Сборники Художественной, Технической, Справочной, Английской, Нормативной, Исторической, и др. литературы.

промокод iherb июнь 2018

Charlotte Perkins Stetson Gilman


                    1. A Not Unnatural Enterprise

    This is written from memory, unfortunately. If I could  have  brought
with me the material I  so  carefully  prepared,  this  would  be  a  very
different story. Whole books full  of  notes,  carefully  copied  records,
firsthand descriptions, and the pictures-that's the  worst  loss.  We  had
some bird's-eyes of the cities  and  parks;  a  lot  of  lovely  views  of
streets, of buildings, outside and in, and some of those gorgeous gardens,
and, most important of all, of the women themselves.
    Nobody will ever believe how they  looked.  Descriptions  aren't  any
good when it comes to women, and I never was good at descriptions  anyhow.
But it's got to be done somehow; the rest of the world needs to know about
that country.
    I  haven't  said  where  it  was   for   fear   some   self-appointed
missionaries, or traders, or land-greedy expansionists, will take it  upon
themselves to push in. They will not be wanted, I can tell them that,  and
will fare worse than we did if they do find it.
    It  began  this  way.  There  were  three  of  us,   classmates   and
friends-Terry O. Nicholson (we used to call him the Old  Nick,  with  good
reason), Jeff Margrave, and I, Vandyck Jennings.
    We had known each  other  years  and  years,  and  in  spite  of  our
differences we had a good deal in common. All of  us  were  interested  in
    Terry was rich enough  to  do  as  he  pleased.  His  great  aim  was
exploration. He used to make all kinds of a row because there was  nothing
left to explore now, only patchwork and filling in, he said. He filled  in
well enough-he had a lot of talents-great on  mechanics  and  electricity.
Had all kinds of boats and motorcars, and was  one  of  the  best  of  our
    We never could have done the thing at all without Terry.
    Jeff Margrave was born to be a poet, a botanist-or both-but his folks
persuaded him to be a doctor instead. He was a good one, for his age,  but
his real interest was in what he loved to call "the wonders of science."
    As for me, sociology's my major. You have to back that up with a  lot
of other sciences, of course. I'm interested in them all.
    Terry was strong on facts-geography and meteorology and  those;  Jeff
could beat him any time on biology, and I didn't care  what  it  was  they
talked about, so long as it connected with human life, somehow. There  are
few things that don't.
    We three had a chance to  join  a  big  scientific  expedition.  They
needed a doctor, and that gave  Jeff  an  excuse  for  dropping  his  just
opening practice; they needed Terry's experience,  his  machine,  and  his
money; and as for me, I got in through Terry's influence.
    The expedition was up among the  thousand  tributaries  and  enormous
hinterland of a great river, up where the maps  had  to  be  made,  savage
dialects studied, and all manner of strange flora and fauna expected.
    But this story is not about that expedition. That was only the merest
starter for ours.

    My interest was first roused by talk among our guides. I'm  quick  at
languages, know a good many, and pick them up readily. What with that  and
a really good interpreter we took with us, I made out quite a few  legends
and folk myths of these scattered tribes.
    And as we got farther and farther  upstream,  in  a  dark  tangle  of
rivers, lakes, morasses,  and  dense  forests,  with  here  and  there  an
unexpected long spur running out from the big mountains beyond, I  noticed
that more and more of these savages  had  a  story  about  a  strange  and
terrible Woman Land in the high distance.
    "Up yonder," "Over there," "Way up"-was all the direction they  could
offer, but their legends all agreed on the main point -that there was this
strange country where no men lived-only women and girl children.
    None of them had ever seen it. It was dangerous, deadly,  they  said,
for any man to go there. But there were tales of long ago, when some brave
investigator had seen it-a Big  Country,  Big  Houses,  Plenty  People-All
    Had no one else gone? Yes-a good many-but they never  came  back.  It
was no place for men-of that they seemed sure.
    I told the boys about  these  stories,  and  they  laughed  at  them.
Naturally I did myself. I knew the stuff that savage dreams are made of.
    But when we had reached our farthest point, just the  day  before  we
all had to  turn  around  and  start  for  home  again,  as  the  best  of
expeditions must in time, we three made a discovery.
    The main encampment was on a spit of land running out into  the  main
stream, or what we thought was the main stream.  It  had  the  same  muddy
color we had been seeing for weeks past, the same taste.
    I happened to speak of  that  river  to  our  last  guide,  a  rather
superior fellow with quick, bright eyes.
    He told me that there was another  river-"over  there,  short  river,
sweet water, red and blue."
    I was interested in this and anxious to see if I had understood, so I
showed him a red and blue pencil I carried, and asked again.
    Yes, he  pointed  to  the  river,  and  then  to  the  southwestward.
"River-good water-red and blue."
    Terry was close by and interested in the fellow's pointing.
    "What does he say, Van?"
    I told him.
    Terry blazed up at once.
    "Ask him how far it is."
    The man indicated a short journey; I judged about  two  hours,  maybe
    "Let's go," urged Terry. "Just us three. Maybe  we  can  really  find
something. May be cinnabar in it."
    "May be indigo," Jeff suggested, with his lazy smile.
    It was early yet; we had just breakfasted; and leaving word that we'd
be back before night, we got away quietly, not wishing to be  thought  too
gullible if we failed, and  secretly  hoping  to  have  some  nice  little
discovery all to ourselves.
    It was a long two hours, nearer three. I fancy the savage could  have
done it alone much quicker. There was a desperate tangle of wood and water
and a swampy patch we never should have found our way  across  alone.  But
there was one, and I could see Terry, with compass and  notebook,  marking
directions and trying to place landmarks.
    We came after a while to a sort of marshy lake, very big, so that the
circling forest looked quite low and dim across it. Our guide told us that
boats could go from there to our camp-but "long way-all day."
    This water was somewhat clearer than that we had left, but  we  could
not judge well from the margin. We skirted it for another half hour or so,
the ground growing firmer as we advanced,  and  presently  we  turned  the
corner of a wooded promontory and saw a quite different  country-a  sudden
view of mountains, steep and bare.
    "One of those long easterly spurs," Terry said appraisingly. "May  be
hundreds of miles from the range. They crop out like that."
    Suddenly we left the lake and struck directly toward the  cliffs.  We
heard running water before we reached it, and the guide pointed proudly to
his river.
    It was short. We could see where it poured  down  a  narrow  vertical
cataract from an opening in the face of the cliff. It was sweet water. The
guide drank eagerly and so did we.
    "That's snow water," Terry announced. "Must come from way back in the
    But as to being red and blue-it  was  greenish  in  tint.  The  guide
seemed not at all surprised. He hunted about a  little  and  showed  us  a
quiet marginal pool where there were smears of red along the border;  yes,
and of blue.
    Terry got out his magnifying glass and squatted down to investigate.
    "Chemicals of some sort-I can't tell on the spot.  Look  to  me  like
dyestuffs. Let's get nearer," he urged, "up there by the fall."
    We scrambled along the steep banks and got close  to  the  pool  that
foamed and boiled beneath the falling water. Here we searched  the  border
and found traces of color beyond dispute. More-Jeff suddenly  held  up  an
unlooked-for trophy.
    It was only a rag, a long, raveled fragment of cloth. But  it  was  a
well-woven fabric, with a pattern, and of a clear scarlet that  the  water
had not faded. No savage tribe that we had heard of made such fabrics.
    The  guide  stood  serenely  on  the  bank,  well  pleased  with  our
    "One day blue-one day red-one day green," he told us, and pulled from
his pouch another strip of bright-hued cloth.
    "Come down," he said, pointing to  the  cataract.  "Woman  Country-up
    Then we were interested. We had our rest and lunch  right  there  and
pumped the man for further information. He could tell  us  only  what  the
others had-a land of women-no men-babies, but  all  girls.  No  place  for
men-dangerous. Some had gone to see-none had come back.
    I could see Terry's jaw set at that. No place for men? Dangerous?  He
looked as if he might shin up the waterfall on the  spot.  But  the  guide
would not hear of going up, even if there had been any possible method  of
scaling that sheer cliff, and we had to  get  back  to  our  party  before
    "They might stay if we told them," I suggested.
    But Terry stopped in his tracks. "Look here, fellows," he said. "This
is our find. Let's not tell those cocky old professors. Let's go  on  home
with 'em, and then come back-just us-have a little expedition of our own."
    We looked at him, much impressed. There was something attractive to a
bunch of unattached young men in finding  an  undiscovered  country  of  a
strictly Amazonian nature.
    Of course we didn't believe the story-but yet!
    "There is no such cloth  made  by  any  of  these  local  tribes,"  I
announced, examining those rags with great care. "Somewhere up yonder they
spin and weave and dye-as well as we do."
    "That would mean a considerable civilization, Van. There couldn't  be
such a place-and not known about."
    "Oh, well, I don't know. What's that old republic up in the  Pyrenees
somewhere-Andorra? Precious few people know anything about that, and  it's
been  minding  its  own  business  for  a  thousand  years.  Then  there's
Montenegro-splendid little state-you could lose a  dozen  Montenegroes  up
and down these great ranges."
    We discussed it hotly all the way back to camp. We discussed it  with
care and privacy on the voyage home. We discussed  it  after  that,  still
only among ourselves, while Terry was making his arrangements.
    He was hot about it. Lucky he had so much money-we might have had  to
beg and advertise for years to start the thing, and  then  it  would  have
been a matter of public amusement-just sport for the papers.
    But T. O. Nicholson could fix  up  his  big  steam  yacht,  load  his
specially-made big motorboat aboard, and tuck in  a  "dissembled"  biplane
without any more notice than a snip in the society column.
    We had provisions and preventives and all  manner  of  supplies.  His
previous experience stood him in good stead there. It was a very  complete
little outfit.
    We were to leave the yacht at the nearest safe port and  go  up  that
endless river in our motorboat, just the three of us  and  a  pilot;  then
drop the pilot when we got to that last stopping  place  of  the  previous
party, and hunt up that clear water stream ourselves.
   The motorboat we were going to leave at anchor in that wide
shallow lake.  It had a special covering of fitted armor, thin but
strong, shut up like a clamshell.
    "Those natives can't get into it, or hurt  it,  or  move  it,"  Terry
explained proudly. "We'll start our flier from the lake and leave the boat
as a base to come back to."
    "If we come back," I suggested cheerfully.
    "`Fraid the ladies will eat you?" he scoffed.
    "We're not so sure about  those  ladies,  you  know,"  drawled  Jeff.
"There may be a contingent of gentlemen with poisoned arrows or something.
    "You don't need to go if you don't want to," Terry remarked drily.
    "Go? You'll have to get an injunction to stop me!" Both  Jeff  and  I
were sure about that.
    But we did have differences of opinion, all the long way.
    An ocean voyage is an excellent time for discussion. Now  we  had  no
eavesdroppers, we could loll and loaf in our  deck  chairs  and  talk  and
talk-there was nothing else to do. Our absolute lack of  facts  only  made
the field of discussion wider.
    "We'll leave papers with our consul where  the  yacht  stays,"  Terry
planned. "If we don't come back in-say a  month-they  can  send  a  relief
party after us."
    "A punitive expedition," I urged. "If the ladies do eat  us  we  must
make reprisals."
    "They can locate that last stopping place easy enough, and I've  made
a sort of chart of that lake and cliff and waterfall."
    "Yes, but how will they get up?" asked Jeff.
    "Same way we do, of course. If three valuable American  citizens  are
lost up there, they will follow somehow-to say nothing of  the  glittering
attractions of that fair land-let's call it `Feminisia,'" he broke off.
    "You're right, Terry. Once the story gets out, the river  will  crawl
with expeditions and the airships rise like  a  swarm  of  mosquitoes."  I
laughed as I thought of it. "We've made a great mistake  not  to  let  Mr.
Yellow Press in on this. Save us! What headlines!"
    "Not much!" said Terry grimly. "This is our  party.  We're  going  to
find that place alone."
    "What are you going to do with it when you do  find  it-if  you  do?"
Jeff asked mildly.
    Jeff was a tender soul. I think he thought that country-if there  was
one-was just blossoming with roses and babies and canaries and tidies, and
all that sort of thing.
    And Terry, in his secret heart, had visions of a sort  of  sublimated
summer resort-just Girls and Girls and Girls-and  that  he  was  going  to
be-well, Terry was popular among women even  when  there  were  other  men
around, and it's not to be wondered at that he had pleasant dreams of what
might happen. I could see it in his eyes as he lay there, looking  at  the
long blue rollers slipping by, and fingering that impressive  mustache  of
    But I thought-then-that I could form a far clearer idea of  what  was
before us than either of them.
    "You're all off, boys," I insisted. "If there  is  such  a  place-and
there does seem some foundation for believing it-you'll find it's built on
a sort of matriarchal principle, that's all. The men have a separate  cult
of their own, less socially developed than the women,  and  make  them  an
annual visit-a sort of wedding call. This is a  condition  known  to  have
existed-here's just a  survival.  They've  got  some  peculiarly  isolated
valley or tableland up there, and their primeval  customs  have  survived.
That's all there is to it."
    "How about the boys?" Jeff asked.
    "Oh, the men take them away as soon as they are five or six, you see.
    "And how about this danger theory all our guides were so sure of?"
    "Danger enough, Terry, and we'll have to be mighty careful. Women  of
that stage of culture are quite able to  defend  themselves  and  have  no
welcome for unseasonable visitors."
    We talked and talked.
    And with all my airs of sociological superiority I was no nearer than
any of them.
    It was funny though,  in  the  light  of  what  we  did  find,  those
extremely clear ideas of ours as to what a country of women would be like.
It was no use to tell ourselves and one another that  all  this  was  idle
speculation. We were idle and we did speculate, on the  ocean  voyage  and
the river voyage, too.
    "Admitting the improbability," we'd begin solemnly, and  then  launch
out again.
    "They would fight among themselves," Terry  insisted.  "Women  always
do. We mustn't look to find any sort of order and organization."
    "You're dead wrong," Jeff told him. "It will be like a nunnery  under
an abbess-a peaceful, harmonious sisterhood."
    I snorted derision at this idea.
    "Nuns, indeed! Your peaceful sisterhoods were all celibate, Jeff, and
under vows of obedience. These are just  women,  and  mothers,  and  where
there's motherhood you don't find sisterhood-not much."
    "No, sir-they'll scrap," agreed Terry.  "Also  we  mustn't  look  for
inventions and progress; it'll be awfully primitive."
    "How about that cloth mill?" Jeff suggested.
    "Oh,  cloth!  Women  have  always  been  spinsters.  But  there  they
stop-you'll see."
    We joked Terry about his modest impression that he  would  be  warmly
received, but he held his ground.
    "You'll see," he insisted. "I'll get solid with them all-and play one
bunch against another. I'll get  myself  elected  king  in  no  time-whew!
Solomon will have to take a back seat!"
    "Where do we come in on that deal?" I demanded. "Aren't we Viziers or
    "Couldn't  risk  it,"  he  asserted  solemnly.  "You  might  start  a
revolution-probably would. No, you'll have to be beheaded, or bowstrung-or
whatever the popular method of execution is."
    "You'd have to do it yourself, remember,"  grinned  Jeff.  "No  husky
black slaves and mamelukes! And there'd be two  of  us  and  only  one  of
you-eh, Van?"
    Jeff's ideas and Terry's were so far apart that sometimes it was  all
I could do to keep the peace between them. Jeff  idealized  women  in  the
best Southern style. He was full of chivalry and sentiment, and all  that.
And he was a good boy; he lived up to his ideals.
    You might say Terry did, too, if you can call his views  about  women
anything so polite as ideals. I always liked Terry. He was  a  man's  man,
very much so, generous and brave and clever; but I don't think any  of  us
in college days was quite pleased to have him with our sisters. We weren't
very stringent, heavens no! But Terry was "the limit."  Later  on-why,  of
course a man's life is his own, we held, and asked no questions.
    But barring a possible exception in favor of a not  impossible  wife,
or of his mother, or, of  course,  the  fair  relatives  of  his  friends,
Terry's idea seemed to be that pretty women were just  so  much  game  and
homely ones not worth considering.
    It was really unpleasant sometimes to see the notions he had.
    But I got out of patience with Jeff, too.  He  had  such  rosecolored
halos on his womenfolks. I held a middle  ground,  highly  scientific,  of
course, and used to argue learnedly about the physiological limitations of
the sex.
    We were not in the least "advanced" on the woman question, any of us,
    So we joked and disputed and speculated, and  after  an  interminable
journey, we got to our old camping place at last.
    It was not hard to find the river, just poking along that  side  till
we came to it, and it was navigable as far as the lake.
    When we reached that and slid out on its broad glistening bosom, with
that high gray promontory running out toward us, and  the  straight  white
fall clearly visible, it began to be really exciting.
    There was some talk, even then, of skirting the rock wall and seeking
a possible footway up, but the marshy jungle made  that  method  look  not
only difficult but dangerous.
    Terry dismissed the plan sharply.
    "Nonsense, fellows! We've  decided  that.  It  might  take  months-we
haven't got the provisions. No, sir-we've got to take our chances.  If  we
get back safe-all right. If we don't, why, we're not the  first  explorers
to get lost in the shuffle. There are plenty to come after us."
    So  we  got  the  big  biplane  together  and  loaded  it  with   our
scientifically compressed baggage: the camera, of course; the  glasses;  a
supply  of  concentrated  food.  Our  pockets  were  magazines  of   small
necessities, and we had our guns, of coursethere was no knowing what might
    Up and up and up we sailed, way up at first, to get "the lay  of  the
land" and make note of it.
    Out of that dark green sea of crowding forest this highstanding  spur
rose steeply. It ran back on  either  side,  apparently,  to  the  far-off
white-crowned peaks in the distance, themselves probably inaccessible.
    "Let's make the first trip geographical," I suggested. "Spy  out  the
land, and drop back here for more gasoline. With your tremendous speed  we
can reach that range and back all right. Then we can leave a sort  of  map
on boardfor that relief expedition."
   "There's sense in that," Terry agreed.  "I'll put off being
king of Ladyland for one more day."
    So we made a long skirting voyage, turned the point of the cape which
was close by, ran up one side of the triangle at our best  speed,  crossed
over the base where it left the higher mountains, and so back to our  lake
by moonlight.
    "That's not a bad little kingdom," we  agreed  when  it  was  roughly
drawn and measured. We could tell the size fairly by our speed.  And  from
what we could see of the sides-and that icy ridge at the back end-"It's  a
pretty enterprising savage who would manage to get into it," Jeff said.
    Of course we had looked at the land itself-eagerly, but we  were  too
high and going too fast to see much. It appeared to be well forested about
the edges, but in the interior there  were  wide  plains,  and  everywhere
parklike meadows and open places.
    There were cities, too; that I insisted. It  looked-well,  it  looked
like any other country-a civilized one, I mean.
    We had to sleep after that long sweep through the air, but we  turned
out early enough next day, and again we rose softly up the height till  we
could top the crowning trees and see the broad fair land at our pleasure.
    "Semitropical. Looks like a first-rate climate. It's wonderful what a
little height will do for temperature."  Terry  was  studying  the  forest
    "Little  height!  Is  that  what  you  call  little?"  I  asked.  Our
instruments measured it clearly. We had not realized the long gentle  rise
from the coast perhaps.
    "Mighty lucky piece of land, I call it," Terry pursued. "Now for  the
folks-I've had enough scenery."
    So we sailed low, crossing back and forth, quartering the country  as
we went, and studying it. We saw-I can't remember now how much of this  we
noted then and how much was supplemented by our later  knowledge,  but  we
could not help seeing this much, even on that  excited  day-a  land  in  a
state of perfect cultivation, where even the forests  looked  as  if  they
were cared for; a land that looked like an enormous park, only it was even
more evidently an enormous garden.
    "I don't see any cattle," I suggested, but Terry was silent. We  were
approaching a village.
    I confess that we paid  small  attention  to  the  clean,  well-built
roads, to the attractive architecture, to the ordered beauty of the little
town. We had our glasses out; even Terry, setting his machine for a spiral
glide, clapped the binoculars to his eyes.
    They heard our whirring screw. They  ran  out  of  the  houses  -they
gathered in from the fields, swift-running light figures, crowds of  them.
We stared and stared until it was almost too late  to  catch  the  levers,
sweep off and rise again; and then we held our peace for a long run upward
    "Gosh!" said Terry, after a while.
    "Only women there-and children," Jeff urged excitedly.
    "But they look-why, this is a CIVILIZED country!" I protested. "There
must be men."
    "Of course there are men," said Terry. "Come on, let's find 'em."
    He refused to listen to Jeff's suggestion that we examine the country
further before we risked leaving our machine.
    "There's a fine landing place right there where  we  came  over,"  he
insisted, and it was an excellent one-a wide, flattopped rock, overlooking
the lake, and quite out of sight from the interior.
    "They won't find this in a hurry," he asserted, as we scrambled  with
the utmost difficulty down to safer footing. "Come on, boysthere were some
good lookers in that bunch."
    Of course it was unwise of us.
    It was quite easy to see afterward that our best  plan  was  to  have
studied the country more fully before we left  our  swooping  airship  and
trusted ourselves to mere foot service. But we were three  young  men.  We
had been talking about this country for over a year, hardly believing that
there was such a place, and now -we were in it.
    It looked safe  and  civilized  enough,  and  among  those  upturned,
crowding faces,  though  some  were  terrified  enough,  there  was  great
beauty-on that we all agreed.
    "Come on!" cried Terry, pushing forward. "Oh, come on! Here goes  for

                            2. Rash Advances

    Not more than ten or fifteen miles we judged it from our landing rock
to that last village. For all our eagerness we thought it wise to keep  to
the woods and go carefully.
    Even Terry's ardor was held in check  by  his  firm  conviction  that
there were men to be met, and we saw to it that each  of  us  had  a  good
stock of cartridges.
    "They may be scarce, and they may be hidden away  somewheresome  kind
of a matriarchate, as Jeff tells us; for that matter, they may live up  in
the mountains yonder and keep the women in this part of  the  country-sort
of a national harem! But  there  are  men  somewhere-didn't  you  see  the
    We had all seen babies, children big and little, everywhere  that  we
had come near enough to distinguish the people. And  though  by  dress  we
could not be sure of all the grown persons, still there had not  been  one
man that we were certain of.
    "I always liked that Arab saying, `First  tie  your  camel  and  then
trust in the Lord,'" Jeff murmured; so we all had our weapons in hand, and
stole cautiously through the forest. Terry studied it as we progressed.
    "Talk of civilization," he cried softly in restrained enthusiasm.  "I
never saw a forest so petted, even in Germany. Look, there's  not  a  dead
bough-the vines are trained-actually! And see here"-he stopped and  looked
about him, calling Jeff's attention to the kinds of trees.
    They left me for a landmark and made a limited  excursion  on  either
    "Food-bearing, practically all of them,"  they  announced  returning.
"The rest, splendid hardwood. Call this a forest? It's a truck farm!"
    "Good thing to have a botanist on hand," I agreed. "Sure there are no
medicinal ones? Or any for pure ornament?"
    As a matter of fact they were quite right. These towering trees  were
under as careful cultivation as so many cabbages. In other  conditions  we
should have found those woods full of fair foresters and fruit  gatherers;
but an airship is a conspicuous object, and by no  means  quiet-and  women
are cautious.
    All we found moving in those woods, as we started through them,  were
birds, some gorgeous, some musical, all so tame that it seemed  almost  to
contradict  our  theory  of  cultivation-at  least  until  we  came   upon
occasional little glades, where carved stone seats and tables stood in the
shade beside clear fountains, with shallow bird baths always added.
    "They don't kill birds, and apparently  they  do  kill  cats,"  Terry
declared. "MUST be men here. Hark!"
    We had heard something: something not in the least like  a  birdsong,
and very much like a suppressed whisper of laughter -a little happy sound,
instantly smothered. We stood like so many pointers,  and  then  used  our
glasses, swiftly, carefully.
    "It couldn't have been far off," said  Terry  excitedly.  "How  about
this big tree?"
    There was a very large and beautiful tree in the glade  we  had  just
entered, with thick wide-spreading branches that  sloped  out  in  lapping
fans like a beech or pine. It was trimmed underneath some twenty feet  up,
and stood there like a huge umbrella, with circling seats beneath.
    "Look," he pursued. "There are short stumps of branches left to climb
on. There's someone up that tree, I believe."
    We stole near, cautiously.
    "Look out for a poisoned arrow in your eye," I suggested,  but  Terry
pressed forward, sprang up on the seat-back, and grasped the trunk. "In my
heart, more likely," he answered. "Gee! Look, boys!"
    We rushed close in and looked up. There among the boughs overhead was
something-more than one something-that  clung  motionless,  close  to  the
great trunk at first, and then, as one and all we  started  up  the  tree,
separated into three swift-moving figures and fled upward. As  we  climbed
we could catch glimpses of them scattering above us. By the  time  we  had
reached about as far as three men together dared push, they had  left  the
main trunk and moved outward, each one balanced  on  a  long  branch  that
dipped and swayed beneath the weight.
    We paused uncertain. If we pursued further, the  boughs  would  break
under the double burden. We might shake them off, perhaps, but none of  us
was so inclined.  In  the  soft  dappled  light  of  these  high  regions,
breathless with our rapid climb, we rested awhile,  eagerly  studying  our
objects of pursuit; while they in turn, with no more terror than a set  of
frolicsome children in a game of tag, sat as lightly as so many big bright
birds on their precarious perches and frankly, curiously, stared at us.
    "Girls!" whispered Jeff, under his breath, as if they might fly if he
spoke aloud.
    "Peaches!"        added        Terry,        scarcely         louder.
"Peacherinosapricot-nectarines! Whew!"
    They were girls, of course,  no  boys  could  ever  have  shown  that
sparkling beauty, and yet none of us was certain at first.
    We saw short hair, hatless, loose, and shining; a suit of some  light
firm stuff, the closest of tunics and kneebreeches, met by  trim  gaiters.
As bright and smooth as parrots and as unaware of danger, they swung there
before us, wholly at ease, staring as we stared, till first one, and  then
all of them burst into peals of delighted laughter.
    Then there was a torrent of soft  talk  tossed  back  and  forth;  no
savage sing-song, but clear musical fluent speech.
    We met their laughter cordially, and doffed  our  hats  to  them,  at
which they laughed again, delightedly.
    Then Terry, wholly  in  his  element,  made  a  polite  speech,  with
explanatory gestures, and proceeded to introduce us, with pointing finger.
"Mr. Jeff Margrave," he said clearly; Jeff bowed as gracefully  as  a  man
could in the fork of a great limb. "Mr. Vandyck Jennings"-I also tried  to
make an effective salute and nearly lost my balance.
    Then Terry laid his hand upon his chest-a fine chest he had, too, and
introduced himself; he was braced carefully for the occasion and  achieved
an excellent obeisance.
    Again they laughed delightedly, and the one nearest me  followed  his
    "Celis,"  she  said  distinctly,  pointing  to  the  one   in   blue;
"Alima"-the  one  in  rose;  then,  with  a  vivid  imitation  of  Terry's
impressive manner,  she  laid  a  firm  delicate  hand  on  her  goldgreen
jerkin-"Ellador." This was pleasant, but we got no nearer.
    "We can't sit here and  learn  the  language,"  Terry  protested.  He
beckoned to them to come nearer, most winningly-but they gaily shook their
heads. He suggested, by signs, that we all go  down  together;  but  again
they shook their heads, still merrily. Then Ellador clearly indicated that
we should go down, pointing to each  and  all  of  us,  with  unmistakable
firmness; and further seeming to imply by the sweep of a lithe arm that we
not only go downward, but go away altogether-at which we shook  our  heads
in turn.
    "Have to use bait," grinned Terry. "I don't know about  you  fellows,
but I came prepared." He produced from an inner pocket  a  little  box  of
purple velvet, that opened with a snap-and  out  of  it  he  drew  a  long
sparkling thing, a necklace of big varicolored stones that would have been
worth a million if real ones. He held it up, swung it, glittering  in  the
sun, offered it first to one, then to another, holding it out as far as he
could reach toward the girl nearest him. He stood braced in the fork, held
firmly by one hand -the other, swinging his bright temptation, reached far
out along the bough, but not quite to his full stretch.
    She was visibly moved, I noted, hesitated, spoke to  her  companions.
They chattered softly together,  one  evidently  warning  her,  the  other
encouraging. Then, softly and slowly, she drew nearer. This was  Alima,  a
tall long-limbed lass, well-knit and evidently both strong and agile.  Her
eyes were splendid, wide, fearless, as free from suspicion  as  a  child's
who has never been rebuked. Her interest was more that of  an  intent  boy
playing a fascinating game than of a girl lured by an ornament.
    The others moved a bit farther out, holding firmly, watching. Terry's
smile was irreproachable, but I did not like the look in his  eyes-it  was
like a creature about to spring. I could already see it happen-the dropped
necklace, the sudden clutching hand, the girl's sharp cry as he seized her
and drew her in. But it didn't happen. She made a  timid  reach  with  her
right hand for the gay swinging thing-he held  it  a  little  nearer-then,
swift as light, she seized it from him with her left, and dropped  on  the
instant to the bough below.
    He made his snatch, quite vainly, almost losing his position  as  his
hand clutched only air; and then, with inconceivable rapidity,  the  three
bright creatures were gone. They dropped from the ends of the  big  boughs
to those below, fairly pouring themselves off the tree, while  we  climbed
downward as swiftly as we could. We heard their vanishing gay laughter, we
saw them fleeting away in the wide open reaches of the  forest,  and  gave
chase, but we might as well have chased wild antelopes; so we  stopped  at
length somewhat breathless.
    "No use," gasped Terry. "They got away with it. My word! The  men  of
this country must be good sprinters!"
    "Inhabitants evidently arboreal," I grimly suggested. "Civilized  and
still arboreal-peculiar people."
    "You shouldn't have tried  that  way,"  Jeff  protested.  "They  were
perfectly friendly; now we've scared them."
    But it was no use grumbling, and Terry refused to admit any  mistake.
"Nonsense," he said. "They expected it. Women like to be run  after.  Come
on, let's get to that town; maybe we'll find them there. Let's see, it was
in this direction and not far from the woods, as I remember."
    When we reached the edge of the open country  we  reconnoitered  with
our field glasses. There it was, about four miles off, the same  town,  we
concluded, unless, as Jeff ventured, they all had pink houses.  The  broad
green fields and closely cultivated gardens sloped away  at  our  feet,  a
long easy slant, with good roads winding pleasantly here  and  there,  and
narrower paths besides.
    "Look at that!" cried Jeff suddenly. "There they go!"
    Sure  enough,  close  to  the  town,  across  a  wide  meadow,  three
bright-hued figures were running swiftly.
    "How could they have got that far in this time? It can't be the  same
ones," I urged. But through the  glasses  we  could  identify  our  pretty
tree-climbers quite plainly, at least by costume.
    Terry watched them, we all did for that matter, till they disappeared
among the houses. Then he put down his glass and turned to us,  drawing  a
long breath. "Mother of Mike, boys-what  Gorgeous  Girls!  To  climb  like
that! to run like that! and afraid of nothing. This country suits  me  all
right. Let's get ahead."
    "Nothing venture, nothing have," I  suggested,  but  Terry  preferred
"Faint heart ne'er won fair lady."
    We set forth in the open, walking briskly. "If  there  are  any  men,
we'd better keep an eye  out,"  I  suggested,  but  Jeff  seemed  lost  in
heavenly dreams, and Terry in highly practical plans.
    "What a perfect road! What a heavenly country! See the flowers,  will
    This was Jeff, always an enthusiast; but  we  could  agree  with  him
    The road was some sort of hard manufactured stuff, sloped slightly to
shed rain, with every curve and grade and gutter as perfect as if it  were
Europe's best. "No men, eh?" sneered Terry. On either side a double row of
trees shaded the  footpaths;  between  the  trees  bushes  or  vines,  all
fruit-bearing, now and then seats and little wayside fountains; everywhere
    "We'd better import some of these ladies and set 'em to  parking  the
United States," I suggested. "Mighty nice  place  they've  got  here."  We
rested a few moments by one of the fountains, tested the fruit that looked
ripe, and went on, impressed, for all our gay  bravado  by  the  sense  of
quiet potency which lay about us.
    Here was evidently a people highly  skilled,  efficient,  caring  for
their country as a florist cares for his costliest orchids. Under the soft
brilliant blue of that clear sky, in the pleasant shade of  those  endless
rows of trees, we walked unharmed, the placid silence broken only  by  the
    Presently there lay before us at the foot of a long hill the town  or
village we were aiming for. We stopped and studied it.
    Jeff drew a long breath. "I wouldn't have believed  a  collection  of
houses could look so lovely," he said.
    "They've got architects and landscape  gardeners  in  plenty,  that's
sure," agreed Terry.
    I was astonished myself. You see, I come from California, and there's
no country lovelier, but when it comes to towns-! I have often groaned  at
home to see the offensive mess man made in the face of nature, even though
I'm no art sharp, like Jeff. But this place! It was built mostly of a sort
of dull rose-colored stone, with here and there some clear  white  houses;
and it lay abroad among the green groves and gardens like a broken  rosary
of pink coral.
    "Those  big  white  ones  are  public  buildings  evidently,"   Terry
declared. "This is no savage country, my friend.  But  no  men?  Boys,  it
behooves us to go forward most politely."
    The place had an odd look, more impressive as  we  approached.  "It's
like an exposition." "It's too pretty to be true." "Plenty of palaces, but
where are the homes?" "Oh there are little ones enough-but-." It certainly
was different from any towns we had ever seen.
    "There's no dirt," said Jeff suddenly. "There's no smoke,  "he  added
after a little.
    "There's no noise," I offered; but Terry snubbed  me-"That's  because
they are laying low for us; we'd better be careful how we go in there."
    Nothing could induce him to stay out, however, so we walked on.
    Everything was beauty, order, perfect cleanness, and the  pleasantest
sense of home over it all. As we neared the center of the town the  houses
stood thicker, ran together as it were, grew into rambling palaces grouped
among parks and open squares, something  as  college  buildings  stand  in
their quiet greens.
    And then, turning a corner, we came into a broad paved space and  saw
before us a band of women standing close together in even order, evidently
waiting for us.
    We stopped a moment and looked back. The street behind was closed  by
another band, marching steadily, shoulder to shoulder.  We  went  on-there
seemed no other way to go-and presently found ourselves  quite  surrounded
by this close-massed multitude, women, all of them, but-
    They were not young. They were not old. They were not,  in  the  girl
sense, beautiful. They were not in the least  ferocious.  And  yet,  as  I
looked from face to face, calm, grave, wise,  wholly  unafraid,  evidently
assured and determined, I had the funniest feeling-a very early  feeling-a
feeling that I traced back and back in memory until I caught up with it at
last. It was that sense of being hopelessly in the wrong  that  I  had  so
often felt in early youth when my short  legs'  utmost  effort  failed  to
overcome the fact that I was late to school.
    Jeff felt it too; I could see he did. We felt like small  boys,  very
small boys, caught doing mischief in some gracious lady's house. But Terry
showed no such consciousness. I saw his quick eyes darting here and there,
estimating numbers, measuring distances, judging  chances  of  escape.  He
examined the close ranks about us, reaching back far on  every  side,  and
murmured softly to me, "Every one of 'em over forty as I'm a sinner."
    Yet they were not old women. Each was  in  the  full  bloom  of  rosy
health, erect, serene, standing sure-footed and  light  as  any  pugilist.
They had no weapons, and we had, but we had no wish to shoot.
    "I'd as soon shoot my aunts," muttered Terry  again.  "What  do  they
want with us anyhow? They seem to mean business." But  in  spite  of  that
businesslike aspect, he determined to try his favorite tactics. Terry  had
come armed with a theory.
    He stepped forward, with his brilliant ingratiating smile,  and  made
low obeisance to the women before him. Then he produced another tribute, a
broad soft scarf of filmy texture, rich in color  and  pattern,  a  lovely
thing, even to my eye, and  offered  it  with  a  deep  bow  to  the  tall
unsmiling woman who seemed to head the ranks before him. She took it  with
a gracious nod of acknowledgment, and passed it on to those behind her.
    He tried again, this time bringing out a circlet  of  rhinestones,  a
glittering crown that should have pleased any woman on earth.  He  made  a
brief address, including Jeff and me as partners in  his  enterprise,  and
with another bow presented this. Again  his  gift  was  accepted  and,  as
before, passed out of sight.
    "If they were only younger," he muttered between his teeth. "What  on
earth is a fellow to say to a regiment of old Colonels like this?"
    In all our discussions and speculations we had  always  unconsciously
assumed that the women, whatever else they might be, would be young.  Most
men do think that way, I fancy.
    "Woman" in the abstract is young, and, we assume, charming.  As  they
get older they pass off the stage, somehow, into private ownership mostly,
or out of it altogether. But these good  ladies  were  very  much  on  the
stage, and yet any one of them might have been a grandmother.
    We looked for nervousness-there was none.
    For terror, perhaps-there was none.
    For uneasiness, for curiosity, for excitement-and all we saw was what
might have been a  vigilance  committee  of  women  doctors,  as  cool  as
cucumbers, and evidently meaning to take us to task for being there.
    Six of them stepped forward now, one on either side of  each  of  us,
and indicated that we were to go with them. We thought it best to  accede,
at first anyway, and marched along, one of these close at each elbow,  and
the others in close masses before, behind, on both sides.
    A  large  building  opened  before  us,  a  very  heavy  thick-walled
impressive place, big, and old-looking; of gray stone, not like  the  rest
of the town.
    "This won't do!" said Terry to us, quickly. "We mustn't let them  get
us in this, boys. All together, now-"
    We stopped in our tracks. We began to explain, to make signs pointing
away toward the big forest-indicating that we would go back to it-at once.
    It makes me laugh, knowing all  I  do  now,  to  think  of  us  three
boys-nothing  else;  three  audacious  impertinent  boys-butting  into  an
unknown country without any sort of a guard or defense. We seemed to think
that if there were men we  could  fight  them,  and  if  there  were  only
women-why, they would be no obstacles at all.
    Jeff, with his gentle romantic  old-fashioned  notions  of  women  as
clinging vines. Terry, with his  clear  decided  practical  theories  that
there were two kinds  of  women-those  he  wanted  and  those  he  didn't;
Desirable and Undesirable was his  demarcation.  The  latter  as  a  large
class, but negligible-he had never thought about them at all.
    And now here they were, in great numbers,  evidently  indifferent  to
what he might think, evidently determined on some  purpose  of  their  own
regarding him, and apparently well able to enforce their purpose.
    We all thought hard just then. It had not seemed wise  to  object  to
going with them, even if we could have; our one chance was  friendliness-a
civilized attitude on both sides.
    But once inside that  building,  there  was  no  knowing  what  these
determined ladies might do to us. Even a peaceful detention was not to our
minds, and when we named it imprisonment it looked even worse.
    So we made a stand, trying to make clear that we preferred  the  open
country. One of them came forward with a sketch of our  flier,  asking  by
signs if we were the aerial visitors they had seen.
    This we admitted.
    They pointed to it again, and to the outlying country,  in  different
directions-but we pretended we did not know where it was, and in truth  we
were not quite sure and gave a rather wild indication of its whereabouts.
    Again they motioned us to advance, standing so packed about the  door
that there remained but the one straight path  open.  All  around  us  and
behind they were massed solidly-there was simply  nothing  to  do  but  go
forward-or fight.
    We held a consultation.
    "I  never  fought  with  women  in  my  life,"  said  Terry,  greatly
perturbed, "but I'm not going in there. I'm not going to beherded in-as if
we were in a cattle chute."
    "We can't fight them, of course," Jeff urged. "They're all women,  in
spite of their nondescript clothes; nice women, too; good strong  sensible
faces. I guess we'll have to go in."
    "We may never get out, if we do," I told them. "Strong and  sensible,
yes; but I'm not so sure about the good. Look at those faces!"
    They had stood at ease, waiting  while  we  conferred  together,  but
never relaxing their close attention.
    Their attitude was not the rigid discipline of soldiers; there was no
sense of compulsion about them. Terry's term of  a  "vigilance  committee"
was highly descriptive. They had  just  the  aspect  of  sturdy  burghers,
gathered hastily to meet some common need or peril, all moved by precisely
the same feelings, to the same end.
    Never, anywhere before, had I seen women of precisely  this  quality.
Fishwives and market women might show similar strength, but it was  coarse
and  heavy.  These  were  merely  athletic-light  and  powerful.   College
professors, teachers, writers-many women showed similar  intelligence  but
often wore a strained nervous look, while these were as calm as cows,  for
all their evident intellect.
    We observed pretty closely just then, for all of us felt that it  was
a crucial moment.
    The leader gave some word of command and  beckoned  us  on,  and  the
surrounding mass moved a step nearer.
    "We've got to decide quick," said Terry.
    "I vote to go in," Jeff urged. But we were two to one against him and
he loyally stood by us. We made one more effort to be let go, urgent,  but
not imploring. In vain.
    "Now for a rush, boys!" Terry said. "And if we can't break 'em,  I'll
shoot in the air."
    Then we found ourselves much  in  the  position  of  the  suffragette
trying to get to the Parliament  buildings  through  a  triple  cordon  of
London police.
    The solidity of those women was something amazing. Terry  soon  found
that it was useless, tore himself loose for a moment, pulled his revolver,
and fired upward. As they caught at it, he fired again-we heard a cry-.
    Instantly each of us was seized by five women, each  holding  arm  or
leg or head; we were lifted like children, straddling  helpless  children,
and borne onward, wriggling indeed, but most ineffectually.
    We were borne inside,  struggling  manfully,  but  held  secure  most
womanfully, in spite of our best endeavors.
    So carried and so held, we came into a  high  inner  hall,  gray  and
bare, and were brought before a majestic gray-haired woman who  seemed  to
hold a judicial position.
    There was some talk, not much, among them, and  then  suddenly  there
fell upon each of us at once a firm hand holding  a  wetted  cloth  before
mouth and nose-an order of swimming sweetness-anesthesia.

