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religion will allow. The general diffusion of knowledge, however, like everything Turkish, is slow. National ignorance, superstition and bigotry are largely the result of uneducated mothers, and the uneducated mothers the result of the existing institutions or the absence of institutions. Why do many Oriental nations lag in the path of progress? Ignorant mothers, I dare affirm, is a most potent cause. The child will always bear the stamp of its mother. While the husbands are at their business during the day, the children are under the direct influence of their mother at home. Her every characteristic of conduct has a moulding influence upon the young child. If her words be wise and her conduct refined, the infant will thus be moulded; and, on the contrary, if she be ignorant and rude, she will reproduce her defects in her young child. Thus women invariably determine the standard of civilization of their country. It is altogether the exception for an empty-headed mother to raise up clear-headed, intellectual children. Mothers either bless or curse the community by their general standard. With woman's intellectual, ethical and spiritual elevation the nation rises, while with the degradation and humiliation of womanhood the nation sinks to the lowest level of civilization. If we traverse the ages covered by history, we shall find these statements fully verified. We need not go to past ages for conviction; compare the old stagnant dulness and darkness of some Asian countries of to-day with the bright and prosperous America, where her fair daughters share alike with man the highest education of the land. Happily our Armenians are realizing this serious problem more and more in the education of woman. The social evolution of our people is to be counted for the female education which seems to be vitally connected with Christian faith, so largely accepted by our nation.
Is the Turkish woman responsible for the semi-civilized position she occupies in the world ? As has been indicated, she is more than anxious to take her true place among her progressive sisters, but the religious institution under which she is unfortunately placed creates all these inhuman customs-seclusion, polygamy and blind submission to illtreatment-which she is under moral bounds to obey. Her religious institution, therefore, is directly accountable for her sad position. Had Mohammed lived in the present era, I do not believe he would have approved these customs. The improvement or elevation of the condition of Turkish women, then, is to be only through a reformation of the Mohammedan religion.
While it is a great thing to know other people, it is a greater thing to know ourselves. A man does not know and see himself in a true and impartial light. His character, good or bad, is like a basket on his back. He may be conscious of it, but cannot see it as other people do. What is true of individuals is also true of nations.
Contact with various people on either side of the ocean has afforded me the opportunity to observe that of all nations the ladies of America are the most clever and bright; and they shine with splendor in social life. This is
due, I venture to affirm, to the exalted position the women of this country enjoy above that of her sisters of other climes. As it has been my good fortune to see the extremes of contrast between female liberty and general conditions, I shall not hesitate to reflect my humble observations impartially and boldly as to the merits and demerits of either condition. Acknowledging the attainments of American ladies, their grace of culture, their exquisite manners and education, I disapprove of their unbounded freedom. Excessive use of even a good thing is a vice. It is a doctrine of Confucius that "true virtue consists in avoiding extremes.”
As has been indicated, the Turkish woman is at one extreme of secluded privacy, while the American is at the other extreme of unlimited liberty. I condemn both extremes in advocating a balance, or the position of the Armenian woman, which in many respects I consider an ideal one. She enjoys the society of men to a limited extent. She does not hide her face from them, nor spare her modest words in conversation; yet she is not "gay" or “awfully jolly” in the company of men. She does not at the first acquaintance grow familiar with a stranger, nor use flippant and reckless words of double meaning. She does not dance in the arms of near acquaintances, nor walk and talk freely with them. Her words to a stranger are few and careful. Her favorite literature is not fiction, nor such sensational journals as are filled with crimes and infamy. She reads only such books as are of a clean and elevating character. The Armenian gentleman does not take Armenian ladies to low theatres and similar places of amusement to jeopardize their innocence.
In a word, an Armenian lady is generally an ideal of purity, of loveliness of spirit and firmness of character. She is the queen of her home, loved and esteemed by her household. An Armenian young lady may have her preference, but she cannot marry anyone without the sanction of her parents. Is not this demand within the scope of common sense and of religion. She owes her life and existence to her parents, and should not her life's most important event, marriage-meet with their approval? If religion is considered, “Honor thy father and thy mother," was the commandment that God thundered from Mt. Sinai.
In many an American home broken-hearted parents are doomed to life-long unhappiness over the self-willed choice of their children. "Love hides a multitude of sins," but parents look beyond the boundaries of love. This Armenian custom of marriage, demanding the voice of the parents, is generally followed with happy results. There are no divorce courts among our people, no prostitute women, no ill-famed houses nor illegitimate births. Is it truly civilized-this Western idea of granting the "fair sex" unlimited freedom, or is it really liberty for a helpless woman, who by such customs, becomes an easy victim to man, when she finds herself ruined and debased? When the finer elements of womanhood are transformed to the aspect of a hideous spectre; when she is cast out from the love and esteem of society, thus finding no refuge but the grave where she may bury herself with her shame. Watch the many tragic and heartrending scenes as the result of female freedom-too much fredom. Vice and crime are running riot in all the cities of the American Republic, which are unknown in lands where woman's liberty is somewhat niodified. Truly, I do not