The committees of the various churches, the Citizens’ League and Prohibition party are much pleased with the work Mrs. Nation did here and predict great results from it.—Dayton Daily.
(Sketch by will Carleton, in his Magazine everywhere.)
Some years ago, the American public—always longing for “something new,” was treated to an absolutely unique sensation. A woman armed with a hatchet had gone into a Kansas liquor saloon and smashed up its appurtenances, in a very thorough and unconventional manner. After this, she went into and through another, and another: and it began to took as if all the bibulous paraphernalia of Kansas were about to be sent into the twilight.
When the smoke had somewhat cleared away, and time elapsed sufficient to garner these circumstances into authentic news, it transpired that the woman who had done this was Mrs. Carry A. Nation—utterly obscure and unknown until that week.
This raid among decanters was a very singular and startling act, for a woman: but, somehow, people found it refreshing. It represented precisely what many had imagined in their minds, what thousands of women had wished they themselves could or dared do, what myraids of confirmed drinkers, even, had wished might be done. News of Mrs. Nation’s swift and decided action went all over the country, like a stiff, healthy gale. She was sharply criticised—but there lurked very often a “dry grin” behind the criticism. This smashing was all very direct and unique and Americans are in general fond of directness and uniqueness. It was, technically, illegal; but, even so, it was remarked that the saloons which Mrs. Nation wrecked, were themselves in brazen defiance of the laws of the state of Kansas—unenforced on account of the fear or venality of public officers.
The work of this determined woman went on with a thoroughness and promptness that made it ultra-interesting. She was imprisoned again and again, and became an inmate, at one time and another, of some nineteen different jails. She had trial after trial—in which was developed the fact that her tongue was as sharp as her hatchet; she often addressing even the judge presiding, as “Your Dishonor,” while prosecuting attorneys she treated with supreme scorn. Not much mercy was shown her in the county bastiles: she was often bestowed in cells next to insane people—in the hope, she thinks, that she might become really crazy, as well as reputedly so. One sheriff, finding that the fumes of cigarette-smoking made her ill, treated all her follow-inmates to the little white cylinders, and set them at work puffing vigorously. Chivalry and humanity seemed, for the time being, to have faded from men’s minds.