                      3. A Peculiar Imprisonment

    From a slumber as deep as death, as refreshing as that of  a  healthy
child, I slowly awakened.
    It was like rising up, up, up through a deep warm ocean,  nearer  and
nearer to full light and stirring air. Or like the return to consciousness
after concussion of the brain. I was once thrown from a horse while  on  a
visit to a wild mountainous country quite new to me,  and  I  can  clearly
remember the mental experience of coming back  to  life,  through  lifting
veils of dream. When I first dimly heard the voices of those about me, and
saw the shining snowpeaks of that mighty range, I assumed  that  this  too
would pass, and I should presently find myself in my own home.
    That was precisely the experience of this awakening:  receding  waves
of half-caught swirling vision, memories of home, the steamer,  the  boat,
the airship, the forest-at last all sinking away one after  another,  till
my eyes were wide open, my brain clear, and I realized what had happened.
    The most prominent sensation was of absolute physical comfort. I  was
lying in a perfect bed: long, broad, smooth; firmly soft and  level;  with
the finest linen, some warm light quilt of blanket, and a counterpane that
was a joy to the eye. The sheet turned down some  fifteen  inches,  yet  I
could stretch my feet at the foot of the bed free but warmly covered.
    I felt as light and clean as a white feather. It took me some time to
conscientiously locate my arms and legs, to feel the vivid sense  of  life
radiate from the wakening center to the extremities.
    A big room, high and wide,  with  many  lofty  windows  whose  closed
blinds let through soft green-lit air; a beautiful room, in proportion, in
color, in smooth simplicity; a scent of blossoming gardens outside.
    I lay perfectly still, quite happy,  quite  conscious,  and  yet  not
actively realizing what had happened till I heard Terry.
    "Gosh!" was what he said.
    I turned my head. There were three beds in this chamber,  and  plenty
of room for them.
    Terry was sitting up, looking about him, alert as ever.  His  remark,
though not loud, roused Jeff also. We all sat up.
    Terry swung  his  legs  out  of  bed,  stood  up,  stretched  himself
mightily. He was  in  a  long  nightrobe,  a  sort  of  seamless  garment,
undoubtedly comfortable-we all found  ourselves  so  covered.  Shoes  were
beside each bed, also quite comfortable and goodlooking though by no means
like our own.
    We looked for our clothes-they were not there, nor  anything  of  all
the varied contents of our pockets.
    A door  stood  somewhat  ajar;  it  opened  into  a  most  attractive
bathroom, copiously provided with towels,  soap,  mirrors,  and  all  such
convenient  comforts,  with  indeed  our  toothbrushes  and   combs,   our
notebooks, and thank goodness, our watches-but no clothes.
    Then we made a search of the big room again and found  a  large  airy
closet, holding plenty of clothing, but not ours.
    "A council of war!" demanded Terry. "Come on back to bed  -the  bed's
all right anyhow. Now then, my scientific friend, let us consider our case
    He meant me, but Jeff seemed most impressed.
    "They haven't hurt us in the least!" he said. "They could have killed
us-or-or anything-and I never felt better in my life."
    "That argues that they are  all  women,"  I  suggested,  "and  highly
civilized. You know you hit one in the  last  scrimmageI  heard  her  sing
out-and we kicked awfully."
    Terry was grinning at us. "So you realize what these ladies have done
to us?" he pleasantly inquired. "They have taken away all our possessions,
all our clothes-every stitch. We have been stripped and washed and put  to
bed like so many yearling babies-by these highly civilized women."
    Jeff actually  blushed.  He  had  a  poetic  imagination.  Terry  had
imagination enough, of a different kind.  So  had  I,  also  different.  I
always  flattered  myself  I  had  the  scientific   imagination,   which,
incidentally, I considered the highest sort. One has a right to a  certain
amount of egotism if founded on fact-and kept to one's self-I think.
    "No use kicking, boys," I  said.  "They've  got  us,  and  apparently
they're perfectly harmless. It remains for us to  cook  up  some  plan  of
escape like any other bottled heroes. Meanwhile we've got to put on  these
clothes-Hobson's choice."
    The garments were simple in the extreme, and absolutely  comfortable,
physically, though of course we all felt like supes in the theater.  There
was a one-piece cotton undergarment, thin and soft, that reached over  the
knees and shoulders, something like the  one-piece  pajamas  some  fellows
wear, and a kind of half-hose, that came up to just  under  the  knee  and
stayed there -had elastic tops of their own, and covered the edges of  the
    Then there was a thicker variety of union suit, a lot of them in  the
closet, of varying weights and somewhat sturdier material -evidently  they
would do at  a  pinch  with  nothing  further.  Then  there  were  tunics,
knee-length, and some long robes. Needless to say, we took tunics.
    We bathed and dressed quite cheerfully.
    "Not half bad," said Terry, surveying himself in a long  mirror.  His
hair was somewhat longer than when we left the last barber, and  the  hats
provided were much like those seen  on  the  prince  in  the  fairy  tale,
lacking the plume.
    The costume was similar to that which we had seen on all  the  women,
though some of them, those working in the fields, glimpsed by our  glasses
when we first flew over, wore only the first two.
    I settled my shoulders and stretched my arms, remarking:  "They  have
worked out a mighty sensible dress, I'll say that for them." With which we
all agreed.
    "Now then," Terry proclaimed, "we've had a fine long sleep -we've had
a good bath-we're clothed and in our right minds, though  feeling  like  a
lot of neuters. Do you think these highly civilized ladies  are  going  to
give us any breakfast?"
    "Of course they will," Jeff asserted confidently. "If they had  meant
to kill us, they would have done it before. I believe we are going  to  be
treated as guests."
    "Hailed as deliverers, I think," said Terry.
    "Studied as curiosities," I told them. "But anyhow, we want food.  So
now for a sortie!"
    A sortie was not so easy.
    The bathroom only opened into our  chamber,  and  that  had  but  one
outlet, a big heavy door, which was fastened.
    We listened.
    "There's someone outside," Jeff suggested. "Let's knock."
    So we knocked, whereupon the door opened.
    Outside was another large room, furnished with a great table  at  one
end, long benches or couches against the wall,  some  smaller  tables  and
chairs. All these were solid, strong, simple in structure, and comfortable
in use-also, incidentally, beautiful.
    This room was occupied by a number of women, eighteen  to  be  exact,
some of whom we distinctly recalled.
    Terry heaved a disappointed sigh. "The Colonels!" I heard him whisper
to Jeff.
    Jeff, however, advanced and bowed in his best manner; so did we  all,
and we were saluted civilly by the tall-standing women.
    We had no need to make pathetic  pantomime  of  hunger;  the  smaller
tables were already laid with food, and we  were  gravely  invited  to  be
seated. The tables were set for two; each of  us  found  ourselves  placed
vis-a-vis with one of our hosts, and each table had five  other  stalwarts
nearby, unobtrusively watching. We had plenty of  time  to  get  tired  of
those women!
    The breakfast was not profuse, but sufficient in amount and excellent
in quality. We were all too good travelers to object to novelty, and  this
repast with its new but delicious fruit, its dish of  large  rich-flavored
nuts, and its highly satisfactory little cakes was most  agreeable.  There
was water to drink, and a hot beverage of a most  pleasing  quality,  some
preparation like cocoa.
    And  then  and  there,  willy-nilly,  before  we  had  satisfied  our
appetites, our education began.
    By each of our plates lay a little book, a real printed book,  though
different from ours both in paper and binding, as well, of course,  as  in
type. We examined them curiously.
    "Shades of Sauveur!" muttered Terry. "We're to learn the language!"
    We were indeed to learn the language, and not only that, but to teach
our own. There were blank  books  with  parallel  columns,  neatly  ruled,
evidently prepared for the occasion, and in these, as fast as  we  learned
and wrote down the name of anything, we were urged to write our  own  name
for it by its side.
    The book we had to study was evidently a  schoolbook,  one  in  which
children learned to read, and we judged from this, and from their frequent
consultation as to methods, that they had had no  previous  experience  in
the art of teaching foreigners their language, or of learning any other.
    On the other hand, what they lacked in experience, they made  up  for
in genius. Such subtle understanding,  such  instant  recognition  of  our
difficulties, and readiness to meet them, were a constant surprise to us.
    Of course, we were willing to meet them halfway. It was wholly to our
advantage to be able to understand and speak with them, and as to refusing
to teach them-why should we? Later on we did try open rebellion, but  only
    That first meal was pleasant enough, each of us quietly studying  his
companion, Jeff with sincere admiration, Terry with that highly  technical
look of his, as of a past master-like a lion tamer, a serpent charmer,  or
some such professional. I myself was intensely interested.
    It was evident that those sets  of  five  were  there  to  check  any
outbreak on our part. We had no weapons, and if  we  did  try  to  do  any
damage, with a chair, say, why five to one was too many for  us,  even  if
they were women; that we had found out to our sorrow. It was not pleasant,
having them always around, but we soon got used to it.
    "It's  better  than  being  physically  restrained  ourselves,"  Jeff
philosophically  suggested  when  we  were  alone.  "They've  given  us  a
room-with no great  possibility  of  escape-and  personal  liberty-heavily
chaperoned.  It's  better  than  we'd  have  been  likely  to  get  in   a
    "Man-Country! Do you really  believe  there  are  no  men  here,  you
innocent? Don't you know there must be?" demanded Terry.
    "Ye-es," Jeff agreed. "Of course-and yet-"
    "And  yet-what!  Come,  you  obdurate  sentimentalist-what  are   you
thinking about?"
    "They may have some peculiar division of labor we've never heard of,"
I suggested. "The men may live in separate towns, or they may have subdued
them-somehow-and keep them shut up. But there must be some."
    "That last suggestion of yours is a nice one, Van," Terry  protested.
"Same as they've got us subdued and shut up! you make me shiver."
    "Well, figure it out for yourself, anyway you please. We  saw  plenty
of kids, the first day, and we've seen those girls-"
    "Real girls!" Terry agreed, in immense relief.  "Glad  you  mentioned
'em. I declare, if I thought there was nothing in the  country  but  those
grenadiers I'd jump out the window."
    "Speaking of windows," I suggested, "let's examine ours."
    We looked out of all the windows. The blinds  opened  easily  enough,
and there were no bars, but the prospect was not reassuring.
    This was not the pink-walled town we had so rashly  entered  the  day
before. Our chamber was high up, in a projecting wing of a sort of castle,
built out on a steep spur of rock.  Immediately  below  us  were  gardens,
fruitful and fragrant, but their high walls followed the edge of the cliff
which dropped sheer down, we could not see how far. The distant  sound  of
water suggested a river at the foot.
    We could look  out  east,  west,  and  south.  To  the  southeastward
stretched the open country, lying bright and fair in  the  morning  light,
but on either side, and evidently behind, rose great mountains.
    "This thing is a regular fortress-and no women built it, I  can  tell
you that," said Terry. We nodded agreeingly.  "It's  right  up  among  the
hills-they must have brought us a long way."
    "We saw some kind of  swift-moving  vehicles  the  first  day,"  Jeff
reminded us. "If they've got motors, they ARE civilized."
    "Civilized or not, we've got our work cut out for us to get away from
here. I don't propose to make a rope of bedclothes  and  try  those  walls
till I'm sure there is no better way."
    We all concurred on this point, and returned to our discussion as  to
the women.
    Jeff continued thoughtful. "All the  same,  there's  something  funny
about it," he urged. "It isn't just that we don't  see  any  men  -but  we
don't see any signs of them. The-the-reaction of these women is  different
from any that I've ever met."
    "There is something in what you say, Jeff," I  agreed.  "There  is  a
    "They don't seem to notice our being men," he went  on.  "They  treat
us-well-just as they do one another. It's as if our being men was a  minor
    I nodded. I'd noticed it myself. But Terry broke in rudely.
    "Fiddlesticks!" he said. "It's because of their advanced age. They're
all grandmas, I tell you-or ought to be. Great aunts, anyhow. Those  girls
were girls all right, weren't they?"
    "Yes-" Jeff agreed, still slowly. "But they weren't  afraidthey  flew
up that tree and hid, like schoolboys caught out  of  boundsnot  like  shy
    "And they ran like marathon winners-you'll  admit  that,  Terry,"  he
    Terry was moody as the days passed. He seemed to mind our confinement
more than Jeff or I did; and he harped on Alima, and how near he'd come to
catching her. "If I had-" he would say, rather savagely, "we'd have had  a
hostage and could have made terms."
    But Jeff was getting on excellent terms with his tutor, and even  his
guards, and so was I. It interested me profoundly to note  and  study  the
subtle difference between these women and other women, and try to  account
for them. In  the  matter  of  personal  appearance,  there  was  a  great
difference. They all wore short hair, some few inches at most; some curly,
some not; all light and clean and fresh-looking.
    "If their hair was only long," Jeff would complain, "they would  look
so much more feminine."
    I rather liked it myself, after I got used to it. Why  we  should  so
admire "a woman's crown of hair" and not admire a Chinaman's queue is hard
to explain, except that we are so convinced that the long  hair  "belongs"
to a woman. Whereas the "mane"  in  horses  is  on  both,  and  in  lions,
buffalos, and such creatures only on the male. But I did miss it-at first.
    Our time was quite pleasantly filled. We  were  free  of  the  garden
below our windows, quite long in its irregular rambling  shape,  bordering
the cliff. The walls were perfectly smooth and high, ending in the masonry
of the building; and as I studied the great stones I became convinced that
the whole structure was extremely old. It was  built  like  the  pre-Incan
architecture in Peru, of enormous monoliths, fitted as closely as mosaics.
    "These folks have a history, that's sure," I told  the  others.  "And
SOME time they were fighters-else why a fortress?"
    I said we were free of the garden, but not wholly alone in it.  There
was always a string of those uncomfortably  strong  women  sitting  about,
always one of them watching us even if the others  were  reading,  playing
games, or busy at some kind of handiwork.
    "When I see them knit," Terry said, "I can almost call them feminine.
    "That  doesn't  prove  anything,"  Jeff  promptly  replied.   "Scotch
shepherds knit-always knitting."
    "When we get out-" Terry stretched himself  and  looked  at  the  far
peaks, "when we get out of this and get to where the  real  women  are-the
mothers, and the girls-"
    "Well, what'll we do then?" I asked, rather  gloomily.  "How  do  you
know we'll ever get out?"
    This  was  an  unpleasant  idea,  which  we  unanimously  considered,
returning with earnestness to our studies.
    "If we are good boys and learn our lessons well," I suggested. "If we
are quiet and respectful and polite and they are  not  afraid  of  us-then
perhaps they will let us out. And anyway-when  we  do  escape,  it  is  of
immense importance that we know the language."
   Personally, I was tremendously interested in that language,
and seeing they had books, was eager to get at them, to dig into
their history, if they had one.
    It was not hard to speak, smooth and pleasant to the ear, and so easy
to read and write that I marveled at it. They had an  absolutely  phonetic
system, the whole thing was as scientific as Esparanto yet  bore  all  the
marks of an old and rich civilization.
    We were free to study as much as we wished, and were not left  merely
to wander  in  the  garden  for  recreation  but  introduced  to  a  great
gymnasium, partly on the roof and partly  in  the  story  below.  Here  we
learned real respect for our tall guards. No change of costume was  needed
for this work, save to lay off  outer  clothing.  The  first  one  was  as
perfect a garment for exercise as need be devised, absolutely free to move
in, and, I had to admit, much better-looking than our usual one.
    "Forty-over forty-some of 'em fifty, I bet-and look at 'em!" grumbled
Terry in reluctant admiration.
    There were no spectacular acrobatics, such  as  only  the  young  can
perform, but for all-around development they had a most excellent  system.
A good deal of music went with it, with posture  dancing  and,  sometimes,
gravely beautiful processional performances.
    Jeff was much impressed by it. We did not know then how small a  part
of their physical culture methods this really was, but found it  agreeable
to watch, and to take part in.
    Oh yes, we took part all right! It wasn't absolutely compulsory,  but
we thought it better to please.
    Terry was the strongest of us, though I was wiry and had good staying
power, and Jeff was a great sprinter and hurdler, but I can tell you those
old ladies gave us cards and spades. They ran like deer, by which  I  mean
that they ran not as if it was a performance,  but  as  if  it  was  their
natural gait. We remembered those  fleeting  girls  of  our  first  bright
adventure, and concluded that it was.
    They leaped like deer, too, with a quick folding motion of the  legs,
drawn up and turned to one side with a  sidelong  twist  of  the  body.  I
remembered the sprawling spread-eagle way in which  some  of  the  fellows
used to come over the line-and tried to learn the trick. We did not easily
catch up with these experts, however.
    "Never thought I'd live to  be  bossed  by  a  lot  of  elderly  lady
acrobats," Terry protested.
    They had games, too, a good many of them, but we  found  them  rather
uninteresting at first. It was like two people playing  solitaire  to  see
who would get it first; more like a race or a-a  competitive  examination,
than a real game with some fight in it.
    I philosophized a bit over this and  told  Terry  it  argued  against
their having any men about. "There isn't a man-size game in  the  lot,"  I
    "But they are interesting-I like them," Jeff objected, "and I'm  sure
they are educational."
    "I'm sick and tired of being educated," Terry protested. "Fancy going
to a dame school-at our age. I want to Get Out!"
    But we could not get out, and we were  being  educated  swiftly.  Our
special tutors rose rapidly in our esteem. They  seemed  of  rather  finer
quality than the guards, though all were on terms  of  easy  friendliness.
Mine was named Somel, Jeff's  Zava,  and  Terry's  Moadine.  We  tried  to
generalize from the names, those of the guards, and of  our  three  girls,
but got nowhere.
    "They sound well enough, and they're mostly  short,  but  there's  no
similarity of termination-and no two alike. However, our  acquaintance  is
limited as yet."
    There were many things we meant to ask-as soon as we could talk  well
enough. Better teaching I never saw.  From  morning  to  night  there  was
Somel, always on call except between two and four; always pleasant with  a
steady friendly kindness that I grew to enjoy very much.  Jeff  said  Miss
Zava-he would put on a  title,  though  they  apparently  had  none-was  a
darling, that she reminded him of his  Aunt  Esther  at  home;  but  Terry
refused to be won, and rather jeered at his own companion,  when  we  were
    "I'm sick of it!" he protested. "Sick of the whole thing. Here we are
cooped up as helpless as a bunch  of  three-year-old  orphans,  and  being
taught what they think is necessary-whether we like it  or  not.  Confound
their old-maid impudence!"
    Nevertheless we were taught. They brought in a raised  map  of  their
country, beautifully made, and increased  our  knowledge  of  geographical
terms; but when we inquired for information as  to  the  country  outside,
they smilingly shook their heads.
    They brought pictures, not only  the  engravings  in  the  books  but
colored studies of plants and trees and flowers and  birds.  They  brought
tools and various small objects-we had plenty of "material" in our school.
    If it had not been for Terry we would have been much more  contented,
but as the weeks ran into months he grew more and more irritable.
    "Don't act like a bear with  a  sore  head,"  I  begged  him.  "We're
getting on finely. Every day we can understand  them  better,  and  pretty
soon we can make a reasonable plea to be let out-"
    "LET out!" he stormed. "LET out-like children kept  after  school.  I
want to Get Out, and I'm going to. I want to find the men  of  this  place
and fight!-or the girls-"
    "Guess it's the girls you're most  interested  in,"  Jeff  commented.
"What are you going to fight WITH-your fists?"
    "Yes-or sticks and stones-I'd just like to!" And  Terry  squared  off
and tapped Jeff softly on the jaw. "Just for instance," he said.
    "Anyhow," he went on, "we could get back to  our  machine  and  clear
    "If it's there," I cautiously suggested.
    "Oh, don't croak, Van! If it isn't there, we'll  find  our  way  down
somehow-the boat's there, I guess."
    It was hard on Terry,  so  hard  that  he  finally  persuaded  us  to
consider a plan of escape. It was difficult, it was highly dangerous,  but
he declared that he'd go alone if we wouldn't go with him, and  of  course
we couldn't think of that.
    It appeared he had made a pretty careful study  of  the  environment.
From our end window that faced the point of the promontory we could get  a
fair idea of the stretch of wall, and the drop below. Also from  the  roof
we could make out more, and even, in one place, glimpse  a  sort  of  path
below the wall.
    "It's a question of three things," he said. "Ropes, agility, and  not
being seen."
    "That's the hardest part," I urged, still  hoping  to  dissuade  him.
"One or another pair of eyes is on us every minute except at night."
    "Therefore we must do it at night," he answered. "That's easy."
    "We've got to think that if they catch us  we  may  not  be  so  well
treated afterward," said Jeff.
    "That's the business risk we must take. I'm going-if I break my neck.
" There was no changing him.
    The rope problem was not easy. Something strong enough to hold a  man
and long enough to let us down into the garden, and  then  down  over  the
wall. There were plenty of strong ropes in the  gymnasium-they  seemed  to
love to swing and climb on them-but we were never there by ourselves.
    We should have to piece it out from our bedding, rugs, and  garments,
and moreover, we should have to do it after we were shut in for the night,
for every day the place was cleaned to perfection by two of our guardians.
    We had no shears,  no  knives,  but  Terry  was  resourceful.  "These
Jennies have glass and china, you  see.  We'll  break  a  glass  from  the
bathroom and use that. `Love will find out a way,'" he hummed. "When we're
all out of the window, we'll stand three-man high and cut the rope as  far
up as we can reach, so as to have more for the wall. I know just  where  I
saw that bit of path below, and there's a big tree there, too, or  a  vine
or something-I saw the leaves."
    It seemed a crazy risk to take, but  this  was,  in  a  way,  Terry's
expedition, and we were all tired of our imprisonment.
    So we waited for full moon, retired early, and spent an anxious  hour
or two in the unskilled manufacture of man-strong ropes.
    To retire into the depths of the closet,  muffle  a  glass  in  thick
cloth, and break it without noise was not difficult, and broken glass will
cut, though not as deftly as a pair of scissors.
    The broad moonlight streamed in through four of  our  windows-we  had
not dared leave our lights on too long-and we worked hard and fast at  our
task of destruction.
    Hangings, rugs, robes, towels,  as  well  as  bed-furniture-even  the
mattress covers-we left not one stitch upon another, as Jeff put it.
    Then at an end window, as less liable to observation, we fastened one
end of our cable, strongly, to the firm-set hinge of the inner blind,  and
dropped our coiled bundle of rope softly over.
    "This part's easy enough-I'll come last, so as to cut the rope," said
    So I slipped down first, and stood, well  braced  against  the  wall;
then Jeff on my shoulders, then Terry, who shook us a little as  he  sawed
through the cord above his head. Then I slowly dropped to the ground, Jeff
following, and at last we all three stood safe in the garden, with most of
our rope with us.
    "Good-bye, Grandma!" whispered Terry, under his breath, and we  crept
softly toward the wall, taking advantage of the shadow of every  bush  and
tree. He had been foresighted enough to mark the very spot, only a scratch
of stone on stone, but we could see to read in that light.  For  anchorage
there was a tough, fair-sized shrub close to the wall.
    "Now I'll climb up on you two again and go over first,"  said  Terry.
"That'll hold the rope firm till you both get up on top. Then I'll go down
to the end. If I can get off safely, you can see me  and  follow-or,  say,
I'll twitch it three times. If I find there's  absolutely  no  footing-why
I'll climb up again, that's all. I don't think they'll kill us."
    From  the  top  he  reconnoitered  carefully,  waved  his  hand,  and
whispered, "OK," then slipped over. Jeff climbed up and I followed, and we
rather shivered to see how far down that swaying, wavering figure dropped,
hand under hand, till it disappeared in a mass of foliage far below.
    Then there were three quick pulls, and Jeff  and  I,  not  without  a
joyous sense of recovered freedom, successfully followed our leader.

