Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
About The west shore. (Portland, Or.) 1875-1891 | View Entire Issue (Oct. 25, 1890)
A snow-white din olearlni the iWrkreTi of Mm nlahf,
Wherein no eott moon nriogi mil no Mara faintly ibine,
U like thy own young muI, 'aioleea tod para ind white,
Leaning againit tbil black and sin-vexed toal of mine.
Life la a great set, the mysteries of whose vast depth" are solved by
none save t lie diver who never returns.
Which would you rather marry a poor but independent man who can
earn only (2,000 a year, or an aristocratic one who will let his father-in-law
give him (10,000?
Belter to eat the dry bread of aplnsterhood which la never washed down
with wine, than the fruits of a mistaken marriage, which are tears and
heart achea and burning regrets yea, and sometimes death In life.
The man who stumbles over hia own feet In bis baste to give up hla
aeat In Hie car to the young lady with the f mile and the rose under her
chin, usually lets hla wife carry in the water, and split the kindling, and
polish bla boot.
Mary J. Holmes, the novelist or, aa she would probably put It herself,
the novelist strongly protest againtt another Mary J. Holmes writing
books under her own name. It la certainly something of a misfortune to
have some other woman write under your name, and yet it set ms to me
tint It would be a greater misfortune to the other woman not to be allowed
to use her own name aa she msy see fit to do. If the other woman insist
upon being Just plain Mary J. Holmes on the backs of ber books, Mrs.
Holmes No. 1 might call herself " The original Mary J. Holmes "-which
would be original and quite taking,
A striking llliutratlon of the power and tenacity of contemporaneous
thought and custom Is unconsciously given by Edward Bellamy In " Look
ing Backward." In his description of woman " emancipated," as he found
ber after his long sleep at the close of the the twentieth century, he causes
Ir. Leete to say that the women of that advanced age are as guiltless of
coyness and coquetry, and as free tc tell their love to the object of their
choice, as are the young men themselves. All this Mr. Bellamy or Mr.
West, as he Is in the story accepts as the proper thing for the reconstructed
girl of the twentieth century ; but he goes straightway and coolly drops a
hundred years from his calendar In his portrayal of his own love scene with
Edith Leete, in which he makes her, the sweet girl of bis choice, stand with
downcast eyes, trembling and blushing, while h tells his love, just as any
ordinary, modest gill of the present day Is wont to do under the same cir
cumstances. Mr. Bellamy Is undoubtedly an original thinker; yet it Is
evident that he keeps little corner o( his heart, at least, dedicated to our
good, old ways, and that while he Is entirely willing that the men of future
ages shall be wooed and won by the maidens, he doesn't quite like to pic
ture himself as one of those blushing, ridiculous youths.
A friend showed me a plain made gown the other day, and mentioned
the price the milliner had charged for making It. " Why," I exclaimed
thoughtlessly, "she over-charged you! That Is entirely too much for
" I know It la too much," said my Mend, gently, turning aside her
head; " and I was right-down Indignant at first, and had a great mind to
tell her so, too, but somehow "here my friend took up her new gown snd
made a great feint of examining It" eoruthow, all In a moment, I remem
bered that once, years ago, my beloved sister was very poor and she took In
sewing. Her rooms were small and dark and dingy, and she did her house
work and lock care of her bahy, beside the sewing. I remembered how
she used to sit on sultry summer days, stitching, stitching, while tin dust
from rich women's carriages rolled through the windows Into her pale, worn
lace; and how she used often to sew until midnight to finish a ball dress
(or some gay scclety woman, soothing the baby when It cried and laying Its
little moist lips to her tired breast; and bow "-here my friend bent very
low, Indeed, over the new gown, and I noticed her fingers were trembling
in an odd way" how many and many a time, when she did go to bed, I,
little child then, tossing in my dreams, would hear her moan all through
the long hoars of her troubled sleep. And the woman who made this gown
was roor, too, and ber rooms were shabby and stifling. She was pale and
careworn, and she conghed often and put her hand to her chest and the
baby was there, too, cross and ill. So, somehow, all in a moment, as I have
said, I remembered my sitter; the hasty protest died on my lips, and I
handed her the money without a word, recalling how rich women had hag
gled with my sister over her charges, and how I, as a child, had burned to
open the door and push them into the street! I am afraid we do not re
member such things as often as we should "and something that looked
like a glistening pearl dropped on the new gown. I do not know whence it
could have come unless from my friend's violet eye.
