the situation. In some cases, of these familiar things the secluded zenana lady can form no con- ception ; in others she retains only the faint impressions of in- fancy. From the hour of-her marriage she has been as dead to the world around, and the world to her, as ever nun within her cloistered cell !
Or, again, we pass some huge unwieldy conveyance. Not only are its doors and windows hermetically sealed, but it is entirely shrouded in a cotton pall. It is, indeed, but a hearse for the living. It is guarded jealously on every side, and the uninitiated might easily mistake it for a convoy of desperate criminals on their way to the gallows. It is however merely a native lady jour- neying from one of her husband’s residences to another. Of the scenes through which she is passing she is as completely ignorant as when immured in the seclusion of the zenana, and we must conclude that only centuries of habit could enable her, with her companions and attendants cooped up with her, to survive the deprivation of breathing space to which they are necessarily sub-
jected during the dangerous transit. But it may with reason be asked, what is the connection of all this with the immediate
_ “In this respect Bombay forms a noble exception to many other provinces in India, Parsee and Marrhata ladies, taking their full share in the plea- sures and recreations of society. :
a I ee
962 The Englishwoman tn India:
subject of this paper? We hope to be able to shew that it bears to it a very close relation. When we remember that it is among a people of whom these are a few of the accredited cus- toms, that our exotic homes are planted, may we not infer that the immense contrast between our respective social and domes- tic institutions must be one of the earliest reflections forced on the minds of our Hindoo friends, when admitted, as they now are, in numberless instances, toa sufficient degree of intimacy to afford them this opportunity. Can their amazement be inferior to our own, at the different position occupied by the ladies of our families, at their freedom from restraint, their culture, their education? And observing tothem so astonishing a phenome- non, may we not suppose that a very rigid comparison is likely to be set up between our respective systems. What if the future of India’s women is but waiting on the verdict given? What if the only advocate, on behalf of these silent millions, be the unsuspected influence of the lives and characters of their more privileged English sisters? The thoughtful reader can pursue to its legitimate conclusion this reflection : it would seem to throw around the lives of Anglo-Indian ladies a significance startling in its gravity. The levity of modern thought has substituted, for the good old fashioned phase, man’s helpmate, that of his “ better-half.” The idea thata wife was a fellow worker with her husband, taking up and sharing with him cheerfully the burdens of life, would appear to be somewhat exploded, the modern idea seeming to favour the supposition of her being but an elegant and somewhat costly appanage. We think woman occupied the more honorable and dignified position, when in good old Saxon and scriptural phrase, she regarded herself as indeed his Aelpmate. Nor shall we do her such in- justice as to doubt that a vast number cling to the ancient ideal. For their benefit we might then suggest the following inference. If husbands or Englishmen generally hold themselves deeply responsible for the good of India, can their wives or English- women possibly believe, that with them none of this _responsi- bility rests ? If the men are helping, or retarding by their in- fluence and example, India’s progress, must not woman be doing the like though perhaps within a narrower sphere? And if we are pursuaded that ourown moral standards and beliefs are as far in advance of Hindoo standards as our religion is in advance of Hinduism, is it not natural to suppose that the native, who knows little or nothing of either theoretically, will draw his own conclusions as to their value, from the interpreta- tions he reads in our lives. The Englishman and the English- woman alike, will wittingly or unwittingly, embody, to the native mind that standard of moral excellence which we owe to centuries of possession of the purest faith that has ever blessed mankind.