                            4. Our Venture

    We were standing on a narrow,  irregular,  all  too  slanting  little
ledge, and should doubtless have ignominiously slipped off and broken  our
rash necks but for the  vine.  This  was  a  thick-leaved,  wide-spreading
thing, a little like Amphelopsis.
    "It's not QUITE vertical here, you see," said Terry,  full  of  pride
and enthusiasm. "This thing never would hold  our  direct  weight,  but  I
think if we sort of slide down on it, one at  a  time,  sticking  in  with
hands and feet, we'll reach that next ledge alive."
    "As we do not wish to get up our  rope  again-and  can't  comfortably
stay here-I approve," said Jeff solemnly.
    Terry slid down first-said he'd show us how  a  Christian  meets  his
death. Luck was with us. We had put on the thickest of those  intermediate
suits,  leaving  our  tunics  behind,  and  made   this   scramble   quite
successfully, though I got a pretty heavy fall just at the  end,  and  was
only kept on the second ledge by main force. The next  stage  was  down  a
sort of "chimney"-a long irregular fissure; and so with scratches many and
painful and bruises not a few, we finally reached the stream.
    It was darker there, but we felt it highly necessary to put  as  much
distance as possible behind us; so we waded, jumped,  and  clambered  down
that rocky riverbed, in the flickering black and white moonlight and  leaf
shadow, till growing daylight forced a halt.
    We found a friendly nut-tree, those  large,  satisfying,  softshelled
nuts we already knew so well, and filled our pockets.
    I see that I have not  remarked  that  these  women  had  pockets  in
surprising number and variety. They were in all their  garments,  and  the
middle one in particular was shingled with them. So  we  stocked  up  with
nuts till we bulged like Prussian privates in marching order, drank all we
could hold, and retired for the day.
    It was not a very comfortable place, not at all easy to get at,  just
a sort of crevice high up along the steep bank, but  it  was  well  veiled
with foliage and dry. After our exhaustive three- or fourhour scramble and
the good breakfast food, we all lay down along that crack-heads and tails,
as it were-and slept till the afternoon sun almost toasted our faces.
    Terry poked a tentative foot against my head.
    "How are you, Van? Alive yet?"
    "Very much so," I told him. And Jeff was equally cheerful.
    We had room to stretch, if not to turn  around;  but  we  could  very
carefully roll over, one at a time, behind the sheltering foliage.
    It was no use to leave there by daylight. We could not  see  much  of
the country, but enough to know that we were now at the beginning  of  the
cultivated area, and no doubt there would be an alarm  sent  out  far  and
    Terry chuckled softly to himself, lying  there  on  that  hot  narrow
little rim of rock. He dilated on  the  discomfiture  of  our  guards  and
tutors, making many discourteous remarks.
    I reminded him that we had still a long way to go before  getting  to
the place where we'd left our machine, and no probability  of  finding  it
there; but he only kicked me, mildly, for a croaker.
    "If you can't boost,  don't  knock,"  he  protested.  "I  never  said
'twould be a picnic. But I'd run away in the Antarctic ice  fields  rather
than be a prisoner."
    We soon dozed off again.
    The long rest and penetrating dry heat were good  for  us,  and  that
night we covered a considerable distance,  keeping  always  in  the  rough
forested belt of land which we knew bordered the whole country.  Sometimes
we were near the outer edge, and caught sudden glimpses of the  tremendous
depths beyond.
    "This piece of geography stands up like a basalt column," Jeff  said.
"Nice time we'll have getting down if they have confiscated our  machine!"
For which suggestion he received summary chastisement.
    What we could see inland  was  peaceable  enough,  but  only  moonlit
glimpses; by daylight we lay very close. As Terry said, we did not wish to
kill the old ladies-even  if  we  could;  and  short  of  that  they  were
perfectly competent to pick us up bodily and carry us back, if discovered.
There was nothing for it but to lie low, and sneak out unseen if we  could
do it.
    There wasn't much talking done. At night we had our marathon-obstacle
race; we "stayed not for brake and we stopped not  for  stone,"  and  swam
whatever water was too deep to wade and could not be got around; but  that
was only necessary twice. By day, sleep, sound and sweet. Mighty lucky  it
was that we could live off the country as we  did.  Even  that  margin  of
forest seemed rich in foodstuffs.
    But Jeff thoughtfully suggested  that  that  very  thing  showed  how
careful we should have to be, as we might run into some stalwart group  of
gardeners or foresters or nut-gatherers at any minute.  Careful  we  were,
feeling pretty sure that if we did not make good this  time  we  were  not
likely to have another opportunity; and at last we reached  a  point  from
which we could see, far below, the broad stretch of that still  lake  from
which we had made our ascent.
    "That looks pretty good to me!" said Terry, gazing down at it.  "Now,
if we can't find the 'plane, we know where to aim if we have to drop  over
this wall some other way."
    The wall at that point was singularly uninviting. It rose so straight
that we had to put our heads over to see the base, and the  country  below
seemed to be a far-off marshy tangle of rank vegetation. We did  not  have
to risk our necks to that extent, however, for  at  last,  stealing  along
among the rocks and trees like so many creeping savages, we came  to  that
flat space where we had landed; and there, in unbelievable  good  fortune,
we found our machine.
    "Covered, too, by jingo! Would you think they had that  much  sense?"
cried Terry.
    "If they had that much, they're likely to have more," I  warned  him,
softly. "Bet you the thing's watched."
    We reconnoitered as widely as we could in the failing  moonlightmoons
are of a painfully unreliable nature; but the growing dawn showed  us  the
familiar shape, shrouded in some heavy cloth like canvas, and no slightest
sign of any watchman near. We decided to make a quick dash as soon as  the
light was strong enough for accurate work.
    "I don't care if the old thing'll go or not," Terry declared. "We can
run her to the edge, get aboard, and just  plane  down-plop!  -beside  our
boat there. Look there-see the boat!"
    Sure enough-there was our motor, lying like a gray cocoon on the flat
pale sheet of water.
    Quietly but swiftly we  rushed  forward  and  began  to  tug  at  the
fastenings of that cover.
    "Confound the thing!" Terry cried in desperate  impatience.  "They've
got it sewed up in a bag! And we've not a knife among us!"
    Then, as we tugged and pulled at that tough cloth we  heard  a  sound
that  made  Terry  lift  his  head  like  a  war  horse-the  sound  of  an
unmistakable giggle, yes-three giggles.
    There they were-Celis, Alima, Ellador-looking just as they  had  when
we first saw them, standing a little way off from us,  as  interested,  as
mischievous as three schoolboys.
    "Hold on, Terry-hold on!" I warned. "That's too easy. Look out for  a
    "Let us appeal to their kind hearts," Jeff urged. "I think they  will
help us. Perhaps they've got knives."
    "It's no use rushing them, anyhow," I was absolutely  holding  on  to
Terry. "We know they can out-run and out-climb us."
    He  reluctantly  admitted  this;  and  after  a  brief  parley  among
ourselves, we all advanced slowly toward them, holding out  our  hands  in
token of friendliness.
    They stood their ground till  we  had  come  fairly  near,  and  then
indicated that we should stop. To make sure, we advanced a step or two and
they promptly  and  swiftly  withdrew.  So  we  stopped  at  the  distance
specified. Then we used their language, as far as we were able, to explain
our plight, telling how we were imprisoned, how we had escaped-a good deal
of pantomime here and vivid interest on their part-how we had traveled  by
night and hidden by day, living on nuts-and  here  Terry  pretended  great
    I know he could not have been hungry; we had found plenty to eat  and
had not been sparing  in  helping  ourselves.  But  they  seemed  somewhat
impressed; and after a murmured  consultation  they  produced  from  their
pockets certain little packages, and with the  utmost  ease  and  accuracy
tossed them into our hands.
    Jeff was most  appreciative  of  this;  and  Terry  made  extravagant
gestures of admiration, which seemed to set them off, boyfashion, to  show
their skill. While we ate the excellent biscuits they had thrown  us,  and
while Ellador kept a watchful eye on our movements, Celis ran off to  some
distance, and set up a sort of "duck-on-a-rock" arrangement, a big  yellow
nut on top of three balanced sticks; Alima, meanwhile, gathering stones.
    They urged us to throw at it, and we did, but the thing  was  a  long
way off, and it was only after a number of failures, at which those elvish
damsels laughed delightedly, that Jeff succeeded  in  bringing  the  whole
structure to the ground. It took  me  still  longer,  and  Terry,  to  his
intense annoyance, came third.
    Then Celis set up the little tripod again, and  looked  back  at  us,
knocking it down, pointing at it, and shaking her  short  curls  severely.
"No," she said. "Bad-wrong!" We were quite able to follow her.
    Then she set it up once more, put the fat nut on top, and returned to
the others; and there those aggravating girls sat and took turns  throwing
little stones at that thing, while one stayed by as a setter-up; and  they
just popped that nut off, two times out of three,  without  upsetting  the
sticks. Pleased as Punch they were, too,  and  we  pretended  to  be,  but
    We got very friendly over this game, but I told Terry we'd  be  sorry
if we didn't get off while we could, and then we begged for knives. It was
easy to show what we wanted to do, and they each proudly produced  a  sort
of strong clasp-knife from their pockets.
    "Yes," we said eagerly, "that's it! Please-" We had learned  quite  a
bit of their language, you see. And we just begged for those  knives,  but
they would not give them to us. If we came a step  too  near  they  backed
off, standing light and eager for flight.
    "It's no sort of use," I said. "Come on-let's get a  sharp  stone  or
something-we must get this thing off."
    So we hunted about and found  what  edged  fragments  we  could,  and
hacked away, but it was like trying to cut sailcloth with a clamshell.
    Terry hacked and dug, but said to us under his breath.  "Boys,  we're
in pretty good condition-let's make a life and death dash and get hold  of
those girls-we've got to."
    They had drawn rather nearer to watch our efforts, and  we  did  take
them rather by surprise; also, as Terry  said,  our  recent  training  had
strengthened us in wind and limb, and for a few  desperate  moments  those
girls were scared and we almost triumphant.
    But just as we stretched out  our  hands,  the  distance  between  us
widened; they had got their pace apparently, and then, though  we  ran  at
our utmost speed, and much farther than I thought wise, they kept just out
of reach all the time.
    We stopped breathless, at last, at my repeated admonitions.
    "This  is  stark  foolishness,"  I  urged.  "They  are  doing  it  on
purpose-come back or you'll be sorry."
    We went back, much slower than we came, and in truth we were sorry.
    As we reached our swaddled machine, and sought again  to  tear  loose
its covering, there rose up from all around the sturdy  forms,  the  quiet
determined faces we knew so well.
    "Oh Lord!" groaned Terry. "The Colonels! It's all up-they're forty to
    It was no use to fight. These women evidently relied on numbers,  not
so much as a drilled force  but  as  a  multitude  actuated  by  a  common
impulse. They showed no sign of fear, and since we had no weapons whatever
and there were at least a hundred of them, standing ten deep about us,  we
gave in as gracefully as we might.
    Of course we looked for punishment-a  closer  imprisonment,  solitary
confinement maybe-but nothing of the kind happened.  They  treated  us  as
truants only, and as if they quite understood our truancy.
    Back we went, not under an anesthetic this time but skimming along in
electric motors enough like ours to be quite recognizable, each of us in a
separate vehicle with one able-bodied lady on either side and three facing
    They were all pleasant enough, and  talked  to  us  as  much  as  was
possible with our limited powers. And though Terry was  keenly  mortified,
and at first we all rather dreaded harsh treatment, I for one  soon  began
to feel a sort of pleasant confidence and to enjoy the trip.
    Here were my five familiar companions, all good-natured as could  be,
seeming to have no worse feeling than a mild triumph as  of  winning  some
simple game; and even that they politely suppressed.
    This was a good opportunity to see the country, too, and the  more  I
saw of it,  the  better  I  liked  it.  We  went  too  swiftly  for  close
observation, but I could appreciate perfect roads, as dustless as a  swept
floor; the shade of endless lines of trees; the  ribbon  of  flowers  that
unrolled beneath them; and the rich comfortable country that stretched off
and away, full of varied charm.
    We rolled through many villages and towns, and I soon  saw  that  the
parklike beauty of  our  first-seen  city  was  no  exception.  Our  swift
high-sweeping view from the 'plane had been most  attractive,  but  lacked
detail; and in that first day of struggle and capture, we noticed  little.
But now we were swept along at an easy rate of some thirty miles  an  hour
and covered quite a good deal of ground.
    We stopped for lunch in quite  a  sizable  town,  and  here,  rolling
slowly through the streets, we saw more of the population. They  had  come
out to look at us everywhere we had passed, but here were more;  and  when
we went in to eat, in a big garden place with little shaded  tables  among
the trees and flowers, many  eyes  were  upon  us.  And  everywhere,  open
country, village, or cityonly women. Old women and young women and a great
majority who seemed neither young nor old, but just  women;  young  girls,
also, though  these,  and  the  children,  seeming  to  be  in  groups  by
themselves generally, were less in evidence. We caught  many  glimpses  of
girls and children in what seemed to be schools or in playgrounds, and  so
far as we could judge there  were  no  boys.  We  all  looked,  carefully.
Everyone gazed at us politely, kindly, and with eager interest. No one was
impertinent. We could catch quite a bit of the talk now, and all they said
seemed pleasant enough.
    Well-before nightfall we were all safely back in our  big  room.  The
damage we had done was quite ignored; the beds as smooth  and  comfortable
as before, new clothing and towels supplied. The only  thing  those  women
did was to illuminate the gardens at night, and to set an extra watch. But
they called us to account next day. Our three tutors, who had  not  joined
in the recapturing expedition, had been quite busy in  preparing  for  us,
and now made explanation.
    They knew well we would make for our machine, and also that there was
no other way of getting down-alive. So our flight had troubled no one; all
they did was to call the inhabitants to keep an eye on our  movements  all
along the edge of the forest between the two points. It appeared that many
of those nights we had been seen, by careful ladies sitting snugly in  big
trees by the riverbed, or up among the rocks.
    Terry looked immensely disgusted,  but  it  struck  me  as  extremely
funny. Here we had been  risking  our  lives,  hiding  and  prowling  like
outlaws, living on nuts and fruit, getting wet and cold at night, and  dry
and hot by day, and all the while these  estimable  women  had  just  been
waiting for us to come out.
    Now they began to explain, carefully using such  words  as  we  could
understand.  It  appeared  that  we  were  considered  as  guests  of  the
country-sort of public wards. Our first violence had made it necessary  to
keep  us  safeguarded  for  a  while,  but  as  soon  as  we  learned  the
language-and would agree to do no harm-they would show us  all  about  the
    Jeff was eager to reassure them. Of course he did not tell on  Terry,
but he made it clear that he was ashamed of himself, and that he would now
conform. As to the language-we all fell upon  it  with  redoubled  energy.
They brought us books, in greater numbers,  and  I  began  to  study  them
    "Pretty punk literature," Terry burst forth one day, when we were  in
the privacy  of  our  own  room.  "Of  course  one  expects  to  begin  on
child-stories, but I would like something more interesting now."
    "Can't expect stirring romance and wild adventure  without  men,  can
you?" I asked. Nothing irritated Terry more than to have  us  assume  that
there were no men; but there were no signs of them in the books they  gave
us, or the pictures.
    "Shut up!" he growled. "What infernal nonsense you talk! I'm going to
ask 'em outright-we know enough now."
    In truth we had been using our best efforts to master  the  language,
and were  able  to  read  fluently  and  to  discuss  what  we  read  with
considerable ease.
    That afternoon we were all sitting together on the roof-we three  and
the tutors gathered about a table, no guards about. We had  been  made  to
understand some time earlier that if we would agree to do no violence they
would withdraw their constant attendance, and we promised most willingly.
    So there we sat, at ease; all in similar dress; our hair, by now,  as
long as theirs, only our beards to distinguish us. We did not  want  those
beards, but had so far been unable to induce them to give us  any  cutting
    "Ladies," Terry began, out of a clear sky, as it were, "are there  no
men in this country?"
    "Men?" Somel answered. "Like you?"
    "Yes, men," Terry indicated his  beard,  and  threw  back  his  broad
shoulders. "Men, real men."
    "No," she answered quietly. "There are no men in this country.  There
has not been a man among us for two thousand years."
    Her look was  clear  and  truthful  and  she  did  not  advance  this
astonishing statement as if it was astonishing, but quite as a  matter  of
    "But-the people-the children," he protested, not believing her in the
least, but not wishing to say so.
    "Oh yes," she smiled. "I do  not  wonder  you  are  puzzled.  We  are
mothers-all of us-but there are no fathers. We thought you would ask about
that long ago-why have you not?" Her look was as frankly kind  as  always,
her tone quite simple.
    Terry explained that  we  had  not  felt  sufficiently  used  to  the
language, making rather a mess of it, I thought, but Jeff was franker.
    "Will you excuse us all," he said, "if we admit that we find it  hard
to believe? There is no such-possibility-in the rest of the world."
    "Have you no kind of life where it is possible?" asked Zava.
    "Why, yes-some low forms, of course."
    "How low-or how high, rather?"
    "Well-there are some rather high forms of insect  life  in  which  it
occurs. Parthenogenesis, we call it-that means virgin birth."
    She could not follow him.
    "BIRTH, we know,  of  course;  but  what  is  VIRGIN?"  Terry  looked
uncomfortable, but Jeff met the question quite
calmly.  "Among mating animals, the term VIRGIN is applied to the
female who has not mated," he answered.
    "Oh, I see. And does it apply  to  the  male  also?  Or  is  there  a
different term for him?"
    He passed this over rather hurriedly, saying that the same term would
apply, but was seldom used.
    "No?" she said. "But one cannot mate without the other surely. Is not
each then-virgin-before mating? And, tell me, have you any forms  of  life
in which there is birth from a father only?"
    "I know of none," he answered, and I inquired seriously.
    "You ask us to believe that for two thousand years  there  have  been
only women here, and only girl babies born?"
    "Exactly," answered Somel, nodding gravely. "Of course we  know  that
among other animals it is not so,  that  there  are  fathers  as  well  as
mothers; and we see that you are fathers, that you come from a people  who
are of both kinds. We have been waiting, you see, for you to  be  able  to
speak freely with us, and teach us about your country and the rest of  the
world. You know so much, you see, and we know only our own land."
    In the course of our previous studies we had been at  some  pains  to
tell them about the big world outside, to draw sketches, maps, to  make  a
globe, even, out of a spherical fruit, and show the size and  relation  of
the countries, and to tell of the numbers of their people.  All  this  had
been scant and in outline, but they quite understood.
    I find I succeed very poorly in conveying the impression I would like
to of these women. So far from being ignorant, they were deeply  wise-that
we realized more and more; and for clear reasoning, for real  brain  scope
and power they were A No. 1, but there were a lot of things they  did  not
    They had the evenest tempers, the  most  perfect  patience  and  good
nature-one of the things most impressive about them all was the absence of
irritability. So far we had only this group  to  study,  but  afterward  I
found it a common trait.
    We had gradually come to feel that we were in the hands  of  friends,
and very capable ones at that-but we couldn't form any opinion yet of  the
general level of these women.
    "We want you to teach us all  you  can,"  Somel  went  on,  her  firm
shapely hands clasped on the  table  before  her,  her  clear  quiet  eyes
meeting ours frankly. "And we want to teach you what we have that is novel
and useful. You can well imagine that it is a wonderful event  to  us,  to
have men among us-after two thousand years. And we want to know about your
    What she said about our importance gave instant pleasure to Terry.  I
could see by the way he lifted his head that it pleased him. But when  she
spoke of our women-someway I had a queer little indescribable feeling, not
like any feeling I ever had before when "women" were mentioned.
    "Will you tell us how it came about?" Jeff pursued.  "You  said  `for
two thousand years'-did you have men here before that?"
    "Yes," answered Zava.
    They were all quiet for a little.
    "You should have our full history to read-do not be alarmed  -it  has
been made clear and short. It took us a long time to learn  how  to  write
history. Oh, how I should love to read yours!"
    She turned with flashing eager eyes, looking from one to the other of
    "It would be so wonderful-would it not? To compare the history of two
thousand years, to see what the differences arebetween us,  who  are  only
mothers, and you, who are mothers and fathers, too. Of course we see, with
our birds, that the father is as useful as the mother, almost.  But  among
insects we find him of less importance, sometimes very little. Is  it  not
so with you?"
    "Oh, yes, birds and bugs," Terry said, "but not among animalshave you
NO animals?"
    "We have cats," she said. "The father is not very useful."
    "Have you no cattle-sheep-horses?" I  drew  some  rough  outlines  of
these beasts and showed them to her.
    "We had, in the very old days, these," said Somel, and sketched  with
swift sure touches a sort of sheep or llama," and these"-dogs, of  two  or
three kinds, "that that"-pointing to my absurd but recognizable horse.
    "What became of them?" asked Jeff.
    "We do not want them anymore. They took up too much room-we need  all
our land to feed our people. It is such a little country, you know."
    "Whatever do you do without milk?" Terry demanded incredulously.
    "MILK? We have milk in abundance-our own."
    "But-but-I mean for cooking-for grown people," Terry blundered, while
they looked amazed and a shade displeased.
    Jeff came to the rescue. "We keep cattle for their milk, as  well  as
for their meat," he explained. "Cow's milk is a staple  article  of  diet.
There is a great milk industry-to collect and distribute it."
    Still they looked puzzled. I pointed to my outline  of  a  cow.  "The
farmer milks the cow," I said, and sketched a milk pail, the stool, and in
pantomime showed the man milking. "Then it is  carried  to  the  city  and
distributed by milkmen-everybody has it at the door in the morning."
    "Has the cow no child?" asked Somel earnestly.
    "Oh, yes, of course, a calf, that is."
    "Is there milk for the calf and you, too?"
    It took some time to make clear to those three sweet-faced women  the
process which robs the cow of her calf, and the calf of its true food; and
the talk led us into a further discussion of the meat business. They heard
it out, looking very white, and presently begged to be excused.

