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HAS CHIVALRY FLED?

THE TITANIC HEROES.

"Chivalry has fled." We are much given to this lament,we women of to-day. We talk glibly of olden customs arid manners-^customa and • manners which most of us cannot recall. We ptate of the discourtesy of otir male contemporaries, and wonder what the opposite sex is coming to (writes Rose de Boheme, in Sydney Daily Telegraph). "Men are not what they were." The phrase falls from the lips of 'every woman. In its train comes the stereotyped indictment : Politeness is a forgotten art; deference to 'Womanhood is unknown. In a packed tram, the Woman is allowed to stand while the man sits; in a rush for the boat; the woman is shoved aside by the mote muscular man j in offices or shop, the girl worker re* cftives no consideration from the man} and so on and so on. The grievance is lengthy. Well, it may all be true. Personally, I have no grievance at all against my brethren — I never had one, always re.-' ceiving courteous treatment at • thew hands. If I hop into a tram with only standing room— a thing I have no eatthly business to do — some civil young fellow insists on giving up hi/3 seat, thereby making me properly ashamed of nry* self. If I, in a general rush for boat or train, find myself abreast of a man, he usually falls back and grants me that which I was born to consider my right of precedence. Quite possibly my grey hairs give an e*tra claim to deference, but, on the other haud, such deference implies' extra gallantry, it being obvious that masculine sympathies would j*o out more naturally to youth and freshness. So I have no complaint to lodge against my good friend, Man. MEN AND WOMEN NOT WHAT THEY WERE. Yet it may all be true. Very likely "men are not what they were" because, you see, women are not what they were, and things have to balance .themselves. We decline altogether these days to have a sphere of our own; we walk triumphantly into man's. We not only want, we insist on having, his privileges, his pleasures, his work^ occasionally ousting him out of them, in any case sharing them willy nilly. It is supposed to be very healthy, stimulating, developing, for us, and we like it. It is, I hope, equally healthy, stimulating, &h<!L developing for man, who has not mentioned whether he likes it. But we must remember what Nursie taught us long years ago; you cannot have your cake and eat it, much as you wieh to. > And if man finds you per* sistently invading ( his domain, sharing his pursuits, working as a man, acting as a man, apeing man's free and easy atrogance, life is apt to forget, despite yOur apology for petticoats, that you are not a man. You want to be a- tree and independent comrade? Well, then, accept the penalties as well as the pleasures of comradeship. Yet does all this necessarily imply lack of chivalry ? Does it imply that, if you be in need of man's assistance, your appeal as a woman will prove vain? Does it imply that in life s sore straits, in the hour of peril which strips us of our artificial virility, and proclaims our need of protection, Man^ the Knight of Old, will be found lacking aB Knight of the Present? We have had our answer. •It is flung to us from ' crashing iceberg, surging sea, foundering wreck. , It reach us from the upper air, where the cries of the dying still linger, from the depths which claimed their bodies. It has travelled round the world, setting hearts aflame with its testimony to modern chivalry, modern heroism, modern self-surrender. It is the grandest record Time can show of Man's selfeffacement on behalf of the weak who I need his car© :— "WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST !" Have you fully realised the simple nobility, the selfless devotion of those words spoken at such a time-? Realised all that they imply? Picture it for a. moment : Death, implacable Death, suddenly upspringing from out a tranquil sea* wild terror replacing light laughter;! th« la«t agony treadiiig hard upon jest

and song. A scene to craze weak brains ; ft scene to make cowards of Weak hearts. And it was at this moment, when Man might have been pardoned had he forgotten his manhood, that his whole soul triumphantly asserted it. "WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST !" ■ We have conned it again and again, with heart throbs and blinding tears, yet the marvel of it never ceases. The marvel and the joy and the pride of it. Where so few could be saved, those few must be the women and the little ones.' If any amn, dazed with feai', thought otherwise, he was a cur, to be shot down j ac Vermin. Calmly, steadfastly, sometimes with parting mow bitter than Death itself, the women and children were given their chance of life. Then, his knightly duty accomplished, Man faced about to meet an end 60 ghastly I that tho vision thereof freezes us, with ! horror. And, remembering these deeds, shall not our cheeks burn red with ehame the next time we read of our militant sisters raising their clamour against Man the Oppressor? Remembering these dj&eds, shall not our consciences prick the next J time we .hear modern man accused of lack of chivalry! Remembering these deeds, Bhall we not ask ourselves whether, if new woman finds new man wanting in deference, the fault m*y not lie in herself ; in a. lowering of her own nobility; in a misapprehension of her highest right— the privilege of ministration towards those who are ready to serve her even unto Death ? Frojn the floating wreckage of th* j Titanic, from cruel 'berg and yawning sea, the winds bear to us one heart' laden echo t— "WOMKN AND CHILDREN FIRST !" And our womanhood cobs back in reverent answer :— "Chivalry has not fled."

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http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/EP19120511.2.113

Bibliographic details

HAS CHIVALRY FLED?, Evening Post, Volume LXXXIII, Issue 112, 11 May 1912

Word Count
995

HAS CHIVALRY FLED? Evening Post, Volume LXXXIII, Issue 112, 11 May 1912

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