Her Iufluence and Responsibilities. 363
We believe there are still very many in high, as well as in less influential places, who would not willingly place stumbling blocks in the way of those, who, finding the beliefs of ages slipping from their grasp beneath the inexorable facts of positive knowledge, and yet appreciating the disastrous results to nations as to individuals of the loosening of all faith, and the drifting of society amid the wreck and chaos of all creeds, would naturally turn with an intelligent interest to. examine the claims of that religion which has been introduced among them by the nation which, along with her scriptures, has brought to them the blessings of justice and of peace. Yet such must surely be the result if the higher mandates of our reli- gion are practically discredited in our lives: and it is a danger to which our women as well as our men are exposed. Each Englishwoman, in her own Bungalow, is the centre of an influ- ence, and the cynosure of an argus-eyed criticism, even to her most insignificant acts, to which her English life offers no parallel. The smallest establishment will contain from ten to a dozen, the larger, from a dozen to twenty or thirty servants. With every one of these the MWém Sahib is more or less in contact, and the happiness and comfort of their lives depends largely on her supervision. From her they receive their orders, and very often their pay, and they recognise the link to the drveadgiver in a way that, to her, is sometimes, to say the least droll, and address her, not unfrequently, as at once “ their father and mother.” Can it be believed that it is not within her power, in the immediate circle of her own dependants, to do an infinity of good? When it is remembered that they are from infancy lapped in ignorance and prejudice; that of what we understand by moral training they have had none ; and what to them stands for religion is gross superstition ; surely here alone is scope for all her energies and faculties, Yet how many, we would sorrowfully ask, have recognised the trust Providence has placed in their hands? What is done by the English mistress to dispel the ignorance, combat the superstition, raise the moral tone, or replace by instruction in the tenets of a nobler faith, the degrading superstitions of her household ? To this reproach the usual reply is, “Oh! I do not know enough of the language to do more than just give my orders.” In saying this she furnishes indeed a reason, but one can scarcely say an excuse. The Hindee or Urdoo lan- guages offer absolutely no difficulties to the student that any lady of ordinary linguistic ability may not easily overcome. And were it once acknowledged or admitted that no lady can be a good mistress, evéft in the ordinary sense of the word, with- out a knowledge of the vernacular, we are convinced that not a few would, with the spirit and energy for which our country-
2 ———————— -_—
304 The Englishwoman in India:
women when aroused are so conspicuous, tackle a difficulty that a little perseverance on their part could so easily over- come. Almost all have spent years of study in acquiring European languages: yet to not a few the advantages of these acquisitions are purely theoretical. But to the lady in India, Hindoostanee is the language in which she is compelled to conduct her domestic affairs for the best part of her life. What is worth doing at all, is: worth doing well, is a wise if homely axiom, which with advantage might here be applied. If speaking the language bea necessity, why ‘not do it well, that is to say grammatically, idiomatically, but above all intelli- ibly ? Weare convinced our English ladies can have little idea of the distressing effect on the ear of that peculiar lingo with which they address their servants, and which may not inaptly be compared to the pigeon English of the Chinaman. Nor can this be matter of surprise since they will generally volunteer the information, that it has been acquired by the mysterious process of “picking up!” At the risk of. being tedious, we venture to quote another homely saying, that in this as in other things we fear there is no royal road to know- ledge, and that the more usual method of giving it a little study will unquestionably be productive of happier results!
We might, as an inducement to try the latter méthod, hold out to them the hope, that half their domestic difficulties will disappear with the process. Our Hindoo servants are certainly a little exasperating occasionally; but if only the fair ‘‘Cherisher of the poor” could know the precise nature of the order she issued, when honestly zutending something quite different, she would certainly be less surprised, and probably much less indignant, at the unexpected results! Rather, we might say, her indignation would be amusingly diverted. Our servants are not brutally indifferent to our displeasure, nor, as a rule, desirous of controveing us. We should not greatly err, if we conclude that when our orders are misinterpreted, a considerable margin was left for the imagination in the way they were given. It must be observed that very many mis- tresses in India indulge in a tone of irritation and command when addressing their native servants, that-would not be tolerated by our household servants at Home. The evil is to be deplored, though not inexcusable. The strain on nerve and temper of the climate is often intense, and when to this is super- added an apparently dogged obtuseness in taking in her orders, exasperation is apt to explode in a way that must cause much after humiliation and self reproach. The habit of giving full and clear instructions to servants on the nature and manner of the duties expected of them, which is impossible where the command of the language is defective, would do
much towards remedying this regrettable tendency and with the linguistic difficulties, the other impediments to a mild and gentle, yet firm régime, would be minimized if not altogether disappear.
Great scope for all that is most loveable and best in woman may be realized within her own compound. Her dominion is a conglomerate not of individuals as in England, but of families. Cases of sickness will arise where medicines, nourishing food, and a little sympathetic interest will go a long way to win confidence and gratitude. There will be quite a little tribe of children growing up around her, in whose education she may interest herself : and, if at all gifted in that way, by herself forming a little Verandah School, she may do much to mould the rising generation. The experiment has been tried with encouraging success of assembling the servants, so disposed, on Sundays for religious instruction. When it is fully under- stood that no privileges or disabilities are incurred by at- tendance or non-attendance, which should be entirely optional, it will be found that all creeds and castes will readily join in a simple service of prayer and song to a common Creator, and listen with great interest to Bible histories intelligibly rendered.