                          5. A Unique History

    It is no use for me to try to piece out this account with adventures.
If the people who read it are not interested in these  amazing  women  and
their history, they will not be interested at all.
    As for us-three young men to a whole landful of  womenwhat  could  we
do? We did get away, as described, and were peacefully brought back  again
without, as Terry complained, even the satisfaction of hitting anybody.
    There were no adventures because there was nothing  to  fight.  There
were no wild beasts in the country and very few  tame  ones.  Of  these  I
might as well stop to describe the one common pet of the country. Cats, of
course. But such cats!
    What do you suppose these Lady Burbanks had done with their cats?  By
the most prolonged and careful selection and exclusion they had  developed
a race of cats that did not sing! That's a fact. The most those poor  dumb
brutes could do was to make a kind of squeak  when  they  were  hungry  or
wanted the door open, and, of  course,  to  purr,  and  make  the  various
mother-noises to their kittens.
    Moreover, they had ceased to kill birds. They were rigorously bred to
destroy mice and moles and all such enemies of the food  supply;  but  the
birds were numerous and safe.
    While we were  discussing  birds,  Terry  asked  them  if  they  used
feathers for their hats, and they seemed amused at the idea. He made a few
sketches of our women's hats, with plumes and  quills  and  those  various
tickling things that stick out so far; and they were  eagerly  interested,
as at everything about our women.
    As for them, they said they only wore hats for shade when working  in
the sun; and those were big light straw hats, something like those used in
China and Japan. In cold weather they wore caps or hoods.
    "But for decorative purposes-don't you think they would be becoming?"
pursued Terry, making as pretty a picture as he could of  a  lady  with  a
plumed hat.
    They by no means agreed to that, asking quite simply if the men  wore
the same kind. We hastened to assure her that they did not-drew  for  them
our kind of headgear.
    "And do no men wear feathers in their hats?"
    "Only Indians," Jeff explained. "Savages, you know." And he  sketched
a war bonnet to show them.
    "And soldiers," I added, drawing a military hat with plumes.
    They never expressed horror or disapproval, nor indeed much surprise-
just a keen interest. And the notes they made!-miles of them!
    But to return to our pussycats. We were a good deal impressed by this
achievement in breeding, and when they questioned us-I  can  tell  you  we
were well pumped for information-we told of what had been  done  for  dogs
and horses and cattle, but that there  was  no  effort  applied  to  cats,
except for show purposes.
    I wish I could represent the kind, quiet, steady, ingenious way  they
questioned us. It was not just curiosity-they weren't a bit  more  curious
about us than we were about them, if  as  much.  But  they  were  bent  on
understanding our kind of civilization, and their lines  of  interrogation
would gradually surround us and drive us in till  we  found  ourselves  up
against some admissions we did not want to make.
    "Are all these breeds of dogs you have made useful?" they asked.
    "Oh-useful! Why, the hunting dogs and  watchdogs  and  sheepdogs  are
useful-and sleddogs of course!-and ratters, I suppose, but we  don't  keep
dogs for their USEFULNESS. The dog is `the friend of man,' we say-we  love
    That they understood. "We love our cats that way. They surely are our
friends, and helpers, too. You can see how  intelligent  and  affectionate
they are."
    It was a fact. I'd never  seen  such  cats,  except  in  a  few  rare
instances.  Big,  handsome  silky  things,  friendly  with  everyone   and
devotedly attached to their special owners.
    "You must have a heartbreaking time drowning kittens," we  suggested.
But they said, "Oh, no! You see we care  for  them  as  you  do  for  your
valuable cattle. The fathers are few compared to the mothers, just  a  few
very fine ones in each town; they live quite happily in walled gardens and
the houses of their friends. But they only have a  mating  season  once  a
    "Rather hard on Thomas, isn't it?" suggested Terry.
    "Oh, no-truly! You see, it  is  many  centuries  that  we  have  been
breeding the kind of cats we  wanted.  They  are  healthy  and  happy  and
friendly, as you see. How do you manage with your dogs? Do you  keep  them
in pairs, or segregate the fathers, or what?"
    Then we explained that-well, that it wasn't  a  question  of  fathers
exactly; that nobody wanted a-a mother dog; that, well,  that  practically
all our dogs were males-there was only a very small percentage of  females
allowed to live.
    Then Zava, observing Terry with her grave sweet smile, quoted back at
him: "Rather hard on Thomas, isn't it? Do  they  enjoy  it-living  without
mates? Are your dogs as uniformly healthy and sweet-tempered as our cats?"
    Jeff laughed, eyeing Terry mischievously. As  a  matter  of  fact  we
began to feel Jeff something of a traitor-he so  often  flopped  over  and
took their side of things; also his medical knowledge gave him a different
point of view somehow.
    "I'm sorry to admit," he told them, "that the dog, with  us,  is  the
most diseased of any animal-next to man.  And  as  to  temper  -there  are
always some dogs who bite people-especially children."
    That was pure malice. You see, children were the-the RAISON D'ETRE in
this country. All our interlocutors sat up straight  at  once.  They  were
still gentle, still restrained, but there was a note of deep amazement  in
their voices.
    "Do we understand that you keep an animal-an unmated male  animalthat
bites children? About how many are there of them, please?"
    "Thousands-in a large city," said Jeff, "and nearly every family  has
one in the country."
    Terry  broke  in  at  this.  "You  must  not  imagine  they  are  all
dangerous-it's not one in a hundred that ever bites anybody. Why, they are
the best friends of the children-a boy doesn't have  half  a  chance  that
hasn't a dog to play with!"
    "And the girls?" asked Somel.
    "Oh-girls-why they like them too," he said, but his voice  flatted  a
little. They always noticed little things like that, we found later.
    Little by little they wrung from us the fact that the friend of  man,
in the city, was a prisoner; was taken out for his meager  exercise  on  a
leash; was liable not only to many diseases  but  to  the  one  destroying
horror of rabies; and, in many cases, for the safety of the citizens,  had
to go muzzled. Jeff maliciously added vivid instances he had known or read
of injury and death from mad dogs.
    They did not scold or fuss about it.  Calm  as  judges,  those  women
were. But they made notes; Moadine read them to us.
    "Please tell me if I have the facts  correct,"  she  said.  "In  your
country-and in others too?"
    "Yes," we admitted, "in most civilized countries."
    "In most civilized countries a kind of animal is  kept  which  is  no
longer useful-"
    "They are a protection," Terry insisted. "They bark if  burglars  try
to get in."
    Then she made notes of "burglars" and went on: "because of  the  love
which people bear to this animal."
    Zava interrupted here. "Is it the men or  the  women  who  love  this
animal so much?"
    "Both!" insisted Terry.
    "Equally?" she inquired.
    And Jeff said, "Nonsense, Terry-you know men like  dogs  better  than
women do-as a whole."
    "Because they love it so much-especially men.  This  animal  is  kept
shut up, or chained."
    "Why?" suddenly asked Somel. "We keep our father cats shut up because
we do not want too much fathering; but  they  are  not  chained-they  have
large grounds to run in."
    "A valuable dog would be stolen if he was let loose," I said. "We put
collars on them, with the owner's name, in case they  do  stray.  Besides,
they get into fights-a valuable dog might easily be  killed  by  a  bigger
    "I see," she said. "They fight when they  meet-is  that  common?"  We
admitted that it was.
    "They are kept shut up, or chained." She paused again, and asked, "Is
not a dog fond of  running?  Are  they  not  built  for  speed?"  That  we
admitted, too, and Jeff, still malicious, enlightened them further.
    "I've always thought it was a pathetic sight, both ways-to see a  man
or a woman taking a dog to walk-at the end of a string."
    "Have you bred them to be as neat in their habits as cats  are?"  was
the next question. And when Jeff told  them  of  the  effect  of  dogs  on
sidewalk merchandise and the streets generally,  they  found  it  hard  to
    You see, their country was as neat as a  Dutch  kitchen,  and  as  to
sanitation-but I might as well start in now with as much as I can remember
of the history of this amazing country before further description.
    And I'll summarize here a bit as to our  opportunities  for  learning
it. I will not try to repeat the careful, detailed account  I  lost;  I'll
just say that we were kept in that fortress a good six  months  all  told,
and after that, three in a pleasant enough city where-to Terry's  infinite
disgust-there were only "Colonels"  and  little  children-no  young  women
whatever. Then we were under surveillance for  three  more-always  with  a
tutor or a guard or both. But those months were pleasant because  we  were
really getting acquainted with the girls. That was a chapter!or will  be-I
will try to do justice to it.
    We learned their language pretty thoroughly-had to; and they  learned
ours much more quickly and used it to hasten our own studies.
    Jeff, who was never without reading matter  of  some  sort,  had  two
little books with him, a novel and a little anthology of verse; and I  had
one of those pocket encyclopedias-a fat little thing, bursting with facts.
These were used in our education-and theirs. Then as soon as we were up to
it, they furnished us with plenty of their own books, and I  went  in  for
the history part-I wanted to understand the genesis  of  this  miracle  of
    And this is what happened, according to their records.
    As to geography-at about the time of the Christian era this land  had
a free passage to the sea. I'm not saying where,  for  good  reasons.  But
there was a fairly easy pass through that wall of mountains behind us, and
there is no doubt in my mind that these people were of  Aryan  stock,  and
were once in contact with the best civilization of  the  old  world.  They
were "white," but somewhat darker than our northern races because of their
constant exposure to sun and air.
    The country was far larger then, including much land beyond the pass,
and a strip of coast. They had ships, commerce, an  army,  a  king-for  at
that time they were what they so calmly called us -a bi-sexual race.
    What happened to them first  was  merely  a  succession  of  historic
misfortunes such as have befallen other nations often  enough.  They  were
decimated by war, driven up from their coastline till finally the  reduced
population,  with  many  of  the  men  killed  in  battle,  occupied  this
hinterland, and defended it for years, in the mountain  passes.  Where  it
was open to any possible attack from below they strengthened  the  natural
defenses so that it became unscalably secure, as we found it.
    They were a polygamous people, and a slave-holding people,  like  all
of their time; and during the generation or two of this struggle to defend
their mountain home they built the fortresses, such as  the  one  we  were
held in, and other of their oldest buildings, some still in  use.  Nothing
but earthquakes could destroy such architecture-huge solid blocks, holding
by their own weight. They must have had efficient workmen  and  enough  of
them in those days.
    They made a brave fight for their existence, but no nation can  stand
up against what the steamship companies call "an act of  God."  While  the
whole fighting force was doing its best to defend their mountain  pathway,
there occurred a volcanic outburst,  with  some  local  tremors,  and  the
result was the complete filling up of the pass-their only outlet.  Instead
of a passage, a new ridge, sheer and high, stood between them and the sea;
they were walled in, and beneath that wall lay their  whole  little  army.
Very few men were left alive, save the slaves; and these now seized  their
opportunity, rose in revolt, killed their remaining masters  even  to  the
youngest boy, killed the old women too, and the mothers, intending to take
possession of the country with the remaining young women and girls.
    But this succession of misfortunes was too much for those  infuriated
virgins. There were many of them, and but few of these  would-be  masters,
so the young women, instead of submitting, rose in sheer  desperation  and
slew their brutal conquerors.
    This sounds like Titus Andronicus, I know, but that is their account.
I suppose they were about crazy-can you blame them?
    There was literally no one left on this beautiful  high  garden  land
but a bunch of hysterical girls and some older slave women.
    That was about two thousand years ago.
    At first there was a period of sheer despair. The  mountains  towered
between them and their old enemies, but  also  between  them  and  escape.
There was no way up or down or out-they simply had  to  stay  there.  Some
were for suicide, but not the majority. They must have been a plucky  lot,
as a whole, and they decided to live-as long as they did live.  Of  course
they had hope, as youth must, that something would happen to change  their
    So they set to work, to bury the dead, to plow and sow, to  care  for
one another.
    Speaking of burying the dead, I will set down while I  think  of  it,
that they had adopted cremation in about the thirteenth century,  for  the
same reason that they had left off raising cattle -they  could  not  spare
the  room.  They  were  much  surprised  to  learn  that  we  were   still
burying-asked our reasons for it, and were much dissatisfied with what  we
gave. We told them of the belief in the resurrection of the body, and they
asked if our God was not as well able to resurrect from ashes as from long
corruption. We told them of how people thought it repugnant to have  their
loved ones burn, and they asked if it was  less  repugnant  to  have  them
decay. They were inconveniently reasonable, those women.
    Well-that original bunch of girls set to work to clean up  the  place
and make their living as best they could.  Some  of  the  remaining  slave
women rendered invaluable service, teaching such trades as they knew. They
had such records as were then kept, all the tools and  implements  of  the
time, and a most fertile land to work in.
    There  were  a  handful  of  the  younger  matrons  who  had  escaped
slaughter, and a few babies were born after the cataclysm  -but  only  two
boys, and they both died.
    For five or ten years they  worked  together,  growing  stronger  and
wiser  and  more  and  more  mutually  attached,  and  then  the   miracle
happened-one of these young women bore a child. Of course they all thought
there must be a man somewhere, but none was found. Then  they  decided  it
must be a direct gift from the gods, and placed the proud  mother  in  the
Temple of Maaia -their  Goddess  of  Motherhood-under  strict  watch.  And
there, as years passed, this wonder-woman bore child after child, five  of
them-all girls.
    I did my best, keenly interested as I have always been  in  sociology
and social psychology, to reconstruct in my  mind  the  real  position  of
these ancient women. There were some five or six hundred of them, and they
were harem-bred; yet for the  few  preceding  generations  they  had  been
reared in the atmosphere of such heroic struggle that the stock must  have
been toughened somewhat. Left alone in that terrific orphanhood, they  had
clung together, supporting one  another  and  their  little  sisters,  and
developing unknown  powers  in  the  stress  of  new  necessity.  To  this
pain-hardened and work-strengthened group, who had lost not only the  love
and care of parents, but the hope of ever having children  of  their  own,
there now dawned the new hope.
    Here at last was Motherhood, and though it was not for  all  of  them
personally, it might-if the power was inherited-found here a new race.
    It may be imagined how those five Daughters of Maaia, Children of the
Temple, Mothers of the Future-they had all the titles that love  and  hope
and reverence could give-were reared. The whole  little  nation  of  women
surrounded them with loving service, and waited, between a boundless  hope
and an equally boundless despair, to see if they, too, would be mothers.
    And they were! As fast as they reached the age  of  twenty-five  they
began bearing. Each  of  them,  like  her  mother,  bore  five  daughters.
Presently there were twenty-five New Women, Mothers in  their  own  right,
and the whole spirit  of  the  country  changed  from  mourning  and  mere
courageous resignation to proud joy. The older women, those who remembered
men, died off; the youngest of all the first lot of course died too, after
a while, and by that time there  were  left  one  hundred  and  fifty-five
parthenogenetic women, founding a new race.
    They inherited all that the devoted care of that  declining  band  of
original ones could leave them. Their little country was quite safe. Their
farms and gardens were all in full production. Such industries as they had
were in careful order. The records of their past were all  preserved,  and
for years the older women had spent their time in the best  teaching  they
were capable of, that they might leave to the little group of sisters  and
mothers all they possessed of skill and knowledge.
    There you have the start of Herland! One family, all  descended  from
one mother! She lived to a hundred years old; lived to see her hundred and
twenty-five great-granddaughters born; lived as Queen-Priestess-Mother  of
them all; and died with a nobler pride and a fuller joy than  perhaps  any
human soul has ever known-she alone had founded a new race!
    The first five daughters had grown up in an atmosphere of holy  calm,
of awed watchful waiting, of breathless prayer.  To  them  the  longed-for
motherhood was not only  a  personal  joy,  but  a  nation's  hope.  Their
twenty-five daughters in turn, with  a  stronger  hope,  a  richer,  wider
outlook, with the devoted love and care of all the  surviving  population,
grew up as a holy sisterhood, their whole ardent youth looking forward  to
their great office. And at last they were  left  alone;  the  white-haired
First Mother was gone, and this  one  family,  five  sisters,  twenty-five
first cousins, and a hundred and twenty-five second cousins, began  a  new
    Here you have human beings, unquestionably, but what we were slow  in
understanding was how these ultra-women, inheriting only from  women,  had
eliminated not only certain masculine characteristics, which of course  we
did not look for, but so much of what we had  always  thought  essentially
    The tradition of men as guardians and protectors had quite died  out.
These stalwart virgins had no  men  to  fear  and  therefore  no  need  of
protection. As to wild beasts-there were none in their sheltered land.
    The power of mother-love, that maternal instinct we so  highly  laud,
was theirs of course, raised to  its  highest  power;  and  a  sister-love
which, even while recognizing the actual relationship, we found it hard to
    Terry, incredulous, even contemptuous, when we were alone, refused to
believe the story. "A lot of traditions as old as Herodotus-and  about  as
trustworthy!" he said. "It's likely womenjust a pack of  women-would  have
hung together like that! We all know women can't organize-that they  scrap
like anythingare frightfully jealous."
    "But these New Ladies didn't have anyone to be jealous of, remember,"
drawled Jeff.
    "That's a likely story," Terry sneered.
    "Why don't you invent a likelier one?" I asked  him.  "Here  ARE  the
women-nothing but women, and you yourself admit there's no trace of a  man
in the country." This was after we had been about a good deal.
    "I'll admit that," he growled. "And it's a big miss, too. There's not
only no fun without 'em-no real  sport-no  competition;  but  these  women
aren't WOMANLY. You know they aren't."
    That kind of talk always set Jeff going; and I gradually grew to side
with him. "Then you don't call a breed  of  women  whose  one  concern  is
motherhood-womanly?" he asked.
    "Indeed  I  don't,"  snapped  Terry.  "What  does  a  man  care   for
motherhood-when  he  hasn't  a  ghost  of  a  chance  at  fatherhood?  And
besides-what's the  good  of  talking  sentiment  when  we  are  just  men
together? What a man wants of women is a good  deal  more  than  all  this
    We were as patient as possible with Terry. He had  lived  about  nine
months among the "Colonels" when he made that outburst; and with no chance
at any more strenuous excitement than our gymnastics gave us-save for  our
escape fiasco. I don't suppose Terry had ever lived so long  with  neither
Love, Combat, nor Danger to employ his superabundant energies, and he  was
irritable. Neither Jeff  nor  I  found  it  so  wearing.  I  was  so  much
interested intellectually that our confinement did not wear on me; and  as
for Jeff, bless his heart!-he enjoyed the society of  that  tutor  of  his
almost as much as if she had been a girl-I don't know but more.
    As to Terry's criticism, it was true. These  women,  whose  essential
distinction of motherhood was the dominant note of  their  whole  culture,
were strikingly deficient in what we call "femininity." This led  me  very
promptly to the conviction that those "feminine charms" we are so fond  of
are not feminine at  all,  but  mere  reflected  masculinity-developed  to
please us because they had to please us, and in no way  essential  to  the
real fulfillment of their  great  process.  But  Terry  came  to  no  such
    "Just you wait till I get out!" he muttered.
    Then we both cautioned  him.  "Look  here,  Terry,  my  boy!  You  be
careful!  They've  been  mighty  good  to  us-but  do  you  remember   the
anesthesia? If you do any mischief in this  virgin  land,  beware  of  the
vengeance of the Maiden Aunts! Come, be a man! It won't be forever."
    To return to the history:
    They began at once to plan and built  for  their  children,  all  the
strength and intelligence of the whole of them devoted to that one  thing.
Each girl, of course, was reared in full knowledge of her Crowning Office,
and they had, even then, very high ideas of  the  molding  powers  of  the
mother, as well as those of education.
    Such high ideals as they had! Beauty,  Health,  Strength,  Intellect,
Goodness-for those they prayed and worked.
    They had no enemies; they themselves were all  sisters  and  friends.
The land was fair before them, and a great future began to form itself  in
their minds.
    The religion they had to  begin  with  was  much  like  that  of  old
Greece-a number of gods and goddesses;  but  they  lost  all  interest  in
deities of war and plunder, and gradually centered on their Mother Goddess
altogether. Then, as they grew more intelligent, this had  turned  into  a
sort of Maternal Pantheism.
    Here was Mother Earth, bearing fruit. All that they ate was fruit  of
motherhood, from seed or egg or their product.  By  motherhood  they  were
born and by motherhood they lived-life was, to them, just the  long  cycle
of motherhood.
    But very early they recognized the need of improvement as well as  of
mere  repetition,  and  devoted  their  combined  intelligence   to   that
problem-how to make the best kind of people. First  this  was  merely  the
hope of bearing better ones, and then they  recognized  that  however  the
children differed at birth, the real growth lay later-through education.
    Then things began to hum.
    As I learned more  and  more  to  appreciate  what  these  women  had
accomplished, the less proud I was of what we, with all our  manhood,  had
    You see, they had had no wars. They had had no kings, and no priests,
and no aristocracies. They were sisters,  and  as  they  grew,  they  grew
together-not by competition, but by united action.
    We tried to put in a good word for competition, and they were  keenly
interested. Indeed, we soon found from their earnest questions of us  that
they were prepared to believe our world must be better than  theirs.  They
were not sure; they wanted to know; but there was no such arrogance  about
them as might have been expected.
    We rather spread ourselves, telling of the advantages of competition:
how it developed fine qualities;  that  without  it  there  would  be  "no
stimulus to industry." Terry was very strong on that point.
    "No stimulus to industry," they repeated, with that puzzled  look  we
had learned to know so well. "STIMULUS? TO INDUSTRY? But don't you LIKE to
    "No man would work unless he had to," Terry declared.
    "Oh, no MAN! You mean that is one of your sex distinctions?"
    "No, indeed!" he said hastily. "No one, I mean, man or  woman,  would
work without incentive. Competition is the-the motor power, you see."
    "It is not with us," they explained gently, "so it is hard for us  to
understand. Do you mean, for instance, that with you no mother would  work
for her children without the stimulus of competition?"
    No, he admitted that he did not  mean  that.  Mothers,  he  supposed,
would of course work for their children in the home; but the world's  work
was different-that had to be done by men,  and  required  the  competitive
    All our teachers were eagerly interested.
    "We want so much to know-you have the whole world to tell us of,  and
we have only our little land! And there are two  of  you-the  two  sexesto
love and help one another. It must be a rich  and  wonderful  world.  Tell
us-what is the work of the world, that men do-which we have not here?"
    "Oh, everything," Terry said grandly. "The men  do  everything,  with
us." He squared his broad shoulders and lifted his chest. "We do not allow
our women to work. Women are loved-idolized-honored-kept in  the  home  to
care for the children."
    "What is `the home'?" asked Somel a little wistfully.
    But Zava begged: "Tell me first, do NO women work, really?"
    "Why, yes," Terry admitted. "Some have to, of the poorer sort."
    "About how many-in your country?"
    "About seven or eight million," said Jeff, as mischievous as ever.

                       6. Comparisons Are Odious

    I had always been proud  of  my  country,  of  course.  Everyone  is.
Compared with the other lands and other races I knew, the United States of
America had always seemed to me, speaking modestly, as good as the best of
    But  just  as  a  clear-eyed,  intelligent,  perfectly  honest,   and
well-meaning child will  frequently  jar  one's  self-esteem  by  innocent
questions, so did these women, without the slightest appearance of  malice
or satire, continually bring up points of discussion which  we  spent  our
best efforts in evading.
    Now that we were fairly proficient in their language, had read a  lot
about their history, and had given them the general outlines of ours, they
were able to press their questions closer.
    So when Jeff admitted the number of "women wage earners" we had, they
instantly asked for the total population,  for  the  proportion  of  adult
women, and found that there were but twenty million or so at the outside.
    "Then at least a  third  of  your  women  are-what  is  it  you  call
them-wage earners? And they are all POOR. What is POOR, exactly?"
    "Ours is the best country in the world as  to  poverty,"  Terry  told
them. "We do not have the  wretched  paupers  and  beggars  of  the  older
countries, I assure you. Why, European visitors tell  us,  we  don't  know
what poverty is."
    "Neither do we," answered Zava. "Won't you tell us?"
    Terry put it up to me, saying I was the sociologist, and I  explained
that the laws of nature require a struggle for existence, and that in  the
struggle the fittest survive,  and  the  unfit  perish.  In  our  economic
struggle, I continued, there was always  plenty  of  opportunity  for  the
fittest to reach the top, which they did, in great  numbers,  particularly
in our country; that where there was severe economic pressure  the  lowest
classes of course felt it the worst, and that among the poorest of all the
women were driven into the labor market by necessity.
    They listened closely, with the usual note-taking.
    "About one-third,  then,  belong  to  the  poorest  class,"  observed
Moadine gravely. "And two-thirds are the ones who are -how was it  you  so
beautifully put it?-`loved, honored, kept in the  home  to  care  for  the
children.' This inferior one-third have no children, I suppose?"
    Jeff-he was getting as bad as they were-solemnly replied that, on the
contrary, the poorer they were, the more children they had. That  too,  he
explained, was a law of nature: "Reproduction is in inverse proportion  to
    "These `laws of nature,'" Zava gently asked, "are they all  the  laws
you have?"
    "I should say not!" protested Terry. "We have systems of law that  go
back thousands and thousands of  years-just  as  you  do,  no  doubt,"  he
finished politely.
    "Oh no," Moadine told him. "We have no laws over a hundred years old,
and most of them are under twenty. In a few weeks  more,"  she  continued,
"we are going to have the pleasure of showing you over our little land and
explaining everything you care to know about.  We  want  you  to  see  our
    "And I assure you," Somel added, "that our people want to see you."
    Terry brightened up immensely at this news, and reconciled himself to
the renewed demands upon our capacity as teachers. It was  lucky  that  we
knew so little, really, and had no books to refer to,  else,  I  fancy  we
might all be there yet, teaching those eager-minded women about  the  rest
of the world.
    As to geography, they had the tradition of the Great Sea, beyond  the
mountains; and they could see for themselves  the  endless  thick-forested
plains below them-that was all. But from the few records of their  ancient
condition-not "before the flood" with them, but before that  mighty  quake
which had cut them off so completely-they were aware that there were other
peoples and other countries.
    In geology they were quite ignorant.
    As to anthropology, they had those same remnants of information about
other peoples, and the knowledge of the savagery of the occupants of those
dim forests below. Nevertheless, they had inferred  (marvelously  keen  on
inference and deduction their minds were!) the existence  and  development
of civilization in other places, much as we infer it on other planets.
    When our biplane  came  whirring  over  their  heads  in  that  first
scouting flight of ours, they had instantly accepted it as  proof  of  the
high development of Some Where Else, and had prepared  to  receive  us  as
cautiously and eagerly as we might prepare to welcome  visitors  who  came
"by meteor" from Mars.
    Of history-outside their own-they knew nothing, of course,  save  for
their ancient traditions.
    Of astronomy they had a fair working knowledge-that  is  a  very  old
science; and with it, a surprising range and facility in mathematics.
    Physiology they were quite familiar with. Indeed, when it came to the
simpler and more concrete sciences, wherein the subject matter was at hand
and they had but to  exercise  their  minds  upon  it,  the  results  were
surprising. They had worked out a chemistry, a botany, a physics, with all
the blends where a science touches an art, or merges into an industry,  to
such fullness of knowledge as made us feel like schoolchildren.
    Also we found this out-as soon as we were free of the country, and by
further study and question-that  what  one  knew,  all  knew,  to  a  very
considerable extent.
    I talked later with little mountain girls from the  fir-dark  valleys
away up at their highest part, and with sunburned  plainswomen  and  agile
foresters, all over the country, as  well  as  those  in  the  towns,  and
everywhere there was the same high level of intelligence.  Some  knew  far
more than others about one thingthey were specialized, of course; but  all
of them knew more about everything-that is, about everything  the  country
was acquainted with-than is the case with us.
    We boast a good deal of our "high level of general intelligence"  and
our  "compulsory  public  education,"   but   in   proportion   to   their
opportunities they were far better educated than our people.
    With what we told them, from what sketches and models we were able to
prepare, they constructed a sort of working outline to  fill  in  as  they
learned more.
    A big globe was made, and our uncertain maps, helped out by those  in
that precious yearbook thing I had, were tentatively indicated upon it.
    They sat in eager groups, masses of them who came  for  the  purpose,
and listened while Jeff roughly ran  over  the  geologic  history  of  the
earth, and showed them their own land in relation to the  others.  Out  of
that same pocket reference book of mine came facts and figures which  were
seized upon and placed in right relation with unerring acumen.
    Even Terry grew interested in this work. "If we  can  keep  this  up,
they'll be having us lecture to all the  girls'  schools  and  collegeshow
about that?" he suggested to us. "Don't know as I'd  object  to  being  an
Authority to such audiences."
    They did, in fact, urge us to give public lectures later, but not  to
the hearers or with the purpose we expected.
    What they were doing with us was like-like-well,  say  like  Napoleon
extracting military information from a few illiterate peasants. They  knew
just what to ask, and just what use to make of  it;  they  had  mechanical
appliances for disseminating information almost equal to ours at home; and
by the time we were led forth to lecture,  our  audiences  had  thoroughly
mastered a wellarranged digest of all  we  had  previously  given  to  our
teachers, and were prepared with such notes and questions  as  might  have
intimidated a university professor.
    They were not audiences of girls, either. It was some time before  we
were allowed to meet the young women.

    "Do you mind telling what you intend to  do  with  us?"  Terry  burst
forth one day, facing the  calm  and  friendly  Moadine  with  that  funny
half-blustering air of his. At first he used to storm and flourish quite a
good deal, but nothing seemed to amuse them more; they would gather around
and watch him as if it was  an  exhibition,  politely,  but  with  evident
interest. So he learned to check himself, and was almost reasonable in his
bearing-but not quite.
    She announced smoothly and evenly: "Not in the least.  I  thought  it
was quite plain. We are trying to learn of you all we can,  and  to  teach
you what you are willing to learn of our country."
    "Is that all?" he insisted.
    She smiled a quiet enigmatic smile. "That depends."
    "Depends on what?"
    "Mainly on yourselves," she replied.
    "Why do you keep us shut up so closely?"
    "Because we do not feel quite safe in allowing  you  at  large  where
there are so many young women."
    Terry was really pleased at that. He had thought as  much,  inwardly;
but he pushed the question. "Why should you be afraid? We are gentlemen."
    She smiled that little  smile  again,  and  asked:  "Are  `gentlemen'
always safe?"
    "You surely do not think that any of us," he said it with a good deal
of emphasis on the "us," "would hurt your young girls?"
    "Oh no," she said quickly, in real surprise. "The danger is quite the
other way. They might hurt you. If, by any accident, you did harm any  one
of us, you would have to face a million mothers."
    He looked so amazed and outraged that Jeff and  I  laughed  outright,
but she went on gently.
    "I do not think you quite understand yet. You are but men, three men,
in a country where the whole population are mothersor  are  going  to  be.
Motherhood means to us something which I cannot yet discover in any of the
countries of which you tell us. You have spoken"-she turned to  Jeff,  "of
Human Brotherhood as a great idea among you, but even that I judge is  far
from a practical expression?"
    Jeff nodded rather sadly. "Very far-" he said.
    "Here we have Human Motherhood-in full working  use,"  she  went  on.
"Nothing else except the literal sisterhood of our  origin,  and  the  far
higher and deeper union of our social growth.
    "The children in this country are the one center and focus of all our
thoughts. Every step of our advance is always considered in its effect  on
them-on the race. You see, we are MOTHERS," she repeated, as  if  in  that
she had said it all.
    "I don't see how that fact-which is shared  by  all  womenconstitutes
any risk to us," Terry  persisted.  "You  mean  they  would  defend  their
children from attack. Of  course.  Any  mothers  would.  But  we  are  not
savages, my dear lady; we are not going to hurt any mother's child."
    They looked at one another and shook their heads a little,  but  Zava
turned to Jeff and urged him to make us see-said he seemed  to  understand
more fully than we did. And he tried.
    I can see it now, or at least much more of it, but it has taken me  a
long time, and a good deal of honest intellectual effort.
    What they call Motherhood was like this:
    They began with a really high degree of social development, something
like that of Ancient Egypt or Greece.  Then  they  suffered  the  loss  of
everything masculine, and supposed at  first  that  all  human  power  and
safety had gone too. Then they developed this virgin birth capacity. Then,
since the prosperity of their children depended on  it,  the  fullest  and
subtlest coordination began to be practiced.
    I remember how long Terry balked at the evident  unanimity  of  these
women-the  most  conspicuous  feature  of  their  whole   culture.   "It's
impossible!" he would insist. "Women cannot cooperate-it's against nature.
    When we urged the obvious facts  he  would  say:  "Fiddlesticks!"  or
"Hang your facts-I tell you it can't be done!" And we never  succeeded  in
shutting him up till Jeff dragged in the hymenoptera.
    "`Go to  the  ant,  thou  sluggard'-and  learn  something,"  he  said
triumphantly. "Don't they cooperate pretty well? You can't beat  it.  This
place is just like an enormous anthill-you know an anthill is nothing  but
a nursery. And how about bees? Don't they manage to cooperate and love one

                  As the birds do love the Spring
                  Or the bees their careful king,

    as that precious Constable had it. Just show me a combination of male
creatures, bird, bug, or beast, that works as well, will you?  Or  one  of
our masculine countries where the people work together as well as they  do
here! I tell you, women are the natural cooperators, not men!"
    Terry had to learn a good many things he did not want to.
    To go back to my little analysis of what happened:
    They developed all this close inter-service in the interests of their
children. To do the best work they  had  to  specialize,  of  course;  the
children needed spinners and weavers, farmers  and  gardeners,  carpenters
and masons, as well as mothers.
    Then came the filling up of the place. When a  population  multiplies
by five every thirty years it  soon  reaches  the  limits  of  a  country,
especially a small one like  this.  They  very  soon  eliminated  all  the
grazing cattle-sheep were the last to go, I believe. Also, they worked out
a system of intensive agriculture surpassing anything  I  ever  heard  of,
with the very forests all reset with fruit- or nut-bearing trees.
    Do what they would, however, there soon came a time  when  they  were
confronted with the problem of "the pressure of population"  in  an  acute
form. There was really crowding, and with it, unavoidably,  a  decline  in
    And how did those women meet it?
    Not  by  a  "struggle  for  existence"  which  would  result  in   an
everlasting writhing mass of underbred people trying to get ahead  of  one
another-some  few  on  top,  temporarily,  many  constantly  crushed   out
underneath, a hopeless substratum  of  paupers  and  degenerates,  and  no
serenity or peace for anyone, no possibility for  really  noble  qualities
among the people at large.
    Neither did they start off on predatory excursions to get  more  land
from somebody else, or to get more food from somebody  else,  to  maintain
their struggling mass.
    Not at all. They sat down in council together  and  thought  it  out.
Very clear, strong thinkers they were. They said: "With our best endeavors
this country will support about so  many  people,  with  the  standard  of
peace, comfort, health, beauty, and progress we demand. Very well. That is
all the people we will make."

    There you have it. You see, they were Mothers, not in  our  sense  of
helpless involuntary fecundity, forced to  fill  and  overfill  the  land,
every land, and then see their children suffer,  sin,  and  die,  fighting
horribly with one another; but in the sense of Conscious Makers of People.
Mother-love with them was not a brute passion, a mere "instinct," a wholly
personal feeling; it was-a religion.
    It included that limitless feeling of sisterhood, that wide unity  in
service, which was so difficult for us to  grasp.  And  it  was  National,
Racial, Human-oh, I don't know how to say it.
    We are used to seeing what we call "a mother" completely  wrapped  up
in her own pink  bundle  of  fascinating  babyhood,  and  taking  but  the
faintest theoretic interest in anybody else's bundle, to  say  nothing  of
the common needs of ALL the bundles. But  these  women  were  working  all
together at the grandest of tasks-they were Making  People-and  they  made
them well.
    There followed a period of "negative eugenics" which must  have  been
an appalling sacrifice. We are commonly willing to "lay  down  our  lives"
for our country, but they had to forego motherhood for  their  country-and
it was precisely the hardest thing for them to do.
    When I got this far in my reading I went to Somel for more light.  We
were as friendly by that time as I had ever  been  in  my  life  with  any
woman. A mighty comfortable soul she  was,  giving  one  the  nice  smooth
mother-feeling a man likes in a woman,  and  yet  giving  also  the  clear
intelligence  and  dependableness  I  used  to  assume  to  be   masculine
qualities. We had talked volumes already.
    "See here," said I. "Here was this dreadful period when they got  far
too thick, and decided to limit the population. We  have  a  lot  of  talk
about that among us, but your position is so different that  I'd  like  to
know a little more about it.
    "I understand that you make Motherhood the  highest  social  servicea
sacrament, really; that it is only undertaken once, by the majority of the
population; that those held unfit are not allowed even that; and  that  to
be encouraged to bear more than one child is the very highest  reward  and
honor in the power of the state."
    (She interpolated here that the nearest approach  to  an  aristocracy
they had was to come of a line of "Over  Mothers"those  who  had  been  so
    "But what I do not understand, naturally, is how you  prevent  it.  I
gathered that each woman had five. You have no tyrannical husbands to hold
in check-and you surely do not destroy the unborn-"
    The look of ghastly horror she gave me  I  shall  never  forget.  She
started from her chair, pale, her eyes blazing.
    "Destroy the unborn-!" she said in a hard whisper. "Do men do that in
your country?"
    "Men!" I began to answer, rather hotly, and then saw the gulf  before
me. None of us wanted these women to think that  OUR  women,  of  whom  we
boasted so proudly, were in any way inferior to them. I am ashamed to  say
that  I  equivocated.  I  told  her   of   certain   criminal   types   of
women-perverts, or crazy, who had been known to commit infanticide. I told
her, truly enough, that there was much in  our  land  which  was  open  to
criticism, but that I hated to dwell on our defects until they  understood
us and our conditions better.
    And, making a wide detour, I scrambled back to  my  question  of  how
they limited the population.
    As for Somel, she seemed sorry, a little ashamed  even,  of  her  too
clearly expressed amazement. As I look back now, knowing them better, I am
more and more and more amazed as I appreciate the exquisite courtesy  with
which they had received over and over again statements and  admissions  on
our part which must have revolted them to the soul.
    She explained to me, with sweet seriousness, that as I had  supposed,
at first each woman bore five children; and that, in their eager desire to
build up a nation, they had gone on in that way for a few centuries,  till
they were confronted with the absolute need of  a  limit.  This  fact  was
equally plain to all-all were equally interested.
    They were now as anxious to check their wonderful power as  they  had
been to develop it; and for some generations gave the  matter  their  most
earnest thought and study.
    "We were living on rations before we worked it out," she  said.  "But
we did work it out. You see, before a child comes to one of us there is  a
period of utter exaltation-the whole being is uplifted and filled  with  a
concentrated desire for that child. We learned to  look  forward  to  that
period with the greatest caution. Often our young  women,  those  to  whom
motherhood had not yet come, would voluntarily defer it.  When  that  deep
inner demand for a child began to be felt she would deliberately engage in
the most active work, physical and mental; and even more important,  would
solace her longing by the direct care and service of the babies we already
    She paused. Her wise sweet face grew deeply, reverently tender.
    "We soon grew to see that mother-love has more than  one  channel  of
expression. I think the reason our children are so-so fully loved, by  all
of us, is that we never-any of us-have enough of our own."
    This seemed to me infinitely pathetic, and I said so. "We  have  much
that is bitter and hard in our life at home," I told her, "but this  seems
to me piteous beyond words-a whole nation of starving mothers!"
    But  she  smiled  her  deep  contented  smile,  and  said   I   quite
    "We each go without a certain range of personal joy," she said,  "but
remember-we each have a million children to love and serve-OUR children."
    It was beyond me. To hear a lot of women talk about  "our  children"!
But I suppose that is the way the ants and bees would talk-do talk, maybe.
    That was what they did, anyhow.
    When a woman chose to be a mother, she allowed  the  childlonging  to
grow within her till it worked its natural miracle. When she  did  not  so
choose she put the whole thing out of her mind, and fed her heart with the
other babies.
    Let  me  see-with  us,  children-minors,  that  is-constitute   about
three-fifths of the population; with them only about  onethird,  or  less.
And precious-! No sole heir to an empire's throne, no solitary millionaire
baby, no only child of middle-aged parents, could compare as an idol  with
these Herland children.
    But before I start on that subject  I  must  finish  up  that  little
analysis I was trying to make.
    They did effectually and permanently limit the population in numbers,
so that the country furnished plenty for the fullest, richest life for all
of them: plenty of everything, including room, air, solitude even.
    And then they set to work to improve that population in  qualitysince
they were  restricted  in  quantity.  This  they  had  been  at  work  on,
uninterruptedly, for some fifteen hundred years. Do you wonder  they  were
nice people?
    Physiology, hygiene, sanitation, physical culture-all  that  line  of
work had been perfected long since. Sickness  was  almost  wholly  unknown
among them, so much so that a previously high development in what we  call
the "science of medicine" had become practically a lost art. They  were  a
clean-bred, vigorous lot, having the best of care, the most perfect living
conditions always.
    When it came to psychology-there was no one thing which  left  us  so
dumbfounded,  so  really  awed,  as  the  everyday  working  knowledge-and
practice-they had in this line. As we learned more  and  more  of  it,  we
learned to appreciate the  exquisite  mastery  with  which  we  ourselves,
strangers of alien race, of unknown opposite sex, had been understood  and
provided for from the first.
    With this wide, deep, thorough knowledge, they had met and solved the
problems of education in ways some of which I hope to  make  clear  later.
Those nation-loved children of theirs compared with  the  average  in  our
country as the most perfectly cultivated, richly developed  roses  compare
with-tumbleweeds. Yet they did not SEEM "cultivated"  at  all-it  had  all
become a natural condition.
    And this people, steadily developing  in  mental  capacity,  in  will
power, in social devotion, had been playing with the arts and  sciences-as
far as they knew them-for  a  good  many  centuries  now  with  inevitable
    Into this quiet lovely land, among these wise, sweet,  strong  women,
we, in our easy assumption of superiority, had suddenly arrived; and  now,
tamed and trained to a degree  they  considered  safe,  we  were  at  last
brought out to see the country, to know the people.

