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moral code. As a matter of fact, being more or less rigidly subjected to these things, her heart is set against them. Only men are really shocked; women pretend to be, because men would be still more shocked if they did n't. Men, who have had the making of laws, have a real respect for them; women publicly observe them, but secretly regard them as little better than a nuisance. It is the same opposite play of inclination and circumstance that has been observed in the narrower sphere of the home. Men, being placed by circumstance in positions of hazard and exposure, long for security; women, being accustomed to security, long for freedom and adventure.
But to return to our domestic superstitions. The most distinctive and highly developed domestic art is scolding. The orthodox belief is that scolding is a sort of judicial censure administered from motives of the purest benevolence. If there is a tone of anger in it, that is supposed to be righteous indignation, or the voice of offended justice, the scolder being for the moment the mouth-piece of the categorical imperative. Scolding is conceived to be a duty peculiar to the home because of the relation of guardianship in which one member of the family stands to another. Thus one is one's child's keeper, or one's wife's, or one's husband's, but not one's neighbor's.
Now, what are the facts? Among animals, where motives are more unashamed, scolding is a mode of threat or attack. It is a manifestation of enmity. There is no reason for supposing it otherwise in the case of the domestic life of man. Statistics would undoubtedly reveal an almost perfect correlation between the frequency and intensity of Molding and the parent's threshold of
irritability — the latter depending on conditions of age, digestion, fatigue, temperamental irascibility, and personal idiosyncrasy.
Why should scolding be peculiar to the home? Not because the home is dedicated to benevolent admonition, but because the family circle provides perpetual, inescapable, intimate, and unseasonable human contacts. Individuals of the same species are brought together in every permutation and combination of conflicting interests and incompatible moods. There is no other grouping of human beings which provides so many stimuli for the combative instinct. When this instinct is aroused among the children, it is called quarrelsomeness, and is greatly deprecated by adults. When it is aroused in the adult himself, it assumes the more or less sublimated form of scolding. It flourishes in the home because it is both aroused and protected there. Scolding provides a reputable method of venting spleen when other outlets are stopped by law and convention. In the home, scolding can be indulged in with impunity so long as it does not arouse the neighbors. Its victims are defenseless ; and the corporate pride of the family seals the mouths of its members, so that a decent repute may be preserved before the world. It is this conspiracy of silence and regard for appearances that has created the fiction of the happy fireside choir, where all voices carol in perpetual unison.
There would be no merit in this exposure, did it not serve to bring to light the real disciplinary value of home life, which consists, not in the eloquence and light of admonition, but rather in the aggravation of social experience. An individual who learns how to live cheerfully, or even how to live at all, in a home, finds little difficulty in living with his fellows anywhere else. The scolding of children teaches them not so much the error of their ways, as a practised skill in getting on with irritable adults, many of whom they will meet in real life later on. Perhaps the most superb manifestation of domestic life is the magnanimity of children — their swift forgetfulness of injury and their indulgence even of those human weaknesses of which they are themselves the victims. Both children and adults, consorting with one another in every combination of age and sex, in every condition of health, at every hour of the day, and in a great variety of moods and temperaments, exhaust the whole repertory of human relations and learn how to live together. The best name for this is patience. It is the lack of this which distinguishes the bachelor, the maid, the orphan, and in some degree the only child.
In the family, as elsewhere, example is said to be better than precept. The idea is that the child, carefully noting the heroic or saintly qualities of the father, mother, or resident aunt, — those qualities particularly celebrated in domestic song and story, — models his action closely thereon, and so of his own accord grows in wisdom and in favor at the same time that he grows in stature. But the observed results are so unlike this as to justify suspicion that here, too, we have to do with a superstition. And such is, indeed, unhappily the case. While it is doubtless true that the exemplar is better than the preceptor, in the family, at least, there is no ground for believing that example works any better than precept. What the child gives particular attention to in the domestic adult is the genial weakness, the human errancy, the comic relief, the discomfiture of dignity. He carefully notes that his father smokes and swears, and puts his feet on the table; and that his mother or resident aunt eats candy, uses slang, and puts her elbows on the table. He thereupon does these things
himself, not because he is imitating a model, but because, having an inclination to do them anyway, he takes advantage of the fact that his monitor is for the moment disarmed.
