Front Page Titles (by Subject) chapter 112: The Position of Women - The American Commonwealth, vol. 2
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chapter 112: The Position of Women - Viscount James Bryce, The American Commonwealth, vol. 2 
The American Commonwealth, with an Introduction by Gary L. McDowell (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1995). Vol. 2.
Part of: The American Commonwealth, 2 vols.
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The Position of Women
It has been well said that the position which women hold in a country is, if not a complete test, yet one of the best tests of the progress it has made in civilization. When one compares nomad man with settled man, heathen man with Christian man, the ancient world with the modern, the Eastern world with the Western, it is plain that in every case the advance in public order, in material comfort, in wealth, in decency and refinement of manners, among the whole population of a country—for in these matters one must not look merely at the upper class—has been accompanied by a greater respect for women, by a greater freedom accorded to them, by a fuller participation on their part in the best work of the world. Americans are fond of pointing, and can with perfect justice point, to the position their women hold as an evidence of the high level their civilization has reached. Certainly nothing in the country is more characteristic of the peculiar type their civilization has taken.
The subject may be regarded in so many aspects that it is convenient to take up each separately.
As respects the legal rights of women, these, of course, depend on the legislative enactments of each state of the Union, for in no case has the matter been left under the rigour of the common law. With much diversity in minor details, the general principles of the law are in all or nearly all the states similar. Women have been placed on an equality with men as respects all private rights. In some states husband and wife can sue one another at law. Married as well as unmarried women have long since (and I think everywhere) obtained full control of their property, whether obtained by gift or descent, or by their own labour. This has been deemed so important a point that, instead of being left to ordinary legislation, it has in several states been directly enacted by the people in the constitution. Women have in most, possibly not yet in all, states rights of guardianship over their children which the law of England denied to them till the Act of 1886; and in some states the mother’s rights are equal, where there has been a voluntary separation, to those of the father. The law of divorce is in many states far from satisfactory, but it always aims at doing equal justice as between husbands and wives. Special protection as respects hours of labour is given to women by the laws of many states, and a good deal of recent legislation has been passed with intent to benefit them, though not always by well-chosen means.
Women have made their way into most of the professions more largely than in Europe. In many of the Northern cities they practise as physicians, and seem to have found little or no prejudice to overcome. Medical schools have been provided for them in some universities.1 It was less easy to obtain admission to the bar, yet several have secured this, and the number seems to increase. They mostly devote themselves to the attorney’s part of the work rather than to court practice. One edited the Illinois Law Journal with great acceptance. Several have entered the Christian ministry, though, I think, only in what may be called the minor sects, not in any of the five or six great denominations, whose spirit is more conservative. Several have obtained success as professional lecturers, and not a few are journalists or reporters. One hears little of them in engineering. They are seldom to be seen in the offices of hotels, but many, more than in Europe, are employed as clerks or secretaries, both in some of the government departments, and by telegraphic and other companies, as well as in publishing houses and other kinds of business where physical strength is not needed. Typewriting work is largely in their hands. They form an overwhelming majority of the teachers in public schools for boys as well as for girls, and are thought to be better teachers, at least for the younger sort, than men are.2 No class prejudice forbids the daughters of clergymen or lawyers of the best standing to teach in elementary schools. Taking one thing with another, it is easier for women to find a career, to obtain remunerative work of literary or of a commercial or mechanical kind, than in any part of Europe. Popular sentiment is entirely in favour of giving them every chance, as witness the constitutions of those Western states (including Washington, even while it refused them the suffrage) which expressly provide that they shall be equally admissible to all professions or employments. They have long borne a conspicuous part in the promotion of moral and philanthropic causes. They were among the earliest, most zealous, and most effective apostles of the anti-slavery movement, and have taken an equally active share in the temperance agitation. Not only has the Women’s Christian Temperance Union with its numerous branches been the most powerful agency directed against the traffic in intoxicants, particularly in the Western states, but individual women have thrown themselves into the struggle with extraordinary zeal. Some time ago, during what was called the women’s whiskey war, they forced their way into the drinking saloons, bearded the dealers, adjured the tipplers to come out. At elections in which the Prohibitionist issue is prominent, ladies will sometimes assemble outside the polls and sing hymns at the voters. Their services in dealing with pauperism, charities, and reformatory institutions have been inestimable. In New York when legislation was needed for improving the administration of the charities, it was a lady (belonging to one of the oldest and most respected families in the country) who went to Albany, and by placing the case forcibly before the state legislature there, succeeded in obtaining the required measure. Many others have followed her example with the best results. The charity organization societies of the great cities are largely managed by women; and the freedom they enjoy makes them invaluable agents in this work, which the inrush of new and ignorant immigrants renders daily more important. So too when it became necessary after the war to find teachers for the Negroes in the institutions founded for their benefit in the South, it was chiefly Northern girls who volunteered for the duty, and discharged it with single-minded zeal.