                         7. Our Growing Modesty

    Being at last considered sufficiently tamed and trained to be trusted
with scissors, we barbered ourselves as best  we  could.  A  close-trimmed
beard is certainly more comfortable than a full  one.  Razors,  naturally,
they could not supply.
    "With so many old women you'd think there'd be some razors,"  sneered
Terry. Whereat Jeff pointed  out  that  he  never  before  had  seen  such
complete absence of facial hair on women.
    "Looks to me as if the absence of men made them more feminine in that
regard, anyhow," he suggested.
    "Well, it's the only one then," Terry  reluctantly  agreed.  "A  less
feminine lot I never saw. A child apiece doesn't  seem  to  be  enough  to
develop what I call motherliness."
    Terry's idea of motherliness was the usual one, involving a  baby  in
arms, or "a little flock about her knees," and the complete absorption  of
the mother in said baby or flock. A motherliness which dominated  society,
which influenced every art and industry, which  absolutely  protected  all
childhood, and gave to it the most perfect care and training, did not seem
motherly-to Terry.
    We  had  become  well  used  to  the  clothes.  They  were  quite  as
comfortable as our own-in some ways more so-and undeniably better looking.
As to pockets, they left nothing to be desired. That  second  garment  was
fairly quilted with pockets. They were most ingeniously arranged, so as to
be convenient to the hand and not inconvenient to the body,  and  were  so
placed as at once to strengthen the garment and add  decorative  lines  of
    In this, as in so many other points we had now to observe, there  was
shown the action of a practical intelligence, coupled with  fine  artistic
feeling, and, apparently, untrammeled by any injurious influences.
    Our first step of comparative freedom was a personally conducted tour
of the country. No pentagonal bodyguard now! Only our special tutors,  and
we got on famously with them. Jeff said he loved Zava like  an  aunt-"only
jollier than any aunt I ever saw"; Somel and I were  as  chummy  as  could
be-the best of friends; but it was funny to watch Terry and  Moadine.  She
was patient with him, and courteous, but it  was  like  the  patience  and
courtesy of some great man, say a skilled, experienced  diplomat,  with  a
schoolgirl. Her grave acquiescence with his most  preposterous  expression
of feeling; her genial laughter, not only with,  but,  I  often  felt,  at
him-though  impeccably  polite;  her  innocent  questions,  which   almost
invariably led him to say more than he intended-Jeff and I  found  it  all
amusing to watch.
    He never seemed to recognize that quiet  background  of  superiority.
When she dropped an argument he always thought he had silenced  her;  when
she laughed he thought it tribute to his wit.
    I hated to admit to myself how much Terry had sunk in my esteem. Jeff
felt it too, I am sure; but neither of us admitted it  to  the  other.  At
home we had measured him with other men, and, though we knew his failings,
he was by no means an unusual type. We knew his virtues too, and they  had
always seemed more prominent than the  faults.  Measured  among  women-our
women at home, I mean-he had always stood high. He  was  visibly  popular.
Even where his habits were known, there was no discrimination against him;
in some cases his reputation for what  was  felicitously  termed  "gaiety"
seemed a special charm.
    But here, against the calm wisdom and quiet restrained humor of these
women, with only that blessed Jeff and my inconspicuous  self  to  compare
with, Terry did stand out rather strong.
    As "a man among men," he didn't; as a man among-I shall have to  say,
"females," he didn't; his intense masculinity seemed only  fit  complement
to their intense femininity. But here he was all out of drawing.
    Moadine was a big woman, with a balanced strength that seldom showed.
Her eye was as quietly watchful as a fencer's. She maintained  a  pleasant
relation with her charge, but I doubt if many, even in that country, could
have done as well.
    He called her "Maud," amongst ourselves, and said she was "a good old
soul, but a little slow"; wherein he was quite wrong. Needless to say,  he
called Jeff's teacher "Java," and sometimes "Mocha,"  or  plain  "Coffee";
when specially mischievous, "Chicory," and even "Postum." But Somel rather
escaped this form of humor, save for a rather forced "Some 'ell."
    "Don't you people have but one name?" he asked one day, after we  had
been introduced to a whole group of them, all with pleasant, few-syllabled
strange names, like the ones we knew.
    "Oh yes," Moadine told him. "A good many of us have  another,  as  we
get on in life-a descriptive one. That is the name we earn. Sometimes even
that is changed, or added to, in an  unusually  rich  life.  Such  as  our
present Land Mother-what you call president or king, I  believe.  She  was
called Mera, even as a child; that means `thinker.' Later there was  added
Du-Du-Mera -the wise thinker, and now we all know  her  as  O-du-meragreat
and wise thinker. You shall meet her."
    "No  surnames  at  all  then?"  pursued  Terry,  with  his   somewhat
patronizing air. "No family name?"
    "Why no," she said. "Why should we?  We  are  all  descended  from  a
common source-all one `family' in  reality.  You  see,  our  comparatively
brief and limited history gives us that advantage at least."
    "But does not each mother want her own child to  bear  her  name?"  I
    "No-why should she? The child has its own."
    "Why for-for identification-so people will know whose child she is."
    "We keep the most careful records," said Somel. "Each one of  us  has
our exact line of descent all the way back to our dear First Mother. There
are many reasons for doing that. But as to everyone  knowing  which  child
belongs to which mother-why should she?"
    Here, as in so  many  other  instances,  we  were  led  to  feel  the
difference between the purely maternal and the paternal attitude of  mind.
The element of personal pride seemed strangely lacking.
    "How about your other works?" asked Jeff. "Don't you sign your  names
to them-books and statues and so on?"
    "Yes, surely, we are all glad  and  proud  to.  Not  only  books  and
statues, but all kinds of work. You will find little names on the  houses,
on the furniture, on the dishes sometimes. Because otherwise one is likely
to forget, and we want to know to whom to be grateful."
    "You speak as if it were done for the convenience of the consumer-not
the pride of the producer," I suggested.
    "It's both," said Somel. "We have pride enough in our work."
    "Then why not in your children?" urged Jeff.
    "But we have! We're magnificently proud of them," she insisted.
    "Then why not sign 'em?" said Terry triumphantly.
    Moadine turned to him with her slightly quizzical smile. "Because the
finished product is not a private one. When they are babies, we  do  speak
of them, at times, as `Essa's Lato,'  or  `Novine's  Amel';  but  that  is
merely descriptive and conversational. In  the  records,  of  course,  the
child stands in her own line of mothers; but in dealing with it personally
it is Lato, or Amel, without dragging in its ancestors."
    "But have you names enough to give a new one to each child?"
    "Assuredly we have, for each living generation."
    Then they asked about our methods, and found first that "we"  did  so
and so, and then that other  nations  did  differently.  Upon  which  they
wanted to know which method has been proved best-and we had to admit  that
so far as we knew there had been no attempt  at  comparison,  each  people
pursuing its own custom in the fond conviction of superiority, and  either
despising or quite ignoring the others.
    With these women the most salient quality in all  their  institutions
was reasonableness. When I dug into the records to follow out any line  of
development, that was the most astonishing thing-the conscious  effort  to
make it better.
    They had early observed the value of certain improvements, had easily
inferred that there was room for more, and  took  the  greatest  pains  to
develop two kinds of minds-the critic and inventor. Those  who  showed  an
early tendency to observe, to discriminate, to suggest, were given special
training for that function; and some  of  their  highest  officials  spent
their time in the most careful study of one or  another  branch  of  work,
with a view to its further improvement.
    In each generation there was sure to arrive some new mind  to  detect
faults and show need of alterations; and the whole corps of inventors  was
at hand to apply their special faculty at the point criticized, and  offer
    We had learned by this time not to open a discussion on any of  their
characteristics without first priming ourselves to answer questions  about
our own methods; so I kept  rather  quiet  on  this  matter  of  conscious
improvement. We were not prepared to show our way was better.
    There was growing in our minds, at least in Jeff's and mine,  a  keen
appreciation of the advantages of this strange country and its management.
Terry remained critical. We laid most of it to his  nerves.  He  certainly
was irritable.
    The most conspicuous feature of the whole land was the perfection  of
its food supply. We had begun to notice from that very first walk  in  the
forest, the first partial view from our 'plane. Now we were taken  to  see
this mighty garden, and shown its methods of culture.
    The country was about  the  size  of  Holland,  some  ten  or  twelve
thousand square miles. One could lose  a  good  many  Hollands  along  the
forest-smothered flanks of those mighty mountains. They had  a  population
of about three million-not a large one, but quality  is  something.  Three
million is quite enough to allow for  considerable  variation,  and  these
people varied more widely than we could at first account for.
    Terry had insisted that if they were  parthenogenetic  they'd  be  as
alike as so many ants or aphids; he urged  their  visible  differences  as
proof that there must be men-somewhere.
    But when we asked them, in our later,  more  intimate  conversations,
how they accounted for so  much  divergence  without  cross-fertilization,
they attributed it partly to the careful education,  which  followed  each
slight tendency to differ, and partly to the law of  mutation.  This  they
had found in their work with plants, and fully proven in their own case.
    Physically they were more alike than we, as they lacked all morbid or
excessive types. They were tall, strong, healthy, and beautiful as a race,
but differed individually in  a  wide  range  of  feature,  coloring,  and
    "But surely the most important growth is in mind-and in the things we
make," urged Somel. "Do you find your physical variation accompanied by  a
proportionate variation in ideas, feelings, and products? Or, among people
who look more alike, do you find their internal life  and  their  work  as
    We were rather doubtful on this point,  and  inclined  to  hold  that
there was more chance of improvement in greater physical variation.
    "It certainly should be," Zava admitted. "We have always thought it a
grave initial misfortune to have lost half our little world. Perhaps  that
is one reason why we have so striven for conscious improvement."
    "But  acquired  traits  are  not  transmissible,"   Terry   declared.
"Weissman has proved that."
    They never disputed our absolute statements, only made notes of them.
    "If that is so, then our improvement must be due either to  mutation,
or solely to education," she gravely pursued. "We certainly have improved.
It may be that all these higher qualities  were  latent  in  the  original
mother, that careful education is bringing them out, and that our personal
differences depend on slight variations in prenatal condition."
    "I think it is more in your  accumulated  culture,"  Jeff  suggested.
"And in the amazing psychic growth you have  made.  We  know  very  little
about methods of real soul culture-and you seem to know a great deal."
    Be that as it might, they  certainly  presented  a  higher  level  of
active intelligence, and of behavior, than we had so far  really  grasped.
Having known in our lives several people  who  showed  the  same  delicate
courtesy and were equally pleasant to live with, at least when  they  wore
their "company manners,"  we  had  assumed  that  our  companions  were  a
carefully chosen few. Later we were more and more impressed that all  this
gentle breeding was breeding; that they were born to  it,  reared  in  it,
that it was as natural and universal with them as the gentleness of  doves
or the alleged wisdom of serpents.
    As for the intelligence, I confess that this was the most  impressive
and, to me, most mortifying, of any single feature  of  Herland.  We  soon
ceased to comment on this or other matters which to them were such obvious
commonplaces as  to  call  forth  embarrassing  questions  about  our  own
    This was nowhere better shown than in that  matter  of  food  supply,
which I will now attempt to describe.
    Having improved their agriculture to the highest point, and carefully
estimated the number of persons who could comfortably live on their square
miles; having then limited their population  to  that  number,  one  would
think that was all there was to be done. But they had not thought  so.  To
them the country was a unit-it was theirs. They themselves were a unit,  a
conscious group; they thought in terms of the community.  As  such,  their
time-sense was not limited to the hopes and  ambitions  of  an  individual
life. Therefore, they habitually considered  and  carried  out  plans  for
improvement which might cover centuries.
    I had never seen, had scarcely  imagined,  human  beings  undertaking
such a work as the deliberate replanting of an  entire  forest  area  with
different kinds of trees. Yet this seemed  to  them  the  simplest  common
sense, like a man's plowing up an inferior  lawn  and  reseeding  it.  Now
every tree bore fruit-edible fruit, that is. In the case of one  tree,  in
which they took especial pride, it had originally no fruit at all-that is,
none humanly edibleyet was so beautiful that they wished to keep  it.  For
nine  hundred  years  they  had  experimented,  and  now  showed  us  this
particularly lovely graceful tree,  with  a  profuse  crop  of  nutritious
    They had  early  decided  that  trees  were  the  best  food  plants,
requiring far less labor in tilling the soil, and bearing a larger  amount
of food for the same ground space; also doing much to preserve and  enrich
the soil.
    Due regard had been paid to seasonable crops,  and  their  fruit  and
nuts, grains and berries, kept on almost the year through.
    On the  higher  part  of  the  country,  near  the  backing  wall  of
mountains, they had a real  winter  with  snow.  Toward  the  southeastern
point, where there was a  large  valley  with  a  lake  whose  outlet  was
subterranean, the climate was like that of California, and citrus  fruits,
figs, and olives grew abundantly.
    What impressed me particularly was  their  scheme  of  fertilization.
Here was this little shut-in piece of land where one would have thought an
ordinary people would have been starved out long  ago  or  reduced  to  an
annual struggle for life.  These  careful  culturists  had  worked  out  a
perfect scheme of refeeding the soil with all that came out of it. All the
scraps and leavings of their food, plant waste from lumber work or textile
industry, all the solid matter  from  the  sewage,  properly  treated  and
combinedeverything which came from the earth went back to it.
    The practical  result  was  like  that  in  any  healthy  forest;  an
increasingly valuable soil was being built,  instead  of  the  progressive
impoverishment so often seen in the rest of the world.
    When this first burst upon us we made such  approving  comments  that
they were surprised that such obvious  common  sense  should  be  praised;
asked what our methods were;  and  we  had  some  difficulty  in-well,  in
diverting  them,  by  referring  to  the  extent  of  our  own  land,  and
the-admitted-carelessness with which we had skimmed the cream of it.
    At least we thought we had diverted them. Later I found that  besides
keeping a careful and accurate account of all we told  them,  they  had  a
sort of skeleton chart, on which the things we  said  and  the  things  we
palpably avoided saying were all set  down  and  studied.  It  really  was
child's play for those profound educators to work out a painfully accurate
estimate  of  our  conditions  -in  some  lines.  When  a  given  line  of
observation seemed to lead to some very  dreadful  inference  they  always
gave us the benefit of the doubt, leaving it open  to  further  knowledge.
Some of the things we had grown to accept  as  perfectly  natural,  or  as
belonging  to  our  human  limitations,  they  literally  could  not  have
believed; and, as I have said, we had all of us joined in a tacit endeavor
to conceal much of the social status at home.
    "Confound their grandmotherly minds!" Terry  said.  "Of  course  they
can't understand a Man's World! They aren't human -they're just a pack  of
Fe-Fe-Females!" This was after he had to admit their parthenogenesis.
    "I wish our grandfatherly minds had managed as well," said Jeff.  "Do
you really think it's to our credit that we have muddled  along  with  all
our poverty and disease and the like? They have peace and  plenty,  wealth
and beauty, goodness and intellect. Pretty good people, I think!"
    "You'll find they have their faults too," Terry insisted; and  partly
in self-defense, we all three began to look for those faults of theirs. We
had been very strong on this subject before we got there-in those baseless
speculations of ours.
    "Suppose there is a country of women only," Jeff had put it, over and
over. "What'll they be like?"
    And we had been cocksure as to the inevitable limitations, the faults
and vices, of a lot of women. We had expected them to  be  given  over  to
what we called "feminine vanity"-"frills and furbelows," and we found they
had evolved  a  costume  more  perfect  than  the  Chinese  dress,  richly
beautiful when so desired, always useful, of unfailing  dignity  and  good
    We had expected a dull submissive monotony, and found a daring social
inventiveness  far  beyond  our  own,  and  a  mechanical  and  scientific
development fully equal to ours.
    We had expected pettiness, and found a social  consciousness  besides
which our nations looked  like  quarreling  childrenfeebleminded  ones  at
    We had expected jealousy, and found a  broad  sisterly  affection,  a
fair-minded intelligence, to which we could produce no parallel.
    We had expected hysteria, and found a standard of health and vigor, a
calmness of temper, to which the habit of  profanity,  for  instance,  was
impossible to explain-we tried it.
    All these things even Terry had to admit, but he still insisted  that
we should find out the other side pretty soon.
    "It stands to reason, doesn't it?"  he  argued.  "The  whole  thing's
deuced unnatural-I'd say impossible if we weren't in it. And an  unnatural
condition's sure  to  have  unnatural  results.  You'll  find  some  awful
characteristics-see if you don't! For instance-we don't know yet what they
do with their criminalstheir defectives-their aged. You notice we  haven't
seen any! There's got to be something!"
    I was inclined to believe that there had to be something, so  I  took
the bull by the horns-the cow, I should say!-and asked Somel.
    "I want to find some flaw in all this perfection," I told her flatly.
"It simply isn't possible that three million people have no faults. We are
trying our best to understand and  learn-would  you  mind  helping  us  by
saying what, to your  minds,  are  the  worst  qualities  of  this  unique
civilization of yours?"
    We were  sitting  together  in  a  shaded  arbor,  in  one  of  those
eating-gardens of theirs. The delicious food had been eaten,  a  plate  of
fruit still before us. We could look out on one side  over  a  stretch  of
open country, quietly rich and lovely; on  the  other,  the  garden,  with
tables here and there, far apart enough for privacy. Let me say right here
that with all their careful "balance of population" there was no  crowding
in this country. There was room, space, a sunny breezy freedom everywhere.
    Somel set her chin upon her hand, her elbow on the  low  wall  beside
her, and looked off over the fair land.
    "Of course we have faults-all of us," she said. "In one way you might
say that we have more than we used to-that is, our standard of  perfection
seems to get farther and farther away. But we are not discouraged, because
our records do show gainconsiderable gain.
    "When  we  began-even  with  the  start  of  one  particularly  noble
mother-we inherited the characteristics of a long racerecord  behind  her.
And they cropped out from time to timealarmingly. But it is-yes, quite six
hundred years since we have had what you call a `criminal.'
    "We have, of course, made it our first  business  to  train  out,  to
breed out, when possible, the lowest types."
    "Breed out?" I asked. "How could you-with parthenogenesis?"
    "If the girl showing  the  bad  qualities  had  still  the  power  to
appreciate  social  duty,  we  appealed  to  her,  by  that,  to  renounce
motherhood. Some of the few  worst  types  were,  fortunately,  unable  to
reproduce. But if the fault was in  a  disproportionate  egotism-then  the
girl was sure she had the right to have children, even that hers would  be
better than others."
    "I can see that," I said. "And then she would be likely to rear  them
in the same spirit."
    "That we never allowed," answered Somel quietly.
    "Allowed?" I queried. "Allowed a mother to rear her own children?"
    "Certainly not," said Somel, "unless she was  fit  for  that  supreme
    This was rather a blow to my previous convictions.
    "But I thought motherhood was for each of you-"
    "Motherhood-yes, that is, maternity, to bear a child.  But  education
is our highest art, only allowed to our highest artists."
    "Education?" I was puzzled again. "I don't mean education. I mean  by
motherhood not only child-bearing, but the care of babies."
    "The care of babies involves education, and is entrusted only to  the
most fit," she repeated.
    "Then you separate  mother  and  child!"  I  cried  in  cold  horror,
something of  Terry's  feeling  creeping  over  me,  that  there  must  be
something wrong among these many virtues.
    "Not usually," she patiently explained. "You see, almost every  woman
values her maternity above everything else. Each girl holds it  close  and
dear, an  exquisite  joy,  a  crowning  honor,  the  most  intimate,  most
personal, most precious thing. That is, the child-rearing has come  to  be
with us a culture so profoundly studied, practiced with such subtlety  and
skill, that the more we love our children the less we are willing to trust
that process to unskilled hands-even our own."
    "But a mother's love-" I ventured.
    She studied my face, trying to work out a means of clear explanation.
    "You told us about  your  dentists,"  she  said,  at  length,  "those
quaintly specialized persons who spend their lives filling little holes in
other persons' teeth-even in children's teeth sometimes."
    "Yes?" I said, not getting her drift.
    "Does mother-love urge mothers-with you-to fill their own  children's
teeth? Or to wish to?"
    "Why  no-of  course  not,"  I  protested.  "But  that  is  a   highly
specialized craft. Surely the care of babies is open  to  any  woman  -any
    "We do not think so," she gently replied. "Those of us  who  are  the
most highly competent fulfill that office; and a  majority  of  our  girls
eagerly try for it-I assure you we have the very best."
    "But the poor mother-bereaved of her baby-"
    "Oh no!" she earnestly assured me. "Not in the least bereaved. It  is
her baby still-it is with her-she has not lost it. But she is not the only
one to care for it. There are others whom she knows to be wiser. She knows
it because she has studied as they did, practiced as they did, and  honors
their real superiority. For the child's sake, she is glad to have  for  it
this highest care."
    I was unconvinced. Besides, this was only hearsay; I had yet  to  see
the motherhood of Herland.

                        8. The Girls of Herland

    At last Terry's  ambition  was  realized.  We  were  invited,  always
courteously and with free choice on our part, to address general audiences
and classes of girls.
    I remember the first time-and how careful we were about our  clothes,
and our amateur barbering. Terry, in particular, was  fussy  to  a  degree
about the cut of his beard, and so critical of our combined efforts,  that
we handed him the shears and told him  to  please  himself.  We  began  to
rather prize those beards of ours; they were almost our  sole  distinction
among those tall and sturdy women, with their  cropped  hair  and  sexless
costume. Being offered  a  wide  selection  of  garments,  we  had  chosen
according to our personal taste, and were surprised to  find,  on  meeting
large audiences, that we were the most highly decorated, especially Terry.
    He was a very impressive figure, his strong features softened by  the
somewhat longer hair-though he made me trim it as closely as I  knew  how;
and he wore his richly embroidered tunic with its broad, loose girdle with
quite a Henry V air. Jeff looked more like-well, like  a  Huguenot  Lover;
and I don't know what I looked like, only that I  felt  very  comfortable.
When I got back to our  own  padded  armor  and  its  starched  borders  I
realized with acute regret how comfortable were those Herland clothes.
    We scanned that audience, looking for the three bright faces we knew;
but they were not to be seen. Just a multitude  of  girls:  quiet,  eager,
watchful, all eyes and ears to listen and learn.
    We had been urged to give, as  fully  as  we  cared  to,  a  sort  of
synopsis of world history, in brief, and to answer questions.
    "We are so utterly ignorant, you see," Moadine had explained  to  us.
"We know nothing but such science as we have  worked  out  for  ourselves,
just the brain work of one small halfcountry; and  you,  we  gather,  have
helped one another all over the globe, sharing your  discoveries,  pooling
your progress. How wonderful, how supremely  beautiful  your  civilization
must be!"
    Somel gave a further suggestion.
    "You do not have to begin all over again, as you did with us. We have
made a sort of digest of what we have learned from you, and  it  has  been
eagerly absorbed, all over the country. Perhaps you would like to see  our
    We were eager to see it, and deeply impressed. To us, at first, these
women, unavoidably ignorant of what to us was  the  basic  commonplace  of
knowledge, had seemed on the plane of children, or of savages. What we had
been forced to admit,  with  growing  acquaintance,  was  that  they  were
ignorant as  Plato  and  Aristotle  were,  but  with  a  highly  developed
mentality quite comparable to that of Ancient Greece.
    Far be it from me to lumber these pages with an account of what we so
imperfectly strove to teach them. The memorable fact is what  they  taught
us, or some faint glimpse of it. And at present, our  major  interest  was
not at all in the subject matter of our talk, but in the audience.
    Girls-hundreds of them-eager,  bright-eyed,  attentive  young  faces;
crowding questions, and, I regret to say, an increasing inability  on  our
part to answer them effectively.
    Our special guides, who were on the platform with us,  and  sometimes
aided in clarifying a  question  or,  oftener,  an  answer,  noticed  this
effect, and closed the formal lecture part of the evening rather shortly.
    "Our young women will be glad to meet you," Somel suggested, "to talk
with you more personally, if you are willing?"
    Willing! We were impatient and  said  as  much,  at  which  I  saw  a
flickering little smile cross Moadine's face. Even then,  with  all  those
eager young things waiting to talk to us, a  sudden  question  crossed  my
mind: "What was their point of view?  What  did  they  think  of  us?"  We
learned that later.
    Terry plunged in among those young creatures with a sort of  rapture,
somewhat as a glad swimmer takes to the sea. Jeff, with a rapt look on his
high-bred face, approached as to a sacrament. But I was a  little  chilled
by that last thought of mine, and kept my eyes open. I found time to watch
Jeff, even while I was surrounded by an eager group of  questioners-as  we
all wereand saw how his worshipping eyes, his grave courtesy, pleased  and
drew some of them; while others, rather stronger spirits  they  looked  to
be, drew away from his group to Terry's or mine.
    I watched Terry with special interest, knowing how he had longed  for
this time, and how irresistible he had always been at home.  And  I  could
see, just in snatches, of course, how his  suave  and  masterful  approach
seemed to irritate them; his too-intimate glances were  vaguely  resented,
his compliments puzzled and annoyed. Sometimes a  girl  would  flush,  not
with drooped eyelids and inviting timidity, but with  anger  and  a  quick
lift of the head. Girl after girl turned on her heel and left him, till he
had but a small ring of questioners, and they,  visibly,  were  the  least
"girlish" of the lot.
    I saw him looking pleased at first, as if he thought he was making  a
strong impression; but, finally, casting a look at Jeff, or me, he  seemed
less pleased-and less.
    As for me, I was most  agreeably  surprised.  At  home  I  never  was
"popular." I had my girl friends, good ones, but they were friends-nothing
else. Also they were of somewhat the same clan, not popular in  the  sense
of swarming admirers. But here, to my astonishment, I found my  crowd  was
the largest.
    I have to generalize, of course, rather telescoping many impressions;
but the first evening was a good sample of the impression  we  made.  Jeff
had a following, if I may call it that,  of  the  more  sentimental-though
that's not the word I want. The less practical,  perhaps;  the  girls  who
were artists of some sort, ethicists, teachers-that kind.
    Terry was  reduced  to  a  rather  combative  group:  keen,  logical,
inquiring minds, not overly sensitive,  the  very  kind  he  liked  least;
while, as for me-I became quite cocky over my general popularity.
    Terry was furious about it. We could hardly blame him.
    "Girls!" he burst forth, when that evening was over and  we  were  by
ourselves once more. "Call those GIRLS!"
   "Most delightful girls, I call them," said Jeff, his blue eyes
dreamily contented.
    "What do YOU call them?" I mildly inquired.
    "Boys! Nothing but boys, most of 'em. A standoffish, disagreeable lot
at that. Critical, impertinent youngsters. No girls at all."
    He was angry  and  severe,  not  a  little  jealous,  too,  I  think.
Afterward, when he found out just what  it  was  they  did  not  like,  he
changed his manner somewhat and got on better. He had to. For, in spite of
his criticism, they were girls, and,  furthermore,  all  the  girls  there
were! Always excepting our  three!-with  whom  we  presently  renewed  our
    When it came to courtship, which it soon did, I can  of  course  best
describe my own-and am least inclined to. But of Jeff I heard somewhat; he
was inclined to dwell reverently and admiringly, at some  length,  on  the
exalted sentiment and measureless perfection of his Celis; and Terry-Terry
made so many false starts and met so many rebuffs, that  by  the  time  he
really settled down to win Alima, he was considerably wiser. At  that,  it
was not smooth sailing. They broke and quarreled, over and over; he  would
rush off to console himself with some other fair one-the  other  fair  one
would have none of him-and he would drift back to Alima, becoming more and
more devoted each time.
    She  never  gave  an  inch.  A   big,   handsome   creature,   rather
exceptionally strong even in that race of strong women, with a proud  head
and sweeping level brows that lined across above her dark eager eyes  like
the wide wings of a soaring hawk.
    I was good friends with all three  of  them  but  best  of  all  with
Ellador, long before that feeling changed, for both of us.
    From her, and from Somel, who talked very freely with me,  I  learned
at last something of the viewpoint of Herland toward its visitors.
    Here they were, isolated, happy, contented, when the booming buzz  of
our biplane tore the air above them.
    Everybody heard it-saw it-for miles and miles, word flashed all  over
the country, and a council was held in every town and village.
    And this was their rapid determination:
    "From another country.  Probably  men.  Evidently  highly  civilized.
Doubtless possessed of much valuable knowledge. May  be  dangerous.  Catch
them if possible; tame and train them if necessary This may be a chance to
re-establish a bi-sexual state for our people."
    They were not afraid of us-three million highly intelligent  women-or
two million, counting only grown-ups-were not likely to be afraid of three
young men. We thought of them as "Women," and therefore timid; but it  was
two thousand years since they had  had  anything  to  be  afraid  of,  and
certainly more than one thousand since they had outgrown the feeling.
    We thought-at least Terry did-that we could have our  pick  of  them.
They thought-very cautiously and farsightedly-of picking us, if it  seemed
    All that time we were in  training  they  studied  us,  analyzed  us,
prepared reports about us, and this information  was  widely  disseminated
all about the land.
    Not a girl in that country had not been learning for months  as  much
as could  be  gathered  about  our  country,  our  culture,  our  personal
characters. No wonder their questions were hard to answer. But I am  sorry
to say, when we were at last brought out and-exhibited (I hate to call  it
that, but that's what it was), there was no rush of takers. Here was  poor
old Terry fondly imagining that at last he was free to stray in "a rosebud
garden of girls"-and behold! the rosebuds were all  with  keen  appraising
eye, studying us.
    They were interested, profoundly interested, but it was not the  kind
of interest we were looking for.
    To get an idea of their attitude you  have  to  hold  in  mind  their
extremely high sense of solidarity. They were not each choosing  a  lover;
they hadn't the faintest idea of love-sex-love, that  is.  These  girls-to
each of whom motherhood was a lodestar, and that motherhood exalted  above
a mere personal function, looked forward to as the highest social service,
as the sacrament of a lifetime-were now confronted with an opportunity  to
make the great step of changing their whole status, of reverting to  their
earlier bi-sexual order of nature.
    Beside this underlying consideration there was the limitless interest
and curiosity in our civilization, purely impersonal, and held by an order
of mind beside which we were like-schoolboys.
    It was small wonder that our lectures were not a success; and none at
all that our, or at least Terry's, advances  were  so  ill  received.  The
reason for my own comparative success was at first far from pleasing to my
    "We like you the best," Somel told me, "because you  seem  more  like
    "More like a lot of women!" I thought to myself disgustedly, and then
remembered how little like "women," in our derogatory  sense,  they  were.
She was smiling at me, reading my thought.
    "We can quite see that we do not seem like-women-to you.  Of  course,
in  a  bi-sexual  race  the  distinctive  feature  of  each  sex  must  be
intensified. But surely there are characteristics enough which  belong  to
People, aren't there? That's what I mean about you being more like us-more
like People. We feel at ease with you."
    Jeff's difficulty was his exalted gallantry. He idealized women,  and
was always looking for a chance to "protect" or  to  "serve"  them.  These
needed neither protection nor service. They were living in peace and power
and plenty; we were their guests, their prisoners, absolutely dependent.
    Of course we could promise whatsoever we might of advantages, if they
would come to our country; but the more we knew of  theirs,  the  less  we
    Terry's jewels and trinkets they prized as curios; handed them about,
asking questions as to workmanship, not in the  least  as  to  value;  and
discussed not ownership, but which museum to put them in.
    When a man has nothing to give a woman, is dependent  wholly  on  his
personal attraction, his courtship is under limitations.
    They were considering these two things: the  advisability  of  making
the Great Change; and the degree of personal adaptability which would best
serve that end.
    Here we had the advantage of our small personal experience with those
three fleet forest girls; and that served to draw us together.
    As for Ellador: Suppose you come  to  a  strange  land  and  find  it
pleasant enough-just a little more than ordinarily  pleasantand  then  you
find rich farmland, and then gardens, gorgeous gardens, and  then  palaces
full  of  rare  and  curious  treasuresincalculable,  inexhaustible,   and
then-mountains-like the Himalayas, and then the sea.
    I liked her that day she balanced on the branch before me  and  named
the trio. I thought of her most. Afterward I turned to her like  a  friend
when we met for the third time,  and  continued  the  acquaintance.  While
Jeff's ultra-devotion rather puzzled Celis, really put off  their  day  of
happiness,  while  Terry  and  Alima  quarreled  and  parted,  re-met  and
re-parted, Ellador and I grew to be close friends.
    We talked and talked. We took long  walks  together.  She  showed  me
things, explained them,  interpreted  much  that  I  had  not  understood.
Through her sympathetic intelligence I became more and more  comprehending
of the spirit of the people of Herland, more and more appreciative of  its
marvelous inner growth as well as outer perfection.
    I ceased to feel a  stranger,  a  prisoner.  There  was  a  sense  of
understanding, of identity, of purpose. We discussed-everything. And, as I
traveled farther and farther, exploring the rich, sweet soul  of  her,  my
sense of pleasant friendship  became  but  a  broad  foundation  for  such
height, such breadth, such interlocked combination of feeling as  left  me
fairly blinded with the wonder of it.
    As I've said, I had never cared very much for  women,  nor  they  for
me-not Terry-fashion. But this one-
    At first I never even thought of her "in that way," as the girls have
it. I had not come to the country with any Turkish-harem intentions, and I
was no woman-worshipper like Jeff. I just liked that girl "as  a  friend,"
as we say. That friendship grew like a tree. She was SUCH a good sport! We
did all kinds of things together. She taught me games  and  I  taught  her
games, and we raced and rowed and had all manner of fun, as well as higher
    Then, as I got  on  farther,  the  palace  and  treasures  and  snowy
mountain ranges opened up. I had never known there could be such  a  human
being. So-great. I don't mean talented. She  was  a  forester-one  of  the
best-but it was not that gift I mean. When I say GREAT, I mean  great-big,
all through. If I had known more of those women, as intimately,  I  should
not have found her so unique; but even  among  them  she  was  noble.  Her
mother was an Over Mother-and her grandmother, too, I heard later.
    So she told me more and more of her beautiful land; and I told her as
much, yes, more than I wanted to, about mine; and we  became  inseparable.
Then this deeper recognition came and grew. I felt my own  soul  rise  and
lift its  wings,  as  it  were.  Life  got  bigger.  It  seemed  as  if  I
understood-as I never had beforeas if I could Do things-as if I too  could
grow-if she would help me. And then It came-to both of us, all at once.
    A still day-on the edge of the world, their world.  The  two  of  us,
gazing out over the far dim forestland below, talking of heaven and  earth
and human life, and of my land and other lands and what  they  needed  and
what I hoped to do for them-
    "If you will help me," I said.
    She turned to me, with that high, sweet look of hers,  and  then,  as
her eyes rested in mine and her hands too-then suddenly there  blazed  out
between us a farther glory, instant, overwhelming -quite beyond any  words
of mine to tell.
    Celis     was     a     blue-and-gold-and-rose     person;      Alma,
blackand-white-and-red, a blazing beauty. Ellador was brown: hair dark and
soft, like a seal coat; clear brown skin with a healthy red in  it;  brown
eyes-all the way from topaz to black velvet they seemed to  range-splendid
girls, all of them.
    They had seen us first of all,  far  down  in  the  lake  below,  and
flashed the tidings across  the  land  even  before  our  first  exploring
flight. They had watched our landing, flitted through the forest with  us,
hidden in that tree and-I shrewdly suspect-giggled on purpose.
    They had kept watch over our hooded machine, taking turns at it;  and
when our escape was announced, had followed alongside for a  day  or  two,
and been there at the last, as described. They felt  a  special  claim  on
us-called us "their men"-and when we were at liberty to study the land and
people, and be studied by them, their claim was  recognized  by  the  wise
    But I felt, we all  did,  that  we  should  have  chosen  them  among
millions, unerringly.
    And yet "the path of true love never did run smooth"; this period  of
courtship was full of the most unsuspected pitfalls.
    Writing this as late as I do,  after  manifold  experiences  both  in
Herland and, later, in my own land, I can now understand and  philosophize
about what was  then  a  continual  astonishment  and  often  a  temporary
    The "long suit" in most courtships is sex attraction, of course. Then
gradually develops such comradeship as the two temperaments  allow.  Then,
after marriage, there is  either  the  establishment  of  a  slow-growing,
widely based friendship, the deepest, tenderest,  sweetest  of  relations,
all lit and warmed by the recurrent flame of love; or else that process is
reversed, love cools and fades, no friendship grows,  the  whole  relation
turns from beauty to ashes.
    Here everything was different. There was no sex-feeling to appeal to,
or practically none. Two thousand years' disuse had left  very  little  of
the instinct; also we must remember that those who had at times manifested
it  as  atavistic  exceptions  were  often,  by  that  very  fact,  denied
    Yet while  the  mother  process  remains,  the  inherent  ground  for
sex-distinction  remains  also;  and  who  shall  say  what  longforgotten
feeling, vague and nameless, was stirred in some of these mother hearts by
our arrival?
    What left us even more at sea in our approach was  the  lack  of  any
sex-tradition. There was no accepted standard of what was "manly" and what
was "womanly."
    When Jeff said, taking the fruit basket from his adored one, "A woman
should  not  carry  anything,"  Celis  said,  "Why?"  with  the   frankest
amazement.  He  could  not  look  that  fleet-footed,  deep-chested  young
forester in the face and say, "Because she is  weaker."  She  wasn't.  One
does not call a race horse weak because it is visibly not a cart horse.
    He said, rather lamely, that women were not built for heavy work.
    She looked out across the fields to where some  women  were  working,
building a new bit of wall out of large stones; looked back at the nearest
town with its woman-built houses; down at the smooth, hard  road  we  were
walking on; and then at the little basket he had taken from her.
    "I don't understand," she said quite sweetly. "Are the women in  your
country so weak that they could not carry such a thing as that?"
    "It is a convention," he  said.  "We  assume  that  motherhood  is  a
sufficient burden-that men should carry all the others."
    "What a beautiful feeling!" she said, her blue eyes shining.
    "Does it work?" asked Alima, in her keen, swift way. "Do all  men  in
all countries carry everything? Or is it only in yours?"
    "Don't be so literal," Terry begged lazily. "Why aren't  you  willing
to be worshipped and waited on? We like to do it."
    "You don't like to have us do it to you," she answered.
    "That's different," he said, annoyed; and when she said, "Why is it?"
he quite sulked, referring her to me, saying, "Van's the philosopher."
    Ellador and I talked it all out together, so that we  had  an  easier
experience of it when the real miracle time came.  Also,  between  us,  we
made things clearer to Jeff and Celis.  But  Terry  would  not  listen  to
    He was madly in love with Alima. He wanted to take her by storm,  and
nearly lost her forever.
    You see, if a man loves a girl who is in the first  place  young  and
inexperienced; who in the second place is educated with  a  background  of
caveman tradition, a middle-ground of poetry and romance, and a foreground
of unspoken hope and interest all centering upon the one  Event;  and  who
has, furthermore, absolutely no other hope or interest worthy of the name-
why, it is a comparatively easy matter to sweep her off her  feet  with  a
dashing attack. Terry was a past master in this process. He tried it here,
and Alima was so affronted, so repelled, that it was weeks before  he  got
near enough to try again.
    The more coldly she denied him, the hotter his determination; he  was
not used to real refusal. The approach  of  flattery  she  dismissed  with
laughter, gifts and such "attentions" we could not bring to  bear,  pathos
and complaint of cruelty stirred only a reasoning inquiry. It took Terry a
long time.
    I doubt if she ever accepted her strange lover as fully as did  Celis
and Ellador theirs. He had hurt and offended her  too  often;  there  were
    But I think  Alima  retained  some  faint  vestige  of  longdescended
feeling which made Terry more possible to her than to others; and that she
had made up her mind to the experiment and hated to renounce it.
    However  it  came  about,  we  all  three  at  length  achieved  full
understanding, and solemnly faced what was to them a step  of  measureless
importance, a grave question as  well  as  a  great  happiness;  to  us  a
strange, new joy.
    Of marriage as a ceremony they knew nothing. Jeff  was  for  bringing
them to our country for the religious and the civil ceremony, but  neither
Celis nor the others would consent.
    "We can't expect them to want to go with us-yet," said Terry  sagely.
"Wait a bit, boys. We've got to take 'em on their own  terms-if  at  all."
This, in rueful reminiscence of his repeated failures.
    "But our time's coming," he added cheerfully. "These women have never
been mastered, you see-" This, as one who had made a discovery.
    "You'd better not try to do any mastering if you value your chances,"
I told him seriously; but he only laughed, and said,  "Every  man  to  his
    We couldn't do anything with him. He had to take his own medicine.
    If the lack of tradition of courtship left us  much  at  sea  in  our
wooing, we found ourselves still more bewildered by lack of  tradition  of
    And here again, I have to draw on later experience, and  as  deep  an
acquaintance with their culture as I could achieve, to explain  the  gulfs
of difference between us.
    Two thousand years of one continuous culture with  no  men.  Back  of
that, only traditions of the harem. They had no  exact  analogue  for  our
word HOME, any more than they had for our Roman-based FAMILY.
   They loved one another with a practically universal affection,
rising to exquisite and unbroken friendships, and broadening to
a devotion to their country and people for which our word PATRIOTISM
is no definition at all.
    Patriotism, red hot, is compatible with the existence of a neglect of
national interests, a dishonesty, a cold indifference to the suffering  of
millions. Patriotism is largely pride,  and  very  largely  combativeness.
Patriotism generally has a chip on its shoulder.
    This country had no other country to measure itself by-save  the  few
poor savages far below, with whom they had no contact.
    They loved their country because it was  their  nursery,  playground,
and workshop-theirs and their children's. They  were  proud  of  it  as  a
workshop, proud of their record of ever-increasing  efficiency;  they  had
made a pleasant garden of it, a very practical little heaven; but most  of
all they valued it-and here it is hard for  us  to  understand  them-as  a
cultural environment for their children.
    That, of  course,  is  the  keynote  of  the  whole  distinctiontheir
    From those first breathlessly guarded, half-adored race mothers,  all
up the ascending line, they had this dominant thought  of  building  up  a
great race through the children.
    All the surrendering devotion our women have put into  their  private
families, these women put into their country and race. All the loyalty and
service  men  expect  of  wives,  they  gave,  not  singly  to  men,   but
collectively to one another.
    And the mother instinct, with us so painfully intense, so thwarted by
conditions, so concentrated in personal devotion to  a  few,  so  bitterly
hurt by death, disease, or barrenness, and even by the mere growth of  the
children, leaving the mother alone in her empty nest-all this feeling with
them  flowed  out  in  a  strong,  wide  current,  unbroken  through   the
generations, deepening and widening through  the  years,  including  every
child in all the land.
    With their united power and wisdom, they had studied and overcome the
"diseases of childhood"-their children had none.
    They had faced the problems of education  and  so  solved  them  that
their children grew up as naturally as young trees; learning through every
sense; taught continuously but unconsciouslynever knowing they were  being
    In fact, they did not use the word as we do. Their idea of  education
was the special training they took, when half  grown  up,  under  experts.
Then the eager  young  minds  fairly  flung  themselves  on  their  chosen
subjects, and acquired with an ease, a breadth, a grasp, at which I  never
ceased to wonder.
    But the babies and little children never felt the  pressure  of  that
"forcible feeding" of the mind that we call  "education."  Of  this,  more