It is not that the child is indifferent to example, but that he finds his examples elsewhere. The domestic adult is not in his line at all. He would as soon think of imitating him as the domestic adult himself would think of imitating the Emperor of Japan or the Grand Llama of Thibet. He has his own pantheon and hierarchy of heroes in the real world outside. These are sometimes adults, more often the elders of his own tribe. In any case they are free from that odor of sanctity and strained posture of edification which disqualify the domestic adult. It should be added that this discontinuity, though it may prevent emulation, does riot hinder, but rather promotes, a certain shrewd, critical observation; so that a child may find himself presently cultivating the complementary opposite of certain types of character that have been peculiarly familiar to him in his domestic environment.
Many minor superstitions arise from domestic myopia. The intensity and the close propinquity of the domestic drama exaggerates all its values, both positive and negative. The normal genius of childhood is mistaken for individual distinction; and its normal limitations for individual delinquency. Within the family all children are remarkable; generic traits disappear from view altogether. The parent who will laugh heartily at a cartoon depicting the characteristic greediness, cruelty, truancy, disobedience, noisiness, irresponsibility, and general barbarism of a fictitious boy or girl, will at once stiffen into apprehensive sobriety when his own child betrays the least of these weaknesses. Viewing human life as a whole, he observes that children grow and outgrow, and that mischievous children have been known to spend their adult years outside the penitentiary; he may even recollect that he had a fault or two himself in early years; but as regards his own children, every offense is a crime, every evil a calamity, and every incident a crisis. His only salvation lies in frequent, unannounced visits to other families.
We have finally to examine a fundamental superstition relating to the seat of domestic authority. In so far as the feudal principle, or the theocratic principle, or the autocratic principle, or the plutocratic principle, survives here and there, owing to the conservatism of the home, the father does manage to retain some semblance of authority. But patriarchy is on its last legs. There is little to it now but outward form and old court ritual. The father still gives his name to the family, sits at the head of the table, and — oh, yes, pays the bills! But there is more service than authority in the second and third of these prerogatives, since someone has to carve, and it is the making rather than the paying of bills that really counts. Of course, he can still tyrannize over the family by making himself so disagreeable that he has to be bought off; but in a family anybody can do that. It is not a power that attaches to the male parent as such. As father, he is still the titular monarch, and that is about all. If he were formally to abdicate, it would not alter the actual balance of domestic forces in the least.
Meanwhile, it is to be feared that he to some extent exploits the pathos of his fallen greatness, and wrings from the feelings of his wife, children, or sister-in-law various minor concessions affecting his comfort. Nothing can ex
ceed the scrupulousness with which appearances are preserved in public. He still takes the curb when the family uses the sidewalk, and is the last to enter and the first to leave a public or private conveyance. But to one who knows life as it is, the irony and bathos of the modern age are summed up in two spectacles: Kaiser Wilhelm chopping wood at Amerongen, and the paterfamilias washing dishes in the pantry.
If the father has fallen from authority, who has superseded him? The mother? Not at all. The popular impression to that effect has no basis except the fact that the power of the mother has increased relatively to that of the father. But this is due to the fall of the father rather than to any notable rise of the mother. No, the new domestic polity is neither the patriarchy nor the matriarchy, but the pediarchy.
That the children should encroach upon, and eventually seize, the authority of the parents is not so strange as might at first appear. After all, it is only the domestic manifestation of the most characteristic social and political movement of modern times, the rise, namely, of the proletarian masses. Within the family the children constitute the majority, the unpropertied, the unskilled, and the unprivileged. They are intensely class-conscious, and have come to a clearer and clearer recognition of the conflict of interest that divides them from the owners and managers. Their methods have been similar to those employed in the industrial revolution — the strike, passive resistance, malingering, restriction of output, and, occasionally, direct action.
Within the family, as in the modern democracy, the control is by public opinion. It is government of the children, by the children, and for the children. But this juvenile sovereignty is exercised indirectly rather than directly. The office-holders are adults, whose power is proportional to their juvenile support. The real (though largely unseen and unacknowledged) principle of domestic politics is the struggle for prestige among the adults. Some employ the methods of decadent Rome, the partem et circenses; others, the arts of the military hero or of the popular orator. But all acknowledge the need of conciliating the juvenile masses.
