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A Hoosier Chronicle by Meredith Nicholson

Sylvia Sylvia never heard her name drawled as Mrs


"Let

me see. She's that girl that worked for Morton and Daniel. What's she leaving for?"

"I'm going to see if I can't get her back," replied Sylvia evasively.

"Why Rose has been at Elizabeth House for two years and under the rules she can stay a year longer. She ain't getting married, is she?"

"I think not," replied Sylvia. "I'm going to look her up and get her back if possible."

"You do that, Sylvia. It ain't just your place, but I'll be glad if you'll see what's the matter. We don't want to lose a girl if we can help it."

Mrs. Owen rose and transferred a pile of paperbound books from a shelf to her desk. Sylvia recognized these as college catalogues and noted bits of paper thrust into the leaves as markers.

"I've been looking into this business some since we went down to college. I had a lot of these schools send me their catalogues and they're mighty interesting, though a good deal of it I don't understand. Sylvia" (Sylvia never heard her name drawled as Mrs. Owen spoke it without a thrill of expectancy)--"Sylvia, there's a lot of books being written, and pieces in the magazines all the time, about women and what we have done or can't do. What do you suppose it's all leading up to?"

"That question is bigger than I am, Aunt Sally. But I think

the conditions that have thrown women out into the world as wage-earners are forcing one thing--just one thing, that is more important now than any other--it's all summed up in the word efficiency."

"Efficiency?"

Mrs. Owen reached for the poker and readjusted the logs; she watched the resulting sparks for a moment, then settled herself back in her chair and repeated Sylvia's word again.

"You mean that a woman has got to learn how to make her jelly jell? Is that your notion?"

"Exactly that. She must learn not to waste her strokes. Any scheme of education for woman that leaves that out works an injury. If women are to be a permanent part of the army of wage-earning Americans they must learn to get full value from their minds or hands--either one, it's the same. The trouble with us women is that there's a lot of the old mediaeval taint in us."

"Mediaeval? Say that some other way, Sylvia."

"I mean that we're still crippled--we women--by the long years in which nothing was expected of us but to sit in ivy-mantled casements and work embroidery while our lords went out to fight, or thrummed the lute under our windows."

"Well, there was Joan of Arc: she delivered the goods."

"To be sure; she does rather light up her time, doesn't she?" laughed Sylvia.

"Sylvia, the day I first saw a woman hammer a typewriter in a man's office, I thought the end had come. It seemed, as the saying is, 'agin nater'; and I reckon it was. Nowadays


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