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Increasing Personal Efficiency   By:

Increasing Personal Efficiency by Russell H. Conwell

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Increasing Personal Efficiency

Women Musical Culture Oratory Self Help Some Advice to Young Men





Copyright, 1917, by Harper & Brothers Printed in the United States of America

Increasing Personal Efficiency



Some women may be superficial in education and accomplishments, extravagant in tastes, conspicuous in apparel, something more than self assured in bearing, devoted to trivialities, inclined to frequent public places. It is, nevertheless, not without cause that art has always shown the virtues in woman's dress, and that true literature teems with eloquent tributes and ideal pictures of true womanhood from Homer's Andromache to Scott's Ellen Douglas, and farther. While Shakespeare had no heroes, all his women except Ophelia are heroines, even if Lady Macbeth, Regan, and Goneril are hideously wicked. In the moral world, women are what flowers and fruit are in the physical. "The soul's armor is never well set to the heart until woman's hand has braced it; and it is only when she braces it loosely that the honor of manhood fails."

Men will mainly be what women make them, and there can never be entirely free men until there are entirely free women with no special privileges, but with all her rights. The wife makes the home, the mother makes the man, and she is the creator of joyous boyhood and heroic manhood; when women fulfil their divine mission, all reform societies will die, brutes will become men, and men shall be divine. There are unkind things said of her in the cheaper writings of to day perhaps because their authors have seen her only in boarding houses, restaurants, theaters, dance halls, and at card parties; and the poor, degraded stage with its warped mirror shows her up to the ridicule of the cheaper brood. The greatest writings and the greatest dramas of all time have more than compensated for all this indignity, and we have only to read deep into the great literature to be disillusioned of any vulgar estimations of womanhood, and to understand the beauty and power of soul of every woman who is true to the royalty of womanhood.

There are few surer tests of a manly character than the estimation he has of women, and it is noteworthy that the men who stand highest in the esteem of both men and women are always men with worthy ideas of womanhood, and with praiseworthy ideals for their mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters. As men sink in self respect and moral worth, their esteem of womanhood lowers. The women who become the theme for poets and philosophers and high class playwrights are the women who have been bred mainly in the home. They seem without exception to abhor throngs, and only stern necessity can induce them to appear in them; the motherly, matronly, and filial graces appeal strongly to them such as are portrayed in Cornelia, Portia, and Cordelia. They may yearn for society, but it is the best society for the "women whose beauty and sweetness and dignity and high accomplishments and grace make us understand the Greek mythology, and for the men who mold the time, who refresh our faith in heroism and virtue, who make Plato and Zeno and Shakespeare and all Shakespeare's gentlemen possible again."

If there is any inferiority in women, it is the result of environment and of lack of opportunity never from lack of intelligence and other soul powers. There is no sex in spiritual endowments, and woman seems entitled to all the rights of man plus the right of protection. Ruskin says, "We are foolish without excuse in talking of the superiority of one sex over the other; each has attributes the other has not, each is completed by the other, and the happiness of both depends upon each seeking and receiving from the other what the other can alone give... Continue reading book >>

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