American women take far less part in politics than their English sisters, although more than the women of Germany, France, or Italy. That they talk less about politics may be partly ascribed to the fact that politics come less into ordinary conversation in America (except during a presidential election) than in England. But the practice of canvassing at elections, recently developed by English ladies with eminent success, seems unknown. Women have seldom been chosen members of either Republican or Democratic conventions. However, at the National Convention of the Prohibitionist party at Pittsburg in 1884 some presented credentials as delegates from local organizations, and were admitted to sit. One of the two secretaries of that convention was a woman. In 1912 women served as delegates to the Republican National Convention. So women have in some cities borne a useful and influential, albeit comparatively inconspicuous, part in movements for the reform of municipal government. Here we are on the debatable ground between pure party politics and philanthropic agitation. Women have been so effective in the latter that they cannot easily be excluded when persuasion passes into constitutional action, and one is not surprised to find the Prohibition party declare in their platform of 1884 that “they alone recognize the influence of woman, and offer to her equal rights with man in the management of national affairs.” At some gatherings in the West which gave expression to the discontent of the farming class, women appeared, and were treated with a deference which anywhere but in America would have contrasted strangely with the roughness of the crowd. One of them signalized herself by denouncing a proposed banquet, on the ground that it was being got up in the interest of the brewers. Presidential candidates have often “receptions” given in their honour by ladies. Attempts have been, but with little success, to establish political “salons” at Washington, nor has the influence of social gatherings anywhere attained the importance it has often possessed in France, though occasionally the wife of a politician makes his fortune by her tact and skill in winning support for him among professional politicians or the members of a state legislature. There was another and less auspicious sphere of political action into which women found their way at the national capital. The solicitation of members of a legislature with a view to the passing of bills, especially private bills, and to the obtaining of places, has become a profession there, and the persuasive assiduity which had long been recognized by poets as characteristic of the female sex made them widely employed and efficient in this work.
I have already, in treating of the woman suffrage movement (Chapter 99), referred to the various public offices which have been in many states thrown open to women. It is admitted that wherever the suffrage has been granted the gift carries with it the right of obtaining those posts for which votes are cast.
The subject of women’s education opens up a large field. Want of space obliges me to omit a description, for which I have accumulated abundant materials, and to confine myself to a few concise remarks.
The public provision for the instruction of girls is quite as ample and adequate as that made for boys. Elementary schools are of course provided alike for both sexes, grammar schools and high schools are organized for the reception of girls sometimes under the same roof or even in the same classes, sometimes in a distinct building, but always, I think, with an equally complete staff of teachers and equipment of educational appliances. The great majority of the daughters of mercantile and professional men, especially of course in the West,3 receive their education in these public secondary schools; and what is more remarkable, the number of girls who continue their education in the higher branches, including the ancient classics and physical science, up to the age of seventeen or eighteen, is as large, in many places larger than, that of the boys, the latter being drafted off into practical life, while the former indulge their more lively interest in the things of the mind. In the Western universities the ancient classics are now more largely studied by women than by men, partly because the latter form a majority of the teachers. One sometimes hears it charged as a fault on the American system that its liberal provision of gratuitous instruction in the advanced subjects tends to raise girls of the humbler classes out of the sphere to which their pecuniary means would destine them, makes them discontented with their lot, implants tastes which fate will forever forbid them to gratify.
As stated in a previous chapter (Chapter 108), university education is provided for women in the Eastern states by colleges expressly erected for their benefit, and in the Western states by state universities, whose regulations usually provide for the admission of female equally with male students to instruction in all subjects. There are also some colleges of private foundation which receive young men and maidens together, teaching them in the same classes, but providing separate buildings for their lodging.
I must not attempt to set forth and discuss the evidence regarding the working of this system of coeducation, interesting as the facts are, but be content with stating the general result of the inquiries I made.