                      9. Our Relations and Theirs

    What I'm trying to show here is  that  with  these  women  the  whole
relationship of life counted in a glad, eager growing-up to join the ranks
of workers in the line best loved; a deep, tender reverence for one's  own
mother-too deep for them to speak of freely-and beyond  that,  the  whole,
free, wide range of sisterhood, the splendid service of the  country,  and
    To  these  women  we  came,  filled  with  the  ideas,   convictions,
traditions, of our culture, and undertook to rouse in  them  the  emotions
which-to us-seemed proper.
    However much, or little, of true sex-feeling there was between us, it
phrased itself in their minds in  terms  of  friendship,  the  one  purely
personal love they knew, and of ultimate parentage. Visibly  we  were  not
mothers, nor children, nor compatriots; so, if they loved us, we  must  be
    That we should pair off together in our courting days was natural  to
them; that we three should remain much together, as they  did  themselves,
was also natural. We had as yet no work, so we hung about  them  in  their
forest tasks; that was natural, too.
    But when we began to talk about each couple  having  "homes"  of  our
own, they could not understand it.
    "Our work takes us all around  the  country,"  explained  Celis.  "We
cannot live in one place all the time."
    "We are together  now,"  urged  Alima,  looking  proudly  at  Terry's
stalwart nearness. (This was one of the times when they were "on,"  though
presently "off" again.)
    "It's not the same thing at all," he insisted. "A man wants a home of
his own, with his wife and family in it."
    "Staying in it?  All  the  time?"  asked  Ellador.  "Not  imprisoned,
    "Of course not! Living there-naturally," he answered.
    "What does she do there-all the time?" Alima demanded. "What  is  her
    Then Terry patiently explained again that our women did not work-with
    "But what do they do-if they have no work?" she persisted.
    "They take care of the home-and the children."
    "At the same time?" asked Ellador.
    "Why yes. The children play about, and the mother has  charge  of  it
all. There are servants, of course."
    It seemed so obvious, so  natural  to  Terry,  that  he  always  grew
impatient; but the girls were honestly anxious to understand.
    "How many children do your women have?" Alima had  her  notebook  out
now, and a rather firm set of lip. Terry began to dodge.
    "There is no set number, my dear," he  explained.  "Some  have  more,
some have less."
    "Some have none at all," I put in mischievously.
    They pounced on this admission and soon wrung  from  us  the  general
fact that those women who had the most children had  the  least  servants,
and those who had the most servants had the least children.
    "There!" triumphed Alima. "One or two or no children,  and  three  or
four servants. Now what do those women DO?"
   We explained as best we might.  We talked of "social duties,"
disingenuously banking on their not interpreting the words as we did;
we talked of hospitality, entertainment, and various "interests."
All the time we knew that to these large-minded women whose whole
mental outlook was so collective, the limitations of a wholly personal
life were inconceivable.
    "We cannot really understand it," Ellador  concluded.  "We  are  only
half a people. We have our woman-ways and they  have  their  man-ways  and
their both-ways. We have worked out  a  system  of  living  which  is,  of
course, limited. They must have a broader, richer, better  one.  I  should
like to see it."
    "You shall, dearest," I whispered.
    "There's nothing to smoke," complained Terry. He was in the midst  of
a prolonged quarrel with Alima, and needed a sedative. "There's nothing to
drink. These blessed women have no pleasant vices. I wish we could get out
of here!"
    This wish was  vain.  We  were  always  under  a  certain  degree  of
watchfulness. When Terry burst forth to tramp  the  streets  at  night  he
always found a "Colonel" here or there; and when, on an occasion of fierce
though temporary despair, he had plunged to the cliff edge with some vague
view to escape, he found several of them close by. We were free-but  there
was a string to it.
    "They've no unpleasant ones, either," Jeff reminded him.
    "Wish they had!" Terry persisted. "They've neither the vices of  men,
nor the virtues of women-they're neuters!"
    "You know better than that. Don't talk nonsense," said I, severely.
    I was thinking of Ellador's eyes when they gave me a certain look,  a
look she did not at all realize.
    Jeff was equally incensed. "I don't know what `virtues of women'  you
miss. Seems to me they have all of them."
    "They've no modesty," snapped Terry. "No patience, no submissiveness,
none of that natural yielding which is woman's greatest charm."
    I shook my head pityingly. "Go and apologize and make friends  again,
Terry. You've got a grouch, that's all. These women  have  the  virtue  of
humanity, with less of its faults than  any  folks  I  ever  saw.  As  for
patience-they'd have pitched us over the cliffs the first day we lit among
'em, if they hadn't that."
    "There are no-distractions," he grumbled. "Nowhere a man can  go  and
cut loose a bit. It's an everlasting parlor and nursery."
    "and workshop," I added. "And school, and office, and laboratory, and
studio, and theater, and-home."
    "HOME!" he sneered. "There isn't a home in the whole pitiful place."
    "There isn't anything else, and you know it," Jeff retorted hotly. "I
never saw, I never dreamed of, such universal  peace  and  good  will  and
mutual affection."
    "Oh, well, of course, if you like a perpetual Sunday school, it's all
very well. But I like Something Doing. Here it's all done."
    There was something to this criticism. The years  of  pioneering  lay
far  behind  them.  Theirs  was  a  civilization  in  which  the   initial
difficulties had long since  been  overcome.  The  untroubled  peace,  the
unmeasured plenty, the steady health,  the  large  good  will  and  smooth
management which ordered everything, left nothing to overcome. It was like
a pleasant family in an old established, perfectly run country place.
    I liked it  because  of  my  eager  and  continued  interest  in  the
sociological achievements involved. Jeff liked it as he would  have  liked
such a family and such a place anywhere.
    Terry did not like it because he found nothing to oppose, to struggle
with, to conquer.
    "Life is a struggle, has  to  be,"  he  insisted.  "If  there  is  no
struggle, there is no life-that's all."
    "You're  talking  nonsense-masculine  nonsense,"  the  peaceful  Jeff
replied. He was certainly a warm defender of Herland.  "Ants  don't  raise
their myriads by a struggle, do they? Or the bees?"
    "Oh, if you go back to insects-and want to live  in  an  anthill-!  I
tell  you  the  higher  grades  of   life   are   reached   only   through
struggle-combat. There's no Drama here. Look at their plays! They make  me
    He rather  had  us  there.  The  drama  of  the  country  was-to  our
taste-rather flat. You see, they lacked  the  sex  motive  and,  with  it,
jealousy. They had no interplay of warring nations, no aristocracy and its
ambitions, no wealth and poverty opposition.
    I see I have said little about the economics of the place; it  should
have come before, but I'll go on about the drama now.
    They had their own  kind.  There  was  a  most  impressive  array  of
pageantry, of processions, a sort of grand ritual,  with  their  arts  and
their religion broadly blended. The very babies joined in it. To  see  one
of their great annual festivals, with the massed and marching  stateliness
of those great mothers, the young women brave  and  noble,  beautiful  and
strong; and then the children, taking part  as  naturally  as  ours  would
frolic round a Christmas tree-it was overpowering  in  the  impression  of
joyous, triumphant life.
    They had begun  at  a  period  when  the  drama,  the  dance,  music,
religion, and education were all  very  close  together;  and  instead  of
developing them in detached lines, they had kept the  connection.  Let  me
try again to give, if I can, a faint sense of the difference in  the  life
view-the background and basis on which their culture rested.
    Ellador told me a lot about it. She took me to see the children,  the
growing girls, the special teachers. She picked out books for me to  read.
She always seemed to understand just what I wanted to  know,  and  how  to
give it to me.
    While Terry and Alima struck sparks and parted-he always madly  drawn
to her and she to him-she must have been, or she'd never  have  stood  the
way he behaved-Ellador and I had already a deep, restful  feeling,  as  if
we'd always had one another. Jeff and  Celis  were  happy;  there  was  no
question of that; but it didn't seem to me as if they had the  good  times
we did.
    Well, here is the Herland child facing life-as Ellador tried to  show
it to me. From the first memory, they knew Peace, Beauty,  Order,  Safety,
Love, Wisdom, Justice, Patience, and Plenty. By "plenty" I mean  that  the
babies grew up in an environment which met  their  needs,  just  as  young
fawns might grow up in dewy forest glades and brook-fed meadows. And  they
enjoyed it as frankly and utterly as the fawns would.
    They found themselves in a big bright lovely world, full of the  most
interesting and enchanting things to learn about and  to  do.  The  people
everywhere were friendly  and  polite.  No  Herland  child  ever  met  the
overbearing rudeness we so commonly show to children.  They  were  People,
too, from the first; the most precious part of the nation.
    In each step of  the  rich  experience  of  living,  they  found  the
instance they were studying widen out into contact with an  endless  range
of common interests. The things they learned were RELATED, from the first;
related to one another, and to the national prosperity.
    "It was a butterfly that made me a forester," said  Ellador.  "I  was
about eleven years old, and I found a big purple-and-green butterfly on  a
low flower. I caught it, very carefully, by the closed  wings,  as  I  had
been told to do, and carried it to the nearest insect  teacher"-I  made  a
note there to ask her what on earth an insect teacher was-"to ask her  its
name. She took it from me with a little cry of delight. `Oh,  you  blessed
child,' she said. `Do you like obernuts?' Of course I liked obernuts,  and
said so. It is our best food-nut, you know.  `This  is  a  female  of  the
obernut moth,' she told me. `They are almost gone. We have been trying  to
exterminate them for centuries. If you had not caught this one,  it  might
have laid eggs enough to raise worms enough to destroy  thousands  of  our
nut trees-thousands of bushels of nuts-and make years and years of trouble
for us.'
    "Everybody congratulated me. The children all over the  country  were
told to watch for that moth, if there were  any  more.  I  was  shown  the
history of the creature, and an account of the damage it used to do and of
how long and hard our foremothers had worked to save that tree for  us.  I
grew a foot, it seemed to me, and  determined  then  and  there  to  be  a
    This is but an instance; she showed me many. The big  difference  was
that whereas our children grow up in  private  homes  and  families,  with
every effort made to protect and seclude them from a dangerous world, here
they grew up in a wide, friendly world, and knew it for theirs,  from  the
    Their child-literature was a wonderful  thing.  I  could  have  spent
years following the delicate  subtleties,  the  smooth  simplicities  with
which they had bent that great art to the service of the child mind.
    We have two life cycles: the man's and the woman's. To the man  there
is growth, struggle, conquest, the establishment of  his  family,  and  as
much further success in gain or ambition as he can achieve.
    To the woman, growth, the securing  of  a  husband,  the  subordinate
activities of family life,  and  afterward  such  "social"  or  charitable
interests as her position allows.
    Here was but one cycle, and that a large one.
    The child  entered  upon  a  broad  open  field  of  life,  in  which
motherhood was the one great personal contribution to the  national  life,
and all the rest the individual share in their  common  activities.  Every
girl  I  talked  to,  at  any  age  above  babyhood,  had   her   cheerful
determination as to what she was going to be when she grew up.
    What Terry meant by saying they had no "modesty" was that this  great
life-view had no shady places; they had a high sense of personal  decorum,
but no shame-no knowledge of anything to be ashamed of.
    Even  their  shortcomings  and  misdeeds  in  childhood  never   were
presented to them as sins; merely as errors and misplaysas in a game. Some
of them, who were palpably less agreeable than others or who  had  a  real
weakness or fault, were treated with cheerful  allowance,  as  a  friendly
group at whist would treat a poor player.
    Their religion, you see, was maternal; and their ethics, based on the
full perception of evolution, showed  the  principle  of  growth  and  the
beauty of wise culture. They had no theory of the essential opposition  of
good and evil; life to them was growth; their pleasure was in growing, and
their duty also.
    With this background, with their sublimated mother-love, expressed in
terms of widest social activity, every phase of their work was modified by
its  effect  on  the  national  growth.  The  language  itself  they   had
deliberately clarified, simplified, made easy and beautiful, for the  sake
of the children.
    This seemed to us a wholly incredible thing: first, that  any  nation
should have the foresight, the strength, and the persistence to  plan  and
fulfill such a task; and second,  that  women  should  have  had  so  much
initiative. We have assumed, as a matter of course, that women  had  none;
that only the man, with his natural energy and impatience of  restriction,
would ever invent anything.
    Here we found that the pressure of life upon the environment develops
in the human mind its inventive reactions, regardless of sex; and further,
that a fully awakened motherhood plans and works without  limit,  for  the
good of the child.
    That the children  might  be  most  nobly  born,  and  reared  in  an
environment calculated to allow  the  richest,  freest  growth,  they  had
deliberately remodeled and improved the whole state.
    I do not mean in the least that they stopped at that, any more than a
child stops at childhood. The most impressive part of their whole  culture
beyond this perfect system of child-rearing was the range of interests and
associations open to them all, for life. But in the field of literature  I
was most struck, at first, by the child-motive.
    They had the same gradation of simple repetitive verse and story that
we are familiar with, and  the  most  exquisite,  imaginative  tales;  but
where, with us, these are the dribbled remnants of ancient folk myths  and
primitive lullabies, theirs were the exquisite work of great artists;  not
only simple and unfailing in appeal to the child-mind, but TRUE,  true  to
the living world about them.
    To sit in one of their nurseries for a day was to change one's  views
forever as to babyhood. The youngest ones, rosy fatlings in their mothers'
arms, or sleeping lightly in the flower-sweet air, seemed natural  enough,
save that they never cried. I never heard a child  cry  in  Herland,  save
once or twice at a bad fall; and then people ran to help, as we would at a
scream of agony from a grown person.
    Each mother had her year of glory; the time to love and learn, living
closely with her child, nursing it proudly, often for two years  or  more.
This perhaps was one reason for their wonderful vigor.
    But  after  the  baby-year  the  mother  was  not  so  constantly  in
attendance, unless, indeed, her work was among the little  ones.  She  was
never far off, however, and her  attitude  toward  the  co-mothers,  whose
proud child-service was direct and continuous, was lovely to see.
    As for the babies-a group of those naked darlings  playing  on  short
velvet grass, clean-swept; or rugs as soft; or in shallow pools of  bright
water; tumbling over with bubbling joyous baby laughterit was  a  view  of
infant happiness such as I had never dreamed.
    The babies were reared  in  the  warmer  part  of  the  country,  and
gradually acclimated to the cooler heights as they grew older.
    Sturdy children of ten and twelve played in the snow as  joyfully  as
ours do; there were continuous excursions of them, from one  part  of  the
land to another, so that to each child the whole country might be home.
    It was all theirs, waiting for them to learn, to  love,  to  use,  to
serve; as our own little boys plan to be "a big soldier," or  "a  cowboy,"
or whatever pleases their fancy; and our little girls plan for the kind of
home they mean to have, or how many children; these  planned,  freely  and
gaily with much happy chattering, of what they would do  for  the  country
when they were grown.
    It was the eager happiness of the children  and  young  people  which
first made me see the folly of that common notion of ours  -that  if  life
was smooth and happy, people would not enjoy it.
    As  I  studied  these  youngsters,  vigorous,  joyous,  eager  little
creatures, and their voracious appetite for life,  it  shook  my  previous
ideas so thoroughly that they have never been re-established.  The  steady
level of good health gave them all that natural stimulus we used  to  call
"animal spirits"-an odd contradiction in terms. They found  themselves  in
an immediate environment which was agreeable and interesting,  and  before
them stretched the years  of  learning  and  discovery,  the  fascinating,
endless process of education.
    As I looked into these methods and compared them  with  our  own,  my
strange uncomfortable sense of race-humility grew apace.
    Ellador could not understand my astonishment.  She  explained  things
kindly and sweetly, but with some amazement that they  needed  explaining,
and with sudden questions as to how we did it that  left  me  meeker  than
    I betook myself to Somel one day, carefully not taking Ellador. I did
not mind seeming foolish to Somel-she was used to it.
    "I want  a  chapter  of  explanation,"  I  told  her.  "You  know  my
stupidities by heart, and I do not want  to  show  them  to  Ellador  -she
thinks me so wise!"
    She smiled delightedly. "It is beautiful to see," she told me,  "this
new wonderful love between you.  The  whole  country  is  interested,  you
know-how can we help it!"
    I had not thought of that. We say: "All the world loves a lover," but
to have a couple of million people watching  one's  courtship-and  that  a
difficult one-was rather embarrassing.
    "Tell me about your theory of education," I said. "Make it short  and
easy. And, to show you what puzzles me, I'll tell you that in  our  theory
great stress is laid on the forced exertion of the child's mind; we  think
it is good for him to overcome obstacles."
    "Of course it is," she unexpectedly  agreed.  "All  our  children  do
that-they love to."
    That puzzled me again. If they loved  to  do  it,  how  could  it  be
    "Our theory is this," she went on carefully. "Here is a  young  human
being. The mind is as natural a thing as the body, a thing that  grows,  a
thing to use and enjoy. We seek to nourish, to stimulate, to exercise  the
mind of a child as we do the body. There are the  two  main  divisions  in
education-you have those of course?-the things it is  necessary  to  know,
and the things it is necessary to do."
    "To do? Mental exercises, you mean?"
    "Yes. Our general plan is this: In the matter of feeding the mind, of
furnishing information, we  use  our  best  powers  to  meet  the  natural
appetite of a healthy young brain; not to overfeed  it,  to  provide  such
amount and variety of impressions as seem most welcome to each child. That
is the easiest part.  The  other  division  is  in  arranging  a  properly
graduated series of exercises which  will  best  develop  each  mind;  the
common faculties we all have, and most carefully, the  especial  faculties
some of us have. You do this also, do you not?"
    "In a way," I said rather lamely. "We have not so subtle  and  highly
developed a system as you, not approaching it; but tell me more. As to the
information-how do you manage? It appears that all of you know pretty much
everything-is that right?"
    This she laughingly disclaimed. "By no means. We  are,  as  you  soon
found out, extremely limited in knowledge. I wish you could realize what a
ferment the country is in over the  new  things  you  have  told  us;  the
passionate eagerness among thousands of us  to  go  to  your  country  and
learn-learn-learn! But what we do know is readily  divisible  into  common
knowledge and special knowledge. The common knowledge we have  long  since
learned to feed into the minds of our little ones with no waste of time or
strength; the special knowledge is open to all, as they desire it. Some of
us specialize in one line only. But most take up several -some  for  their
regular work, some to grow with."
    "To grow with?"
    "Yes. When one settles too close in one  kind  of  work  there  is  a
tendency to atrophy in the disused portions of the brain. We like to  keep
on learning, always."
    "What do you study?"
    "As much as we know of the different sciences. We  have,  within  our
limits, a good deal of knowledge  of  anatomy,  physiology,  nutrition-all
that pertains to a full and beautiful personal life. We  have  our  botany
and chemistry, and  so  on-very  rudimentary,  but  interesting;  our  own
history, with its accumulating psychology."
    "You put psychology with history-not with personal life?"
    "Of course. It is ours; it is among and between us,  and  it  changes
with the succeeding and improving generations. We are at work, slowly  and
carefully, developing our whole people along these lines. It  is  glorious
work-splendid! To see the thousands of babies improving, showing  stronger
clearer minds, sweeter dispositions, higher capacitiesdon't you find it so
in your country?"
    This I evaded flatly. I remembered the cheerless claim that the human
mind was no better than in its earliest period of  savagery,  only  better
informed-a statement I had never believed.
    "We try most earnestly for two powers,"  Somel  continued.  "The  two
that seem  to  us  basically  necessary  for  all  noble  life:  a  clear,
far-reaching judgment, and a strong well-used  will.  We  spend  our  best
efforts, all through childhood and youth, in developing  these  faculties,
individual judgment and will."
    "As part of your system of education, you mean?"
    "Exactly. As the most valuable part. With the babies, as you may have
noticed, we first provide an environment  which  feeds  the  mind  without
tiring it; all manner of simple and interesting things to do, as  soon  as
they are old enough to do  them;  physical  properties,  of  course,  come
first. But as early as possible, going very  carefully,  not  to  tax  the
mind, we provide choices, simple choices, with  very  obvious  causes  and
consequences. You've noticed the games?"
    I had.  The  children  seemed  always  playing  something;  or  else,
sometimes, engaged in peaceful researches of their own. I had wondered  at
first when they went to school, but soon found that they never didto their
knowledge. It was all education but no schooling.
    "We have been working for some sixteen hundred years, devising better
and better games for children," continued Somel.
    I sat aghast. "Devising games?" I protested. "Making up new ones, you
    "Exactly," she answered. "Don't you?"
    Then I remembered the kindergarten, and  the  "material"  devised  by
Signora Montessori, and guardedly replied: "To some extent." But  most  of
our games, I told her, were very old-came down from child to child,  along
the ages, from the remote past.
    "And what is their effect?" she asked. "Do they develop the faculties
you wish to encourage?"
    Again I remembered the claims made by the advocates of "sports,"  and
again replied guardedly that that was, in part, the theory.
    "But do the children LIKE it?" I asked. "Having things  made  up  and
set before them that way? Don't they want the old games?"
    "You  can  see  the  children,"  she  answered.   "Are   yours   more
contented-more interested-happier?"
    Then I thought, as in truth I never had thought before, of the  dull,
bored children I had seen, whining; "What can I do now?";  of  the  little
groups and gangs hanging about; of the value of some one strong spirit who
possessed initiative  and  would  "start  something";  of  the  children's
parties and the onerous duties of the  older  people  set  to  "amuse  the
children"; also of that troubled ocean of  misdirected  activity  we  call
"mischief," the  foolish,  destructive,  sometimes  evil  things  done  by
unoccupied children.
    "No," said I grimly. "I don't think they are."
    The Herland child was born not only into a world carefully  prepared,
full of the most fascinating materials and  opportunities  to  learn,  but
into the society of plentiful  numbers  of  teachers,  teachers  born  and
trained, whose business it was to accompany the children  along  that,  to
us, impossible thing-the royal road to learning.
    There was no mystery in their methods. Being adapted to  children  it
was at least comprehensible to adults. I spent many days with  the  little
ones, sometimes with Ellador, sometimes  without,  and  began  to  feel  a
crushing pity for my own childhood, and for all others that I had known.
    The houses and gardens planned for babies  had  in  them  nothing  to
hurt-no stairs,  no  corners,  no  small  loose  objects  to  swallow,  no
fire-just a babies' paradise. They were taught, as rapidly as feasible, to
use and control their own bodies, and never did I  see  such  sure-footed,
steady-handed, clear-headed little things. It was a joy to watch a row  of
toddlers learning to walk, not only on a level floor, but, a little later,
on a sort of rubber rail raised an inch or two  above  the  soft  turf  or
heavy rugs, and falling off with shrieks of infant joy, to  rush  back  to
the end of the line and try again. Surely we  have  noticed  how  children
love to get up on something and walk along it! But we have  never  thought
to provide that simple and inexhaustible form of  amusement  and  physical
education for the young.
    Water they had, of course, and could swim even before they walked. If
I feared at first the effects of a too intensive system of  culture,  that
fear was dissipated by  seeing  the  long  sunny  days  of  pure  physical
merriment and natural sleep in which these heavenly  babies  passed  their
first years. They never knew they were being educated. They did not  dream
that in this association of hilarious experiment and achievement they were
laying the foundation for that close beautiful group  feeling  into  which
they grew so firmly with the years. This was education for citizenship.

