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Title: The Complete Works of Brann, the Iconoclast — Volume 01
Author: Brann, William Cowper
Language: English
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THE COMPLETE WORKS
OF
BRANN
THE ICONOCLAST

VOLUME I



In putting into permanent form the complete works of
William Cowper Brann, twenty-one years after his death,
the sole purpose of the present publishers is to preserve in
its entirety the genius of a writer whose work, though
produced under the stress of journalism, is destined to
endure as literature.

Upon the issues discussed by Brann, the publishers take no
sides; they do not stand as sponsors for, nor do they desire
to appear in the light of either approving or disapproving his
opinions or methods.  They were friends and neighbors of
many years' standing of the men and institutions mentioned
in Brann's writings, but were in no way involved in the bitter
controversies and deplorable events which led to Brann's
untimely and dramatic death.

The plan and arrangement of this twelve-volume set of
Brann is simple.  The first volume is composed of articles of
various length gathered from miscellaneous sources, and
includes some of the better known articles from The
ICONOCLAST.  Volume II to XI inclusive are the files of
The ICONOCLAST (from February, 1895 to May, 1898,
inclusive), with the matter arranged approximately as it
appeared in the original publication.  Volume XII contains
the story of Brann's death and various biographical and
critical articles from the press of the day, together with
those of Brann's speeches and lectures which have been
preserved.  At the close of Volume XII you will find a
complete index of subjects and of titled articles for the
entire twelve volumes.



PREFACE
BY MILO HASTINGS

As I read the proofs of the last of these volumes, wherein is
told the story of Brann's death, my cup of the joy of love's
labor is embittered with the gall of an impotent, futile rage
against the Sower that flings with mocking hand the seed of
genius and recks not where it falls.  The germ of such a life
as Brann's we can but accept in worshipful, unquestioning
gratitude, for the process of its spawning is too entangled to
unravel.  But of the environment of his life we cannot refrain
from rebellious questioning, appreciative though we be of
that which was, and of our heritage of the unquenchable
spirit that is and shall be as long as our language shall last.

Genius he is, this only Brann we have; genius audacious,
defiant, and sublime; whose stature, though his feet be on
the flat of the Brazos bottom, towers effulgent over those
effigies placed on pedestals by orthodox popularity, and
sickly lighted by professorial praise.

Nor is my anger born of the fact that Brann, as warped by
his environment of time and place, wasted thought on free
silver economics, spent passion on prohibition and negro
criminals, lavished wrath on provincial preachers and local
politicians or alloyed his style by the so-called "vulgarities,"
which alone could shock into attention the muddle-headed
who paid his printer's bill for the privilege of seeing
barnyard phrases and dunghill words in type.

All this, I can conceive, may have been the particular
combination of circumstances that were needed to
bring to flower a germ of genius that, had it been planted in
last century's Boston, might have given us but another
Harvard classic--or environed in this century's Greenwich
Village only another free-versifier of souls a-jaunt amid
psycho-analytics and parlor Bolshevism.

The slouch-hatted, gun-toting, beer-drinking, woman-
worshiping, man-baiting Brann of Texas may have been the
particular and only Brann to have developed the colossal
courage and fighting fearlessness that gave his poet's soul
the reach and stature, the strength and vigor to raise
himself above the mere music of his words.

Brann as he was when he heard the shot that killed him, I
can accept and proclaim as beyond the need and reach of
apology or regret.  But what of the Brann that would have
written on throughout the twenty-one years that have since
elapsed, and that we would have with us still at the prime
age of sixty-four?

Had Brann lived!  We should have had the product of eight
times the period of his writing life that was; and an added
quality born of riper experience, more momentous themes,
more leisure for deliberate composition.  We should have
heard the man who against petty politicians and occasional
pugilists, out-thundered Carlyle, turn his roaring guns
against the blood-guilty heads that bade wholesale rape
and gaunt hunger stalk rampant in a gory world.

It is as if Hugo had written "Hans of Iceland" and no "Les
Miserables," as if Napoleon, the Lieutenant of Artillery, had
but stopped the mobs in the streets of Paris, and Austerlitz
and Waterloo had never been.

The world has not always profited by its martyrdoms.
Samson, old and blind, toppled down the temple, and the
Philistines that he slew at his death were more than they
which he slew in his life.  Not so Brann.  His death was
as tragic and pitiable as the charge of the Light Brigade,
the sacrifice of men at the sunken road of Ohaine.

Waste, futile and planless, mere howling, empty, chaotic
waste, for no purpose under heaven but to serve as food
for idle fancies as to what might have been--such to me is
the death of Brann, and my throat chokes with sorrow and
my soul is sick with vain despair.

Brann's contribution to literature is the product of less than
three years of writing time.  There were previous years of
yearning and dreaming while he fretted beneath the yoke of
galling servitude to newspaper editors unworthy to loose the
latchets of Brann's shoes.   His own paper, The
Iconoclast, in which he first found freedom for utterance,
and from which ninety-eight per cent. of this present edition
is derived, ran for just forty months, and for six or eight
months of this period Brann was on lecture tours, during
which time his paper was largely filled with outside
contributions.

That a magazine could succeed at all in Waco is one of the
seven wonders of the literary world.  That a magazine so
located and written by one man, having but a paltry
advertising patronage, no illustrations, no covers, could in
three years' time rival the circulation of any magazine then
published is as much a miracle as the parting of the Red
Sea waters or the bountiful persistence of the widow's oil.

It is on this three years' work that Brann's fame must rest.
Barring a few poets, the literary colossi have seldom had
less than the work of a score of years on which to base
their claims for greatness.  Goethe, Hugo, Tolstoi, Mark
Twain each wrote for more than fifty years.  But greater
range of variety and distance as well as span of time
contributed to their product.  They traveled up and down
the world of men, mingled with many races, sailed seas,
climbed mountains, lived in metropoles, and dined with
princes.

Brann's most notable personal acquaintances were country-
town editors and provincial politicians, very like the ilk of a
hundred other States and provinces in the raw corners of
the world.  He lived and died in that stale, flat, and literarily
unprofitable expanse of prairie between Lake Michigan and
the Rio Grande, where man's most pretentious achievement
was the Ead's Bridge at St. Louis, Nature's most
spectacular effort, the Ozark Mountains, and literature's
most worthy resident representative, William Marion Reedy.

So environed, in a time when the bicycle marked the acme
of progress and Bryan could be a hero, in a flat-roofed
Texas town, whose intellectual glory was a Baptist college
and whose answer to arguments, "ropes and revolvers,"
Brann wrote for only three years, and wrote as
Shakespeare wrote, unmindful alike of critics, binders and
bookworms.  Only by the doubtful faith that men are made
by their adversity can we reconcile our charge against the
Sower who cast the seed of genius to fall on such barren
ground, amid the stones of a sterile time and the briars of
bullet-answering bigotry.

But vain are the might-have-beens; and fortunate are we to
have as we have the stuff out of which far-ringing fame
resounds unto generations when teeth are no longer set on
edge--when men will have forgotten the taboos of a little
day and the dust of our Mrs. Grundys will be weeds to
choke the freedom of the grass.

The copies of The Iconoclast, read in their day till worn
to tatters, were ill adapted to preservation.  It were futile to
look for them in libraries, for Brann was about as welcome
in those formal repositories of the proper in literature as
matches in a powder mill.  So far as they are aware the file
of The Iconoclast possessed by the present publishers,
and from which this edition is reproduced, is the only
complete file in existence.

For twenty years this priceless literary heritage has been
waiting, precariously subjected to the vicissitudes of earthly
circumstance.  Like a lone great manuscript within the
cloister of a mediaeval monk, Brann's work might have
perished utterly soon after its creation, like a song of magic
music held but fleetingly within the heart that heard it.

But the blood of ink now flows again through the multiplying
presses and the flaming phrases of The Iconoclast, shot
like shafts of gold from over the mountains of El d'Orado by
the sun of genius, still live and will endure.  Again the
million words leap from the yellowed pages like tongues of
fire and beauty; and ten thousand voices will cry and sing
again before the hearths of those who once knew and
loved the Waco Iconoclast, and will sing and cry in the
homes of their children and their children's children who will
read and acclaim Brann as a God whose name is writ
forever in the stars.

These facts are here set down that they who read in days
to come may marvel as I do now that two score issues of a
provincial paper should consistently contain such a freight
of imperishable literature, revealing a learning positively
prodigious, a style that flows with a sonorous majesty and
crashes with a vitriolic and destroying power, a lavish
richness in figurative language, a beauty of Aeolian harps,
of sapphire seas, of the flushed and ardent splendor of
poetic nights.

Whence came the towering intellect, the wealth of
knowledge, the mastery of words, the music of style, the
diapason of feeling?  It could only come from the sources
that are available to any American who can read.  The
most formal aid that could have contributed is the free
shelves of the St. Louis public library.

The miracle of Brann's growth and flowering is more
marvelous than that of Poe, less explainable than that of
Shakespeare.  That Brann knew the literary classics of the
world is obvious from his every line.  But, unless we invent
some theory of universal telepathy to have wafted
inspiration to Waco from all the canonized dead from
Homer to Carlyle, we can only conceive that Brann derived
his knowledge and his power, without encouragement and
without guidance, by poring over the printed page in lonely
hours bitterly wrested from the wolf of poverty that for forty
years held mortgage on his time.

What he possessed, however got, was a combination of all
those recognized elements of literary greatness--except one
thing; he heeded not the warning of cultured mediocrity that
commands most writers what to leave unsaid.  Brann left
nothing unsaid, and because of that fact was locked out of
colleges, libraries, encyclopaedias and halls of fame.

Where other writers waste half their energies in deciding
what may be written, Brann gave his full energy to writing
what he thought.  Whereas in all things else he matched
and equaled others, in this one fact of absolute audacity
and complete freedom from fear, he outmatched all and so
closed the pedants' mouths of praise.  Colossal, crude,
terrible and sublime, Brann opened the ears of the people
by the mighty power of his untamed language, by the
smashing fury of his wrath of words.

From the point of disadvantage of the little country town lost
in the immensity of the Texas prairie, Brann saw the world,
and saw it with the blazing eye of righteous wrath.  He saw
the sins of high society in New York and London, the
rottenness of autocracy in Russia, the world war boiling
beneath the surface in the cauldron of Europe's misery.
But he saw also, with mingled humor and anger, the trivial
passing events of his own state and nation and the local
affairs of his home town.  Of all these things, great and
small, he wrote with equal fervor, equal venom and equal
power.

To-day the war is fought, the Czar is dead, free silver is
forgotten and the local animosities that Brann brewed in his
own State live only in the memories of a few old men.

With the roll of the years, the perspective of time, like a low
swung sun, casts the mountain's shadow ever farther
across the valley; and Brann the Waco journalist has
become Brann the American genius.  No matter how dead
the issues, how local to time and place the characters of
which he wrote, his writing is literature and the imperishable
legacy of the world.

The Biblical story of Joseph would be equally great if his
name had been Fu Chow, and Pharaoh had been the
Emperor Wu Wong Wang.  Hamlet would be immortal if his
name were L. Percy Smith and his uncle a pork packer in
Omaha.  The prodigal son has no name, the swine he fed
knew no country.  Particular names, local places, and
passing forms and institutions are not the essence of
literature.  For those who formerly read Brann in The
Iconoclast he was a Texas journalist in the free silver
days; but for those who shall read his work in these days
after the world war, New York might as well be Babylon,
Mark Hanna, Haman, and the files of The Iconoclast,
clay tablets dug from the ruins of some long-buried Waco of
the Euphrates Valley.

It is only the transcendent genius who can afford to be
careless of the preservation of his product.  Socrates
merely talked to chance disciples in the Groves of
Athens; other men wrote and preserved his words.
Shakespeare wrote plays for his current theatrical business;
others gathered and printed his manuscripts.  While he
lived, Brann's writing never saw the dignity of a clothbound
book.  They were not written for carefully edited, thrice-
proofread, leather-bound volumes, but ground out for the
unwashed hand of a Waco printer's devil, done into hastily
set type and jammed between badly set beer ads and
patent medicine testimonials, on a thin, little job-press sheet
that could be rolled up and stuck through a wedding ring.

Brann's range of literary form was limited by his single
avenue of publication through the columns of a one-man
paper, and varied from the ten-word epigrams of
Salmagundi to the ten-thousand word article or published
lecture.  Within this range is evidenced at least three
distinct types of literary composition.

First and foremost in volume and effect is the Philippic or
iconoclastic article, mingling in varying proportions the
resounding musical cadences of Ingersollian oratory and
the pungent, audacious epigrammatic twists on which
Hubbard, with cleverer salesmanship, built a more
profitable, if not more noble, fame.

It was as the destroyer, the iconoclast, that Brann best saw
himself, and to this role he devoted a great preponderance
of his time and talent.  But there is another Brann, unknown
to many who have conceived him only as an idolsmasher,
an "apostle of the devil," an angry Christ driving out the
defilers of the temple with a lash of scorpion's tails.

Brann, the poet, the lover of beauty, speaks even amidst
the ruins of the houses of hypocrisy and shame which he
has wrecked.  There is scarce a page in all his writings in
which sheer beauty does not stand out amid the
ugliness of carnage and destruction--in which the strains of
celestial music are not heard above the roar of earthly
battle.

