5 AUGUST 1916, Page 13


SPECTATOR."( SIR, —A propos of the remarks which you quote from Miss Repplier's striking comments in regard to American elementary education being almost entirely in the hands of women, I should like to draw the attention of your readers to a very striking passage which appeared in a series of articles by Mr. Kipling, entitled " Egypt of the Magicians," which

were published in magazine form in the summer of 1914, but which to the best of my knowledge have not been reprinted. One of these articles deals with this subject in the form of a conversation with an American lady whom Mr. Kipling met upon a Nile steamer :- " I hinted something of this to a woman aboard who was learned in the sermons of either language. I think,' she began, that the staleness you complain of—.'—' I never said " staleness," ' I protested. —` But you thought it. The staleness you noticed is due to our men being so largely educated by old women—old maids. Practically till he goes to College, and not always then, a boy can't get away from them.'—' Then what happens I The natural result. A man's instinct is to teach a boy to think for himself. If a woman can't make a boy think as she thinks, she sits down and cries. A man hasn't any standards. He makes 'em. A woman's the most standardized being in the world. She has to be. Now d'you see Not yet.'—' Well, our trouble in America is that we're being school-marmed to death. You can see it in any paper you pick up. What were those men talking about just nowt '—' Food-adulteration, police-reform, and beautifying waste-lots in towns,' I replied. She threw up her hands. I knew it ! she cried. ' Our great National Policy of co-educational housekeeping ! Ham-frills and pillow-shams. Did you ever know a man get a woman's respect by parading around creation with a dish-clout pinned to his coat-tails ? But if his woman ord—told hint to do it I ' I suggested.— ' Then she'd despise him the more for doing it. You needn't laugh. You're coming to the same sort of thing in England.' I returned to the little gathering. A woman was talking to th3m as one accustomed to talk from birth. They listened with rigid attention of mon early trained to listen to, but not to talk with, women. She was, to put it mildly, the mother of she-bores, but when she moved on, no man ventured to say as much. That's what I mean by being school-marmed to death,' said my acquaintance wickedly. Why, she bored 'em stiff ; but they are so well brought up, they didn't even know they were bored. Some day the American Man is going to revolt.'—' And what'll the American Woman do ? She'll sit and cry—and it'll do her good.' " That boys had better be " walloped " by men, I whole-heartedly agree. One does not want them to get into the habit of looking upon women as " Beaks." But whatever may be the ideals that American women put before the boys, I am perfectly certain that we have not got—and should not get—any trouble from English women teachers in that respect. Their tendency here, at any rate in the ordinary private school, is all in the direction of manliness, hardness, and the martial