Story type: Essay
In the centuries to come, perhaps a thousand centuries from now, perhaps a little sooner, woman will get her chance on earth. Population will have reached its normal limit, and nature’s wise law, dealing with a really civilized race, will automatically limit children to two in each family.
Schools and nurseries will be scientific and perfect. The care of children will be the duty of the State. Very poor women will be unknown, and unknown will be the woman burdened with the isolated care of children in an isolated household.
In those distant days woman will do her share of the world’s intellectual and artistic work. Physical work of all kinds will have been practically annihilated by machinery. Our big, muscular bodies, developed hitherto with an eye to pursuing wild animals, carrying heavy burdens and fighting each other like dog-apes in the forest, will be refined and very different from their present brutality.
It will be an agreeable earth, a very agreeable and much improved human race. —-
Those millennial days, which are sure to come, will find us with our little earthly problems solved. We shall have outgrown our infancy, and, like a child that has learned to walk and balance itself, we shall understand the forces of nature and use them.
Our principal occupation will be harmonious life on this planet and persistent investigation of the marvels of the universe outside of our own little sphere.
As centuries have gone by on earth, power has dwelt with different classes of human beings. In the days of the Troglodytes, when one gentleman would crack another gentleman’s thigh-bone to get at the marrow, the most important man of course was the one best able with physical force to murder his fellows. At various times the great explorer, the great military strategist, has been the most important of men. To-day the most important man is the organizer of industry. He is really the most important, not only in the size of his reward, but in the service which he renders. Nature gives the biggest reward to him who does the most important work.
A thousand centuries from now the most important human being will be the most efficient astronomer.
The man who shall bring us accurate news of other worlds will be welcomed as was Christopher Columbus or Drake or Raleigh in his day.
Women will be very important factors in astronomical research.
The work of the astronomer is especially the work of patience, of enthusiasm, of devotion.
Patience, enthusiasm and devotion are more highly developed in women than in men.
Already, in view of her extremely limited opportunities, woman has done admirably well in the field of astronomy. We note that it is a woman at Cambridge whose stellar photographs first located the new star in Perseus. In England, in Germany and in France women astronomers are doing work almost equal to that of the best men.
Everybody will remember the faithful labor of Herschel’s sister, working all through the night and sleeping through the day, month after month and year after year, helping her great brother in his studies.
There is a kind of small-fry man who dislikes the idea of mental development among women. He is a mouselike kind of creature, so thoroughly conscious of his own smallness, so thoroughly in love with his own importance, that he dreads the intellectual woman, who makes him feel microscopic.
Despite the protests of such men, some of whom are editors, women are making progress. When they shall give to science, especially to astronomy, the passionate, devoted attention which they have given for ages to the care of children, they will rank among the highest on earth.