These simple suggestions, with others that will readily occur to each individual mind, will add a zest to domestic administration, and will tend to weld into one com- munity the servants of our families, giving to them and us a bond of kindly feeling and good will, that we are quite sure would go far to reconcile many an English lady in India to the unhomelike. surroundings of her domicile. She will feel the internal satisfaction that her life is not barren of practical benefit to those around her; and though still exposed to occasional disappointments, she will, by the course we have indicated, gradually attract and keep a superior class of attach- ed servants, who are far from indifferent to the consideration and the repose they meet with in a well ordered establishment.
The advantage of having acquired a good conversational knowledge of the language will be no less keenly realized by the lady, who desires to do, graciously and with dignity, the honours to her husband’s guests, who, thus received, will always appreciate the privilege of being admitted to intercourse with the female members of his family. What can be more melan- choly than the spectacle of an English lady in her own drawing- room unable to exchange ten consecutive ideas with natives of rank and distinction, and therefore reduced to silence or dumb show ? Her visitor,no less embarrassed than herself, can carry away no other impression than that the ideas of the Sahib’s better-half, notwithstanding her greater opportunities, are as circumscribed as those of his own in the zenana ; and in compar-
Her Influence and Responsibilities.
306 The Englishwoman in India:
ing the two, may be inclined to prefer the gracious complaisance of the latter, to what to him appears the distant and haughty reserve of the former. This is in fact the case. Very frequently have we heard the native nobles of our acquaintance remark— “ So-and-so is a very nice lady ; she is so kind in her inanner, and she understands our language. When we converse with her we are quite delighted, and come away improved and encourag- ed. Mrs. So-and-so is also very nice: but she cannot speak our language, and we feel ashamed and embarrassed. Some ladies also make us feel that they look down on us too much to enter into conversation with us.”
One more instance amongst many, where a knowledge of the language would be found of essential importance, we‘ will venture on suggesting. As the housesof the native gentry are more and more thrown open to the zenana. teacher, a great and increasing desire is evinced by their inmates to receive the visits of English ladies. Their eagerness is, in fact, sometimes touching. Itis as if the caged bird, who has never tried its wing, invited its feathered compeer to alight but for a few seconds on its narrow home, and reveal to it some of the secrets of the universe from personal contact with which it is for ever debarred. Itis to be, hoped that English ladies will widely respond to this desire. ‘Not only may they in this way give valuable help to those who have undertaken the arduous task of carrying, within the narrow compass of their homes, the light of knowledge, but they would encourage their pupils in their hardly less difficult one, of ascending the steep ladder of learning. To do this effectually, it is, however obvious, that a knowledge of their language is essential. The eagerness with which the Indian lady will ply with questions her English visitor, will in itself sufficiently demonstrate how unsatisfactory to both parties would: prove a visit passed in silence.
‘The few hints we have given will, it is hoped, fully suf- fice to shew that there is ample inducement to the earn- est minded to study and master the language of the country. It has been truly said, “our knowledge of men and things is in proportion to the number~ of languages we have acquired.” In India the principle holds equally good. Ignorance of the language means ignorance of the people, and ignorance of the people, if it be productive/of no positive harm, must at least render attempts at good abortive: but where knowledge and good will go hand in hand, the good within the scope of all cannot be overrated.
Female education at home is making prodigious strides: it may almost be said to be keeping pace with education in all its various branches, | It seems impossible, but- that sooner or
BE eG Saepeaates
Fler Influence and Responstbilities. 367 later .it must raise the tone of Indian society. It can hardly be, and it is to be devoutly hoped for, that men of so high a culture as our civilians and others, will long rest satisfied with companionship for life with those whose soul dwells in dress, lawn-tennis, or the waltz.* The importance attached to the first of these cannot fail to strike the thoughtful observer of its phenomena, any more than the variety and richness of the costumes. One would naturally conclude that the majority of Government officials were enormously wealthy, and that after all there was a wide foundation for the prevalent opinion, that their lives are passed in unbounded luxury. Yet,a closer inspection will often lead to the bewildering conclusion, that very often the costliness of a lady’s dress, is in inverse ratio to her husband’s income. It is not the darz but the chotz Mem Sahib who is most conspicuous for the magnificence of her attire, Failing to arrive at a satisfactory solution of the problem unaided, we referred ourselves to one of these Zztt/e ladies herself for an explanation, and herewith we furnish the reader, who may have shared our difficulties, with the result.