I eat for one whole day recently in a railway car, opposite the loveliest
woman I ever saw; snd what waa better, her manners were as perfect and
as charming aa her face and figure. It was a pleasure to me only to look at
her clear, gray eyes, her dark gold brows and hair, ber lovely color, ber
warm Hps, her amiable, perfect smile and ber soft, white throat. "Now,
don't admire her too much," I said to my impressionable heart; "she
can not be as perfect as she looks. Every one has a fault concealed some
where." But, try as I would, I couldn't find one word, expression or ges
ture to condtmn ; for with all her beauty of face and figure, ber charm if
manner and conversation, her soft voice, her happy laugh, her entire fas
cination, she was yet utterly unconscious of herself, and very amiable.
But alas I when my journey was almost at an end, I found the flaw in my
gem, the horrible, wriggling canker worm in my rose. She was describing
a delightful drive back of Portland, but stopped right in the middle of it and
exclaimed, with a little laugh that grated disagreeably, " But it will take
you paat the poor house, and I know you don't want to be horrified by
glimpse of the dreadful wretches who live there! "
" I have been not only past the poor-house, but in it," said a gentleman
of the party, quietly.
She looked up at bim and laughed, and her laugh had lost all Its music,
and her eyes all the light, for me.
" Do you mean It? " she asked, " or is It one of your detestable, little
jokes ? What could take you to the poor house ? "
" I went to see the poor people there," replied the gentleman, blushing.
" There Is so much misery there, that a few flowers and fruits cheer those
sad hearts up wonderfully."
" As If," she said, and now there was a sneer on those lips that took all
their loveliness away, " such wretches could appreciate flowers or care for
And I would rather, then, that she had been plain and homely, If only
her heart could have been kind.
O, mothers, wherever yon are, and whatever your lot or station in life,
I ask ycu to teach your boys to respect women. Teach them that no woman
may be mentioned disrespectfully or lightly. A man who does not respect
women is not a moral man, and common drunkard is more to be trusted
than he. What la more, I do not mean merely that they should be taught
to respect their mothers and sisters and the pure women of the earth, but to
feel, also, a vast pity for the unfortunate ones. 0, never a woman falls so
low but a kind word or a lock of respect for her womanhood waited though
that womanhood be-wlll kindle the old spark of pride and virtue once
more in her breast. For one moment at leut she will feel something of
that old sweet Independence which once was hers, and she may be bettered
thereby. The kind word and the respectful glance will never do her barm,
and it may do her good. When you are tempted to My one light or sneer
ing word of God's unfortunate ones whom He still loves never you doubt
that He still love them, else It will be a Bidder thing for you when you die
than for them pause on moment and repeat to yourself this little truth
which I give to you, indeed, to all men on earth, for what It is worth and
myself, I think It worth more than all the sermons that ever were preached
under God's blue heaven. When I was a little girl, at the close of Sabbath
school, we used to all stand up and say lolemnly and earnestly together,
" The Lord watch between thee and me while we are absent one from the
other;" and somehow, It always did me more good than the preacher's
longest prayer. So now, this Utile truth I apeak of, I ask all men who read
these words to say It over, solemnly and earnestly with me, that they may
learn it by heart and remember It. This is it : " When all men feel respect
and show respect to all women, old and young, virtuous and unvirtuous,
there will be no women on this beautiful earth who do not deserve and com
mand respect." Whenever you feel the Inclination to say one light word
of a woman, stop just long enough to repeat to yourself that simple motto,
and the light word will be unspoken.