But more than this there are many articles that are wholly
cut from a cloth of gold.  Many of the finest of these gems
of pure literature were omitted from the early and
incomplete book-publication of Brann, for the compilers who
made that hasty and inadequate selection were too close to
the bitterness of his death to see this other Brann.

To cite from the first volume only:

Where have you heard a more beautiful sermon from a
Christian pulpit than "Charity" or "Throwing Stones at
Christ"?

Can you find in prose or poetry more melody of language
than in "Life and Death"?

In all our countless volumes of fiction, have you ever read a
more wondrous tale than "There Comes One After," or "A
Story of the Sea"?

To read only such as these is to know a very different
Brann from the author of "The Bradley-Martin Bal Masque"
or "Garters and Amen Groans."  The Brann who wrote
"Life and Death," by that work alone, wins to undying fame
as surely as does Grey by his "Elegy Written in a Country
Churchyard."  I have combed my memory in vain to match
it from an American pen.  A few paragraphs from Ingersoll,
a few pages from Poe, a few stanzas from Whitman--but
make your own search and your own comparisons; and if,
in your final ranking, Brann stands not among the Titans
who number less than the fingers on God's hand, it will be
because you cannot divorce the sublime beauty of "Life
and Death" from the coyotes and the jackals that run
rampant through the pages of Brann the shocker of the thin
of skin.

Lastly, consider Brann the teller of stories--for laughter and
for tears.  Some of these tales are allegories as universal to
the life of man as "Pilgrim's Progress."  Elsewhere, as in
the fictional essay on the "The Cow" and in the delightful
lies that Brann in rollicking mischief attributed to his fellow
Texas journalists, we find the humorous tale enriched with
the bizarre and scintillating figure.  Nor was Brann
unconscious of his fictional gift, for he was working on a
novel at the time of his death.  That O. Henry's ambition to
write may be accredited to the influence of Brann seems
more than probable.  Brann's first attempt to start The
Iconoclast was made in Austin, Texas, but this first paper
survived for only a few issues.

O. Henry, then a drug clerk in Austin, being filled with
literary aspiration, bought the press and the name of The
Iconoclast for $250; but O. Henry's Iconoclast after two
issues also ceased to flutter.  Later, when Brann again
accumulated the necessary funds to permit him to throw off
the hireling's yoke, he asked for and received back from O.
Henry the legal right to the title of his own paper.

I relate this incident not to cast discredit upon O. Henry's
originality.  His unique mastery of story structure was all his
own, but that richness of figurative speech, particularly
those exaggerated humorous metaphors which make his
every paragraph so delightful, we may well believe to be an
Elijah's mantle fallen from the shoulders of Brann, and worn
over a new tunic.

Should any man create more than a rare few of the words
he uses his speech would be as meaningless as a doctor of
theology explaining the trinity.  Likewise that subtle thing
called "style," that revivifying of the dead ashes of
dictionary words, though more peculiar to the man, is most
potent when it borrows freely but wisely from all that has
gone before.

Stevenson read, and confessed to deliberate practice work
in imitation of, the masters that preceded him.  So we know
that Brann read, absorbed, transmuted, and transfigured
the style of the classic writers, and added a daring measure
of reckless originality.  As Brann read his Homer and his
Carlyle, his Shakespeare and his Ingersoll, so Hubbard and
O. Henry read their Brann; and Hubbard specifically
commends him to the would-be writer as Johnson commended Addison.

There is no ore that will assay more literary metal to the
page than Brann.  As a writer's writer no man of our time
surpasses him.  His vocabulary is conceded, even by his
most envious critics, to outrange that of any other
American.  His gift of figurative speech--that essential that
distinguishes literature from mere correct writing--rivals that
of any writer in any country, language or time.  Brann's
compass of words, idioms and phrases harks back to the
archaic and reaches forward to the futuristic.

If you wish merely to learn to appreciate literature so that
you may nod approval in polite society when an accredited
writer's name is mentioned, go to college and listen to the
lectures of literary Ph. D.'s.  But if you want to learn to
write, take your Bible, your Shakespeare and your Brann
and hie you to your garret, there to read, reread, study,
memorize, and imitate if you can.  And God be praised if
you can steal the best and to it add somewhat of your own.

Brann offends, shocks and outrages, is suppressed,
damned, forcibly ignored and laboriously forgotten, because
though the lark sings in his words, "the buzzard is on the
wing."  But Brann did not make the stench that offends the
nostrils of the nice; he only stirred up the cesspools to let
us know that they were there, and so enlist volunteers for
their abatement.  That riles the kept keepers of lesser
fames because they have agreed that the fine art of letters
should be to spray the attar of posies to counteract the
noisome smells of that which is rotten in the state of the
world, where the many reek and sweat in filth and poverty
that the few may live in perfumed palaces.

Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin, shouted Brann and died
shouting, while the well-fed and fatted sat on the lid to keep
it down.  But we who have lived to see the lid blown off
Russia and feel the growl and grumble of the bowels of all
the earth need not overstrain our ears to hear Brann
laughing now in that good Baptist Hell to which a bullet in
the back gave him the passport.



POTIPHAR'S WIFE.
STORY OF JOSEPH
REVISITED

For more than six-and-thirty centuries the brand of the
courtesan has rested on the brow of Potiphar's wife.  The
religious world persists in regarding her as an abandoned
woman who wickedly strove to lead an immaculate he-virgin
astray.  The crime of which she stands accused is so unspeakably
awful that even after the lapse of ages we cannot refer to the
miserable creature without a moan.  Compared with her infamous
conduct old Lot's dalliance with his young daughters and David's
ravishment of Uriah's wife appear but venial faults, or even
shine as spotless virtues.

The story of Mrs. Potiphar's unrequited passion may be
strictly true; but if so the world has changed most
wondrously.  It transcends the probable and rests upon
such doubtful ex parte evidence that a modern court
would give her a certificate of good character.  It is not in
accord with our criminal code to damn a woman on the
unsupported deposition of a young dude whom she has had
arrested for attempted ravishment.  Had Joseph simply filed
a general denial and proven previous good character we
might suspect the madame of malicious prosecution; but he
doth protest too much.

Mrs. Potiphar was doubtless a young and pretty woman.
She was the wife of a wealthy and prominent official of
Pharaoh's court, and those old fellows were a trifle exacting
in their tastes.  They sought out the handsomest
women of the world to grace their homes, for sensuous
love was then the supreme law of wedded life.  Joseph was
a young Hebrew slave belonging to Mrs. Potiphar's
husband, who treated him with exceptional consideration
because of his business ability.  One day the lad found
himself alone with the lady.  The latter suddenly turned in a
fire alarm, and Jacob's favorite son jogged along Josie in
such hot haste that he left his garment behind.  Mrs.
Potiphar informed those who responded to her signal of
distress that the slave had attempted a criminal assault.
She is supposed to have repeated the story to her husband
when he came home, and the chronicler adds, in a tone of
pained surprise, that the old captain's "anger was kindled."
Neither Mrs. Potiphar's husband nor her dearest female
friends appear to have doubted her version of the affair,
which argues that, for a woman who moved in the highest
social circles, she enjoyed a reasonably good reputation.

But Joseph had a different tale to tell.  He said that the
poor lady became desperately enamored of his beauty and
day by day assailed his continence, but that he was as deaf
to her amorous entreaties as Adonis to the dear
blandishments of Venus Pandemos.  Finally she became so
importunate that he was compelled to seek safety in flight.
He saved his virtue but lost his vestments.  It was a narrow
escape, and the poor fellow must have been dreadfully
frightened.  Suppose that the she-Tarquin had
accomplished her hellish design, and that her victim had
died of shame?  She would have changed the whole
current of the world's history!  Old Jacob and his other
interesting if less virtuous sons, would have starved to
death, and there would have been neither Miracles nor
Mosaic Law, Ten Commandments nor Vicarious
Atonement.  Talmage and other industrious exploiters of
intellectual tommyrot, now ladling out saving grace for
fat salaries, might be as unctuously mouthing for Mumbo
Jumbo, fanning the flies off some sacred bull or bowing the
knee to Baal.  The Potiphar-Joseph episode deserves the
profoundest study.  It was an awful crisis in the history of
the human race!  How thankful we, who live in these latter
days, should be that the female rape fiend has passed into
the unreturning erstwhile with the horned unicorn and
dreadful hippogriff, the minotaur and other monsters that
once affrighted the fearful souls of men--that sensuous
sirens do not so assail us and rip our coat-tails off in a foul
attempt to wreck our virtue and fill our lives with fierce
regret.  True, the Rev. Parkhurst doth protest that he was
hard beset by beer and beauty unadorned; but he seems to
have been seeking the loaded "schooner" and listening for
the siren's dizzy song.  Had Joseph lived in Texas he could
never have persuaded Judge Lynch that the lady and not
he should be hanged.  The youngster dreamed himself into
slavery, and I opine that he dreamed himself into jail.  With
the internal evidence of the story for guide, I herewith
present, on behalf of Mrs. Potiphar, a revised and
reasonable version of the affaire d'amour.

Joseph was, the chronicler informs us, young "a goodly
person and well favored."  His Hebraic type of manly
beauty and mercurial temperament must have contrasted
strangely with Mrs. Potiphar's dark and stolid countrymen.
Mistress and slave were much together, the master's duties
requiring his presence near his prince.  Time hung heavily
on the lady's hands and, as an ennui antidote, she
embarked in a desperate flirtation with the handsome
fellow, for Egypt's dark-eyed daughters dearly love to play
fast and loose with the hearts of men.  Of course it was
very wrong; but youth and beauty will not be strictly bound,
the opportunity seemed made for mischief, and Mrs. Potiphar cared
little for her lord--a grizzly old warrior who
treated her as a pretty toy his wealth had purchased, to be
petted or put aside at pleasure.

A neglected wife whose charms attract the admiring eyes of
men may not depart one step from the straight and narrow
path, but her husband's honor stands ever within the pale
of danger.  Let that husband whose courtship ceased at
Hymen's shrine, who is a gallant abroad and a boor at
home, keep watch and ward, for homage is sweet even to
wedded women.

While Potiphar played the petty tyrant and exacted of his
wife a blind obedience, Joseph sang to her songs she
loved--plaintive tales of tender passion, of enchanted
monarchs and maids of matchless beauty.  He culled the
fairest flowers from the great garden and wove them into
garlands to deck her hair, dark as that lingering night which
Moses laid upon the Valley of the Nile.  He gave her a
thousand little attentions so grateful to womankind, and
worshiped her, not presumptuously, but with the sacred
awe of a simple desert child turning his face to greet the
rising sun.  They were of the same age,--that age when the
heart beats in passionate rebellion against cold precepts,
the blood riots in the veins like molten rubies and all life
seems made for love, for day dreams golden as the dawn,
for sighs and sweet companionship.  What wonder that she
sometimes into the cool left her lord to his heavy slumbers
and crept into the cool gardens with the handsome Hebrew
boy; that they walked, hand clasped in hand, beneath the
tall palms that nodded knowingly, and whispered sweet
nothings while the mellow moonlight quivered on the Nile
and sad Philomela poured forth her plaintive song like a
flood of lover's tears?  All day long they were alone
together,--those children of the world's youth, when life was
strong and moral law was weak.  When the summer sun
rode high in heaven and sent his burnished shafts
straight down into the white streets and swooning gardens;
when the great house was closed to shut out the blinding
glare and in the court cool fountains cast their grateful
spray, what wonder that she bade him sit at her feet and
sing the love songs of his native land, wild prototypes of
those which Solomon poured from the depths of his
sensuous soul to his sweet Rose of Sharon?

 "Behold thou art fair, my love, behold thou art fair;
   Thou hast dove's eyes, thy lips are like a thread of scarlet,
   Thy breast like young roes that feed among the lilies.
   Set me as a seal upon thy heart, a seal upon thy arm,
   For love is strong as death, jealousy is cruel as the grave."

The song dies out and the languorous stillness is broken
only by the splashing of the fountains in the great marble
basins and the drowsy hum of a bee among the blossoms.
The lad's head has sunk down upon the lady's knee and
she is watching the tears trembling on his drooping lashes
and wondering, with a little thrill of pain, if he has a
sweetheart in his own land, of whom he is so sadly
dreaming.  She thanks him for the song in a voice low and
sweet as the musical ripple of the sacred river among the
reeds--she dazzles him with her great Egyptian eyes, those
ebon orbs in which ever lurks the sensuous splendor of a
summer night's high moon.  Her hand strays carelessly
among his curls as she punctuates with sighs and tears his
oft-told tale of unkind brethren, the gloomy cave, the coat of
many colors dipped in blood of the slaughtered kid, the
cruel goad of godless Midianite, driving him on and on
through burning sands and 'neath a blazing sun, far from
his tearful mother and mourning sire.  How cruel the fates
to consign to slavery one born to be a king!  His master
is a hard man and covetous, but her pleadings shall yet
purchase sweet liberty for old Jacob's son, that he may
fulfill the high dreams of which he has told her--may answer
the midnight messages of Israel's God and triumph over
those wicked brethren.  Perhaps--who knows?--in his own
land he will become a mighty prince and treat with proud
Pharaoh on equal terms.  Will he remember her, his only
friend in a land of foes?  Will he think of her when Ammon
is o'erthrown and proud Moab pays his tribute?  Ah, no!
When a crown of jewels blazes on his brow and the sack-
cloth of the slave is exchanged for imperial purple, he'll
think no more of the lonely little woman by Nilus bank, who
prays that Isis will magnify his power, that Osiris will shield
him when the Hebrew sword rings on the Hivite spear.  He
will take to wife some fair cousin of Esau's house, a maid
more beauteous far than those who drink the sweet waters
of the south.  Old Abram's daughters are fair and have
dove's eyes; their lips are as threads of scarlet and their
breasts like young roes that feed among the lilies.  Does
not the song say so?  But those of Egypt--oh, unhappy
Egypt!

