Narrow Minded Country Folk – February 1905

In a small company of people, chiefly of the professional class, a discussion arose as to whether the daughters of the well-to-do ought or ought not to “go out” — ie., to adopt some independent career.

Some were of neutral or undecided opinion. Of those who had a strong bias, I had the misfortune to differ from the majority. Whatever arguments or considerations I urged were met with such remarks as, “If you lived in London, you would think differently.” Or, “It would open your eyes to mix for six months with London girls in search of employment.”

To this one could only diffidently reply that, wherever one might live, there was always room for a difference of opinion on questions of general interest. One superior young lady thought differently.  People who always live in the country (this was a hit at the farming class as represented in my person) “are so narrow-minded.”

Usually, any nimble body can knock me down. My weapon is never ready but a sudden flash of inspiration moved my tongue to say, “The most objectionable kind of narrow mindedness is that of the shallow person who has travelled a little and ever afterwards talks contemptuously of those who have not.”

To my astonishment the superior young lady instantly agreed with me. She saw herself classed with vulgar tourists and hastened to assure me that, even in cities, one sometimes met with people of limited vision. I could not help smiling at her own unconscious limitations.

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