Coeducation answers perfectly in institutions like Antioch and Oberlin in Ohio, where manners are plain and simple, where the students all come from a class in which the intercourse of young men and young women is easy and natural, and where there is a strong religious influence prevading the life of the place. No moral difficulties are found to arise. Each sex is said to improve the other: the men become more refined, the women more manly. Now and then students fall in love with one another, and marry when they have graduated. But why not? Such marriages are based upon a better reciprocal knowledge of character than is usually attainable in the great world, and are reported to be almost invariably happy. So also in the Western state universities coeducation is generally, if not quite invariably, well reported of. In these establishments the students mostly lodge where they will in the city, and are therefore brought into social relations only in the hours of public instruction; but the tendency of late years has been, while leaving men to find their own quarters, to provide places of residence for the women. Of late years a resort to them has become so fashionable that the authorities express some anxiety lest the interest in social enjoyments may with some women students be found to exceed their devotion to study. Should this happen to any great extent, difficulties might arise. But so far there has been little to do in the way of discipline or supervision, and the heads of the universities have raised few objections to the system of coeducation. I did find, however, that the youths in some cases expressed aversion to it, saying they would rather be in classes by themselves; the reason apparently being that it was disagreeable to see a man whom men thought meanly of standing high in the favour of women students. In these Western states there is so much freedom allowed in the intercourse of youths and girls, and girls are so well able to take care of themselves, that the objections which occur to a European have little weight. Whether a system which has borne good fruits in the simple society of the West is fit to be adopted in the Eastern states, where the conditions of life approach nearer to those of Europe, is a question warmly debated in America. The need for it is at any rate not urgent, because the liberality of founders and benefactors has provided in at least five women’s colleges—one of them a department of Harvard University—places where an excellent education, surpassing that of most of the Western universities, stands open to women. These colleges are at present so efficient and popular, and the life of their students is in some respects so much freer than it could well be, considering the etiquette of Eastern society, in universities frequented by both sexes, that they will probably continue to satisfy the practical needs of the community and the wishes of all but the advocates of complete equality.
It will be seen from what has been said that the provision for women’s education in the United States is ampler and better than that made in any European countries, and that the making of it has been far more distinctly recognized as a matter of public concern. To these advantages, and to the spirit they proceed from, much of the influence which women exert must be ascribed. They feel more independent, they have a fuller consciousness of their place in the world of thought as well as in the world of action. The practice of educating the two sexes together in the same colleges tends, in those sections of the country where it prevails, in the same direction, placing women and men on a level as regards attainments, and giving them a greater number of common intellectual interests. It is not deemed to have made women either pedantic or masculine, or to have diminished the differences between their mental and moral habits and those of men. Nature is quite strong enough to make the differences of temperament she creates persistent, even under influences which might seem likely to reduce them.
Custom allows to women a greater measure of freedom in doing what they will and going where they please than they have in any European country, except, perhaps, in Russia. No one is surprised to see a lady travel alone from the Atlantic to the Pacific, nor a girl of the richer class walking alone through the streets of a city. If a lady enters some occupation heretofore usually reserved to men, she is subject to much less censorious remark than would follow her in Europe, though in this matter the society of Eastern cities is hardly so liberal as that of the West.
Social intercourse between youths and maidens is everywhere more easy and unrestrained than in England or Germany, not to speak of France. Yet, there are considerable differences between the Eastern cities, whose usages have begun to approximate to those of Europe, and other parts of the country. In the rural districts, and generally all over the West, young men and girls are permitted to walk together, drive together, go out to parties, and even to public entertainments together, without the presence of any third person, who can be supposed to be looking after or taking charge of the girl. So a girl may, if she pleases, keep up a correspondence with a young man, nor will her parents think of interfering. She will have her own friends, who, when they call at her house, ask for her, and are received by her, it may be alone; because they are not deemed to be necessarily the friends of her parents also, nor even of her sisters. In the cities of the Atlantic states, it is beginning to be thought scarcely correct for a young man to take a young lady out for a solitary drive; and he would not in all sets be permitted to escort her alone to the theatre. But girls still go without chaperons to dances, the hostess being deemed to act as chaperon for all her guests; and as regards both correspondence and the right to have one’s own circle of acquaintances, the usage even of New York or Boston allows more liberty than does that of London or Edinburgh. It was at one time, and it may possibly still be, not uncommon for a group of young people who know one another well to make up an autumn “party in the woods.” They choose some mountain and forest region, such as the Adirondack wilderness west of Lake Champlain, engage three or four guides, embark with guns and fishing rods, tents, blankets, and a stock of groceries, and pass in boats up the rivers and across the lakes of this wild country through sixty or seventy miles of trackless forest to their chosen camping ground at the foot of some tall rock that rises from the still crystal of the lake. Here they build their bark hut, and spread their beds of the elastic and fragrant hemlock boughs; the youths roam about during the day, tracking the deer, the girls read and work and bake the corn cakes; at night there is a merry gathering round the fire or a row in the soft moonlight. On these expeditions, brothers will take their sisters and cousins, who bring perhaps some women friends with them; the brothers’ friends will come too; and all will live together in a fraternal way for weeks or months, though no elderly relative or married lady be of the party.