 "Love is strong as death, jealousy is cruel as the grave."

She bends low and whispers the line upon his lips, while
her fragrant breath, beating upon his cheek, sinks into his
blood like the jasmines' perfume,--more dangerous to the
soul than Aphrodite's kisses or Anacreon's drunken song.
By such arts did Cleopatra win the master spirit of the world
and make the mailed warrior her doting slave, indifferent
alike to honor and to duty, content but to live and love.
What wonder that the callow shepherd lad, unskilled in
woman's wile, believed that his mistress loved him?--
that his heart went out to the handsome coquette in a
wild, passionate throb in which all Heaven's angels sang
and Hell's demons shrieked!

A beautiful woman!  Not the beauty of Greece, on which we
gaze as upon some wondrous flower wafted from Elysian
Fields, and too ethereal for this gross world; nor that of
Rome, with Pallas' snow-clad bosom and retrospective eye;
but the sensuous beauty of the far south, that casts a
Circean spell upon the souls of men.  Her eyes are not
dove's eyes that softly shine along the path to Heaven, but
wandering fires that light the way to Hell.  Her lips are not a
thread of scarlet, chaste as childhood and dewy as the
dawn, but the deep sullen red of a city swept with flames.
Her breasts are not like young roes that feed among the
lilies, but ivory hemispheres threaded with purple fire and
tinged with sunset's tawny gold.  Reverently as though
touching divinity's robe, Joseph caresses the wanton curls
that stream like an inky storm-cloud over the shapely
shoulders--he puts the little hands, heavy with costly gems,
back from the tearful face and holds them with a grasp so
fierce that the massy rings of beaten gold bruise the tender
flesh.  Mrs. Potiphar starts up, alarmed by his unwonted
boldness--she reads his face with a swift glance that tells
her he is no longer a lad, a pretty boy to be trifled with for
the amusement of an idle hour.  The Cupid's bow had
faded forever from his lip and childhood's innocence from
his eye; he has crossed life's Rubicon, has passed at one
stride from the Vale of Youth with its trifles and its idle
tears, its ignorance of sex and stainless love, to Manhood's
rugged mountains, where blazes Ambition's baleful star and
the fires of passion ever beat, fiercer than those that sweep
Gehenna's sulphurous hills.

Even while her cheek crimsons with anger and her heart
flutters with fear, the woman glories in Joseph's guilty
love, sweet incense to her vanity, evidence of her
peerless beauty's infernal power.  She retreats a step as
from the brink of an abyss, but farther she cannot fly, for
there is a charm in her companion's voice, potent as old
Merlin's mystic chant--tones low and sweet as music in
dreams by maids who sleep in Dian's bosom, yet wilder,
fiercer than trumpets blown for war.  As a sailor drawn to
his doom by siren song, or a bird spellbound by some
noxious serpent, she advances fearfully and slow until she
is swept into his strong arms and held quivering there like a
splotch of foam in a swift eddy of the upper Nile.  The room
swims before her eyes and fills with mocking demons
that welcome her to the realm of darkness; the fountains'
ripple sounds like roaring thunder, in which she reads the
angry warning of Egypt's gods, while beneath the accursed
magic of the kisses that burn upon her lips, her blood
becomes boiling wine and rushes hissing through a heart of
ice.  The mocking demons turn to angels with Joseph's
handsome face and crown her with fragrant flowers: the
threat'ning thunders to music sweet as Memmon's matin
hymn or accepted lover's sighs, heard 'neath the harvest
moon,--she is afloat upon a sapphire sea beneath a sunset
sky, the West Wind's musky wing wafting her, whither she
neither knows nor cares.

But the angels and the fragrant flowers, the music sweet as
lover's sighs and the sapphire sea, the sunset sky and
Zephyrus' musky wing are dreams; the blistered lips and
poor bruised bosom, the womanly pride humbled in the
dust and wifely honor wounded unto death--these alone are
real!  With an involuntary cry of rage and shame, a cry that
is half a prayer and half a curse--a cry that rings and
reverberates through the great sleepy house like a maniac's
shriek heard at midnight among the tombs--she flings
herself sobbing and moaning upon the marble floor.
The drowsy slave starts up as from a dream, quivering in
every limb like a coward looking upon his death.  He tries to
raise the groveling victim of his unbridled lust, but she
beats him back; he pleads for mercy, but she calls him
ungrateful slave, base Hebrew dog and prays all Egypt's
gods to curse her conqueror.  There's a rush of feet along
the hall, there's a clash of weapons in the court, and here
and there and everywhere tearful maids are calling to their
mistress, the Sweet One and Beautiful, dear Daughter of
the Dawn, Lily of the Nile, while brawny eunuchs,
barelimbed and black as Hell's own brood, are vowing dire
vengeance even upon the King himself if he has dared to
harm her.  The culprit glances with haggard face and wildly
pleading eyes at the woman, once so imperial in her pride,
now cowering a thing accursed, clothed only with her
shame and flood of ebon hair.  The great sun, that hung in
mid-heaven like a disk of burnished brass when she first
forgot her duty, descends like a monstrous wheel of blood
upon the western desert and through the casement pours a
ruddy glow over the prostrate figure a marble Venus
blushing rosy red.  Joseph casts his coarse garment over
his companion as one might clothe the beauteous dead,
and turns away, the picture of Despair, the avatar of guilty
Fear.

. . .

Love is a dangerous game to play, and oft begun in wanton
mischief ends in woeful madness.  In the first flush of
shame and rage Mrs. Potiphar was eager to punish the
slave's presumption, even though herself o'erwhelmed in
his ruin; but hate, though fierce, is a fickle flame in the
female heart, and seldom survives a single flood of tears.
Already Joseph's handsome face is haunting her--already
she is dreaming o'er the happy hours by Nilus' bank, where
first he praised her wondrous beauty--beneath the
nodding palms when the fireflies blazed and the bulbul
poured its song.  The love that has lain latent within her
bosom, or burned with friendship's unconsuming flame,
awakes like smoldering embers fanned by desert winds and
fed with camphor wood, enveloping all her world.  She
longs to leave the loveless life with her sullen lord; to cast
from her as things accursed the gaudy robes and glittering
gems; to fly with the shepherd lad to the deep cool forests
of the far east and dream her life away in some black tent
or vine-embowered cot--to take his hand in hers and
wander on to the world's extreme verge, listening to the
music of his voice.  The great house, once her pride, has
become a grewsome prison, the jailer a grizzly gorgon who
conjured her with the baleful gleam of gold to cast her
beauty on Mammon's brutish shrine.  She hardens her
heart against him and pities herself, as wives are wont to
do who have dragged the dear honor of their husbands in
the dust--she persuades herself that love has cast radiant
glory about her guilt and sanctified her shame.  Oh woman,
what a paradox thou art!  When the descending sun
touched the horizon's rim Mrs. Potiphar could have plunged
a poisoned dagger through the heart of her paramour and
mocked his dying moan; the great globe of fire has not bid
the world good night, yet she is weeping because of the
bitter words with which she drove him forth.

"Love is strong as death."

She repeats the line again and again.  Oh my Israel, is the
grave the limit of thy love?  Wert thou dead, fair boy, Egypt
would inclose thy sacred ashes in a golden urn and wear it
ever between her breasts--would make for thee a living
sepulcher and thou shouldst sleep in the vale of Love,
between the rosy mountains of Desire.  Wert thou dead--

The slaves!  They will tell their master the wild words
she spoke against her love--against his life.  She must
seal their lips, must command their silence.  Too late!
Even as she lays her hand on the silver bell the heavy
tread of her husband's brass-shod feet is heard in the long
hall, ringing upon the bare stone floor in rapid, nervous
rhythm, so different from the usual majestic tread of
Pharaoh's chief slaughterman.  The slaves have already
spoken!  A faintness as of death falls upon her; but she is a
true daughter of false Egypt, and a wiser than Potiphar
would find in her face no shadow of the fear that lies heavy
on her heart.  The game is called and she must play not for
name and fame, but for love and life.  Her husband
confronts her, ferocity incarnate,--the great cord-like veins
of the broad, low brow and massive neck knotted and
black, his eyes blazing like the orbs of an angry lion seen
by the flickering light of a shepherd's fire.  He essays to
speak, but his tongue is thick, his lips parched as one
stricken with the plague, and instead of words there comes
through his set teeth a hoarse, hissing sound as of the
great rock serpent in its wrath.  His glance falls upon
Joseph's garment, the gleaming sword leaps from its
sheath and he turns to seek the slave.  She lays her hand
lightly upon his arm, great Egypt's shield, a pillar of living
brass; she nestles in the grizzly beard like some bright
flower in a weird forest; she kisses the bronzed cheek as
Judas did that of our dear Lord and soothes him with pretty
truths that are wholly lies.

Joseph is a good boy, but sometimes overbold.  Poor child!
Perhaps her beauty charmed away his senses and made
him forget his duty.  She bade him sing to beguile a tedious
hour, and he sang of love and looked at her with such a
world of worship in his eyes that she grew angry and
upbraided him.  Let it pass; for, by the mystic mark of Apis,
she frightened the boy out of his foolish fever.

She laughs gleefully, and the gruff old soldier suffers her to
take his sword, growling meanwhile that he likes not these
alarms--that she has marshaled Egypt's powers to battle
with a mirage.  The game is won; but guilt will never rest
content, and oft reveals itself by much concealment.  It is
passing strange, she tells him tearfully, that every male who
looks upon her, whether gray-headed grand-sire or
beardless boy, seems smitten with love's madness.  She
knows not why 'tis so.  If there is in her conduct aught to
challenge controversy she prays that he will tell her.  The
old captain's brow again grows black.  He leads her where
the fading light falls upon her face, and, looking down into
her eyes as tho' searching out the secrets of her soul, bids
her mark well his words.  The wife who bears herself
becomingly never hears the tempter's tone or knows aught
of any love but that of her rightful lord.  Pure womanhood is
a wondrous shield, more potent far than swords.  If she has
been approached by lawless libertine, he bids her, for the
honor of his house, to set a seal upon her lips, instead of
bruiting her shame abroad as women are wont to do whose
vanity outruns their judgment.

. . .

Potiphar determines to watch his wife.  It had never
occurred to him that she could possibly go astray; but he
has learned from her own confession that she is a flirt, and
he knows full well that a married coquette is half a
courtesan.  Suspecting that Joseph's offense is graver than
his wife set forth, he casts him into prison.  The
inexperienced youth, believing the full extent of his guilt has
been blazoned to the world, and frightened beyond his wits
by armed men and clank of chains, protests with tears and
sighs that he is more sinned against than sinning.  It is
the old story of Adam improved upon--he not only damns
the woman, but denies the apple.

Joseph's posterity, hating Egypt with their whole heart and
intent on glorifying Israel and Israel's God, became the only
historians of this original scandal in high life; and thus was
a youth, probably neither better nor worse than his
brethren, raised to the dignity of a demi-god, while a vain
young wife is condemned through all the ages to wear a
wanton's name.  The story probably contains a moral--
which wives may look for if they will.

. . .

Of course this account of Mrs. Potiphar's seduction is a
fancy sketch; but it is a true pen-picture of what too often
happens in this fair land of ours, and may be perused with
profit by many a Benedict.  The number of unfaithful wives
whose sin becomes the public shame is simply appalling;
yet no criminal was ever so cautious, so adept in the art of
concealment as the woman who values her reputation
above her honor.  There is no secret a man will guard with
such vigilance as his amours, no copartner in iniquity he
will shield with such fidelity as a paramour.  The bandit may
turn state's evidence, and the assassin confess beneath the
noose; but the roue will die protesting that his mistress is
pure as the driven snow.

And yet woman is by nature as true to her rightful lord as
the needle to the magnetic north,--as faithful to her
marriage vows as the stars to their appointed courses.
When a wife "goes astray" the chances are as one to
infinity that the misstep is her husband's fault.  Love is the
very life of woman.  She can no more exist without it than
the vine can climb heavenward without support,--than it can
blossom and bear fruit without the warm kiss of the summer
sun.  Woman's life is a flame that must find an altar upon
which to blaze, a god to glorify; but that sacred fire will
not forever burn 'mid fields of snow nor send up incense
sweet to an unresponsive idol, even though it bears the
name of husband.  The man who courts the wife as
assiduously as he did his sweetheart, makes the same
sacrifice to serve her, shows the same appreciation of her
efforts to please him, need never fear a rival.  He is lord
paramount of her heart, and, forsaking all others, she will
cleave unto him thro' good and thro' evil, thro' weal and
thro' woe, thro' life unto death.  But the man who imagines
his duty done when he provides food, shelter and fine
raiment for the woman he has won; who treats her as if she
were a slave who should feel honored in serving him; who
vents upon her hapless head the ill-nature he would like to
pour into the faces of his fellow-men, but dares not, were
wise to heed the advice which Iago gave to the Moor.

