Half a Century eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 352 pages of information about Half a Century.

The human teeth proved that we should eat flesh, and the human form proved that men should take the ore out of the mines, subdue the inertia of matter and the ferocity of animals; that they should raise the grain, build the houses, roads and heavy machinery; and that women should do the lighter work.  As this work was as important as the heavier, and as it fell principally on wives and mothers, they in these relations should receive equal compensation with the husband and father.  By this plan, the estate acquired by a matrimonial firm, would belong equally to both parties, and each could devise his or her share, so that a woman would know that her accumulations would go to her heirs, not to her successor.  Consequently, every wife would have an incentive to industry and economy, instead of being stimulated to idleness and extravagance as by existing laws.

Women should not weaken their cause by impracticable demands.  Make no claim which could not be won in a reasonable time.  Take one step at a time, get a good foothold in it and advance carefully.  Suffrage in municipal elections for property holders who could read, and had never been connected with crime, was the place to strike for the ballot.  Say nothing about suffrage elsewhere until it proved successful here.

Intemperance was then under treatment by Washingtonianism.  By this philosophy it was held that each man consists of about thirty pounds of solid matter, wet up with several buckets of water; that in youth his mother and sweetheart, kneads, rolls, pats and keeps him in shape, until his wife takes charge of him and makes him into large loaves or little cakes, according to family requirements; but must not stop kneading, rolling, patting, on pain of having him all flatten out.

The diagnosis of drunkenness was that it was a disease for which the patient was in no way responsible, that it was created by existing saloons, and non-existing bright hearths, smiling wives, pretty caps and aprons.  The cure was the patent nostrum of pledge-signing, a lying-made-easy invention, which like calomel, seldom had any permanent effect on the disease for which it was given, and never failed to produce another and a worse.  Here the cure created an epidemic of forgery, falsehood and perjury.

Napoleon selected his generals for their large noses.  Dr. Washingtonian chose his leaders for their great vices.  The honors bestowed upon his followers were measured by their crimes, and that man who could boast the largest accumulation was the hero of the hour.  A decent, sober man was a mean-spirited fellow; while he who had brought the grey hair of parents in sorrow to the grave, wasted his patrimony and murdered his wife and children, was “King o’ men for a’ that.”  The heroines were those women who had smilingly endured every wrong, every indignity that brutality could inflict; had endured them not alone for themselves but for their children; and she who had caressed the father of her child while he dashed its brains out, headed the list in saintship; for love was the kneading trough, and obedience the rolling pin, in and with which that precious mess called a man was to be made into an angel.

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Half a Century from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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