In a moment of confidence she was bewailing the precarious nature of her husband’s profession, and in the event of accident, the fact that “she and her babes would be left on the world to starve without a penny.”
We not unnaturally glanced somewhat increduously at her handsome costume of costly materials.
“Then why on earth are you dressing as youdo? The money you spend on-your fine-clothes would be better laid by to secure at least bread for yourself and your children.”
“Qh! You sée, everyone dresses so well, and one is looked down upon if one is not a swell as well asthe rest! But we are really dreadfully poor, and to tell the truth my dresses are not paid for, and I doubt much if ever they will be! We can barely make ends meet, and as a matter of fact, towards the end of the month I never have a rupee in the house, It is quite dreadful : you would hardly believe it !”
“ No, indeed, who would, seeing you dressed like this. But what do you do under these distressing circumstances ?”
“Oh! I borrow from my Ayah, if she happens to have any money left.” |
“ And if not?”
“Oh! then she pawns her jewellery, and when pay day comes round, 1 repay her with interest.”
308 The Englishwoman tn India:
What impressed us most in this revelation was the’ fact,’ that the finery necessary to keep up our friends self-respect in society was not paid for! If ladies in general were equally frank, we wonder if this would prove to be the missing link in the social problem ; and if so, what a train of reflections must follow in its wake ?
How many of the ladies of our society are mothers with little ones faraway. If the dresses necessary to feed their vanity are not paid for, where will the far heavier item of travelling expenses be found, which is essential to their restoration to their children? Is the consolation to be found in glorious apparel sufficient to outweigh their maternal instincts? And if their means are inadequate to meet their actual expenditure, how will they be made to fit the possible exigencies of a break down in health of the breadwinner, and many other disasters only less ominous, with which our Indian experience has render- ed us but too familiar? As with the depreciation of the rupee, the entire Anglo-Indian community find their incomes steadily decreasing, the duty of rigid economy will become an increas- ing necessity ; aud while every other item in domestic expen- diture is reduced within its narrowest limits, will that of her personal vanity be the only sacrifice that our Indian lady will refuse to undergo?
Extravagance in dress is telling very imperiously on the matrimonial market. Man, asa rule, is but very slightly im- pressed with magnificence of toilet, and his masculine mind, when it reflects on the subject at all, will be found to be draw- ing conclusions very different from those with which his lady friends are crediting him.
Mrs. A. catches the eye of Mr. B. with thoughtful serious- ness roaming over the toilet which has cost her husband so many rupees and herself so much anxious concern. She re- flects something after this fashion: “Ah! he cannot help admiring my dress: it is really a success ; I am quite the best dressed woman in the room!” while in reality his thoughts are somewhat on this wise. “ How is it possible that B, on zs in- come, can afford to dress his wife thus? It is quite evident I must give up all thoughts of matrimony. Ladies seem: to want so much; and how, on my income barely sufficing for my personal wants, could I risk the chances and responsibilities of marriage!” The influence of dress over the feminine mind and the importance she attaches to it, are problems men find it hard to understand. They do understand and appreciate the importance and implied flattery of ladies trying to look well: and good taste in dress is of equal value with good taste in everything—one’s house, one’s garden, one’s table, but it is some- thing perfectly distinct from extravagance. How. tew. ladies
Her Influence and Responsibilities. 3069 would feel satisfied with simply looking well, if they were not buoyed up with the knowledge that their dress is of actual marketable value! This feeling is really worth analysing : but it is one on which men are quite at sea!
“Why do you not marry?” we asked a friend who com- plained loudly of his need of home comfort.
“Marry ; my dear fellow, what on earth can a man find in India to marry?
Girls now-a-days seem to have but two ideas, their dress and lawn-tennis. What man in his senses whould link himself for life to a being who had no soul for any thing else?”
