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To the few millions of women who think, and to the many millions of women who do not, I dedicate this book, in the humble hope that a thought here and there expressed may excite in earnest minds deeper and more practical interests in matters pertaining to the welfare of women, and in the majority of women an awakened, keener perception of the true and holy responsibilities of womanhood.
I have written for the crowd, not for the student. I have avoided as much as possible technical and scientific phraseology, and long columns of statistics. The woman who thinks and reads can verify my statements by having recourse to the books on the reference list; and I plead with her, provided she agrees with my premises, to enter the band of teachers for the enlightenment and advancement of the majority. The average woman, occupied with many things, to whom study would be an added burden, would not open the book, if it were a purely scientific, erudite treatise (such as the subject might be made in abler hands than mine), and it is that woman I would fain reach, influence, and enlist, as an active, sympathetic worker in the higher and purer development of our race.
In the following pages I have not hesitated to represent things as they are, not as they seem. I have striven to pierce the many coats of veneer with which complacent hypocrisy has glossed over the rottenness of many social institutions. Possibly, if the gloss had not been so thickly laid on, the true state of affairs would have been sooner recognised by the