This is not a guide book in the ordinary sense of that term.
But it does take the reader into the life of Cambridge
and makes known to him something of the past and the present of the town.
Any one should feel more at home here after reading these pages, and he can readily find where his life might be joined to the common life and be enriched by it while he imparts to it of his own force.
The extension of the town has been steady and rapid.
The hamlet which held so large a place in the colonial life has constantly advanced to the city whose influence is felt through the land.
To those who have watched this growth, and shared in it, it has been of great interest to mark the appearance of new institutions, of new forms of work, of new endeavors for the general advantage.
The city must have been poorer than she knew before the Library and Hospital were built, and the societies formed which are now so prominent and so efficient for good.
It is right that here a prominent place should be given to the organization under whose direction this book has been prepared, and is now given to the world.
Young Women's Christian Association deserves the place which it holds in the confidence and esteem of all who know its work, which would be more widely known and admired but for the modesty of those who are doing it. The number of workers is not very large, their rooms are not conspicuous, there is no parade of methods or results, there are few appeals for money, so that the Association is less before the eyes and in the minds of the people than it ought to be. It has all the quietness which marks everything that is done in Cambridge
, and this is naturally enhanced by the womanly reserve which is content to abide in stillness and work without observation.
This is admirable and no one would change it. But the Association should be better known, which is
another way of saying it should have more honor among men, and should be enabled to enlarge and perfect its work.
It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of the associations for young men. When these had proved their efficiency, it was certain that similar organizations for young women would be formed.
The spirit and wisdom which created the earlier form of service were sure to advance to this which was equally needed and equally promising.
The influence of the association for young women is manifold and in every way it is helpful.
The young woman who comes to the city and is a stranger here, can find one place which belongs to her. There she will meet others who can direct her to a home and assist her in beginning her new life.
She can visit the rooms which have been opened for her when she will, and find there a quiet seat, with books and papers and friends.
She can learn under good teachers that which will be useful to her. She can study books if she will.
She can learn to sing.
She will be taught to cut a dress, to trim a hat, to make a loaf of bread.
She can study the Bible
and receive wise religious counsel.
She can find amusement for a leisure hour.
To the many these things are proffered — to those who have homes and to strangers within the gates.
Younger girls can learn the simple processes of domestic life for the benefit of their households, and for their furnishing as they go out into the larger world.
Indeed, so far as may be, the Association offers a home with its security, its refinement, its friendship, its instruction, its mutual assistance.
With a liberal constitution, broad enough for all who call themselves Christians, the women of many churches of many names join in these labors of love and joy.
I am left free to say what I will in this introduction.
But I am glad to commend this Association to the active and generous confidence of all who have time which they can use in its work, or money which they can give for its enlargement.
The Association should have a house of its own. It should be a building large enough and good enough for the admirable work which is to be done.
It should have ample XII
rooms and all the appliances which it can use. Happy is that person who can thus endow an institution of immediate and increasing beneficence.
While the reader wanders along these waiting pages will he kindly think upon these things?