                 10. Their Religions and Our Marriages

    It took me a long time, as a man,  a  foreigner,  and  a  species  of
Christian-I was that as much as anything-to get any clear understanding of
the religion of Herland.
    Its deification of motherhood was obvious enough; but there  was  far
more to it than that; or, at least, than my first interpretation of that.
    I think it was only as I grew to love Ellador more  than  I  believed
anyone could love anybody, as I  grew  faintly  to  appreciate  her  inner
attitude and state of mind, that I began to  get  some  glimpses  of  this
faith of theirs.
    When I asked her about it, she tried at first to tell me,  and  then,
seeing me flounder, asked for more information about ours. She soon  found
that we had many, that they varied widely, but had some points in  common.
A clear methodical luminous mind had my Ellador, not only reasonable,  but
swiftly perceptive.
    She made a sort of chart, superimposing the different religions as  I
described them, with a pin run through them all, as it were; their  common
basis being a Dominant Power or Powers, and some Special Behavior,  mostly
taboos, to please or placate. There were some common features  in  certain
groups of religions, but the one always present was this  Power,  and  the
things which must be done or not done because of it. It was  not  hard  to
trace our human imagery of the Divine Force up through  successive  stages
of bloodthirsty, sensual, proud, and cruel gods  of  early  times  to  the
conception of a Common Father with its corollary of a Common Brotherhood.
    This pleased her very much, and when I expatiated on the Omniscience,
Omnipotence, Omnipresence, and so on,  of  our  God,  and  of  the  loving
kindness taught by his Son, she was much impressed.
    The story of the Virgin birth naturally did not astonish her, but she
was greatly puzzled by the Sacrifice, and still more by the Devil, and the
theory of Damnation.
    When in an inadvertent moment I said that certain sects had  believed
in infant damnation-and explained it-she sat very still indeed.
    "They believed that God was Love-and Wisdom-and Power?"
    "Yes-all of that."
    Her eyes grew large, her face ghastly pale.
    "And yet that such a God could put little new  babies  to  burn  -for
eternity?" She fell into a sudden shuddering and left me, running  swiftly
to the nearest temple.
    Every smallest village had its temple, and in those gracious retreats
sat wise and noble women, quietly busy at some work  of  their  own  until
they were wanted, always ready to give comfort, light,  or  help,  to  any
    Ellador told me afterward how easily this grief of hers was assuaged,
and seemed ashamed of not having helped herself out of it.
    "You see, we are not accustomed to horrible ideas," she said,  coming
back to me rather apologetically. "We haven't any. And when we get a thing
like that into our minds it's like-oh, like red pepper in your eyes. So  I
just ran to her, blinded and almost screaming, and  she  took  it  out  so
quickly-so easily!"
    "How?" I asked, very curious.
    "`Why, you blessed child,' she  said,  `you've  got  the  wrong  idea
altogether. You do not have to think that there ever was  such  a  God-for
there wasn't. Or such a happening-for there wasn't.  Nor  even  that  this
hideous false idea was believed by anybody. But only this-that people  who
are utterly  ignorant  will  believe  anything-which  you  certainly  knew
    "Anyhow," pursued Ellador, "she turned pale for a minute when I first
said it."
    This was a lesson to me. No wonder this whole  nation  of  women  was
peaceful and sweet in expression-they had no horrible ideas.
    "Surely you had some when you began," I suggested.
    "Oh, yes, no doubt. But as soon as our religion grew to any height at
all we left them out, of course."
    From this, as from many other things, I grew to see  what  I  finally
put in words.
    "Have you no respect for the past? For what was thought and  believed
by your foremothers?"
    "Why, no," she said. "Why should we? They are  all  gone.  They  knew
less than we do. If we are not beyond them, we are  unworthy  of  them-and
unworthy of the children who must go beyond us."
    This set me thinking in good earnest. I had always  imagined  -simply
from hearing it said, I suppose-that women were  by  nature  conservative.
Yet these women, quite unassisted by any masculine spirit  of  enterprise,
had ignored their past and built daringly for the future.
    Ellador watched me think. She seemed to know  pretty  much  what  was
going on in my mind.
    "It's because we began in a new way, I suppose. All  our  folks  were
swept away at once, and then, after  that  time  of  despair,  came  those
wonder children-the first. And then the whole breathless hope  of  us  was
for THEIR children-if they should have them. And they did! Then there  was
the period of pride and triumph till we grew too numerous; and after that,
when it all came down to one child apiece, we began to really work-to make
better ones."
    "But how does this account for such  a  radical  difference  in  your
religion?" I persisted.
    She said she couldn't talk about the difference  very  intelligently,
not being familiar with other religions, but  that  theirs  seemed  simple
enough. Their great Mother Spirit was to them what  their  own  motherhood
was-only magnified beyond human limits. That meant that they felt  beneath
and behind them an upholding, unfailing, serviceable love-perhaps  it  was
really the accumulated mother-love of the race  they  felt-but  it  was  a
    "Just what is your theory of worship?" I asked her.
    "Worship? What is that?"
    I found it singularly difficult to explain. This  Divine  Love  which
they felt so strongly did not seem to ask anything of them -"any more than
our mothers do," she said.
    "But surely your mothers expect  honor,  reverence,  obedience,  from
you. You have to do things for your mothers, surely?"
    "Oh, no," she insisted, smiling, shaking her soft brown hair. "We  do
things FROM our mothers-not FOR them. We  don't  have  to  do  things  FOR
them-they   don't   need   it,   you   know.   But   we   have   to   live
on-splendidly-because of them; and that's the way we feel about God."
    I meditated again. I thought of that God of  Battles  of  ours,  that
Jealous   God,   that   Vengeance-is-mine   God.   I   thought   of    our
    "You have no theory of eternal punishment then, I take it?"
    Ellador laughed. Her eyes were as bright as  stars,  and  there  were
tears in them, too. She was so sorry for me.
    "How could we?" she asked, fairly enough. "We have no punishments  in
life, you see, so we don't imagine them after death."
    "Have you NO punishments? Neither for children nor criminalssuch mild
criminals as you have?" I urged.
    "Do you punish a person  for  a  broken  leg  or  a  fever?  We  have
preventive measures, and cures; sometimes we have to `send the patient  to
bed,' as it were; but that's  not  a  punishment-it's  only  part  of  the
treatment," she explained.
    Then studying my point of view more closely, she added: "You see,  we
recognize, in our human motherhood, a  great  tender  limitless  uplifting
force-patience and wisdom and all subtlety of delicate method.  We  credit
God-our idea of God-with all that and more. Our mothers are not angry with
us-why should God be?"
    "Does God mean a person to you?"
    This she thought over a little. "Why-in trying to get close to it  in
our minds we personify the idea, naturally; but we certainly do not assume
a Big Woman somewhere, who is God. What we call God is a Pervading  Power,
you know, an Indwelling Spirit, something inside of us that we  want  more
of. Is your God a Big Man?" she asked innocently.
    "Why-yes, to most of us, I think. Of course we call it an  Indwelling
Spirit just as you do, but we insist that it  is  Him,  a  Person,  and  a
Man-with whiskers."
    "Whiskers? Oh yes-because you have them! Or do you wear them  because
He does?"
    "On the contrary, we shave them off-because it seems cleaner and more
    "Does He wear clothes-in your idea, I mean?"
    I was thinking over the pictures of God I had seen-rash  advances  of
the devout mind of man, representing his Omnipotent Deity as an old man in
a flowing robe, flowing hair, flowing beard,  and  in  the  light  of  her
perfectly  frank  and  innocent  questions  this  concept  seemed   rather
    I explained that the God  of  the  Christian  world  was  really  the
ancient Hebrew God, and that we had  simply  taken  over  the  patriarchal
idea-that ancient one which quite inevitably clothed its  thought  of  God
with the attributes of the patriarchal ruler, the grandfather.
    "I see," she said eagerly, after I  had  explained  the  genesis  and
development of our religious ideals. "They lived in separate groups,  with
a male head, and he was probably a little-domineering?"
    "No doubt of that," I agreed.
    "And we live together without any  `head,'  in  that  sense-just  our
chosen leaders-that DOES make a difference."
    "Your difference is deeper than that," I assured her. "It is in  your
common motherhood. Your children grow up in a world where everybody  loves
them. They find life made rich and happy for them by the diffused love and
wisdom of all mothers. So it is easy for you to think of God in the  terms
of a similar diffused and competent love. I think you are far nearer right
than we are."
    "What  I  cannot  understand,"  she  pursued  carefully,   "is   your
preservation of such a very ancient state of mind. This  patriarchal  idea
you tell me is thousands of years old?"
    "Oh yes-four, five, six thousand-every so many."
    "And you have made wonderful progress in those years-in other things?
    "We certainly have. But religion is different. You see, our religions
come from behind us, and are initiated by some great teacher who is  dead.
He is supposed to have known the whole thing and taught it,  finally.  All
we have to do is believe-and obey."
    "Who was the great Hebrew teacher?"
    "Oh-there it was different. The Hebrew religion is an accumulation of
extremely ancient traditions, some far older than their people,  and  grew
by accretion down the ages. We consider it inspired-`the Word of God.'"
    "How do you know it is?"
    "Because it says so."
    "Does it say so in as many words? Who wrote that in?"
    I began to try to recall some text that did say  so,  and  could  not
bring it to mind.
    "Apart from that," she pursued, "what I cannot understand is why  you
keep these early religious ideas  so  long.  You  have  changed  all  your
others, haven't you?"
    "Pretty generally," I agreed. "But this we call `revealed  religion,'
and think it is final. But tell me more  about  these  little  temples  of
yours," I urged. "And these Temple Mothers you run to."
    Then she gave me an extended lesson in applied religion, which I will
endeavor to concentrate.
    They developed their central theory of a Loving  Power,  and  assumed
that its relation to them was motherly-that it desired their  welfare  and
especially their development. Their relation to it, similarly, was filial,
a loving appreciation and a glad fulfillment of its high  purposes.  Then,
being nothing if not practical, they set their keen and  active  minds  to
discover the kind of conduct expected of them. This worked out in  a  most
admirable  system  of  ethics.  The  principle  of  Love  was  universally
recognized-and used.
    Patience, gentleness, courtesy, all that we call "good breeding," was
part of their code of conduct. But where they went far beyond  us  was  in
the special application of religious feeling to every field of life.  They
had no ritual, no little set of performances called "divine service," save
those religious pageants  I  have  spoken  of,  and  those  were  as  much
educational as religious, and as much social as either.  But  they  had  a
clear established connection between everything they  did-and  God.  Their
cleanliness, their health, their exquisite order, the rich peaceful beauty
of the whole land, the happiness  of  the  children,  and  above  all  the
constant progress they made-all this was their religion.
    They applied their minds to the thought of God, and  worked  out  the
theory that such an inner power demanded outward expression. They lived as
if God was real and at work within them.
    As for those little temples everywhere-some of the  women  were  more
skilled, more temperamentally inclined, in this  direction,  than  others.
These, whatever their work might be, gave  certain  hours  to  the  Temple
Service, which meant being there  with  all  their  love  and  wisdom  and
trained thought, to smooth out rough places  for  anyone  who  needed  it.
Sometimes it was a real  grief,  very  rarely  a  quarrel,  most  often  a
perplexity; even in Herland the human soul had its hours of darkness.  But
all through the country their best and wisest were ready to give help.
    If the difficulty was unusually profound, the applicant was  directed
to someone more specially experienced in that line of thought.
    Here was a religion which gave to the searching mind a rational basis
in life, the concept of an  immense  Loving  Power  working  steadily  out
through them, toward good. It gave to the "soul"  that  sense  of  contact
with the inmost force, of perception of the uttermost  purpose,  which  we
always crave. It gave to the "heart" the blessed feeling of  being  loved,
loved and UNDERSTOOD. It gave clear, simple, rational directions as to how
we should live-and why. And for ritual  it  gave  first  those  triumphant
group demonstrations, when with a union of all the arts,  the  revivifying
combination of great multitudes moved rhythmically with march  and  dance,
song and music, among their own noblest products and the  open  beauty  of
their groves and hills. Second, it gave these numerous little  centers  of
wisdom where the least wise could go to the most wise and be helped.
    "It  is  beautiful!"  I  cried  enthusiastically.  "It  is  the  most
practical, comforting, progressive religion I ever heard of. You  DO  love
one another-you DO bear one another's burdens-you DO realize that a little
child is a type of the kingdom of heaven. You are more Christian than  any
people I ever saw. But-how about death? And  the  life  everlasting?  What
does your religion teach about eternity?"
    "Nothing," said Ellador. "What is eternity?"
    What indeed? I tried, for the first time in my life, to  get  a  real
hold on the idea.
    "It is-never stopping."
    "Never stopping?" She looked puzzled.
    "Yes, life, going on forever."
    "Oh-we see that, of course. Life does go on forever, all about us."
    "But eternal life goes on WITHOUT DYING."
    "The same person?"
    "Yes, the same person, unending, immortal." I was  pleased  to  think
that I had something to teach from our religion, which  theirs  had  never
    "Here?" asked Ellador. "Never to die-here?" I could see her practical
mind heaping up the people, and hurriedly reassured her.
    "Oh no, indeed, not here-hereafter. We must die here, of course,  but
then we `enter into eternal life.' The soul lives forever."
    "How do you know?" she inquired.
    "I won't attempt to prove it to you," I hastily  continued.  "Let  us
assume it to be so. How does this idea strike you?"
    Again she smiled at me, that adorable, dimpling, tender, mischievous,
motherly smile of hers. "Shall I be quite, quite honest?"
    "You couldn't be anything else," I  said,  half  gladly  and  half  a
little sorry. The transparent honesty of these women  was  a  never-ending
astonishment to me.
    "It seems to me a singularly foolish idea," she said calmly. "And  if
true, most disagreeable."
    Now I had always accepted the doctrine of personal immortality  as  a
thing established. The efforts of inquiring spiritualists, always  seeking
to woo their beloved ghosts back again, never seemed to  me  necessary.  I
don't say I had ever seriously and courageously discussed the subject with
myself even; I had simply assumed it to be a fact. And here was the girl I
loved, this creature whose character constantly revealed new  heights  and
ranges far beyond my own, this  superwoman  of  a  superland,  saying  she
thought immortality foolish! She meant it, too.
    "What do you WANT it for?" she asked.
    "How can you NOT want it!" I protested. "Do you want to go out like a
candle? Don't you want to go  on  and  on-growing  and  -and-being  happy,
    "Why, no," she said. "I don't in the least. I  want  my  childand  my
child's child-to go on-and they will. Why should _I_ want to?"
    "But it means Heaven!" I insisted. "Peace and Beauty and Comfort  and
Love-with God." I had never been so eloquent on the subject  of  religion.
She  could  be  horrified  at  Damnation,  and  question  the  justice  of
Salvation, but Immortality-that was surely a noble faith.
    "Why, Van," she said, holding out her hands to me. "Why  Van-darling!
How splendid of you to feel it so keenly. That's  what  we  all  want,  of
course-Peace and Beauty, and Comfort and Love-with God! And Progress  too,
remember; Growth, always and always. That is what our religion teaches  us
to want and to work for, and we do!"
    "But that is HERE, I said, "only for this life on earth."
    "Well? And do not you in your country, with your  beautiful  religion
of love and service have it here, too-for this life-on earth?"

    None of us were willing to tell the women of Herland about the  evils
of our own beloved land. It was all very well for us to assume them to  be
necessary and essential, and to  criticizestrictly  among  ourselves-their
all-too-perfect civilization, but when it came to telling them  about  the
failures and wastes of our own, we never could bring ourselves to do it.
    Moreover, we sought to avoid too much discussion, and  to  press  the
subject of our approaching marriages.
    Jeff was the determined one on this score.
    "Of course they haven't any marriage ceremony or service, but we  can
make it a sort of Quaker wedding, and have it  in  the  temple-it  is  the
least we can do for them."
    It was. There was so little, after all, that we could  do  for  them.
Here we were, penniless guests and strangers, with no chance even  to  use
our strength and courage-nothing to  defend  them  from  or  protect  them
    "We can at least give them our names," Jeff insisted.
    They were very sweet about it, quite willing to do whatever we asked,
to please us. As to the names, Alima, frank soul that she was, asked  what
good it would do.
    Terry, always irritating her, said it was a sign of possession.  "You
are going to be Mrs. Nicholson," he said.  "Mrs.  T.  O.  Nicholson.  That
shows everyone that you are my wife."
    "What is a `wife' exactly?" she demanded, a dangerous  gleam  in  her
    "A wife is the woman who belongs to a man," he began.
    But Jeff took it up eagerly: "And a husband is the man who belongs to
a woman. It is because we are monogamous, you know. And  marriage  is  the
ceremony, civil and religious, that joins the two together-`until death do
us part,'" he finished, looking at Celis with unutterable devotion.
    "What makes us all feel foolish," I told the girls, "is that here  we
have nothing to give you-except, of course, our names."
    "Do your women have no names before they are married?" Celis suddenly
    "Why, yes," Jeff explained. "They  have  their  maiden  names  -their
father's names, that is."
    "And what becomes of them?" asked Alima.
    "They change them for their husbands', my dear," Terry answered her.
    "Change them? Do the husbands then take the wives' `maiden names'?"
    "Oh, no," he laughed. "The man keeps his own and  gives  it  to  her,
    "Then she just loses hers and takes  a  new  one-how  unpleasant!  We
won't do that!" Alima said decidedly.
    Terry was good-humored about it. "I don't care what you do  or  don't
do so long as we have that wedding  pretty  soon,"  he  said,  reaching  a
strong brown hand after Alima's, quite as brown and nearly as strong.
    "As to giving us things-of course we can see that you'd like to,  but
we are glad you can't," Celis continued. "You see, we love  you  just  for
yourselves-we wouldn't want you to-to pay anything.  Isn't  it  enough  to
know that you are loved personally-and just as men?"
    Enough or not, that was the way we  were  married.  We  had  a  great
triple wedding in the biggest temple of all, and it looked as if  most  of
the nation was present. It was very solemn and very beautiful. Someone had
written a new song for the occasion, nobly beautiful, about the  New  Hope
for their people-the New Tie  with  other  lands-Brotherhood  as  well  as
Sisterhood, and, with evident awe, Fatherhood.
    Terry was always restive under their talk of  fatherhood.  "Anybody'd
think we were High  Priests  of-of  Philoprogenitiveness!"  he  protested.
"These women think of NOTHING but children, seems to me! We'll teach 'em!"
    He was so certain of what  he  was  going  to  teach,  and  Alima  so
uncertain in her moods of reception, that Jeff and I feared the worst.  We
tried to caution him-much good that did.  The  big  handsome  fellow  drew
himself up to his full  height,  lifted  that  great  chest  of  his,  and
    "There are three separate marriages," he  said.  "I  won't  interfere
with yours-nor you with mine."
    So the great day came, and the countless  crowds  of  women,  and  we
three bridegrooms without any supporting "best men," or any other  men  to
back us up, felt strangely small as we came forward.
    Somel and Zava and Moadine were on hand; we  were  thankful  to  have
them, too-they seemed almost like relatives.
    There was a splendid procession, wreathing dances, the new  anthem  I
spoke of, and the whole great place pulsed with feeling -the deep awe, the
sweet hope, the wondering expectation of a new miracle.
    "There has been nothing like this in the country since our Motherhood
began!" Somel said softly to me, while we watched  the  symbolic  marches.
"You see, it is the dawn of a new era. You don't know how much you mean to
us. It is not only Fatherhood -that marvelous dual parentage to  which  we
are strangers-the miracle of union in life-giving-but it  is  Brotherhood.
You are the rest of the world. You join us to our kind-to all the  strange
lands and peoples we have never seen. We hope to know them  -to  love  and
help them-and to learn of them. Ah! You cannot know!"
    Thousands of voices rose in the soaring climax of that great Hymn  of
The Coming Life. By the great Altar of Motherhood, with its crown of fruit
and flowers, stood a new one, crowned  as  well.  Before  the  Great  Over
Mother of the Land and her ring of High Temple  Counsellors,  before  that
vast multitude of calmfaced mothers and holy-eyed  maidens,  came  forward
our own three chosen ones, and we, three  men  alone  in  all  that  land,
joined hands with them and made our marriage vows.

                          11. Our Difficulties

    We say,  "Marriage  is  a  lottery";  also  "Marriages  are  made  in
Heaven"-but this is not so widely accepted as the other.
    We have a well-founded theory that it is  best  to  marry  "in  one's
class," and certain well-grounded suspicions of  international  marriages,
which seem to persist in the interests of social progress, rather than  in
those of the contracting parties.
    But no combination of alien races, of color, of caste, or creed,  was
ever so basically difficult to establish as that between us, three  modern
American men, and these three women of Herland.
    It is all very well to say that we should have been  frank  about  it
beforehand. We had been frank. We had discussed-at  least  Ellador  and  I
had-the conditions of The Great Adventure, and thought the path was  clear
before us. But there are some things one takes for granted,  supposes  are
mutually understood, and  to  which  both  parties  may  repeatedly  refer
without ever meaning the same thing.
    The differences in the education of the average  man  and  woman  are
great enough, but the trouble they make is not  mostly  for  the  man;  he
generally carries out his own views  of  the  case.  The  woman  may  have
imagined the conditions of married life to  be  different;  but  what  she
imagined, was ignorant of, or might  have  preferred,  did  not  seriously
    I can see clearly and speak calmly about this now,  writing  after  a
lapse of years, years full of growth and education, but at the time it was
rather hard sledding for all of us-especially for Terry. Poor  Terry!  You
see, in any other imaginable marriage among  the  peoples  of  the  earth,
whether the woman were black, red, yellow, brown, or  white;  whether  she
were ignorant or educated, submissive or rebellious, she would have behind
her the marriage tradition of our general history. This tradition  relates
the woman to the man. He goes on with his business, and she adapts herself
to him and to it. Even in citizenship, by some strange  hocus-pocus,  that
fact of birth and geography was waved aside, and the  woman  automatically
acquired the nationality of her husband.
    Well-here were we, three aliens in this land of women. It  was  small
in area, and the external differences were not so great as to astound  us.
We did not yet appreciate the differences between the  race-mind  of  this
people and ours.
    In the first  place,  they  were  a  "pure  stock"  of  two  thousand
uninterrupted years. Where we have some long connected  lines  of  thought
and  feeling,  together  with  a  wide   range   of   differences,   often
irreconcilable, these people were smoothly and firmly agreed  on  most  of
the basic principles of their life; and not only agreed in principle,  but
accustomed for these sixty-odd generations to act on those principles.
    This is one thing which we did not understand-had made  no  allowance
for. When in our pre-marital discussions one of those dear girls had said:
"We understand it thus and thus," or "We hold such and such to  be  true,"
we men, in our own deep-seated convictions of the power of love,  and  our
easy views about beliefs and principles, fondly  imagined  that  we  could
convince them otherwise. What we imagined, before marriage, did not matter
any more than what an average innocent young girl imagines. We  found  the
facts to be different.
    It was not that they did not love us; they did,  deeply  and  warmly.
But there are you again-what they meant by "love" and  what  we  meant  by
"love" were so different.
    Perhaps it seems rather cold-blooded to say "we" and "they," as if we
were not separate couples, with our separate joys  and  sorrows,  but  our
positions as aliens  drove  us  together  constantly.  The  whole  strange
experience had made our friendship more close and intimate than  it  would
ever have become in a free and easy lifetime among our own  people.  Also,
as men, with our masculine tradition of far more than two thousand  years,
we were a unit, small but firm, against this far larger unit  of  feminine
    I think I can make clear the  points  of  difference  without  a  too
painful explicitness. The more external disagreement was in the matter  of
"the home," and the housekeeping duties and pleasures we, by instinct  and
long education, supposed to be inherently appropriate to women.
    I will give two illustrations, one away up, and the other away  down,
to show how completely disappointed we were in this regard.
    For the lower one, try to imagine a male ant, coming from some  state
of existence where ants live in pairs, endeavoring to set up  housekeeping
with a female ant from a highly developed anthill. This female  ant  might
regard him with intense personal affection, but her ideas of parentage and
economic management would be on a very different scale from his.  Now,  of
course, if she was a stray female in a country of pairing ants,  he  might
have had his way with her; but if he was a stray male in an anthill-!
    For the higher one, try to imagine  a  devoted  and  impassioned  man
trying  to   set   up   housekeeping   with   a   lady   angel,   a   real
wings-and-harp-and-halo angel, accustomed to  fulfilling  divine  missions
all over interstellar space.  This  angel  might  love  the  man  with  an
affection quite beyond his power of return or even  of  appreciation,  but
her ideas of service and duty would be on a very different scale from his.
Of course, if she was a stray angel in a country of men, he might have had
his way with her; but if he was a stray man among angels-!
    Terry, at his worst, in a black fury for which, as a man, I must have
some sympathy, preferred the ant simile. More of  Terry  and  his  special
troubles later. It was hard on Terry.
    Jeff-well, Jeff always had a streak that was too good for this world!
He's the kind that would have made a  saintly  priest  in  parentagearlier
times. He accepted the angel theory, swallowed it whole, tried to force it
on us-with varying effect. He so worshipped Celis, and not only Celis, but
what she represented; he had become so  deeply  convinced  of  the  almost
supernatural advantages of this country  and  people,  that  he  took  his
medicine like a-I cannot say "like a man," but more as if he wasn't one.
    Don't misunderstand me for a moment. Dear old Jeff was no milksop  or
molly-coddle either. He  was  a  strong,  brave,  efficient  man,  and  an
excellent fighter when fighting was necessary. But there was  always  this
angel streak in him. It was rather a wonder,  Terry  being  so  different,
that he really loved Jeff as he did; but it happens so sometimes, in spite
of the difference-perhaps because of it.
    As for me, I stood between. I was no such gay Lothario as Terry,  and
no such Galahad as Jeff. But for all my limitations  I  think  I  had  the
habit of using my brains in regard to behavior rather more frequently than
either of them. I had to use brainpower now, I can tell you.
    The big point at issue between us and our wives was, as may easily be
imagined, in the very nature of the relation.
    "Wives! Don't talk to me about wives!"  stormed  Terry.  "They  don't
know what the word means."
    Which is exactly the fact-they didn't. How could they? Back in  their
prehistoric records of polygamy  and  slavery  there  were  no  ideals  of
wifehood as we know it, and since then no possibility of forming such.
    "The only thing they can think of about a man  is  FATHERHOOD!"  said
Terry in high scorn. "FATHERHOOD!" As if a man was always wanting to be  a
    This also  was  correct.  They  had  their  long,  wide,  deep,  rich
experience of Motherhood, and their only perception of the value of a male
creature as such was for Fatherhood.
    Aside from that, of course, was the whole  range  of  personal  love,
love which as Jeff earnestly phrased it "passeth the love  of  women!"  It
did, too. I can give no idea-either now, after long and  happy  experience
of it, or as it seemed then, in the first measureless wonder-of the beauty
and power of the love they gave us.
    Even Alima-who had a more  stormy  temperament  than  either  of  the
others, and who, heaven knows, had  far  more  provocationeven  Alima  was
patience and tenderness and wisdom personified to the man she loved, until
he-but I haven't got to that yet.

    These, as Terry put it, "alleged or so-called wives"  of  ours,  went
right on with  their  profession  as  foresters.  We,  having  no  special
learnings, had long since qualified as assistants. We had to do something,
if only to pass the time, and it had to be work -we  couldn't  be  playing
    This kept us out of doors with those dear girls,  and  more  or  less
together-too much together sometimes.
    These people had, it now became clear to us,  the  highest,  keenest,
most delicate sense of personal privacy, but not the faintest idea of that
SOLITUDE A DEUX we are so fond of. They had, every one of them,  the  "two
rooms and a bath" theory realized. From  earliest  childhood  each  had  a
separate bedroom with toilet conveniences, and one of the marks of  coming
of age was the addition of an outer room in which to receive friends.
    Long since we had been given our own two rooms apiece, and  as  being
of a different sex and race, these were in a separate house. It seemed  to
be recognized that we should breathe easier if able to free our  minds  in
real seclusion.
    For food we either went to any  convenient  eating-house,  ordered  a
meal brought in, or took it with us to the woods, always and equally good.
All this we had become used to and enjoyed-in our courting days.
    After marriage there arose  in  us  a  somewhat  unexpected  urge  of
feeling that called for a  separate  house;  but  this  feeling  found  no
response in the hearts of those fair ladies.
    "We ARE alone, dear," Ellador explained to me with  gentle  patience.
"We are alone in these great forests; we may go  and  eat  in  any  little
summer-house-just we two, or have a separate table anywhere-or even have a
separate meal in our own rooms. How could we be aloner?"
    This was all very true. We had our pleasant mutual solitude about our
work, and our pleasant evening talks in their apartments or ours; we  had,
as it were, all the pleasures of courtship carried right on; but we had no
sense of-perhaps it may be called possession.
    "Might as well not be married at all," growled Terry. "They only  got
up that ceremony to please us-please Jeff, mostly. They've no real idea of
being married.
    I tried my best to get Ellador's point of view, and naturally I tried
to give her mine. Of course, what we, as men, wanted to make them see  was
that there were other, and as we  proudly  said  "higher,"  uses  in  this
relation than what Terry called "mere parentage." In the highest  terms  I
knew I tried to explain this to Ellador.
    "Anything higher than for mutual love to hope to  give  life,  as  we
did?" she said. "How is it higher?"
    "It  develops  love,"  I  explained.  "All  the  power  of  beautiful
permanent mated love comes through this higher development."
    "Are you sure?" she asked gently. "How do you know  that  it  was  so
developed? There are some birds who love each other so that they mope  and
pine if separated, and never pair again if one dies, but they  never  mate
except in the mating season. Among  your  people  do  you  find  high  and
lasting affection appearing in proportion to this indulgence?"
    It is a very awkward thing, sometimes, to have a logical mind.
    Of course I knew about those monogamous birds and  beasts  too,  that
mate for life and show every sign of mutual affection, without ever having
stretched the sex relationship beyond its original range. But what of it?
    "Those are lower forms of life!" I protested. "They have no  capacity
for faithful and affectionate, and apparently happybut  oh,  my  dear!  my
dear!-what can they know of such a love as  draws  us  together?  Why,  to
touch you-to be near you-to come  closer  and  closer-to  lose  myself  in
you-surely you feel it too, do you not?"
    I came nearer. I seized her hands.
    Her eyes were on mine, tender radiant, but steady and  strong.  There
was something so powerful, so large and changeless, in those eyes  that  I
could not sweep her off her feet by my own emotion as I had  unconsciously
assumed would be the case.
    It made me feel as, one might imagine, a man might feel who  loved  a
goddess-not a Venus, though! She did not resent my attitude, did not repel
it, did not in the least fear it, evidently. There was not a shade of that
timid withdrawal or pretty resistance which are so-provocative.
    "You see, dearest," she said, "you have to be patient with us. We are
not like the women of your country. We are Mothers, and we are People, but
we have not specialized in this line."
    "We" and "we" and "we"-it was so hard to get her to be personal. And,
as I thought that, I suddenly remembered how we  were  always  criticizing
OUR women for BEING so personal.
    Then I did my earnest best to picture to her the sweet intense joy of
married lovers, and the result in higher stimulus to all creative work.
    "Do you mean," she asked quite calmly, as if I was  not  holding  her
cool firm hands in my hot and rather quivering ones, "that with you,  when
people marry, they go right on doing this in season  and  out  of  season,
with no thought of children at all?"
    "They do," I said, with some bitterness. "They are not mere  parents.
They are men and women, and they love each other."
    "How long?" asked Ellador, rather unexpectedly.
    "How long?" I repeated, a little dashed. "Why as long as they live."
    "There is something very beautiful in the idea," she admitted,  still
as if she were discussing life on Mars. "This climactic expression, which,
in all the other life-forms, has but the one purpose, has with you  become
specialized to higher, purer, nobler uses. It hasI  judge  from  what  you
tell me-the most ennobling effect on character. People marry, not only for
parentage, but for this exquisite interchange -and, as a result, you  have
a world full of continuous lovers, ardent, happy, mutually devoted, always
living on that high tide of supreme  emotion  which  we  had  supposed  to
belong only to one season and one use. And you say it has  other  results,
stimulating all high creative work. That must mean floods, oceans of  such
work, blossoming from this intense happiness of every married pair! It  is
a beautiful idea!"
    She was silent, thinking.
    So was I.
    She slipped one hand free, and was stroking my  hair  with  it  in  a
gentle motherly way. I bowed my hot head on her shoulder and  felt  a  dim
sense of peace, a restfulness which was very pleasant.
    "You must take me there someday, darling," she was saying. "It is not
only that I love you so much, I want to see your country -your people-your
mother-" she paused reverently. "Oh, how I shall love your mother!"
    I had not been in love many times-my experience did not compare  with
Terry's. But such as  I  had  was  so  different  from  this  that  I  was
perplexed, and full of mixed feelings: partly a growing  sense  of  common
ground between us, a pleasant rested calm feeling, which  I  had  imagined
could only be attained in one way;  and  partly  a  bewildered  resentment
because what I found was not what I had looked for.
    It was their confounded psychology! Here they were with this profound
highly developed system of education so bred into them that even  if  they
were not teachers by profession they all  had  a  general  proficiency  in
it-it was second nature to them.
    And no child, stormily demanding a cookie "between meals,"  was  ever
more subtly diverted into an interest in house-building than was I when  I
found an apparently imperative demand had disappeared without my  noticing
    And all the time those tender  mother  eyes,  those  keen  scientific
eyes, noting every condition and circumstance, and learning how  to  "take
time by the forelock" and avoid discussion before occasion arose.
    I was amazed at the results. I found that much, very much, of what  I
had honestly supposed to be a physiological necessity was a  psychological
necessity-or so believed. I found, after my ideas of  what  was  essential
had changed, that my feelings changed also. And more  than  all,  I  found
this-a factor of enormous weight-these women were  not  provocative.  That
made an immense difference.
    The thing that Terry had so complained of  when  we  first  came-that
they weren't "feminine," they lacked "charm," now became a great  comfort.
Their vigorous beauty was an aesthetic pleasure, not  an  irritant.  Their
dress and ornaments had not a touch of the "come-and-find-me" element.
    Even with my own Ellador, my wife, who had  for  a  time  unveiled  a
woman's heart and faced the strange new hope and joy  of  dual  parentage,
she afterward withdrew again into the same good comrade she  had  been  at
first. They were women, PLUS, and so much plus  that  when  they  did  not
choose to let the womanness appear, you could not find it anywhere.
    I don't say it was easy for me; it wasn't. But when I made appeal  to
her sympathies I came up against another immovable wall.  She  was  sorry,
honestly sorry, for my distresses,  and  made  all  manner  of  thoughtful
suggestions, often quite useful, as well as  the  wise  foresight  I  have
mentioned above, which often saved all difficulty before it arose; but her
sympathy did not alter her convictions.
    "If I thought it was really right  and  necessary,  I  could  perhaps
bring myself to it, for your sake, dear; but I do not want to-not at  all.
You would not have a mere submission, would you? That is not the  kind  of
high romantic love you spoke of, surely? It is a pity, of course, that you
should  have  to  adjust  your  highly  specialized   faculties   to   our
unspecialized ones."
    Confound it! I hadn't married the nation, and I told her so. But  she
only smiled at her own limitations and explained that she had to "think in
    Confound it again! Here I'd have all my energies focused on one wish,
and before I knew it she'd  have  them  dissipated  in  one  direction  or
another, some subject of discussion that began just at  the  point  I  was
talking about and ended miles away.
    It must not be imagined that I was just repelled,  ignored,  left  to
cherish a grievance. Not at all. My  happiness  was  in  the  hands  of  a
larger, sweeter womanhood than I had ever imagined. Before our marriage my
own ardor had perhaps blinded me to much of this. I was madly in love with
not so much what was there as with what I supposed  to  be  there.  Now  I
found an endlessly beautiful undiscovered country to explore,  and  in  it
the sweetest wisdom and understanding. It was as if I had come to some new
place and people, with a  desire  to  eat  at  all  hours,  and  no  other
interests in particular; and as if my hosts,  instead  of  merely  saying,
"You shall not eat," had presently aroused  in  me  a  lively  desire  for
music, for pictures, for games, for exercise, for playing  in  the  water,
for  running  some  ingenious  machine;  and,  in  the  multitude  of   my
satisfactions, I forgot the one point which was  not  satisfied,  and  got
along very well until mealtime.
    One of the cleverest and most ingenious  of  these  tricks  was  only
clear to me many years after, when we  were  so  wholly  at  one  on  this
subject that I could laugh at my own predicament then. It  was  this:  You
see, with us, women are kept as different as possible and as  feminine  as
possible. We men have our own world, with only men in it; we get tired  of
our ultra-maleness and turn  gladly  to  the  ultra-femaleness.  Also,  in
keeping our women as feminine as possible, we see to it that when we  turn
to them we find the thing we want always in evidence. Well, the atmosphere
of this place was anything but seductive. The very numbers of these  human
women, always in human relation, made them anything but alluring. When, in
spite of this, my hereditary instincts and race-traditions  made  me  long
for the feminine response in Ellador, instead of  withdrawing  so  that  I
should want her more, she deliberately gave me a little too  much  of  her
society. -always de-feminized, as it were. It was awfully funny, really.
    Here was I, with an Ideal in mind, for which I hotly longed, and here
was she, deliberately obtruding in the foreground of  my  consciousness  a
Fact-a fact which I coolly enjoyed, but  which  actually  interfered  with
what I wanted. I see now clearly enough why a certain kind  of  man,  like
Sir Almroth Wright, resents the professional development of women. It gets
in  the  way  of  the  sex  ideal;  it  temporarily  covers  and  excludes
    Of course, in this case, I was so  fond  of  Ellador  my  friend,  of
Ellador my professional companion, that I necessarily enjoyed her  society
on any terms. Only-when I had had her with me in her de-feminine  capacity
for a sixteen-hour day, I could go  to  my  own  room  and  sleep  without
dreaming about her.
    The witch! If ever anybody worked to woo and win  and  hold  a  human
soul, she did, great  superwoman  that  she  was.  I  couldn't  then  half
comprehend the skill of it, the wonder. But this I  soon  began  to  find:
that under all our cultivated attitude of mind toward women, there  is  an
older, deeper, more "natural" feeling, the restful reverence  which  looks
up to the Mother sex.
    So we grew together in friendship and happiness, Ellador and  I,  and
so did Jeff and Celis.
    When it comes to Terry's part of it, and Alima's,  I'm  sorryand  I'm
ashamed. Of course I blame her somewhat. She wasn't as fine a psychologist
as Ellador, and what's more, I think she  had  a  far-descended  atavistic
trace of more marked femaleness, never apparent till Terry called it  out.
But when all is said, it doesn't excuse him. I hadn't realized to the full
Terry's character -I couldn't, being a man.
    The position was the same as with us,  of  course,  only  with  these
distinctions. Alima, a shade more alluring, and several shades  less  able
as a practical  psychologist;  Terry,  a  hundredfold  more  demanding-and
proportionately less reasonable.
    Things grew strained very soon between them. I fancy at  first,  when
they were together, in her great hope of parentage and  his  keen  joy  of
conquest-that Terry was inconsiderate. In fact, I know it, from things  he
    "You needn't talk to me," he snapped at Jeff one day, just before our
weddings. "There never was a woman yet that did not enjoy being  MASTERED.
All your pretty talk doesn't amount to a hill o'beans-I KNOW."  And  Terry
would hum:

