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Herland

Chapter 9. Our Relations and Theirs
What I'm trying to show here is that with these women the whole relationship of life
counted in a glad, eager growing-up to join the ranks of workers in the line best loved; a
deep, tender reverence for one's own mother--too deep for them to speak of freely--and
beyond that, the whole, free, wide range of sisterhood, the splendid service of the
country, and friendships.
To these women we came, filled with the ideas, convictions, traditions, of our culture,
and undertook to rouse in them the emotions which--to us--seemed proper.
However much, or little, of true sex-feeling there was between us, it phrased itself in
their minds in terms of friendship, the one purely personal love they knew, and of
ultimate parentage. Visibly we were not mothers, nor children, nor compatriots; so, if
they loved us, we must be friends.
That we should pair off together in our courting days was natural to them; that we
three should remain much together, as they did themselves, was also natural. We had as
yet no work, so we hung about them in their forest tasks; that was natural, too.
But when we began to talk about each couple having "homes" of our own, they could
not understand it.
"Our work takes us all around the country," explained Celis. "We cannot live in one
place all the time."
"We are together now," urged Alima, looking proudly at Terry's stalwart nearness.
(This was one of the times when they were "on," though presently "off" again.)
"It's not the same thing at all," he insisted. "A man wants a home of his own, with his
wife and family in it."
"Staying in it? All the time?" asked Ellador. "Not imprisoned, surely!"
"Of course not! Living there--naturally," he answered.
"What does she do there--all the time?" Alima demanded. "What is her work?"
Then Terry patiently explained again that our women did not work--with reservations.
"But what do they do--if they have no work?" she persisted.
"They take care of the home--and the children."
"At the same time?" asked Ellador.
 
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