A Social Conscience

Conscience classes.

The hat-pin terror.

Consciences can be cultivated, like voices, and it would do the world no harm if there were professors who would give courses of lessons on their cultivation. The young woman whose hat-pin pierced the eye of a young man who was unfortunate enough to sit next to her on the top of a Liverpool omnibus stood in need of a few lessons. If hat-pins are a necessity—and I admit that they are—it should also be necessary to exercise care in their disposition. It is quite possible to render them effectual and yet harmless by pushing them slightly back after having thrust them through the crown of the hat. And any one in whom a social conscience is properly developed will see to it that her hat-pins are not unnecessarily long. For instance, a six-inch hat crown cannot possibly require a ten-inch pin. It is terrible to see the armoury of sharp-pointed pins that jut out at the sides of some women’s heads.

Umbrellas as weapons of offence.

Another point in which the members of our sex show a total absence of social conscience is the manner in which they carry a sunshade or umbrella. The latter is often, when open, held down over the head of a rather short woman in a way that is certainly protective of herself and her headgear, but which is extremely inconvenient, and sometimes even dangerous, to those who share the footpath or pavement with her. The points of her umbrella catch in the hair or dress, and sometimes threaten the eyes of passers- by.

When closed, the sunshade or umbrella often becomes equally a weapon of offence, being carried in the arms with the knob or crook of the handle protruding. A smart blow is often administered to the unwary passer in this way, and among the dangers of the streets, numerous enough without, may now be catalogued the shouldered sunshade of our sex.

Male injustices.

It is not often that we imitate the equally dangerous method in which some men carry sticks and umbrellas, viz., under the arm, with the ferule protruding at the back, a danger to the eyes of those behind; nor do we, as a rule, prod the pavement with our parasols, as so many men do with their sticks or umbrellas, letting them drag after them, so that those who come behind are apt to fall over them. But, on the other hand, our husbands are free from the offence of opening sunshades in a crowd, with an upward scrape of all the points.

The matinée hat.

And then there is the matinée hat! Oh, sisters, where is the social conscience of those among us who of malice aforethought attend the theatre with all-impeding and obstructive headgear? A knowledge of the sentiments we excite in the bosoms of those behind us might help some of us to be a little unselfish in the matter. Positive, if temporary, detestation is the principal emotion entertained towards the wearer of a matinée hat, and the hatred is not unmingled with contempt; for who can help despising a girl or woman who is openly and avowedly careless of the inconvenience and disappointment she is causing? Man’s ideal of woman depicts her as so exactly the opposite of this that he cannot fail to resent the disillusion.

Calls on wrong days.

Of all the forms of social lack of conscience, one of the most irritating is the way some women have of making calls on the off days, other than those on which the callee announces herself to be “at home.” Especially is this annoying if the person called on happens to be a busy woman. She has probably arranged her “day” in selfdefence from intrusion on all others, but to do so is no safeguard against the unconscionable acquaintance who prefers to suit her own convenience rather than that of her friends.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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