Club Life

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

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Club Life is the fifth article of the series American Impressions by Miss Conan Doyle written by Mary Conan Doyle, the first daughter of Arthur Conan Doyle, in the Los Angeles Evening Express on 25 may 1920.

Club Life

Los Angeles Evening Express
(25 may 1920, p. 4)

[Miss Doyle, daughter of the distinguished English novelist, has consented to write a series of articles for the Evening Express during her sojourn in Southern California. The second fifth [1] appears herewith.]

Nothing is more interesting than to trace the parallels between our modern institutions and their prototypes of the past.

Take the women's clubs, for instance. In the beginning women were banded together to work for the public good in "sisterhoods." The convent was the center of learning and a place of peace from the busy world outside. Now the ecclesiastical fetters have been broken and the whole movement brought in line with the requirements of modern life, though many root ideas remain; the harmony discipline brings into life the peace and above all the earnestness and responsibility of the women themselves.

But there the resemblance ends, for the modern woman has no fetters round her intellect, and she possesses in a marked degree that quality of mental stimulus. She has grasped that everything in life — its whole wonder and richness — lies in just knowing. And that's what the mental stimulus is — it's something alive — no dried-up pedagogue ever has it. And I think it largely arises from variety of pursuits and interests. The old "bookworm" type used to go toiling on right through, always on the same theme, till it and everything else got out of proportion. Hence the deadness.

But the real achievement lies in knowing as many facets of the beautiful gem of life, as time and energy will permit. And when we think of all this means — apart from the splendid activities of today — the romance of Europe, the philosophy of India, the mystic dreams of old China — all these to charm and enrich our lives if we can but just know. And the lecture courses at the clubs bring this knowledge within the average woman's ken, and she doesn't need to be a graduate to get it either. However, by far the most vital aspect of our club life is the political. The fact that we have organized branches all over the country to instruct women in the political questions of the day — that we prepare them to play their part in the nation's life — it is indeed a fair promise for the future!

For I sincerely believe that when men and women collaborate there is nothing they cannot achieve. The whole trouble of the past lay in divided interests — divided energy.

The war has taught us all that unity and faith can stand for. And I believe that these clubs, and similar centers that will spring up in England now that we have the woman's vote, will consolidate this lesson into a working basis for future generations to build on.

  1. There was a typo in the article, not "second" but fifth article.