The Coming Race HTML version

Chapter 10
The word Ana (pronounced broadly 'Arna') corresponds with our plural 'men;' An
(pronounced 'Arn'), the singular, with 'man.' The word for woman is Gy (pronounced
hard, as in Guy); it forms itself into Gy-ei for the plural, but the G becomes soft in the
plural like Jy-ei. They have a proverb to the effect that this difference in pronunciation is
symbolical, for that the female sex is soft in the concrete, but hard to deal with in the
individual. The Gy-ei are in the fullest enjoyment of all the rights of equality with males,
for which certain philosophers above ground contend.
In childhood they perform the offices of work and labour impartially with the boys, and,
indeed, in the earlier age appropriated to the destruction of animals irreclaimably hostile,
the girls are frequently preferred, as being by constitution more ruthless under the
influence of fear or hate. In the interval between infancy and the marriageable age
familiar intercourse between the sexes is suspended. At the marriageable age it is
renewed, never with worse consequences than those which attend upon marriage. All arts
and vocations allotted to the one sex are open to the other, and the Gy-ei arrogate to
themselves a superiority in all those abstruse and mystical branches of reasoning, for
which they say the Ana are unfitted by a duller sobriety of understanding, or the routine
of their matter-of-fact occupations, just as young ladies in our own world constitute
themselves authorities in the subtlest points of theological doctrine, for which few men,
actively engaged in worldly business have sufficient learning or refinement of intellect.
Whether owing to early training in gymnastic exercises, or to their constitutional
organisation, the Gy-ei are usually superior to the Ana in physical strength (an important
element in the consideration and maintenance of female rights). They attain to loftier
stature, and amid their rounder proportions are imbedded sinews and muscles as hardy as
those of the other sex. Indeed they assert that, according to the original laws of nature,
females were intended to be larger than males, and maintain this dogma by reference to
the earliest formations of life in insects, and in the most ancient family of the vertebrata-
viz., fishes- in both of which the females are generally large enough to make a meal of
their consorts if they so desire. Above all, the Gy-ei have a readier and more concentred
power over that mysterious fluid or agency which contains the element of destruction,
with a larger portion of that sagacity which comprehends dissimulation. Thus they cannot
only defend themselves against all aggressions from the males, but could, at any moment
when he least expected his danger, terminate the existence of an offending spouse. To the
credit of the Gy-ei no instance of their abuse of this awful superiority in the art of
destruction is on record for several ages. The last that occurred in the community I speak
of appears (according to their chronology) to have been about two thousand years ago. A
Gy, then, in a fit of jealousy, slew her husband; and this abominable act inspired such
terror among the males that they emigrated in a body and left all the Gy-ei to themselves.
The history runs that the widowed Gy-ei, thus reduced to despair, fell upon the murderess
when in her sleep (and therefore unarmed), and killed her, and then entered into a solemn
obligation amongst themselves to abrogate forever the exercise of their extreme conjugal
powers, and to inculcate the same obligation for ever and ever on their female children.
By this conciliatory process, a deputation despatched to the fugitive consorts succeeded