Woman is more subtle than her ancient enemy, the
serpent, and woe to the man who attempts to tread her
beneath his feet!  True it is that all women who find the
hymeneal rites but an unreading of that enchanted spell in
which they worshiped devils as demi-gods; between whose
eager lips the golden apples of Hesperides prove but Dead
Sea fruit; for whom the promised Elysium looms but a
parched Sahara, do not seek in forbidden fields to feed
their famished hearts; but it is well for the peace of mind of
many a husband who neither dotes nor doubts, that black
dishonor oft goes hand in hand with blissful ignorance.

The philosophic world rejects the story of Joseph, having
long ago learned that he-Dians live only in childish legend
and Della-Cruscan poetry.  As an ideal it reverses the
natural relation of the sexes; as an example it is worse than
worthless, for instead of inspiring emulation the young
Hebrew's heroic continence only provokes contempt.
Men worship at the shrine of Solomon's wisdom, of
Moses' perseverance, of David's dauntless courage, but
crown the altar of Joseph with asses' ears.  Such foolish
Munchausenisms give to young girls a false idea of the
opposite sex, relax their vigilance and imperil their virtue.
From such ridiculous romances, solemnly approved by an
owl-like priesthood, sprung that false code--so insulting to
womankind--that a wife's honor is not committed to her own
keeping, but to the tender care of every man with whom
she comes in contact.  When a wife goes wrong a
hypocritical world rises in well-simulated wrath--which is too
often envy--and hurls its anathema maranatha at the head
of the "designing villain," as tho' his companion in crime
were born without brains and reared without instruction!
The "injured husband"--who probably drove his wife to the
devil by studied neglect that starved her heart and wounded
her vanity--is regarded with contempt if he does not "make
a killing" for a crime against the social code which he would
himself commit.

I paint man as I find him, not as I would have him.  I did not
create him, or did his Architect ask my advice; hence it is
no fault of mine that his virtue's frail as ocean foam--not
mine the blame that while half a god he's all a beast.
Mentally and sexually man is a polygamist, and, whatever
its moral value may be, monogamy does violence to the
law of his being.  It is a barrier against which he ever beats
like some wild beast of prey against restraining bars.  Give
him Psyche to wife and Sappho for mistress and he were
not content--would swim a river to make mad love to some
freckled maid.  It is likely that Leander had at home a wife
he dearly loved when he lost his life trying to reach fair
Hero's bower.  That the Lord expects little even of the best
of men when subjected to beauty's blandishments is proven
by his partiality to various princes and patriarchs who,
in matters of gallantry, may be regarded as pace-setters.

I am not the apologist of the godless rake, the defender of
the roue; but I have small patience with those mawkish
purists who persist in measuring men and women by the
same standard of morals.  We might as well apply the
same code to the fierce Malay who runs amuck and to
McAllister's fashionable pismires.  We might as wisely bring
to the same judgment bar Bengal's royal beast, crazed with
lust for blood, and Jaques' wounded deer, weeping in the
purling brook.  Each sex and genus must be considered by
itself, for each possesses its peculiar virtues and inherent
vices.  In all nature God intended the male to seek, the
female to be sought.  These he drives with passion's fiery
scourge, those he gently leads by maternal longings, and
thus is the Law of Life fulfilled,--the living tide runs ever on
from age to age, while divine Modesty preserves her name
and habitation in the earth.  A man's crown of glory is his
courage, a woman's her chastity .  While these remain the
incense rises ever from Earth's altar to Heaven's eternal
throne; but it matters not how pure the man if he be a
cringing coward, how brave the woman if she be a brazen
bawd.  Lucrece as Caesar were infamous, and Caesar as
Lucrece were a howling farce.

* * *
CHARITY.

St. Paul SAYS:  "Though I speak with the tongues of
men and angels and have not charity, I am become as
sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.  And tho' I have the
gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all
knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could
remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing."

So it appears that chin-music without charity is not
calculated to pay very large dividends in the interesting
ultimate; that a man may be full of faith, and pregnant with
prophecy, and chock-a-block with knowledge and redolent
of religious mystery,--that he may leak sanctification in the
musical accents of an angel and still be "nothing"--a pitiful
hole in the atmosphere, a chimera circulating in a vacuum
and foolishly imagining itself a man.

But what is charity?  You people who have prayers and
Bible readings before breakfast, while your hearts vibrate
between holiness and hash--between Christ and the cook--
should know; but it's dollars to doughnuts you don't.  You
probably imagine that when you present your out-of-fashion
finery to your poor relations, then wait for a vote of thanks
or a resolution of respect; that when you permit a tramp to
fill a long-felt want with the cold victuals in your cupboard,
which even your pug dog disdains, that the Recording
Angel wipes the tears of joy from his eyes with his wing-
feathers and gives you a page, while all Heaven gets gay
because of your excessive goodness.  That's because your
religious education has been sadly neglected.  If you would
read the Bible--and the ICONOCLAST--with more care you
couldn't make such mistakes.  St. Paul says (and, as the
country preacher remarked, I fully agree with him):

"And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and
though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it
profiteth me nothing."

In other words, a man can't draw on his bank account for
the price of a corner lot in the New Jerusalem.  He cannot
acquire so much as a souphouse ticket in that city not
made with hands by dying for the faith in the auto-da-fe.
Almsgiving and charity may have no more affinity than the
philosophy of Plato and the political conversation of a
poll parrot!  Had you ever made the acquaintance of that
idea?  If not, I advise you to exchange visiting cards with it
before you forget its address.  It is not a "Brannism," I beg
to state! it is part of the Pauline theology--is strictly
orthodox.  There's not a single heretical sign warning you to
keep off the grass.  Almsgiving, and even the martyr's fiery
death, may be animated solely by hope of heavenly reward
or terrestrial fame,--by unadulterated selfishness--may be
regarded as a good investment.  Too many people give to
the poor only because it's "lending to the Lord"--and they
expect Standard Oil stock dividends.  They drop a plugged
nickel in the slot expecting to pull out a priceless crown of
gold,--they expect the Lord to present them with a full suit
of heavenly raiment in exchange for a cold potato or a pair
of frazzled pantaloons.  I want no partnership with a man
who tries to beat the God of the Jews in a trade.

Some of you wealthy men who, like Dives, fare
sumptuously every day, may donate a hundred dollars to
relieve the distress of the people of Starr county.  I hope
you will.  If given unostentatiously--and not for advertising
purposes or in hope of a heavenly reward--it will constitute
an act of charity; but not of the highest, noblest type, for it
will cost you no great sacrifice.  It is just as well, however,
to have a receipt for such a gift to show St. Peter.  If it
does not enable you to divide Abraham's bosom with
Lazarus the beggar, it may save you from the post-mortem
discomforts of Dives.

The two mites cast into the treasury by the poor widow
o'erbalanced all the gifts of those who gave of their
abundance; and a cup of cold water may carry with it more
of true charity, more of the spirit of the Prince of Peace,
than the largesse of the proudest plutocrat.

During the Civil War a grizzly old Yankee sergeant and
a young Confederate soldier, both badly wounded, lay
near each other between the lines, while above their
prostrate forms the fierce flood of metal swept back and
forth, a whistling, screaming hurricane of death.  The
sergeant had lain long unconscious, and he awoke racked
with fever and perishing with thirst.  Do any of you know
the horror of that thirst which gunshot wounds, abetted by a
blazing summer sun and the stifling fumes of powder-
smoke, produce?  It is the concentrated agony of hell.
Thirst will break the courage of the bravest.  Even great
Caesar, upon whose imperial brow fear was afraid to sit,
cried for drink "like a sick girl."  The sergeant found his
canteen almost empty,--just a few spoonfuls left,--drops
more precious to him than all the gold of Ophir, than all the
pearls of Ind.  He was lifting the canteen to his parched lips
when his neighbor begged to share it.  He glanced at the
gray uniform and hesitated.  The Confederate was but a
boy and in his breast there stood a broken bayonet.  The
sergeant crawled over to him amid the plunging shot and
shell.

"'Tain't much, Johnny, an' I'm dry as a mackerel; but I'll
whack up."

He divided the precious drops with rigid impartiality and
gave the young Confederate his portion.  Then he raised
the canteen to his own lips, but again he hesitated.  The
landscape swam before his eyes, the pounding of the great
guns fell but faintly upon his ear, the Angel of Death had
set his seal upon the bronzed brow.  He handed the
canteen to his companion untasted.

"Take the rest of it, Johnny; I kinder guess I won't miss it
long."

Yet we imagine we are wonderfully charitable if we give a
few dollars from our abundance to feed the starving, or
send our cast clothing to the Relief Society!  Charity is
not a virtue you can measure in money.  Its abiding
place is not in the vest pocket.  Its home is the heart, and
not the little 2 X 4 dog-kennel heart either.  It only takes up
its abode where there is a mighty temple in which to
circulate itself and make grand music that rolls and
reverberates through all eternity--a temple flooded with
God's own sunshine and peopled with beautiful thoughts
and noble aspirations--a temple whose spires pierce the
highest Heaven and whose foundations are broad and deep
as humanity.  Such is the home of Charity, queen of all the
virtues.  Hear St. Paul:

"Charity suffereth long and is kind; charity envieth not;
charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up; rejoiceth not in
iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth."  Now do you comprehend
what charity really is?  It is toleration, it is kindness, it is
humanity, it is truth, it is the spirit of God made manifest in
man.  He that gives liberally to the poor, to the church, to
education, to the campaign fund, yet says to his brother,
"Thou fool," because he's followed off after a different
political folly, or differs from him on the doctrine of
transubstantiation, is not staggering about under a load of
charity calculated to give him flat feet.  The supreme test of
a charitable mind is toleration for the opinions of others,--an
admission that perchance we do not know it quite all.  It is
much easier to give a $5 bill to a beggar than to forgive a
brother who rides his pitiless logic over our prejudices.  The
religious world has contributed countless millions to feed
the hungry and clothe the naked, but has never forgiven
Tom Paine for brushing the Bible contemptuously aside and
looking

 "Through nature up to nature's God."

Perhaps some future age will do justice to the memory of
the man to whose daring pen we are so largely indebted
for those dearly-prized privileges of free government,
to the ablest advocate of human liberty the world has
known, and whose piety was deep and fervent as that of
St. Paul himself.  But that cannot be until the freedom for
which he toiled and prayed extends to the mind as well as
the body; until the shackles are stricken from the brain as
well as the hand,--until the sun of Knowledge dispels the
empoisoned mists of Ignorance and divine Charity
dethrones unreasoning Hate.  Then will the infidel freely
concede that Servetus' murder was rather the fault of his
age than Calvin's crime, and the Christian will find in Paine,
if not a guide, at least a learned philosopher and a loyal
friend.

Charity assumes as many shapes as Prospero's busy
sprite.  I was once waiting for a train in a small Missouri
town, where everybody turns out to "see the keers come
in."  A big, blustering fellow, well filled with booze, was
making himself generally obnoxious, and the village
constable approached him kindly and tried to quiet him.
Instead of subsiding, the boozer whipped out a big six-
shooter and began blazing away at the representative of
the peace and dignity of the state.  The constable threw his
hand to his hip, but instead of pulling his gun sprang
forward, disarmed the hoodlum, cracked him over the head
with his own battery and sent him about his business.  The
officer looked as shamed after the melee as though he had
stolen a sheep or scratched the Democratic ticket.  I
remarked that he'd taken unnecessary chances.

"What would you have done, mister?" he inquired.  I
replied that I would have filled that fellow's hide so full of
holes that it couldn't be stuffed with straw.

"Well," said he slowly, "I kum purty nigh doin' it.  But I jes'
thought as how 'twan't Jim a shootin', but his jag, an' then I
seemed ter see his kids a hangin' on th' gate a waitin'
fer him t, come home, an' his wife a worritin' about him, an'
I jis couldn,t do it.  I took chances fer them."

Involuntarily I removed my hat.  I felt that I was in the
presence of a God-created king.  "You're a philanthropist,"
I said.

"I dunno what them ar' maybe, mister," said he; "but I'm
glad Jim's gone home alive,--d--d glad!"

That was charity of the broadest, deepest kind that ever
held its godlike sway in the human soul,--a charity that will
brave death itself rather than wring the heart of helpless
woman or cloud the sunny face of childhood with the
orphan's tears.

"Charity never faileth; but whether there be prophecies
they shall fail; whether there be tongues they shall cease;
whether there be knowledge it shall vanish away."

"Charity never faileth."  The real article will stand the most
crucial test,--is never weighed and found wanting.  It never
persecutes because of honest difference of opinion.  It
never back-caps or boycotts.  It turns a deaf ear to the
tongue of scandal and heals the hurts made by the
poisoned arrows of hate.  "Charity suffereth long and is
kind." Its supreme example was given us from the cross:
"Father, forgive them; they know not what they do."
Prophecies fail; tongues are forgotten, and knowledge
fades like the evening sunlight before the dusky wing of
night; but Charity endureth forever.  "And now abideth
Faith, Hope and Charity, and the greatest of these is
Charity."

Faith is founded upon fallible human judgment.  A man
believes thus and so, not necessarily because it is so, but
because his head is built on a particular pattern or has had
a peculiar class of phenomena filtered through it.  The
average human head, like an egg, or a crock of clabber,
absorbs the flavor of its surroundings.  It is chiefly a
question of environment whether we grow up Democrats or
Republicans, Protestants or Catholics, Mormons or religious
mugwumps.  As a man's faith is inherited, or formed for him
by circumstances, he deserves little more credit or blame
therefor than for the color of his hair or the size of his ears.