There can be no doubt that the pleasure of life is sensibly increased by the greater freedom which transatlantic custom permits; and as the Americans insist that no bad results have followed,4 one notes with regret that freedom declines in the places which deem themselves most civilized. American girls have been, so far as a stranger can ascertain, less disposed to what are called “fast ways” than girls of the corresponding classes in England,5 and exercise in this respect a pretty rigorous censorship over one another. But when two young people find pleasure in one another’s company, they can see as much of each other as they please, can talk and walk together frequently, can show that they are mutually interested, and yet need have little fear of being misunderstood either by one another or by the rest of the world.6 It is all a matter of custom. In the West custom sanctions this easy friendship; in the Atlantic cities so soon as people have come to find something exceptional in it, constraint is felt, and a conventional etiquette like that of the Old World begins to replace the innocent simplicity of the older time, the test of whose merit may be gathered from the universal persuasion in America that the generally happy marriages in the society of the rural districts, no less than the idyllic charm of the life of young people there, were due to the ampler opportunities which young men and women have of learning one another’s characters and habits. Most girls have a larger range of intimate acquaintances than girls have in Europe, intercourse is franker, there is less difference between the manners of home and the manners of general society.
In no country are women, and especially young women, so much made of. The world is at their feet. Society seems organized for the purpose of providing enjoyment for them. Parents, uncles, aunts, elderly friends, even brothers, are ready to make their comfort and convenience bend to the girls’ wishes. The wife’s opportunities are circumscribed, except among the richest people, by the duties of household management, owing to the great difficulty of obtaining domestic “help.” But she holds in her own house a more prominent, if not a more substantially powerful, position than in England or even in France. With the German Hausfrau, who is too often content to be a mere housewife, there is of course no comparison. The best proof of the superior place American ladies occupy is to be found in the notions they profess to entertain of the relations of an English married pair. They talk of the English wife as little better than a slave, declaring that when they stay with English friends, or receive an English couple in America, they see the wife always deferring to the husband and the husband always assuming that his pleasure and convenience are to prevail. The European wife, they admit, often gets her own way, but she gets it by tactful arts, by flattery or wheedling or playing on the man’s weaknesses; whereas in America the husband’s duty and desire is to gratify the wife and render to her those services which the English tyrant exacts from his consort.7 One may often hear an American matron commiserate a friend who has married in Europe, while the daughters declare in chorus that they will never follow the example. Laughable as all this may seem to Englishwomen, it is perfectly true that the theory as well as the practice of conjugal life is not the same in America as in England. There are overbearing husbands in America, but they are more condemned by the opinion of the neighbourhood than in England. There are exacting wives in England, but their husbands are more pitied than would be the case in America. In neiter country can one say that the principle of perfect equality reigns, for in America the balance inclines as much in favour of the wife as it does in England in favour of the husband. No one man can have a sufficiently large acquaintance in both countries to entitle his individual opinion on the results to much weight. Those observers who, having lived in both countries, favour the American practice, do so because the theory it is based on departs less from pure equality than does that of England. Such observers do not mean that the recognition of women as equals or superiors makes them any better or sweeter or wiser than Englishwomen; but rather that the principle of equality, by correcting the characteristic faults of men, and especially their selfishness and vanity, is more conducive to the concord and happiness of a home. This may be true, but I have heard others declare that there is, at least among the richer class, a growing detachment of the wife from the husband’s life and interests, so that she is more disposed to absent herself for long periods from him; and some observers maintain that the American system, since it does not require the wife habitually to forego her own wishes, tends, if not to make her self-indulgent and capricious, yet slightly to impair the more delicate charms of character; as it is written, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
It need hardly be said that in all cases where the two sexes come into competition for comfort, the provision is made first for women. Before drawing room cars had become common, the end car in railroad trains, being that farthest removed from the smoke of the locomotive, was often reserved for them (though men accompanying a lady could enter it), and at hotels their sitting room is the best and sometimes the only available public room, ladyless guests being driven to the bar or the hall. It is sometimes said that the privileges yielded to American women have disposed them to claim as a right what was only a courtesy, and have told unfavourably upon their manners. Instances, such as that of women entering public vehicles already overcrowded, are cited in support of this view, but I cannot on the whole think it well founded. The better bred women do not presume on their sex; and the area of good breeding is always widening. It need hardly be said that the community at large gains by the softening and restraining influence which the reverence for womanhood diffuses. Nothing so quickly incenses the people as any insult offered to a woman. Wife beating, and indeed any kind of rough violence offered to a woman, is far less common among the rudest class than it is in England. Field work or work at the pit-mouth of mines is seldom or never done by women in America; and the American traveller who in some parts of Europe finds women performing severe manual labour is revolted by the sight in a way which Europeans find surprising.