The power of juvenile opinion is due, not merely to its mass, and to the boldness and unscrupulousness with which it is asserted, but to its reinforcement from outside. It is more than a domestic movement: it is an interdomestic movement. The opinion of the children is thus less provincial than that of domestic adults. It has, furthermore, a force which it derives from its more intimate contact with the main currents of history. The domestic adult is in a sort of backwash. He is looking toward the past, while the children are thinking the thoughts and speaking the language of to-morrow. They are in closer touch with reality, and cannot fail, however indulgent, to feel that their parents and resident aunt are antiquated. The children's end of the family is its budding, forward-looking end; the adults' end is, at best, its root. There is a profound law of life by which buds and roots grow in opposite directions.
The domestic conflict is in many of its notable features parallel to the industrial conflict; and they may be of common origin. It is natural that simi
lar remedies should be proposed. The Taylor system and other efficiency systems have already broken down in both cases. Conservatives will propose to meet the domestic problem by higher allowances and shorter school-hours, with perhaps time and a half for overtime and a bit of profit-sharing. Liberals will propose boards of conciliation with child representation, attempts to link study and chores with the 'creative'impulses, and experiments in divided management. Radicals and domestic revolutionists will regard all such half-way measures as utterly ineffectual, because they preserve the parental system in its essentials. They will aim to consummate the revolution as soon as possible by violence, and then to bring a new order into being through a dictatorship of a sectarian minority. This new order would be an almost exact inversion of the parental order. Whereas, under the present system, the parents are supposed to control the home for the benefit of the children, providing them with the necessities of life, and giving them work and advice for their own good, under the new system, the children would control the home for the benefit of the parents and other adults, assuming full responsibility for their living, and employing their expert servicesonly as might be required. However difficult it may be to put such a change into effect, there is, from the adults' point of view, much to be said for it.
TWENTY-FIVE HOURS A DAY
BY A. EDWARD NEWTON
If one elects to live well out in the country, going to the opera presents serious difficulties. One can't very well go home to dress and go in town again;and if one decides to stay in town at a hotel, there is a suit-case to be packed in the morning — an operation the result of which I abhor, as I always forget something essential. On one occasion some years ago, I, like a dutiful husband, had agreed to go to the opera; and having packed my bag and sent it to my hotel, I dismissed from my mind the details of my toilet, until I came to dress in the evening, when I discovered, to my horror, that I had absentmindedly packed a colored neglige shirt instead of the white, hard-boiled article which custom has decreed for such occasions, and that several other little essentials were missing. I was quite undressed when I made this discovery; it was already late, and my temper, never absolutely flawless on opera nights, was not improved by my wife's observation that we should surely miss the overture. I thought it altogether likely and said so — briefly.
It was, as I remember, my Lord Chesterfield who observed that when one goes to the opera one should leave one's mind at home; I had gone his Lordship one better — I had left practically everything at home, and I heartily wished that I was at home, too. I shall not, I think, be accused of overstatement when I say that it is altogether probable that most married men,
VOL. IS8—NO. t
if they could be excused from escorting their wives to the opera, would cheerfully make a substantial contribution to any worthy — or even unworthy— charity.
Thoughts such as these, if thoughts they may be called, surged through my head as I rapidly dressed, and prepared to dash through the streets in search of any'gents' furnishing-goods' shop that might chance to be open at that hour. I needed such articles of commerce as would enable me to make myself presentable at the opera, and I needed them at once. It was raining, and as I dashed up one street and down another, I discovered that the difference between a raised umbrella and a parachute is negligible; so I closed mine, with the result that I was thoroughly drenched before I had secured what I needed. I have the best 'of wives, but truth compels me to say that when, upon my return, she greeted me with the remark that what she wanted especially to hear was the overture and that we should certainly be late, I almost — I say I almost — lost my temper.
Is it necessary for me to remark that we do not go to the opera frequently? It was my wife's evening, not mine; and as I sat on the side of a bed, eating a sandwich and struggling to insert square shirt pegs in round holes, to the gently sustained motif that we should surely miss the overture, I thought of home, of my books, of a fire of logs crackling, of my pipe, and I wondered who it was