Hope is Fancy's child; oft branded as an illegitimate, yet
esteemed above and beyond all the royal progeny of the
proudest intellect, enshrined in the sanctum sanctorum,
the veritable holy-of-holies of the human heart.  Hope is not
a virtue; it is but a rainbow with which Fancy paints the
black o'erhanging firmament, a golden shaft of sunlight with
which she gilds Life's rugged mountain peaks,--a melody
most divinely sweet with which she cheers the fainting soul
of man.

But greater than Faith, grander than Knowledge, brighter
than the star of Hope which gilds the cradle and illumes the
grave, is Charity, for 'tis the incarnation of heavenly Law,
the bright essence increate of eternal Love.

 * * *
THE SEVEN VIALS OF WRATH.

A WORLD-WIDE WAR.

Unless all signs fail, the world is on the eve of a war such
as was never known in all the mighty cycles of human
history.  Lucky indeed will it be if the twentieth century is
not born amid the shock of universal battle.

Is our boasted civilization breaking down beneath its own
ponderous weight--the rotting props and pillars unable to
sustain the gilded roof?  Are the prophecies of
Scripture about to be fulfilled--the world rushing
headlong to the final catastrophe?

A murderous mania hath everywhere seized upon the
minds of men.  The pulse of the race is beating the reveille;
the soul of the world is sounding "boots and saddles."
Savagery is reasserting itself--the Christian nations are
further than ever before from that age of gold,

     "When the war-drum throbs no longer,
     And the battle-flags are furled
     In the parliament of man,
     The federation of the world."

Peace?  "There is no peace war is inevitable."  The ostrich
may avoid seeing the approach of the fierce simoon by
hiding his head in the sand, but cannot stay its onward
march.  The craze for slaughter, the lust for blood, is
abroad in the land.  The stars are evil, and Ate, ranging hot
from Hell, plants her burning feet on every brow.

For years the brute passions of man have had no outlet--a
prolonged peace hath become that good custom which doth
corrupt the world.  A new generation hath arisen in Europe
and America which knows naught of the horrors of war, but
is intoxicated by its glory.  Its superfluous energy must find
expression, its pent-up passions are ready for explosion.  It
is all aweary of these piping times of peace--wildly eager for
the glorious pomp and circumstance of war--the bullet's
mad hiss and the crash of steel.  Civilized man is but an
educated savage sooner or later his natural ferocity will
demand its pound of flesh.

. . . . . .

I know not whether Deity or Devil be the author of war.  All
human advancement is born of strife.  Only warlike
nations march in the van of the world's progress--prolonged
peace has ever meant putrefaction.  The civilizations of
Greece and Rome were brightest when their blades were
keenest.  When the sword was sheathed there followed
social degradation and intellectual decay.  When all Europe
trembled at the haughty tread of her matchless infantry,
Spain was empress in the realm of mind.  The Elizabethan
age in England was shaped by the sword.  America's
intellectual preeminence followed the long agony of the
Revolution, and blazed like a banner of glory in the wake of
the Civil War.  The Reign of Terror gave forth flashes of
true Promethean fire--the crash of steel in the Napoleonic
war studded the heavens with stars.  It required an eruption
of warlike barbarians to awaken Italy from her lethargy,
while Celt and Saxon struck sacred fire from the shields of
the intrepid Caesars.  The Israelites were humble and
civilized slaves in Egypt, cowering beneath the lash and
finding a sweet savor in the fleshpots of the Pharaohs.
Thrust forth into the wilderness, they became the fiercest of
all barbarians before giving us the Psalms of David and the
Song of Solomon.  They had to become conquering
warriors--had to be heroized--before they could breed
inspired poets.

The age of "blood offering" has not yet passed.  Is it
possible that these awful rites are necessary to foster that
spirit of self-sacrifice which marks the highest reach of
humanity? to feed the golden lamp of love? to inculcate the
virtue of valor?  Can heroes be forged only with the
hammer of Thor?  Is genius the child of blood and tears?
Are wars the tidal waves in the mighty social sea, ordained
by the Deity to prevent putrefaction?  Was the Phoenix of
the ancients but an old civilization, enervated by luxury and
corrupted by peace, that could only be purified of its foul
dross and infused with new energy by fire?  Was that
poet inspired who declared that, "Whatever is, is right?"  I
do not know.

. . . . . .

The trend of events points to a war that will involve the
world--will align the Old against the New.  I will be told the
idea that Europe will combine against America is sheer
madness.  Is it even so?  Has the time arrived when young
men dream idle dreams and old men see lying visions?
Scan the European press for six months past, and you will
find such an event foreshadowed by the ablest editors and
most distinguished diplomats.  The probable necessity of
such a coalition has been seriously discussed by various
European cabinets.

Great Britain is the pariah of nations, feared by most,
detested by all.  Continental Europe would gladly see her
humbled in the very dust.  Had war resulted from the
Venezuelan complication, England would, in all probability,
have been left without allies, albeit the president's
ultimatum was not relished by other transatlantic powers.
Realizing his inability to cope with the Giant of the
Occident, the world's bully stopped blustering and began
sniffling about his beloved cousin across the sea and the
beatitude of arbitration.  The American Congress passed
resolutions of sympathy with the Cuban insurgents, and
from so slight a spark the Spanish people took fire.  Instead
of acting as peace-makers, the official organs of most
European governments proceeded to fan the flames--
encouraged Spain to resent the fancied affront by assuring
her that she would not lack powerful allies.  There was no
recognition by this government of Cuban independence; no
recommendation that we wrest the island from the
moribund nation that has so long misgoverned it; but a
semi-official expression of concern for men striving to
achieve their liberty afforded Europe a pretext to "get
together" and work off on a distant people that war
spirit, so long suppressed at home, lest it disturb the
balance of power.  The British journals, which had warbled
so sweetly anent their American cousins and "the
indissoluble bond of Anglo-Saxon brotherhood," when there
was a fair prospect that John Bull would have to toe the
scratch alone, at once forgot the blessed ties of
consanguinity and assured the bombastic Spaniard that he
would have "plenty of help should he decide to humble
American impudence."  The press of France and Germany
discoursed in much the same manner, while the diplomats
of those countries agreed that "Europe would yet find it
necessary to materially modify the Monroe Doctrine."  But
the Spaniard, believing discretion to be the better part of
valor, had apologized for the acts of his undiapered babes
and the excesses of his hungry beggars before his
neighbors could stiffen his backbone with their ostentatious
insolence.

The Monroe Doctrine, literally interpreted, is simply a
warning to transatlantic powers to keep off the American
grass--an official notice that they will not be permitted to
overrun and parcel out this continent regardless of human
rights as they have done in Asia and are doing in Africa.
The "Doctrine" is ridiculous, in that it establishes a quasi-
protectorate over a number of petty powers that have no
valid excuse for existing; still it works no injury to any
European government not bent on international
buccaneering.  Uncle Sam's promulgation of the Monroe
Doctrine proves him a fool; Europe's frantic objection to it
demonstrates that she is a knave.

The Spanish incident served to show that the war spirit is
rife throughout Europe, and that her mighty armaments
cannot much longer be kept inactive.  It proved conclusively
that Europe is feverishly eager to set limits to the growing
power of this government while such limitation is yet
possible--that she cannot view with composure the slightest
inclination on the part of America to take a hand in the
world's politics.  With wealth aggregating seventy-five
billions, and as many millions of warlike Americans back of
it, the Monroe Doctrine becomes something more than an
iridescent dream.  When such a nation decides upon "a
vigorous foreign policy," the balance of power problem
cannot be long confined to the European continent--a fact
which explains the pernicious activity of transatlantic
governments during our late unpleasantness.

But all the danger of an international complication does not
come from across the sea.  The war spirit is well-nigh as
rife in this country as at Barcelona and Cadiz.  The great
mass of the American people would welcome a controversy
with any country, with or without good cause.  "The glory
of the young man is in his strength," and Uncle Sam is
young and strong.  He longs to grapple with his
contemporaries, to demonstrate his physical superiority.  He
has a cypress shingle on either shoulder and is trailing his
star-spangled cutaway down the plank turnpike.  While a
few mugwumps, like Josef Phewlitzer and Apollyon
Halicarnassus Below, and tearful Miss Nancys of the Anglo-
maniacal school, are protesting that this country wants
peace, Congress, that faithful mirror of public opinion, if not
always the repository of wisdom, proves that it is eager for
war.  And just so sure as the Cleveland interpretation of the
Monroe Doctrine is insisted upon, we are going to get it,
and that before babes now nursing wear beards.  And the
"Doctrine," as applied by the administration, will not only be
insisted upon, but public opinion will force the hands of our
public servants and compel them to push it further.  The
fact that it is distasteful to our transatlantic brethren makes
it ridiculously popular with a people determined to burn
gunpowder.  Aside from the epidemic of murder which
seems to have girdled the globe, the spirit of petty jealousy
and assumed superiority with which Americans are treated
in many European countries, has imbued this people with
the idea that the quickest way to win the respect of their
supercilious neighbors is to slaughter them.  Uncle Sam is
in an ugly humor and will suffer no legitimate casus belli
to be side-tracked by arbitration.  He is "dead tired" of
having the European ants get on him--of being harried by
petty powers whom he knows full well he could wipe from
the map of the world.  He is just a little inclined to do the
Roman Empire act--to take charge of this planet and run it
in accordance with his own good pleasure.  Some of these
days he's going to drive his box-toed boot under John Bull's
coat-tails so far that the impudent old tub of tallow can taste
leather all the rest of his life.

We may deplore this spirit of contention, but to deny its
existence were to write one's self down an irremediable
ass.  It is in evidence everywhere, from the American
senate to the country clown.  To argue against the war
spirit were like whistling in the teeth of a north wind.  You
cannot alter a psychological condition with a made-to-order
editorial.  It is urged that we should sing small, as we are
"not prepared for war."  We are always prepared.
Hercules did not need a Krupp cannon--he was capable of
doing terrible execution with a club.  Samson did not wait to
forge a Toledo blade--he waltzed into his enemies with an
old bone and scattered their shields of iron and helmets of
brass to the four winds of Heaven.  The mighty armaments
of Europe are costly trifles; whenever America has been
called to fight she has revolutionized the science of
destruction.  It hath been said, "In time of peace prepare
for war."  Europe bankrupts herself to build steel cruisers
and maintain gigantic standing armies; America
prepares by strengthening her bank account and
developing her natural resources.  When the crisis comes
she has "the sinews of war," and brains and industry
quickly do the rest.  It was not necessary for Gulliver to
sleep in the land of the Lilliputs with a gun at his side.

Vast armies and costly fleets of battleships in time of peace
are indication of conscious weakness.  The Western Giant
goes unarmed; but let the embattled world tread upon his
coat-tails if it dares!  The American does not have to be
educated to soldiership--he's to the manner born.  Those
who can build are competent to destroy.  Our Civil War was
fought by volunteers; yet before nor since in all the
struggles of mankind were such terrible engines of
destruction launched upon land or sea.  Never did so many
bullets find their billets.  Never did men set their breasts
against the bayonet with such reckless abandon.  Never
were the seas incarnadined with such stubborn blood.  The
"Charge of the Six Hundred" was repeated a thousand
times.  The Pass of Thermopylae was emulated by
plowboys.  The Macedonian Phalanx was as nothing to the
Rock of Chickamauga.  The Bridge of Lodi was duplicated
at every stream.  The spirit of the Old Guard animated raw
recruits.  The Retreat of the Ten Thousand became but a
holiday excursion.  Sailors fought their guns below the
water line and went down with flying colors and ringing
cheers.

We have been more than once dangerously near a rupture
with European powers because of the ridiculous Monroe
Doctrine, which assumes for Uncle Sam a quasi-
protectorate over a horde of Latin-American oligarchies
masquerading as Republics.  We have now been fairly
warned that should such a catastrophe occur, we would
have to contend with more than one European power.  We
must either recede from the position we have assumed or
prepare to do battle for the very existence of this
government.  Such a war would draw all nations of the
earth into the bloody vortex.  If Russia held aloof from the
anti-American coalition, she would seize the opportunity to
push her fortunes in the Orient, making a collision with the
Moslem inevitable.  At such a time the latter would be intent
upon the extension of territory.  Occupy Western Europe
with an American war, and the Mohammedan would rise
against their oppressors.  Unfurl the sacred banner of the
Prophet, and millions of murderous fanatics would erase
the raids of Goth and Visigoth from the memory of
mankind.  Turkey, jeered at even by Spain, flouted even by
Italy , yet potentially the most powerful nation for evil upon
the earth, would spread as by magic over Roumania and
Austro-Hungary, and pour through the Alpine passes like a
torrent of fire upon Germany and France.  Back of the
much contemned "Sick Man of the East"--whom combined
Christendom has failed to frighten--are nearly two hundred
million people, scattered from the Pillars of Hercules to the
Yellow Sea, all eager to conquer the earth for Islam.  They
are warriors to a man; their only fear is that they will not
find death while battling with "the infidel dog" and be
translated bodily to the realm of bliss.  Within the memory
of living men Christian nations have turned their eyes with
fear and trembling to the Bosphorus.  Islam is the political
Vesuvius of Europe, and is once again casting its lurid light
athwart the troubled sky.  For years the Moslem has been
robbed without mercy and persecuted without remorse.
The bayonet has been held at his throat while strangers
reviled his religion.  It is no part of his creed to love his
enemies and pray for those who despitefully use him.  The
Koran does not adjure him to turn the other cheek to the
smiter.  He has nursed his wrath to keep it warm, and
prayed for an opportunity to wreak barbaric vengeance
upon his oppressors.  When Christian Europe marches
forth to do battle with America she will need to wear armor
upon her back as well as upon her breast, for while terror
stalks before, Hell will lurk behind.