         I've taken my fun where I found it.
         I've rogued and I've ranged in my time,


         The things that I learned from the yellow and black,
         They 'ave helped me a 'eap with the white.

    Jeff turned sharply and left him at the time. I was a bit  disquieted
    Poor old Terry! The things he'd learned didn't help  him  a  heap  in
Herland. His idea was to take-he thought that was the way. He thought,  he
honestly believed, that women like it.  Not  the  women  of  Herland!  Not
    I can see her now-one day in the very first week of  their  marriage,
setting forth to her day's work with long determined strides and  hard-set
mouth, and sticking close to Ellador. She didn't wish  to  be  alone  with
Terry-you could see that.
    But  the  more  she  kept  away  from  him,  the   more   he   wanted
    He made a tremendous row about their separate  establishments,  tried
to keep her in his rooms, tried to stay in hers. But there  she  drew  the
line sharply.
    He came away one night, and stamped up and  down  the  moonlit  road,
swearing under his breath. I was taking a  walk  that  night  too,  but  I
wasn't in his state of mind. To hear him rage you'd not have believed that
he loved Alima at all-you'd have thought that she was some quarry  he  was
pursuing, something to catch and conquer.
    I think that, owing to all those differences I spoke  of,  they  soon
lost the common ground they had at first, and were unable to  meet  sanely
and dispassionately. I fancy  too-this  is  pure  conjecture-that  he  had
succeeded in driving Alima beyond her best judgment, her real  conscience,
and that after that her own sense of shame, the  reaction  of  the  thing,
made her bitter perhaps.
    They quarreled, really quarreled, and after  making  it  up  once  or
twice, they seemed to come to a real break-she would not be alone with him
at all. And perhaps she was a bit nervous,  I  don't  know,  but  she  got
Moadine to come and stay  next  door  to  her.  Also,  she  had  a  sturdy
assistant detailed to accompany her in her work.
    Terry had his own ideas, as I've tried to show. I daresay he  thought
he had a right to do as he did. Perhaps he even convinced himself that  it
would be better for her. Anyhow, he hid himself in her bedroom one night .
. .
    The women of Herland have no fear of men. Why should they have?  They
are not timid in any sense. They are not weak; and they  all  have  strong
trained athletic bodies. Othello could not have extinguished Alima with  a
pillow, as if she were a mouse.
    Terry put in practice his pet conviction that a  woman  loves  to  be
mastered, and by sheer brute force, in all the pride and  passion  of  his
intense masculinity, he tried to master this woman.
    It did not work. I got a  pretty  clear  account  of  it  later  from
Ellador, but what we heard at the time  was  the  noise  of  a  tremendous
struggle, and Alima calling to Moadine. Moadine was close by and  came  at
once; one or two more strong grave women followed.
    Terry dashed about like a madman; he  would  cheerfully  have  killed
them-he told me that, himself-but he couldn't. When he swung a chair  over
his head one sprang in the air and caught it, two threw themselves  bodily
upon him and forced him to the floor; it  was  only  the  work  of  a  few
moments to have him tied hand and foot, and then, in sheer  pity  for  his
futile rage, to anesthetize him.

    Alima was in a cold fury. She wanted him killed-actually.
    There was a trial before the local Over Mother, and this  woman,  who
did not enjoy being mastered, stated her case.
    In a court in our country he would have been held quite  "within  his
rights," of course. But this was not our  country;  it  was  theirs.  They
seemed to measure the enormity  of  the  offense  by  its  effect  upon  a
possible fatherhood, and he scorned even to reply to this way  of  putting
    He did let himself go once, and explained in definite terms that they
were incapable of understanding a man's needs, a man's  desires,  a  man's
point of view.  He  called  them  neuters,  epicenes,  bloodless,  sexless
creatures. He said they could of course  kill  him  -as  so  many  insects
could-but that he despised them nonetheless.
    And all those stern grave mothers did not seem to mind his  despising
them, not in the least.
    It was a long trial, and many interesting points were brought out  as
to their views of our habits, and after a while Terry had his sentence. He
waited, grim and defiant. The sentence was: "You must go home!"

                              12. Expelled

    We had all meant to go home again. Indeed we had NOT  meant  -not  by
any means-to stay as long as we had. But when it came to being turned out,
dismissed, sent away for bad conduct, we none of us really liked it.
    Terry said he did. He professed great scorn of the  penalty  and  the
trial, as well  as  all  the  other  characteristics  of  "this  miserable
half-country." But he knew, and we knew, that in any  "whole"  country  we
should never have been as forgivingly treated as we had been here.
    "If the people had come after us according to the directions we left,
there'd have been quite a different story!" said Terry. We found out later
why no reserve party had arrived. All  our  careful  directions  had  been
destroyed in a fire. We might have all died there and no one at home  have
ever known our whereabouts.
    Terry was under guard now, all the time, known as  unsafe,  convicted
of what was to them an unpardonable sin.
    He laughed at their chill horror. "Parcel of old  maids!"  he  called
them. "They're all old maids-children or not. They don't  know  the  first
thing about Sex."
    When Terry said SEX, sex with a very large _S_,  he  meant  the  male
sex, naturally; its special values, its profound conviction of being  "the
life force," its cheerful ignoring of  the  true  life  process,  and  its
interpretation of the other sex solely from its own point of view.
    I had learned to see these things very differently since living  with
Ellador; and as for Jeff, he was so thoroughly Herlandized that he  wasn't
fair to Terry, who fretted sharply in his new restraint.
    Moadine, grave and strong, as  sadly  patient  as  a  mother  with  a
degenerate child, kept steady watch on him, with enough other women  close
at hand to prevent an outbreak. He had no weapons, and well knew that  all
his strength was of small avail against those grim, quiet women.
    We were allowed to visit him freely, but he had only his room, and  a
small high-walled garden to  walk  in,  while  the  preparations  for  our
departure were under way.
    Three of us were to go: Terry, because he must; I, because  two  were
safer for our flyer, and the long boat trip to the coast; Ellador, because
she would not let me go without her.
    If Jeff had elected to return, Celis would have  gone  too-they  were
the most absorbed of lovers; but Jeff had no desire that way.
    "Why should I want to go back to all our noise and dirt, our vice and
crime, our disease and degeneracy?" he demanded of me privately. We  never
spoke like that before  the  women.  "I  wouldn't  take  Celis  there  for
anything on earth!" he protested. "She'd die!  She'd  die  of  horror  and
shame to see our slums and hospitals. How can you risk  it  with  Ellador?
You'd better break it to her gently before she really makes up her mind."
    Jeff was right. I ought to have told her more fully than  I  did,  of
all the things we had to be ashamed of. But it is very hard to bridge  the
gulf of as deep a difference as existed between our  life  and  theirs.  I
tried to.
    "Look here, my dear," I said to her. "If you are really going  to  my
country with me, you've got to be prepared for a good  many  shocks.  It's
not as beautiful as this-the cities, I mean, the civilized parts-of course
the wild country is."
    "I shall enjoy it all," she said,  her  eyes  starry  with  hope.  "I
understand it's not like ours. I can see how  monotonous  our  quiet  life
must seem to you, how much more stirring yours must be. It  must  be  like
the  biological  change  you  told  me  about  when  the  second  sex  was
introduced-a far greater movement, constant change, with new possibilities
of growth."
    I had told her of the later biological theories of sex, and  she  was
deeply convinced of the superior advantages of having two, the superiority
of a world with men in it.
    "We have done what we could alone; perhaps we have some things better
in a quiet way, but you  have  the  whole  world-all  the  people  of  the
different nations-all the long rich history behind you-all  the  wonderful
new knowledge. Oh, I just can't wait to see it!"
    What could I do? I told her in so many words that we had our unsolved
problems, that we had dishonesty and corruption, vice and  crime,  disease
and insanity, prisons and hospitals; and it made no more impression on her
than it would to tell a South Sea Islander about the  temperature  of  the
Arctic Circle. She could intellectually see that it was bad to have  those
things; but she could not FEEL it.
    We had quite easily come  to  accept  the  Herland  life  as  normal,
because it was normal-none of us make any  outcry  over  mere  health  and
peace and happy industry. And the abnormal, to which we are all  so  sadly
well acclimated, she had never seen.
    The two things she cared most to hear about, and wanted most to  see,
were these: the beautiful relation of marriage and the  lovely  women  who
were mothers and nothing else; beyond these her keen, active mind hungered
eagerly for the world life.
    "I'm almost as anxious to go as you are yourself," she insisted, "and
you must be desperately homesick."
    I assured her that no one could be homesick in  such  a  paradise  as
theirs, but she would have none of it.
    "Oh, yes-I know. It's like those little tropical islands you've  told
me about, shining like jewels in the big blue sea-I can't wait to see  the
sea! The little island may be as perfect as a garden, but you always  want
to get back to your own big country, don't you? Even if it is bad in  some
    Ellador was more than willing. But the nearer it came to  our  really
going, and to my having to take her back to our "civilization," after  the
clean peace and beauty of theirs, the more I began to dread  it,  and  the
more I tried to explain.
    Of course I had been homesick at  first,  while  we  were  prisoners,
before I had Ellador. And of course I had, at first, rather  idealized  my
country and its ways, in  describing  it.  Also,  I  had  always  accepted
certain evils as integral parts of our civilization  and  never  dwelt  on
them at all. Even when I tried to tell her the worst, I  never  remembered
some things-which, when she came to see them, impressed her  at  once,  as
they had never impressed me. Now, in my efforts at explanation, I began to
see both ways more keenly than I had before; to see the painful defects of
my own land, the marvelous gains of this.
    In missing men we three visitors had naturally missed the larger part
of life, and had unconsciously assumed that they must miss it too. It took
me a long time to realize-Terry never did realize-how little it  meant  to
them. When we say MEN, MAN, MANLY, MANHOOD, and all  the  other  masculine
derivatives, we have in the background of our minds a huge  vague  crowded
picture of the world and all its activities. To grow up and "be a man," to
"act like a man"-the meaning and connotation is  wide  indeed.  That  vast
background is full of marching columns of men, of changing lines  of  men,
of long processions of men; of men steering their  ships  into  new  seas,
exploring unknown mountains, breaking horses,  herding  cattle,  ploughing
and sowing and reaping, toiling at the forge and furnace, digging  in  the
mine, building roads and  bridges  and  high  cathedrals,  managing  great
businesses, teaching in all the colleges, preaching in all  the  churches;
of men everywhere, doing everything-"the world."
    And when we say WOMEN, we think FEMALE-the sex.
    But   to   these   women,   in   the   unbroken   sweep    of    this
twothousand-year-old feminine civilization, the word WOMAN called  up  all
that big background, so far as they had gone in  social  development;  and
the word MAN meant to them only MALE-the sex.
    Of course we could TELL them that in our world  men  did  everything;
but that did not alter the background of their minds. That man, "the male,
" did all these things was to them a statement, making no more  change  in
the point of view than was made in ours when we first faced the astounding
fact-to us-that in Herland women were "the world."
    We had been living there more than  a  year.  We  had  learned  their
limited history, with its straight,  smooth,  upreaching  lines,  reaching
higher and going faster up to the smooth comfort of their present life. We
had learned a little of their psychology, a  much  wider  field  than  the
history, but here we could not follow so readily. We were now well used to
seeing women not as females but as people;  people  of  all  sorts,  doing
every kind of work.
    This outbreak of Terry's, and the strong reaction against it, gave us
a new light on their genuine femininity. This  was  given  me  with  great
clearness by both  Ellador  and  Somel.  The  feeling  was  the  same-sick
revulsion and horror, such as would be felt at some climactic blasphemy.
    They had no faintest approach to such a thing in their minds, knowing
nothing of the custom of marital indulgence among us. To them the one high
purpose of motherhood had been for so long the governing law of life,  and
the contribution of the  father,  though  known  to  them,  so  distinctly
another method to the same end,  that  they  could  not,  with  all  their
effort, get the point of view of the male  creature  whose  desires  quite
ignore parentage and seek only for what we euphoniously term "the joys  of
    When I tried to tell Ellador that women too felt  so,  with  us,  she
drew away from me, and tried hard to grasp intellectually what  she  could
in no way sympathize with.
    "You mean-that with you-love between man and woman  expresses  itself
in that way-without regard to motherhood? To parentage, I mean," she added
    "Yes, surely. It is love we think of-the deep sweet love between two.
Of course we want children, and children comebut that is not what we think
    "But-but-it  seems  so  against  nature!"  she  said.  "None  of  the
creatures we know do that. Do other animals-in your country?"
    "We are not animals!" I replied with some sharpness. "At least we are
something more-something higher. This is a far nobler and  more  beautiful
relation, as I have explained before. Your view seems to us rather-shall I
say, practical? Prosaic? Merely a means to an end!  With  us-oh,  my  dear
girl-cannot you see? Cannot you feel? It is the  last,  sweetest,  highest
consummation of mutual love."
    She was impressed visibly. She trembled in my arms,  as  I  held  her
close, kissing her hungrily. But there rose in her eyes that look  I  knew
so well, that remote clear look as if she had gone far away even though  I
held her beautiful body so close, and  was  now  on  some  snowy  mountain
regarding me from a distance.
    "I feel it quite clearly," she said  to  me.  "It  gives  me  a  deep
sympathy with what you feel, no doubt more  strongly  still.  But  what  I
feel, even what you feel, dearest, does not convince me that it is  right.
Until I am sure of that, of course I cannot do as you wish."
    Ellador, at times like this, always reminded me of Epictetus. "I will
put you in  prison!"  said  his  master.  "My  body,  you  mean,"  replied
Epictetus calmly. "I will cut your head off," said  his  master.  "Have  I
said that my head could not be cut off?" A difficult person, Epictetus.
    What is this miracle by  which  a  woman,  even  in  your  arms,  may
withdraw herself, utterly disappear till what you hold is as  inaccessible
as the face of a cliff?
    "Be patient with me, dear," she urged sweetly. "I know it is hard for
you. And I begin to see-a little-how Terry was so driven to crime."
    "Oh, come, that's a pretty hard word for it. After all, Alima was his
wife, you know," I urged, feeling at the moment a sudden burst of sympathy
for poor Terry. For a man of his temperament -and habits-it must have been
an unbearable situation.
    But Ellador, for all her  wide  intellectual  grasp,  and  the  broad
sympathy in which their religion trained them, could  not  make  allowance
for such-to her-sacrilegious brutality.
    It was the more difficult to explain to her, because we three, in our
constant talks and lectures about the rest of  the  world,  had  naturally
avoided the seamy side; not so much from a desire  to  deceive,  but  from
wishing to put the best foot foremost for our civilization, in the face of
the beauty and comfort of theirs. Also, we really thought some things were
right, or at least unavoidable,  which  we  could  readily  see  would  be
repugnant to them, and therefore did not discuss. Again there was much  of
our world's life which we, being used to it, had not noticed  as  anything
worth describing. And  still  further,  there  was  about  these  women  a
colossal innocence upon which many of the things we did say  had  made  no
impression whatever.
    I am thus explicit about it because it shows how unexpectedly  strong
was the impression  made  upon  Ellador  when  she  at  last  entered  our
    She urged me to be patient, and I was patient. You see, I  loved  her
so much that even the restrictions she so firmly established left me  much
happiness. We were lovers, and there is surely delight enough in that.
    Do not imagine that these young women utterly refused "the Great  New
Hope," as they called it, that of dual parentage. For that they had agreed
to marry us, though the marrying part  of  it  was  a  concession  to  our
prejudices rather than theirs. To them the process was the holy  thing-and
they meant to keep it holy.
    But so far only Celis, her blue eyes swimming  in  happy  tears,  her
heart lifted with that tide of race-motherhood  which  was  their  supreme
passion, could with ineffable joy and pride announce that she was to be  a
mother. "The New Motherhood" they called it, and the whole  country  knew.
There was no pleasure, no service, no honor in all  the  land  that  Celis
might not have had. Almost like the breathless reverence with  which,  two
thousand years ago, that dwindling band of women had watched  the  miracle
of virgin birth, was the deep awe and  warm  expectancy  with  which  they
greeted this new miracle of union.
    All mothers in that land were holy.  To  them,  for  long  ages,  the
approach to motherhood has been by the most intense and exquisite love and
longing, by the Supreme Desire, the  overmastering  demand  for  a  child.
Every thought they held in connection with the processes of maternity  was
open to the day, simple yet sacred. Every woman of them placed  motherhood
not only higher than other duties, but so far higher that  there  were  no
other duties, one might almost say. All their wide mutual  love,  all  the
subtle interplay of mutual friendship and service, the urge of progressive
thought and invention, the deepest religious emotion,  every  feeling  and
every act was related to this great central Power, to the  River  of  Life
pouring through them, which made them the bearers of the  very  Spirit  of
    Of all this I learned more and  more-from  their  books,  from  talk,
especially from Ellador. She was at first, for a brief moment, envious  of
her friend-a thought she put away from her at once and forever.
    "It is better," she said to me. "It is much better that  it  has  not
come to me yet-to us, that is. For if I am to go with you to your country,
we may have `adventures by sea and land,' as you say [and as in  truth  we
did], and it might not be at all safe for a baby. So we won't  try  again,
dear, till it is safe-will we?"
    This was a hard saying for a very loving husband.
    "Unless," she went on, "if one is coming, you will leave  me  behind.
You can come back, you know-and I shall have the child."
    Then that deep ancient chill of male jealousy of even his own progeny
touched my heart.
    "I'd rather have you, Ellador, than all the children  in  the  world.
I'd rather have you with me-on your own terms-than not to have you."
    This was a very stupid saying. Of course I would! For if  she  wasn't
there I should want all of her and have none of her. But if she went along
as a sort of sublimated sister-only much  closer  and  warmer  than  that,
really-why I should have all  of  her  but  that  one  thing.  And  I  was
beginning  to  find  that  Ellador's  friendship,  Ellador's  comradeship,
Ellador's sisterly affection, Ellador's perfectly  sincere  love-none  the
less deep that she held it back on a definite line of reserve-were  enough
to live on very happily.
    I find it quite beyond me to describe what this woman was to  me.  We
talk fine things about women, but in our hearts we know that they are very
limited beings-most of them. We honor them for  their  functional  powers,
even while we dishonor them by our use of it;  we  honor  them  for  their
carefully enforced virtue, even while we  show  by  our  own  conduct  how
little we think  of  that  virtue;  we  value  them,  sincerely,  for  the
perverted maternal activities which make our wives the most comfortable of
servants, bound to us for life with the wages wholly at our own  decision,
their whole business, outside of the temporary duties of  such  motherhood
as they may achieve, to meet our needs in every way. Oh,  we  value  them,
all right, "in their place," which place is the home, where  they  perform
that mixture of duties so ably described by Mrs.  Josephine  Dodge  Daskam
Bacon, in which the services of "a mistress" are carefully specified.  She
is a very  clear  writer,  Mrs.  J.  D.  D.  Bacon,  and  understands  her
subject-from her own point of view. But-that  combination  of  industries,
while convenient, and in a way economical, does not  arouse  the  kind  of
emotion commanded by the women of Herland. These were  women  one  had  to
love "up," very high up, instead of down. They were not  pets.  They  were
not servants. They were not timid, inexperienced, weak.
    After I got over the jar to my pride  (which  Jeff,  I  truly  think,
never felt-he was a born worshipper, and which Terry never got over-he was
quite clear in his ideas of "the position of women"), I found that  loving
"up" was a very good sensation after all. It gave me a queer feeling,  way
down  deep,  as  of  the  stirring  of  some   ancient   dim   prehistoric
consciousness, a feeling that they were right somehow-that  this  was  the
way to feel.  It  was  like-coming  home  to  mother.  I  don't  mean  the
underflannelsand-doughnuts mother, the fussy person that waits on you  and
spoils you and doesn't really know you. I mean the  feeling  that  a  very
little child would have, who had been lost-for ever  so  long.  It  was  a
sense of getting home; of being  clean  and  rested;  of  safety  and  yet
freedom; of love that was always there, warm like sunshine in May, not hot
like a stove or a  featherbed-a  love  that  didn't  irritate  and  didn't
    I looked at Ellador as if I hadn't seen her before. "If you won't go,
" I said, "I'll get Terry to the coast and come back alone. You can let me
down a rope. And if you  will  go-why  you  blessed  wonder-woman-I  would
rather live with you all my life-like this-than to have any other woman  I
ever saw, or any number of them, to do as I like with. Will you come?"
    She was keen for coming. So the plans went on. She'd  have  liked  to
wait for that Marvel of Celis's, but Terry had  no  such  desire.  He  was
crazy to be out of  it  all.  It  made  him  sick,  he  said,  SICK;  this
everlasting mother-mother-mothering. I don't  think  Terry  had  what  the
phrenologists  call  "the  lump  of  philoprogenitiveness"  at  all   well
    "Morbid one-sided cripples," he  called  them,  even  when  from  his
window he could see their splendid vigor and beauty; even  while  Moadine,
as patient and friendly as if she had never helped Alima to hold and  bind
him, sat there in the room, the picture of  wisdom  and  serene  strength.
"Sexless, epicene, undeveloped neuters!" he went on bitterly.  He  sounded
like Sir Almwroth Wright.
    Well-it was hard. He was madly in love with Alima,  really;  more  so
than he had ever been before, and their tempestuous  courtship,  quarrels,
and reconciliations had fanned the flame. And then when he sought by  that
supreme conquest whichseems so natural a thing to that  type  of  man,  to
force her to love him as her master-to have the  sturdy  athletic  furious
woman rise up and master him-she and  her  friends-it  was  no  wonder  he
    Come to think of it, I do not recall a similar case in all history or
fiction. Women have killed themselves rather than submit to outrage;  they
have  killed   the   outrager;   they   have   escaped;   or   they   have
submitted-sometimes seeming to get on very well with the victor afterward.
There was that adventure of  "false  Sextus,"  for  instance,  who  "found
Lucrese combing the fleece, under the midnight lamp." He threatened, as  I
remember, that if she did not submit he would slay her, slay a  slave  and
place him beside her and say he found him there. A poor device, it  always
seemed to me. If Mr. Lucretius had asked him how he  came  to  be  in  his
wife's bedroom overlooking her morals, what could he have  said?  But  the
point is Lucrese submitted, and Alima didn't.
    "She kicked me," confided the embittered prisoner-he had to  talk  to
someone. "I was doubled up with the pain, of course, and she jumped on  me
and yelled for this old harpy [Moadine couldn't hear him] and they had  me
trussed up in no time. I believe Alima could have done it alone," he added
with reluctant admiration. "She's as strong as a horse. And  of  course  a
man's helpless when you hit him like  that.  No  woman  with  a  shade  of
    I had to grin at that, and even Terry did, sourly. He wasn't given to
reasoning, but it did strike him that an assault like  his  rather  waived
considerations of decency.
    "I'd give a year of my life to have her alone again," he said slowly,
his hands clenched till the knuckles were white.
    But he never did. She left our end of the country entirely,  went  up
into the fir-forest on the highest slopes, and  stayed  there.  Before  we
left he quite desperately longed to see her, but she would not come and he
could not go. They watched him like lynxes. (Do lynxes  watch  any  better
than mousing cats, I wonder!)
    Well-we had to get the flyer in order, and be sure there  was  enough
fuel left, though Terry said we could glide all right, down to that  lake,
once we got started. We'd have gone gladly in a week's  time,  of  course,
but there was a great to-do all over the country about  Ellador's  leaving
them. She had interviews with some of  the  leading  ethicists-wise  women
with still eyes, and with the best of the teachers. There was  a  stir,  a
thrill, a deep excitement everywhere.
    Our teaching about the rest of the world has given them all  a  sense
of isolation, of remoteness, of  being  a  little  outlying  sample  of  a
country, overlooked and forgotten among the  family  of  nations.  We  had
called it "the family of nations," and they liked the phrase immensely.
    They were deeply aroused on the subject  of  evolution;  indeed,  the
whole field of natural science drew them irresistibly. Any number of  them
would have risked everything to go to the strange unknown lands and study;
but we could take only one, and it had to be Ellador, naturally.
    We planned greatly about coming back, about establishing a connecting
route by water; about penetrating those  vast  forests  and  civilizing-or
exterminating-the dangerous savages.  That  is,  we  men  talked  of  that
last-not with the women. They had a definite aversion to killing things.
    But meanwhile there was high council being held among the  wisest  of
them all. The students and thinkers who had been gathering facts  from  us
all this time, collating and relating them, and  making  inferences,  laid
the result of their labors before the council.
    Little had we thought that our careful  efforts  at  concealment  had
been so easily seen through, with never a word to show us that  they  saw.
They had followed up words  of  ours  on  the  science  of  optics,  asked
innocent questions about glasses and the  like,  and  were  aware  of  the
defective eyesight so common among us.
    With the lightest touch, different women asking  different  questions
at different times, and putting all our answers together  like  a  picture
puzzle, they had figured out a sort of skeleton chart as to the prevalence
of disease  among  us.  Even  more  subtly  with  no  show  of  horror  or
condemnation,  they  had  gathered  something-far  from  the  truth,   but
something pretty clear-about poverty, vice, and crime.  They  even  had  a
goodly number of our dangers all itemized, from asking us about  insurance
and innocent things like that.
    They were well posted as to the different races, beginning with their
poison-arrow natives down below and  widening  out  to  the  broad  racial
divisions we had told them about. Never a shocked expression of  the  face
or exclamation of revolt had warned  us;  they  had  been  extracting  the
evidence without our knowing it all this time, and now were studying  with
the most devout earnestness the matter they had prepared.
    The result was rather distressing to us.  They  first  explained  the
matter fully to Ellador, as she was the one who purposed visiting the Rest
of the World. To Celis they said nothing. She  must  not  be  in  any  way
distressed, while the whole nation waited on her Great Work.
    Finally Jeff and I were called in. Somel and  Zava  were  there,  and
Ellador, with many others that we knew.
    They had a great globe,  quite  fairly  mapped  out  from  the  small
section maps in that compendium of ours. They had the different peoples of
the earth roughly outlined, and their status  in  civilization  indicated.
They had charts and figures and estimates, based  on  the  facts  in  that
traitorous little book and what they had learned from us.
    Somel explained: "We find that in all your historic period,  so  much
longer than ours, that with all the interplay of services, the exchange of
inventions and discoveries, and the wonderful progress we so admire,  that
in this widespread Other World of yours,  there  is  still  much  disease,
often contagious."
    We admitted this at once.
    "Also there is still, in varying degree,  ignorance,  with  prejudice
and unbridled emotion."
    This too was admitted.
    "We find also that in spite of  the  advance  of  democracy  and  the
increase of wealth, that there is still unrest and sometimes combat."
    Yes, yes, we admitted it all. We were used to these things and saw no
reason for so much seriousness.
    "All things considered," they said, and they did not say a  hundredth
part of the things they were considering, "we are unwilling to expose  our
country to free communication with  the  rest  of  the  world-as  yet.  If
Ellador comes back, and we approve her report, it may  be  done  later-but
not yet.
    "So we have this to ask of you gentlemen [they  knew  that  word  was
held a title of honor with us], that you promise not in any way to  betray
the location of this country until permission -after Ellador's return."
    Jeff was perfectly satisfied. He thought they were  quite  right.  He
always did. I never saw an alien become naturalized more quickly than that
man in Herland.
    I studied it awhile, thinking of the time they'd have if some of  our
contagions got loose there, and concluded they were right. So I agreed.
    Terry was the obstacle. "Indeed I won't!" he  protested.  "The  first
thing I'll do is to get an expedition fixed up to force an  entrance  into
    "Then," they said quite calmly, "he must remain an absolute prisoner,
    "Anesthesia would be kinder," urged Moadine.
    "And safer," added Zava.
    "He will promise, I think," said Ellador.
    And he did. With which agreement we at last left Herland.

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