In the farther West, that is to say, beyond the Mississippi, in the Rocky Mountain and Pacific states, one is much struck by what seems the absence of the humblest class of women. The trains are full of poorly dressed and sometimes (though less frequently) rough-mannered men. One discovers no women whose dress or air marks them out as the wives, daughters, or sisters of these men, and wonders whether the male population is celibate, and if so, why there are so many women. Closer observation shows that the wives, daughters, and sisters are there, only their attire and manner are those of what Europeans would call middle class and not working class people. This is partly due to the fact that Western men affect a rough dress. Still one may say that the remark so often made that the masses of the American people correspond to the middle class of Europe is more true of the women than of the men, and is more true of them in the rural districts and in the West than it is of the inhabitants of Atlantic cities. I remember to have been dawdling in a book store in a small town in Oregon when a lady entered to inquire if a monthly magazine, whose name was unknown to me, had yet arrived. When she was gone I asked the salesman who she was, and what was the periodical she wanted. He answered that she was the wife of a railway workman, that the magazine was a journal of fashions, and that the demand for such journals was large and constant among women of the wage-earning class in the town. This set me to observing female dress more closely, and it turned out to be perfectly true that the women in these little towns were following the Parisian fashions very closely, and were, in fact, ahead of the majority of English ladies belonging to the professional and mercantile classes.8 Of course in such a town as I refer to there are no domestic servants except in the hotels (indeed, almost the only domestic service to be had in the Pacific states was that of Chinese), so these votaries of fashion did all their own housework and looked after their own babies.
Three causes combine to create among American women an average of literary taste and influence higher than that of women in any European country. These are, the educational facilities they enjoy, the recognition of the equality of the sexes in the whole social and intellectual sphere, and the leisure which they possess as compared with men. In a country where men are incessantly occupied at their business or profession, the function of keeping up the level of culture devolves upon women. It is safe in their hands. They are quick and keen-witted, less fond of open-air life and physical exertion than Englishwomen are, and obliged by the climate to pass a greater part of their time under shelter from the cold of winter and the sun of summer. For music and for the pictorial arts they do not yet seem to have formed so strong a taste as for literature, partly perhaps owing to the fact that in America the opportunities of seeing and hearing masterpieces, except indeed operas, are rarer than in Europe. But they are eager and assiduous readers of all such books and periodicals as do not presuppose special knowledge in some branch of science or learning, while the number who have devoted themselves to some special study and attained proficiency in it is large. They love society, and now there is hardly a village that has not its women’s club where papers are read and all sorts of current questions discussed, often with the incidental result of enabling those of slender means but cultivated tastes to come into social contact with those of higher position. The fondness for sentiment, especially moral and domestic sentiment, which is often observed as characterizing American taste in literature, seems to be mainly due to the influence of women, for they form not only the larger part of the reading public, but an independent-minded part, not disposed to adopt the canons laid down by men, and their preferences count for more in the opinions and predilections of the whole nation than is the case in England. Similarly the number of women who write is infinitely larger in America than in Europe. Fiction, essays, and poetry are naturally their favourite provinces. In poetry more particularly, many whose names are quite unknown in Europe have attained widespread fame.