* * *
A STORY OF THE SEA.

There have been mortals, favorites of the gods, to whom it
was given to understand the language of the lower animals,
and such I have ever envied, for

      "Beast and bird have seen and heard
        That which man knoweth not."

Never could I get beyond an imperfect knowledge of their
alphabet, enabling me to spell out here and there a word of
little meaning; but the great ocean's never-ceasing speech
was ever plain to me, and many a midnight hour I have
paced the cool sands that girt my island home, and listened
with reverential awe to the secrets it whispered to the
sensuous southern breeze that kissed its bosom--strange
stories of wreck and wraith, wild wars and desperate deeds,
mingled with those of love and honor, shame and sacrifice,
crowding upon each other like spectres in a dream.

One night when the new moon hung like a silver crescent
pendent from Venus' flaming orb, in a summer sky thick
inlaid with patines of pure gold, I heard the lazy waves
breaking like slumb'rous thunder upon the long, low beach,
and said, "The sea is calling me!" and I went.  Far out
upon the long pier, where the waves could dash their spray
like a shower of cool pearls in my face, I lingered long
and listened to a story, sad and strange as a sweet-voiced
woman telling in a foreign tongue, and punctuating with
tears and sighs, a tale of true love turned awry.

Upon the beach they walked in days that seem to man
long, long ago.  How brief and strange the little lives of
men, and so beset with customs framed to cramp the heart
and curse the soul before its time!  To me,--here since
Time began to build that bridge of sighs and tears that link
the two eternities--it seems but yesternight that, hand in
hand they wandered here, so wrapt in happiness born of
equal love that they heeded not my glories spread forth to
tempt their praise.  I curled my snowy spray about their
feet; flashed back the silver beams of harvest moon in one
long, shimmering sheet of mellow light; rolled waves of
brilliant phosphorescence, that seemed like silver billows,
diamond-studded, breaking on a beach of gold, and sang
the sweetest odes of the poets of ten thousand years; but
they heard nor saw aught but the beating of their hearts in
holy rhythm and the love-light flaming like fires celestial in
each other's eyes.

Anon, bare-armed, bare-limbed, shamed yet happy, they
sought the wave, and I cradled them on my bosom and
heard them whisper of laws defied and cruel customs set at
naught, and the higher law of love; but fearful she spoke
and sighed, yet clung the closer to him, as though the earth
and sea contained hut one perfect model of a man and that
were he.

Hour by hour they hovered near me, and a thousand times
she swore to him that their lives were so entwined that
separation were death to her, and kissed his lips, his eyes,
his hands, and wished she were his wife that they might
blazon to the great round world the love they fain would
hide from Heaven.

One little year went by and they came again, not walking
hand in hand.  He spoke to her and she answered with
bitter scorn.  He touched with trembling lips upon the old
days when love was lord of their two lives, but she mocked
at love and him and bade him leave her.  Then he that was
wont to rule first learned to sue, and vainly, for her heart
was cold as the ashes of long-forgotten kings, cruel as
wintry winds blown across icy northern seas.  "It is a guilty
love," she said, and he looked at her as if doubting that he
heard, then turned and went like one that dreamed; for
thought of wrong to her had dwelt not with him; he had but
worshiped her as devout Sabaean might the sun and
host of Heaven.

Again he came, but he was all alone.  Long and lonely he
paced the dreary beach beneath a wintry sky, until the cold
mists seemed changed to mellow light, the stormy sky to
one of summer, gemmed by myriad stars and queened by
harvest moon; the cool wind sweeping o'er the barren
waste to music and the merry laughter of men and maids;
and she was by his side, her love-lit eyes making the blood
dance through every vein.  He put forth his hand to her, but
the sky changed from gold to lead, the driftweed blew about
his feet, the cold mist settled down upon him and crept with
icy fingers into his heart, and he cursed the lying vision, the
shrieking wind, the cold mist and the leaden sky; cursed the
day that he first saw her, and said to the waves that
tumbled at his feet:  "I must be mad.  The curse of my
race hath fallen upon me; else why do I see that which is
not, hear voices that are far away?  Why do I cherish the
image of a fickle woman, who, swept along by a gust of
passion or sickly sentiment, thought for a day she loved
me, but did not, nor ever loved aught in life but her own
selfish self?"

And he called her name to the wind and waves but
coupled with it a curse, deep and bitter, as those that
burst in sulphur-breath from the parched lips of the
damned; and a voice came back from out the gloom that
seemed to mock him.  Furious as a demon disturbed at
some hellish rite, he turned and shrieked to the mocking
voice and bade it come to him that he might wreak upon its
owner such vengeance as would appall the world.

The far lights shone like pale ghosts of lights through the
driving mist, and in them loomed two weird forms that
seemed an hundred cubits high.  Furious he rushed upon
and smote them down upon the wet sand and trampled
them, and strove with feet and hands to kill; but they cried
out for mercy on their lives,--that they were honest
fishermen who, hearing a cry but faintly above the roaring
waves, had answered it, thinking some boatman might have
met mishap and called for aid.  The flood of anger spent in
blows, he helped them up, wiped the blood and sand from
their bronzed faces, gave them his scant purse, and bidding
them drink a bumper that hell-fiends might drag him from
the world before the morn sent them on their way.

The gray dawn found him sleeping with his face upon the
wet sand, once trodden by the feet that now trampled on
his heart.  Then I sent waves, cool and sweet, to kiss his
cheek, and he awoke, and waking, said:

"Kisses for me?  They are cold, great Mother Ocean; but
not so cold as love burned out, leaving but the bitter ashes
of contemptuous pity.  I dreamed that I was afloat upon thy
bosom with her I did so dearly love, and thou wast bearing
us beneath a sunset sky to a fair island, fringed with palms
and musical with songs of birds and rippling springs, where
we two should live forever; that as we floated thus Love's
goddess descended from a golden cloud and opening the
white bosom of my bride, yet not my bride, took
thence her heart and pressed from it a black drop that fell
upon the molten sea, and taking form became a hideous
monster that cried, 'My name is Selfishness,' and vanished
in the wave.  Then breathing upon the cold heart ethereal
flame that made it throb like a hero's pulse when trumpets
are blown for war, she replaced it, healed the snowy globe
with a touch, and, smiling upon me, was caught into the
golden cloud that seemed framed of music and the perfume
of a thousand flowers.  A round arm stole about my neck
and we floated heart to heart on to the haven that was to
be our Heaven.

"A curse upon your briny waters that seem a world of bitter
tears, rank with dead men's bones and the rotting hulls of
ships!  They have called me back to thy dreary, ever-
moaning verge to mock myself for loving one who scorns;
for wasting my hot heart upon a block of frozen stone,
hoping by foolish prayers and unmanly tears to move the
gods to breathe into it the breath of human life,--to prevail,
even as did that old Greek, who became enamored of a
statue, less divinely formed, but with the self-same heart.

"'Tis madness leads me to this folly,--the old, old curse that
hath hung about our house, like a baleful shadow, for thrice
a hundred years, bursting at times into bloody feuds without
apparent cause, and dreadful mutinies against the laws of
man and will of God.  'Tis vain to further fight with fate!
'Twill drag me down, even as it did my great-grandsire, who
climbed fame's dizzy heights and stood, poised in mid-
Heaven, the master mind of Britain's mighty world; then,
like a tall mountain pine blasted at the top by the writhen
bolts of God, plunged, a falling star, to the depths of
everlasting darkness, and died a decade before his death.
Nor iron will descended through my sire from a score of
barbarous kings; nor mother's prayerful amulets,
woven like golden threads through every low, sweet lullaby
that soothed my infancy, can avail me aught.  I can but
fight and fall.  She might have helped me beat back the
shadows; but would not--and 'tis well."

Then taking from a case a withered rose, he kissed it, cast
it far out upon the wave, watched it dance there, and said
with a bitter smile:

"The last link that binds me to other days, and it is broken.
'The wage of sin is death,' and I am dead these long
months past and fathoms deep in Hell, yet walk the earth
because nor land nor sea will yield a resting-place among
its honored dead to one so ignobly slain."

* * *
APOSTLE VS. PAGAN.

COL. R. G. INGERSOLL:

My Dear Colonel:--I have not picked up my pen for the
express purpose of annihilating you at one fell swoop.
Even were such the case, I do not flatter myself that your
impending doom would cause you to miss meals or lose
sleep, for you have become somewhat used to being
knocked off the Christmas tree by theological disputants
from the back districts.  At least once each lunar month for
long years past your quivering diaphragm has been
slammed up against the shrinking face of nature by mental
microbes, or walked on by ambitious doodle-bugs, who
wondered next day to learn that you were absorbing your
rations with clock-work regularity and doing business at the
same old stand.  I once saw an egotistical brindle-pup
joyfully bestride the collar of an adult wild-cat, and the
woeful result convinced me that Ambition and Judgment
should blithely foot it hand in hand.  That is why, my dear
Colonel, I approach you by siege and parallel, instead
of capering gayly down your right-o'-way like a youthful
William goat seeking a head-end collision with a runaway
freight train.

Without any view of paving the way for a future loan, I tell
you frankly that I admire you very much.  Your public
record and private life prove you to be one of God's
noblest--and rarest--works, an honest man.  That you are
the equal morally and the superior mentally of any man
who has presumed to criticize you must be conceded.  The
prejudices of honesty are entitled to consideration and the
judgment of genius to respect bordering on reverence; but
in this age of almost universal inquiry we cannot accept any
man, however wise, as infallible pope in the realm of
intellect and declare that from his ipse dixit there shall be
no appeal.  That were intellectual slavery, the most
degrading species of bondage, and it is your greatest glory
that you have ever been the apostle of liberty--liberty of the
hand and liberty of the brain.  More than all other men of
your generation you have fostered independence of thought
and the search for new truth; hence you cannot complain if
the fierce light which you have taught the world to turn full
and fair upon cults and creeds, should be employed to
discern the false logic of the great critic himself.

In your warfare upon hypocrisy and humbuggery I am with
you heart and soul.  I will set my foot as far as who goes
farthest in the exposure of frauds and fakes of every class
and kind, though hedged about with the superstitions of a
thousand centuries and licensed by prescriptive right to
perpetrate a brutal wrong; but it does not follow because
some church communicants are hypocrites that all religion
is a humbug; that because the Bible winks at incest and
robbery , murder and slavery, the book is but a tissue of
foolish falsehoods; that because Almighty God has not
seen proper to reveal Himself in all His supernal splendor to
Messrs. Hume and Voltaire, Paine and Ingersoll the world
has no good reason for belief in His existence--that
because the dead do not come back to us with a diagram
of the New Jerusalem it were folly to believe the soul of
man immortal.

My dear Colonel, your mighty intellect has not yet
comprehended the philosophy of religion.  Oratorically you
soar like the condor when its shadow falls upon the highest
peaks of the Andes, but logically you grope among the
pestilential shadows of an intellectual Dismal Swamp, ever
mistaking shadow for substance.  You are frittering away
your mighty intellectual strength with the idiosyncrasies of
creeds and the clumsy detail of cults, instead of considering
the psychological phenomena of religion in its entirety.  You
descend from the realm of philosophy to assume the role of
scholastic--to dispute with little men anent points of
doctrine, to wrangle with dogmatists regarding their
conception of the Deity.

An ignoramus believes the Bible because of the miracles,
and because of the miracles an Ingersoll disbelieves it--and
both are equally blind .  A cult is simply an expression,
more or less crude, of the religious sentiment of a people,
the poor garment with which finite man clothes Infinity.
Would you quarrel with Science because it is not yet made
perfect?  Would you condemn music because of an
occasional discord?  Would you reject history altogether
because amid a world of truth there are preserved some
fables such as tempted the satire of Cervantes?  Would
you banish the sun from Heaven because of its spots or
declare Love a monster because born of Passion?

The real question at issue is not whether the miracles
be fact or fable; Mahomet, the duly ordained prophet
of Allah, or an ignorant adventurer; Jonah, a delegate of the
Deity or the father of Populism--whether Christ was born of
an earthly father or drew his vigor direct from the loins of
omnipotent God.  Let us leave these details to the
dogmatists, these non-essentials to the sectarians.  Let us
consider the religion of the world in its entirety, with the full
understanding that all sects are essentially the same.

The core of all religion is the worship of a Supreme Power,
and the belief in man's immortality.  That is the central idea,
around which the imagination of man has woven many a
complicated web, some beautiful as Arachne's robe, some
barbaric and repulsive, but all of little worth.  The wise man,
the true philosopher, will not mistake the machinery of a
religion for the religious idea, the garment which ignorance
weaves for Omniscience, for God himself.

