HEALTHFUL MENTAL WOMANHOOD.
In childhood there should be no consciousness of sex other than that of the physical difference between boys and girls. If there is no evil heredity or pois onous influence awaking the sleeping sexual feeling, the brain remains undisturbed, receiving those vary ing impressions of daily life so needful to the growth and happiness of children. If womanhood comes in the seclusion of ignorance as to its meaning or ends, the sense of it is vague and indefinite. The early and later manifestations of awakening womanhood under these circumstances are but a kindly and tender feel ing, all undefined, towards father, brothers, and friends. There is nothing prurient or sickly even in the stirring, magnetic susceptibilities of ovulation, but pure, healthful, growing womanhood.
It is as beautiful in its unsullied innocence as the snow, but it has not the purity and tried durance of conscious motherhood seen in the highest type of woman. This true loyalty to man and to her race in elevation of thought, word, and act, has but one counterpart in all the wide universe, and that is the integrity of a conscious, tried, and triumphant man hood.
This love of woman in its genuine characteristics brightens and beautifies her whole life, whether married, widowed, or occupying those positions of duty and limitation where a well-assorted marriage is not in God's providence assigned her. The wis dom and purity of this sacred womanly love, and its influence over those with whom she is associated, will ever be the measure of her real usefulness, for there is not a husband, father, son, or brother who does not need its healthful influence from the cradle to the grave, and is not the better for it.
It is this mother-spirit in the nurse, in her minis try to the sick, that adds the richest value to her service, and in the sister that leads her to throw about the father and brother the restraining love that encourages and holds them from wrong-doing, and bears personal suffering if she may do the loved ones good. The teacher, whose brave heart reproves the wrong and cherishes the latent good, has prevail ing power through it over wayward pupils, and the matron, in her ministry to the deaf, blind, idiotic, degraded, and besotted, finds her stronghold for use fulness in this womanly self-sacrifice and love. The missionary among the repulsive women and children in our own and distant lands carries, if she would succeed, the same mother-love to the fallen and help less. As wife and mother, if this love be not the guiding impulse of all her conduct in her own house hold and toward the two families where she is to sustain the duties of daughter and sister, woman must fail to attain her greatest usefulness, however exalted in point of culture and wealth her position in life may be.