Someone may ask how far the differences between the position of women in America and their position in Europe are due to democracy, or if not to this, then to what other cause?
They are due to democratic feeling in so far as they spring from the notion that all men are free and equal, possessed of certain inalienable rights, and owing certain corresponding duties. This root idea of democracy cannot stop at defining men as male human beings, any more than it could ultimately stop at defining them as white human beings. For many years the Americans believed in equality with the pride of discoverers as well as with the fervour of apostles. Accustomed to apply it to all sorts and conditions of men, they were naturally the first to apply it to women also; not, indeed, as respects politics, but in all the social as well as legal relations of life. Democracy is in America more respectful of the individual, less disposed to infringe his freedom or subject him to any sort of legal or family control, than it has shown itself in continental Europe, and this regard for the individual enured to the benefit of women. Of the other causes that have worked in the same direction two may be mentioned. One is the usage of the Congregationalist, Presbyterian, and Baptist churches, under which a woman who is a member of the congregation has the same rights in choosing a deacon, elder, or pastor, as a man has. Another is the fact that among the westward-moving settlers women were at first few in number, and were therefore treated with special respect. The habit then formed was retained as the communities grew, and propagated itself all over the country.
What have been the results on the character and usefulness of women themselves?
On the whole favourable. Though critics dwell on some drawbacks, it is a gain that American women have been admitted to a wider life and more variety of career than is enjoyed in continental Europe. Thus there has been produced a sort of independence and a capacity of self-help which are increasingly valuable as the number of unmarried women increases. Many resources are now open to an American woman who has to lead a solitary life, not merely in the way of employment, but for the occupation of her mind and tastes; while her education has not rendered the American wife less competent for the discharge of household duties.
How has the nation at large been affected by the development of this new type of womanhood, or rather perhaps of this variation on the English type?
If women have on the whole gained, it is clear that the nation gains through them. As mothers they mould the character of their children, while the function of forming the habits of society and determining its moral tone rests greatly in their hands. But there is reason to think that the influence of the American system tells directly for good upon men as well as upon the whole community. The respect for women which every American man either feels or is obliged by public sentiment to profess has a wholesome effect on his conduct and character, and serves to check the cynicism which some other peculiarities of the country foster. The nation as a whole owes to the active benevolence of its women, and their zeal in promoting social reforms, benefits which the customs of continental Europe would scarcely have permitted women to confer. Europeans have of late years begun to render a well-deserved admiration to the brightness and vivacity of American ladies. Those who know the work they have done and are doing in many a noble cause will admire still more their energy, their courage, their self-devotion. No country seems to owe more to its women than America does, nor to owe to them so much of what is best in social institutions and in the beliefs that govern conduct.
 In 1909 there were 805 women returned as studying medicine in the medical schools, and 95 in the dentistry schools.
 The number of teachers in the common schools is given by the United States Bureau of Education Report for 1909 at 104,495 men and 390,988 women. As male teachers are in a majority in a very few Southern states (Tennessee, West Virginia, and Arkansas), and in New Mexico, the preponderance of women in the Northern states generally is very great. It has increased sensibly of late years over the whole country. In Massachusetts women teachers are ten and one-half times as numerous as men.
 There are many private boarding schools as well as private day schools for girls in the Eastern states. Comparatively few children are educated at home by governesses.
 I may be reminded of the prevalence and growing frequency of divorce, but think that this grave evil is due not to the comparative freedom of transatlantic matters. The cause is rather to be sought in the habit which men no less than women have formed of lightly, almost capriciously, entering into and dissolving the marriage tie. I have, however, discussed this subject in another book (Studies in History and Jurisprudence).
 The habit of smoking cigarettes which began to spread among English women of the richer class in the end of last century seems to be less frequent among American girls.
 Between fastness and freedom there is in American eyes all the difference in the world, but newcomers from Europe are startled. I remember to have once heard a German lady settled in a Western city characterize American women as “furchtbar frei und furchtbar fromm” (frightfully free and frightfully pious).
 I have heard American ladies say, for instance, that they have observed that an Englishman who has forgotten his keys sends his wife to the top of the house to fetch them; whereas an American would do the like errand for his wife, and never suffer her to do it for him.
 The above, of course, does not apply to the latest immigrants from Europe, who are still European in their dress and ways, though in a town they become quickly Americanized.