Our friend was severe, but a few of us will perhaps grant he had some shew of reason for his severity. Indian officers are intelligent men, and they naturally seek intelligent com- panions, and if ladies were to spend but one-half the care in fur- nishing their minds they do on their persons, they need not fear but that they will be appreciated. They are also naturally, as men who work hard for their living, prudent, and they seek pru- dent wives, wisely to spend and save their earnings. Many of them are still God-fearing, and they need wives who can partake of their hopes of immortality. Among them are hardworking, home-loving men—and their ideal of bliss is to consort with one to cheer them in health and nurse them in sickness, and who will tend their houses and administer their homes with dis- cretion. All are Englishmen, and they love in their wives what is essentially English, and not that mongrel hybrid of French finery and English dulness into which, alas! it would sometimes appear to be the ambition of our. society ladies to transform themselves. Too often their eyes roam over the waste of mindless matter, and they seek their soul’s complement in vain. If in the keenness of his disappointment man feels tempted to accept the Arabian prophet’s dictum, and deny woman that soul of which she herself seems to deprecate the imputation, can she blame him very severely ?
We fear that from the foregoing cursory survey of her influence in her home, on society, and on the native population, the conclusion must, however reluctantly, be arrived at, that in a great majority of instances the women of England have not done justice to the high prestige of their country’s position, nor have they very generally been awake to the responsibilities thus entailed. In India, pre-eminently, where as one who as well qualified to judge remarked, “deterioration so rapidly and surely does its work-on_the moral no less than the physi- cal constitution,’ woman’s influence in initiating what is noble and discouraging what is base, is eminently needed. Vanity, and the love of display, have too often robbed her of her claim to our reverence; and while her selfish love of ease and pleasure makes many an Indian so-called home but the
A Le ee cee 2 AED ES
AB 6B. eer wes ee
SB SET SS Bhs Re
370 The Lughshwoman tn India, &c.
phantom of its English antitype, to the great work of India’s enlightenment she stands in a position of absolute _neu- trality. Can we exempt her from blame. if the general tone of society is degenerating, if contributions to benevolent objects become ever increasingly scant, and religious en- thusiasm seems to die a natural death in the stifling atmos- phere of Indian life ?
This seeins a heavy bill of indictment, but it is for our English sisters to cast the stigma from them by lives devoted to noble ends, and a courageous resolve that neither the enerva- ting influences of climate, shall frighten them from their post of duty by their husband's side on the plains, nor the syren voice of pleasure lure them, The highest lady in the land is leading the van, and now, if ever, will their vig to work for India be acknowledged.
We hope we have said enough, on a subject really inexhaus- tible, not only to stimulate the earnest but also to point the way in which practical usefulness is within the reach of -all, To mothers and fathers about to introduce their young un- sophisticated daughters to the country, we would fain say one word of advice:—Forewarned is forearmed. You whom experience has taught where the pitfalls for her innocent feet lie, guard her on her first entry into society from its baneful influences. Be ever at her side as she looks out with wistful] eye on its living drama, and teach her to discriminate between the evil and the good. Supply her with objects worthy of her interest, at the outset of her career ; encourage her to study the language, history, and customs of the races among whom her lot is cast. Foster within her a sense of personal responsibility as regards them. Place within her reach opportunities, and carefully shield her from frivolous companionships. Abstain in her presence from the degrading avariciousness that too often stamps Anglo-Indian conversation, and give her your hearty co-operation in any plan she may originate for good. Make her a sharer in your own pursuits as much as possible, and above all, your personal convictions as to life and duty. Do not degrade her to the level of a spaniel by foolish indul- sence, but rather let her learn from your example that pleasure sought as an end is illusive, and ever folluws in the wake of faithful devotion to duty.
In this way we think our daughters may cherish a confident ambition that they will prove worthy of their great country, their higher culture, and their ennobling faith. Thus they may aspire to become pioneers not of civilization only, but of religion. And thus they may with hope expect the day when India’s daughters as well as sons will, with some shew of reason, call them their “ cherishers—their “ protectors” and their “ mothers.”
Source: Dawson, J. E. “Woman in India: Her Influence and Position.” Calcutta Review 83 (October 1886): 347-70.