Even if we grant that the Creator never yet communicated
directly with the creature; that man has not seen with mortal
eyes beyond the veil that shrouds the two eternities, it does
not follow that religious faith is but arrant folly, that God is
non-extant and man but the pitiful creature of blind force.
The dumb brute knows many things it was never taught,
and might not man, the greatest of the animal creation, be
gifted with a knowledge not based upon experience?  So
far as observation goes, there is provision for the
satisfaction of every passion, and the most powerful of all
passions is the dread of annihilation--the longing for
continual life.  If death ends all then here is a violation of
"natural law"--a miracle!  And you, my dear Colonel, do not
believe in miracles.  If we discard Revelation and take
Reason for our supreme guide, we must infallibly conclude
that the devotional instinct implanted in the heart of
the entire human race has its correlative that the longing for
immortal life which burns in the breast of man was not a
brutal mistake, else concede Nature a poor blunderer and
all this prattle anent her "immutable laws" mere nonsense.

Before ridiculing Revelation and mocking at Inspiration were
it not well to determine their true definition?  What is genius
but inspiration? and a new truth bodied forth to the world
but a revelation?  Were it not possible for a genius--an
inspired man--to trace the finger of God in the sunset's
splendor as easily as upon tables of stone? to hear the
voice of Omnipotence in the murmur of the majestic sea as
well as in the thunders of Sinai? to read a divine message
of undying love in a mother's lullaby as readily as in the
death and resurrection of a Deity?  If God can teach the
very insects wisdom and gift even the oyster with instinct,
can He communicate with man only by word of mouth or
the engraver's burin?  Examine the most beautiful woman
imaginable with a powerful microscope and you will turn
from her with a disgust similar to that of Gulliver when the
Brobdingnagian maid placed him astride the nipple of her
bosom.  Her skin, so fair to the natural eye and velvety to
the touch, becomes beneath the microscope suggestive of
the hide of a hairless Mexican dog.  Religion is a beautiful,
an enchanting thing if you do but look at it with the natural
eye; but when you employ the adventitious aid of the skeptic's
microscope you find flaws enough.  It were doubtful if even our
boasted American Government, of which you are so proud, could
stand such an examination and retain your confidence.

No, my dear Colonel; you will never banish worship from
the world by warring upon non-essentials.  You may
demonstrate that every recorded miracle is a myth--
that the founders of the various cults were but mortal men
and the writers of every sacred book but scheming priests.
You may make it gross to sense that the Creator has never
held direct communication with the creature, and you have
but stripped religion of its tattered vestments--have not laid
the weight of your hand upon the impregnable citadel, the
universal Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Man.  You
have never yet talked to the real question.  You reject
religion because Moses and Mahomet, Luther and Calvin
entertained crude ideas of the plans and attributes of the
Creator.  You pose as an agnostic--a religious Know-
nothing--because the Almighty has not taken you
completely into his confidence.  Because the blind have
sometimes led the blind and both have fallen into the foul
ditch of fanaticism and cruelty, you infer that not one gleam
of supernal glory has pierced the dark vale of human life.
While posing as the apostle of light, you will obscure the
scintillations of the stars because the sun is hid; while
apotheosizing Happiness you would banish Hope, that
mother of which it is born.

But your labors have borne good as well as evil fruit.  While
your siren eloquence has led some doubting Thomases into
the barren desert of Atheism, you have driven others to
seek a better reason for their religious faith than barbarous
tradition and the vote of ecumenical councils.  Bigotry has
quailed beneath the ringing blows of your iconoclastic
hammer, dogmatism become more humble and the
priesthood well-nigh forgotten to prate of a hell of fire in
which the souls of unbaptized babes forever burn.  Without
intending it, perhaps, you have done more to promote the
cause of true religion, more to intellectualize and humanize
man's conception of Almighty God, than any other reformer
since the days of Christ.


THE COW.

For the enlightenment of city milkmen who never saw a
cow, it may be well to state that this more or less useful
animal does not resemble a pump in the slightest particular.
A cow has four feet, but the subsequent one on the right
side is her main reliance.  With this foot she can strike a
blow that no man or woman born can elude.  It resembles a
load of drunken chain-shot, and searches every cubic yard
of atmosphere in a two-acre lot for a victim before it stops.
She is also provided with a caudal appendage that ends in
a patent fly-brush.  This she uses to wrap around the neck
of the milkmaid to prevent her getting away before she has
a chance to kick her health corset off and upset the milk.

A cow will eat anything she can steal, from an ear of corn
to a hickory shirt.  She will leave a square meal especially
ordered for her, and gotten up by an imported chef, to fill
her measly hide full of straw from a boarding-house bedtick,
if she can only steal it.  She will work at a crack in a
neighbor's barn for six mortal hours, and wear her tongue
as thin as a political platform to get an old corn-cob, when
she knows she can have a bushel of corn, all shelled, by
going home for it.  She is a born thief, a natural marauder.
Any cow that has been given opportunities for gleaning
knowledge can open a gate that fastens with a combination
lock, get into a garden, do fifty dollars' worth of damage
and be six blocks away before the infuriated owner can ram
a charge of slugs into a muzzle-loading gun.

The man who has not lived in a small town, where one-half
the inhabitants keep cows and expect them to forage their
living off the other half, will never fully realize what he
has missed unless he starts a daily paper or falls down
stairs with the cook stove.  When Mrs. B. and I first went
into partnership we decided to raise our own garden truck.
It is the usual mistake of youngsters.  During the long
winter evenings they sit by the fire and plan their garden.  A
640-acre farm, covered a foot deep with patent fertilizers,
mortgages and other modern improvements, would not
produce the amount of stuff two moonstruck young amateur
gardeners confidently expect to yank from a patch of dirt
but little bigger than a postage stamp.  Thirty dollars for
tools and seeds, ninety-seven dollars' worth of labor, and
four times that amount of worry and vexation of spirit,
results in some forty dollars' worth of "garden sass," which
is promptly referred to the interior department of the
neighbors' cows.

I soon learned that an ordinary gate catch was no bar to
the educated cattle in my neighborhood, so I added a bolt.
That puzzled them for a night or two, but they soon learned
the combination and filled themselves so full of cabbage
that cost me two dollars a head to raise, that they couldn't
get out by way of the gate, and I had to knock down a
panel of fence to get rid of them.  That evening I brought
home a double-barreled shot gun, a log-chain and a
padlock that would have baffled a cracksman.  I chained up
the gate, gave the key to Mrs. B. to lose, loaded the gun
halfway to the muzzle with tenpenny nails and resolved to
hold the fort by main strength.  It was a bright moonlight
night, and I sat up with a corncob pipe and a robust
determination to have fresh beef for breakfast if that
padlock failed to do its duty.

About 9 o'clock an old brindle cow came browsing up to the
front gate.  She took a long survey of the house to see if
we had all gone to bed.  Having satisfied herself on that
point, she inserted her horns between the bars of the
front gate and gave it a gentle shake.  She looked at
the house again to see if the noise had aroused us.
Finding all quiet, she went to work on the bolt, first with her
horns and then with her tongue.  In ten minutes she had it
drawn, and started to come in.  She was evidently
surprised to find herself still on the outside.  Two or three of
her companions came up and they held a consultation.

Old Brindle worked at the chain awhile, but it was no use.
They were puzzled.  They took a long look at the gate,
shook it viciously with their horns, then turned impatiently
away, like a man who has run four blocks to a bank, only to
find "closed" staring him in the face.  Several more cows
came up, and when they were shown the new jewelry they
acted hurt and proceeded to hold an indignation meeting
and pass a vote of censure, after which one old she-pirate
broke a horn trying to lift the gate off its hinges.  After this
mishap they acted so discouraged that I concluded they
had given it up; but they hadn't.  Old Brindle returned to the
attack.  She spent half an hour "monkeying" with the gate,
and then stopped short and began to study.  She had more
gall than a ward heeler, more tenacity than an office-
seeker, more brains than a boodle alderman.  In just ten
minutes by the town clock she had the problem solved.
With her horn she lifted the chain over the top of the gate-
post and walked in, as proud as a boy with a sore toe.  I
felt like a homicide as I raised the double-barreled gun and
pulled both triggers.  I felt worse after I had crawled out of
the cistern, where the perfidious gun had kicked me, and
learned that I had missed the whole drove and sent a hatful
of slugs and nails into a neighbor's china closet.  I broke
the gun over Old Brindle's vertebrae and followed up the
attack with the garden-fork.  After I had chased the entire
drove back and forth over the garden a dozen times, and
seen what was left of my summer's work inextricably
mixed with the sub-soil, fallen over the wheelbarrow and
ruined a $14 pair of trousers, a constable came and
arrested me for discharging firearms inside the corporate
limits.  A young theological gosling, who has since died of
excessive goodness, preferred a charge of cruelty to
animals against me, and my neighbor sued for the price of
his china and got judgment.  Old Brindle died and the court
decided that it was my duty to buy her.  I found her meat
too tough for eating and her hide too full of garden-fork
holes to be available for sole-leather.

If the retail butchers are to be believed, the cow is a calf
until there is no more room on her horn for rings.  She
seldom lives to be too old to be carved up with a buzz-saw
and a cold-chisel and sold as veal.

After she has passed her time of usefulness in the dairy;
when she has forgotten how to give four quarts of milk per
diem and then kick it over the dewy-lipped maid who has
carefully culled it from the maternal fount, the thrifty farmer
drives her upon the railway track, wrecks a train with her,
then sues the company for $150 damages.  Of course the
company kicks worse than ever the cow did, but the farmer
secures an intelligent jury of brother agriculturalists and the
soulless corporation has to come to taw.

Her consort is less brilliant and more impulsive.  He has a
surly, unsocial disposition and uncertain temper, but can be
very polite when he chooses.  He has been known to
neglect his regular business to assist an embarrassed
young man over a rail fence, or entertain a party of
picnickers from the city.  He has a natural antipathy for red
flags, and will cross a forty-acre field to make a mop rag of
one and rub its bearer's nose in the mud--an example that
might be advantageously followed by the Chicago authorities.

The calf is one of the most interesting studies in the
science of natural history.  In its earliest youth it wears long
wobbly legs and an expression of angelic innocence; but
before it is a week old it knows more than some men who
have been honored with high offices and expensive
funerals.  The calf will eat anything it can swallow, and what
it can't get through its neck it will chew and suck the juice.
Tablecloths, hickory shirts, store pants, lace curtains, socks,
in fact the entire range of articles familiar to the laundry are
tid-bits to the calf.  A calf that has any ambition to
distinguish himself will leave the maternal udder any time to
chew one leg off a new pair of "boughten" pantaloons or
absorb the flowing narrative of a "biled" shirt.  The calf
learns bad habits as readily as an Indian, and the man who
did not have a youthful masculine bovine for partner in his
boyish deviltry looks back upon a barren and uneventful youth.

I remember one promising calf that I taught to "bunt" like a
William goat.  One day my eldest brother and my parent on
my father's side were cleaning out an open well, while the
calf and myself lingered near, waiting for a glorious
opportunity to merit killing.  The old gentleman
superintended the work and pulled up in an iron kettle the
mud which the son of his youth industriously scraped from
the bottom of an eighteen-foot well with much labor and an
old tin pan.  While he was leaning over the mouth of the
well, pulling up a kettle of slush, his suspender buttons
groaning and his tailor-made pantaloons strained to the
utmost tension, I called the calf's attention to him.  The
bovine grasped the situation, lowered his head, kicked up
his heels, emitted a triumphant bellow, shot forward like a
baseball reaching for the stomach of an amateur shortstop,
and struck the rear elevation of the head of our
distinguished house with the solid impact of an hydraulic
ram toying with a stone fence.  A moment later there
was a sound from the bowels of the earth, but it was not a
sound of revelry.  It resembled an able-bodied cyclone
ripping up four miles of plank road and driving it through the
pulsating heart of a colored camp-meeting.  The calf had
forgotten to remember the well, and while my respected
sire was chasing the kettle to the bottom, the calf was
chasing him.  Half a dozen robust neighbors armed with a
windlass and a two-inch rope dragged the youthful ox and
his unfortunate companions from the pit, and the volunteer
fire brigade was sent for to turn the hose on them.  I
haven't forgotten the sequel to this little story; but it would
not possess that lively interest for the great public that it did
for me, so I will let it pass.

* * *
CHRISTIAN ENGLAND IN INDIA.

HER TEARS ANENT TURKISH ATROCITIES

"Christian England" is agonizing over the pitiful condition of
the Armenians under Moslem rule, but has nothing to say
anent her own awful record in India.  It were well for John
Bull to get the beam out of his own eye before making
frantic swipes at the mote in the optic of the Moslem.  The
oppression of the children of Israel by the Egyptian
Pharaohs, the Babylonian king and Roman emperors were
as nothing compared to that suffered by the patient
Bengalese at the hands of Great Britain.  The history of
every barbarous prince of the Orient, in those dark days
when might made right and plunder was the recognized
prerogative of royalty; the annals of every potentate who
has reigned by the grace of Allah and kneeled to kiss
the robe of the prophet, may be searched in vain for a
parallel in unbounded rapacity and calculating atrocity.
England's despoilment of India constitutes the supreme
crime of all the ages, the acknowledged acme of infamy-
Europe never dreaded Alaric the Visigoth, nor hated Attila
the Scourge of God, as India dreads and detests John Bull,
"the white beast from over the black water."  He has not
persecuted because of difference of religious dogma, as
have the Mohammedan Sultans and the Christian Czars.
That kind of enterprise doesn't pay, and John Bull never
wastes on theological sentiment one ounce of energy that
can be coined into cash.

A British trading company had leased land at Madras and
Calcutta, for which it paid rent to the native powers.  For
the protection of its warehouses it was permitted to built
forts and keep a few armed police, but was in no sense
independent.  Its position in India was analogous to that of
British capitalists in America who are operating a mine or
factory and have been authorized to police their property.
The mighty house of Tamerlane had become a political
nonentity, the empire of the Great Mogul was divided
among nominal viceroys who were really independent
sovereigns, gorgeous but indolent.  The teeming millions of
India were, for the most part, as unfitted by nature and
occupation for the fatigues of war, as were the countless
host which Xerxes led into Greece, or Darius hurled upon
the steel-crested phalanxes of that bloody prototype of John
Bull, Alexander the Macedonian marauder.  The
governments of India were showy rather than strong, and a
condition of semi-anarchy had been engendered by the
frequent incursions of fierce tribes of robbers, the jealousies
and ambitions of rival nabobs and the mischievous
schemes of a French adventurer named Dupleix.  The
company continued to augment its forces until strong
enough not only to protect its own property, but to
overawe the native governments.  Then, on one dishonest
pretext or another, it began the work of transforming India
into a British province.  Robert Clive succeeded in
accomplishing in Asia what Dr. Jamieson attempted with far
better excuse in South Africa.  Rival powers applied to the
company for assistance, and it mattered not with which it
allied itself, both were in the end destroyed or enslaved,
compelled to pour their wealth into the coffers of the British
corporations.  No crime was too horrible, no breach of faith
too brazen if it promised to further the ambition and
increase the gains of the company.  Its policy was to unite
with a weak government to plunder a strong one, then, by
subjugating its ally, to make itself master of both.  By
treasons and stratagems, by forged treaties and briberies,
by infamies planned in cold blood and executed with more
than Kurdish barbarity, the garden spot of the earth, with its
teeming millions and inestimable wealth, was made to pay
tribute to British greed.  Macaulay, the eulogist of both Lord
Clive and Warren Hastings, thus describes India when
Great Britain, without a shadow of excuse, laid her
marauding paw upon it in the same manner and for the
self-same purpose that Cortez invaded the halls of the
Montezumas:

"The people of India when we subdued them, were ten
times as numerous as the vanquished Americans (the
Indian subjects of Montezuma), and were at the same time
quite as highly civilized as the victorious Spaniards.  They
had reared cities larger and fairer than Saragossa or
Toledo, and buildings more beautiful and costly than the
cathedrals of Seville.  They could show bankers richer than
the richest firms of Barcelona or Cadiz, Viceroys whose
splendors far surpassed that of Ferdinand the
Catholic, myriads of cavalry and long trains of artillery
which would have astonished the Great Captain.  It might
have been expected that every Englishman who takes any
interest in any part of history would be curious to know how
a handful of their countrymen, separated from their home
by an immense ocean, subjugated, in the course of a few
years, one of the greatest empires of the world.  Yet,
unless we greatly err, this subject is, to most readers, not
only insipid, but positively distasteful."  Good God!  Is it any
wonder that British readers should find the conquest of
India "positively distasteful?"  Is it not quite natural that
Englishmen had rather read of Turkish atrocities in Armenia
than of British atrocities in India?  Lord Macaulay rehearses
all the treacheries and cruelties and double-dealings by
which "a handful of his countrymen subjugated one of the
greatest empires of the world," then complains that British
readers find such a catalogue of horrors positively
distasteful!  Did he expect even Englishmen to become
enthusiastic over the hiring of British troops to the infamous
Surajah Dowlah for the massacre of the brave Rohillas?
Did he expect them to peruse with pleasurable pride the
robbery of the Princesses of Oude, the brutal execution of
Nuncomar, or the forged treaty by which Ormichund was
entrapped?  Having painted the atrocities and craven
cowardice of Chief Justice Impey, could he reasonably
expect them to be proud of this representative Englishman
in India?  Having told us that Lord Clive was a freebooter in
his boyhood and a butcher in his prime, did he anticipate
that even Englishmen would be proud of this countryman of
theirs who founded the British Empire in India?  Lord
Macaulay gives us the following description of conditions in
Bengal under British Domination, then wonders that his
countrymen find its perusal "positively distasteful."

"They (the servants of the East India company) covered
with their protection a set of native dependents, who ranged
through the provinces, spreading desolation and terror
wherever they appeared.  Every servant of a British factor
was armed with all the power of his master.  And his
master was armed with all the power of the company.
Enormous fortunes were thus accumulated at Calcutta,
while thirty millions of human beings were reduced to the
last extremity of wretchedness.  They had been
accustomed to live under tyranny, but never tyranny like
this.  They found the little finger of the company thicker
than the loins of the Surajah Dowlah.  It resembled the
government of evil genii rather than the government of
human tyrants."

The people of India, it must be remembered, had
experienced the tyranny of the Brahman and Buddhist, of
Moslem and even the terrible Mahratta; they had groaned
beneath the exactions of the Great Moguls, plundering
viceroys and robber chiefs; they had paid tribute to
Aurungzebe and to Hyder Ali, but here we are told they
never experienced such tyranny and pitiless despoliation as
under the rule of Christian England, and this upon the
testimony of an Englishman!  Now that British preachers
and pamphleteers are agonizing over Mohammedan
atrocities in Armenia, let us see what the latter thought of
Christian domination in India.  "If," says the Mussulman
historian of those unhappy times, "if to so many military
qualifications, they (English) knew how to join the art of
government--if they exerted as much ingenuity and
solicitude in relieving the people of God, as they do in
whatever concerns their military affairs, no nation in the
world would be preferable to them, or worthier of command;
but the people under their dominion groan everywhere, and
are reduced to poverty and distress.  Oh God! come to
the assistance of thine afflicted servants, and deliver them
from the oppressions they suffer."

Lord Clive, having acquired an immense fortune, concluded
to round out his political career by inaugurating a reform
that would in some manner atone for his past excesses,
and did succeed in giving India more than a Roman peace
and abating some of the worst abuses; but the reform was
ephemeral.  In his essay on Warren Hastings, Lord
Macaulay--who wonders that the conquest of India is
"distasteful" reading to Englishmen--gives us the following
pen-picture of conditions under the administration of his
ideal:

"The delay and the expense, grievous as they are, form
the smallest part of the evil which English law, imported
without modifications into India, could not fail to produce.
The strongest feelings of our nation, honor, religion, female
modesty, rose up against the innovation.  Arrest on mesne
process was the first step in most civil proceedings; and to
a native of rank arrest was not merely a restraint, but a foul
personal indignity.  That the apartments of a woman of
quality should be entered by strange men, or that her face
should be seen by them, are in the East intolerable
outrages--outrages which are more dreaded than death,
and which can be expiated only by the shedding of blood.
To these outrages the most distinguished families of
Bengal, Bahar and Orissa were now exposed.  A reign of
terror began--a reign of terror heightened by mystery.  No
man knew what was next to be expected from this strange
tribunal.  It had collected round itself an army of the worst
part of the native population--informers, and false
witnesses, and common barrators, and agents of chicane;
and above all, a banditti of bailiffs' followers compared
with whom the retainers of the worst English spunging-
houses, in the worst times, might be considered as upright
and tender-hearted.  There were instances in which men of
the most venerable dignity, persecuted without cause by
extortioners, died of rage and shame in the grip of the vile
alguazils of Impey.  The harems of noble Mohammedans--
sanctuaries respected in the East by governments that
respected nothing else--were burst open by gangs of
bailiffs.  The Mussulmans, braver and less accustomed to
submission than the Hindoos, sometimes stood on their
defense and shed their blood in the doorway, while
defending, sword in hand, the sacred apartments of their
women.  No Mahratta invasion had ever spread through the
province such dismay as this inroad of English lawyers.  All
the injustice of former oppressions, Asiatic and European,
appeared as a blessing when compared with the justice of
the Supreme Court."

No wonder that "Christian England" is horrified by the
atrocities of the Moslems in Armenia!  She cannot
understand persecution for the sake of religious opinion--
having done her dirty work for the sake of the almighty
dollar.  It is true, that a Hastings, with his forged treaties
and despoilment of ancient "bee-gums," is no longer
governor-general of India; it is true that an Impey no longer
deals out "Justice" in that unhappy land; but the industrial
condition of the toiling millions is worse to-day than when
they were being despoiled to erect the Peacock throne at
Delhi, adorned with its "Mountain of Light." Sir  David
Wedderbun--who will be accepted as authority even by our
Anglomaniacs--says:  "Our civil courts are regarded as
institutions for enabling the rich to grind the faces of the
poor, and many are fain to seek a refuge from their
jurisdiction in native territory."  "We do not care for
the people of India," writes Florence Nightingale; "the
saddest sight to be seen in India--nay, probably in the
world--is the peasant of our Eastern Empire."  Miss
Nightingale declares that the Indian famines, which every
few years cost millions of lives, are due to British taxation,
which deprives the ryots of the means of cultivation and
reduces them to a condition far worse than the worst
phases of American slavery.  Mr. H. M. Hyndman, an
English writer of repute, declares that in India men and
women cannot get food, because they cannot save money
to buy it, so terrible are the burdens laid by Christian
England on that unhappy people.  Just as Ireland exported
food to England during her most devastating "famines," so
does India send food to the "Mother Country" in the
discharge of governmental burdens, while her own people
are starving by millions.  Henry George, who has never
been suspected of anti-English tendencies, says:  "The
millions of India have bowed their necks beneath the yokes
of many conquerors, but worst of all is the steady grinding
weight of English domination--a weight which is literally
crushing millions out of existence, and, as shown by
English writers, is inevitably tending to a most frightful and
widespread catastrophe."

"Christian England" wouldn't murder a Moslem because of
his religion--she's too good for that; but she starves millions
to death to fill her purse, then tries to square herself with
God and man by singing psalms and pointing the finger of
scorn at the barbarities of Islam.


MAN'S IMMORTALITY.

Is there a life beyond the grave?

Ten thousand thousand times this question hath been
answered, yet answer there is none that satisfies the soul.

Never yet did man look into the cold face of one he loved
and not feel, creeping like a thousand-fanged adder into his
desolate heart, the awful fear that death's the end of all.

Never yet did mother stand by her first born's bier and say,
"Thank God for Death that bringeth to my beloved eternal
Life."  Though Bibles were piled as high as Helicon and
every son of Adam a white-stoled priest, proclaiming the
grave the gate to glorious life, still would Doubt, twin
brother of Despair, linger ever at that dread portal, and
Love long to tear aside Futurity's awful veil--to see and
know, as only those can know who see, that Death is but
Life's messenger.

Oh Love! thou art at once the sweetest blossom that ever
perfumed the bowers of Paradise, and the most poignant
thorn that grows in the empoisoned shadows of everlasting
Pain!  But for thee, mad sorceress, every individual life
were a microcosm, complete within itself.  We would live
but our own life, suffer our own pangs, and dying, descend
without a sigh to ever dreamless sleep; but thy soft fingers
do sweep the human harpsichord, the ego doth "pass in
music out of sight"; the single note of life is blended with
others in holy diapason, sweeter than fabled song of Israfil.

But alas! the penalty of this terrestrial Paradise, this
blending of human hearts in heavenly harmony!  The added
pleasures bring redoubled pains; of symphonies so sweet is
born the discord of Despair.  Loving others more than
our proper selves, their wounds are deeper far than our
own hurts, and death to them is death and hell to us.

Of love was born the hope of immortality.  We part to-night
from those so near and dear that they seem our better
selves, looking with longing eyes to the glad to morrow
when we shall meet again; but when comes the sleep of
Death, and Reason, that pitiless monarch of the Mind,
proclaims that all the to-morrows in Time's fecund womb
will come and go and bring them never back to our fond
embrace, the heart revolts and wars on Destiny.

Hope, dear daughter of the Gods, angel of Light, what
seraphic visions thou dost weave for us in thy celestial
loom!  How beautiful and bright the star that blazes upon
thy ethereal brow; yet alas! how oft obscured by the deadly
vapors of Doubt and dark Despair.

Is thy enchanted world a world indeed, where Love is lord
and Death is driven forth? or dost thou seek to soothe us
with lying pictures of Paradise, such as the shipwrecked
mariner in tropic seas beholds beneath the sultry brine?  Is
thy beacon in very truth a star; shining eternal in our
cimmerian sky, a guide infallible to life's worn voyager; or a
wandering fire such as the foolish follow,--a lying flame that
leads the trusting traveler to his loss?

Since man first placed his foot upon this earth he hath been
listening with greedy ear to thy sweet song; since Death
first did show his horrid front thou hast been whispering to
the stricken heart that Love could never die,--that there is
not, cannot be in nature a pang so cruel as Love's farewell
forever.  Thou hast been the world's comforter in all ages
past; will faithful prove through the long ages yet to be.

Is there a life beyond the grave?

Aye, it must be so; but what that life will be it boots not to
inquire.  Even a land of sand and thorns, with grinding
toil, yet everlasting life with those we love, were heaven
and heaven enough.

Perhaps--who knows?--the sweet blending of our lives with
other and dearer ones upon this earth is but an earnest of
what will be in the great hereafter; that when every spark of
that bright effulgence increate is released from its thrall of
clay, all Life, and Light and Love will forever blend in One;
that husband, wife and child, and each and all the human
heart holds dear will be resolved into one perfect Life, and
thus at once in God and self, emparadised in each other's
souls in Heaven as in the loving arms of each on earth, let
Eternity roll on!

* * *
EVOLUTION OR REVOLUTION.

THE PLUTOCRAT AND THE PAUPER

"For Christ's sake, Cap, give me the price of a sandwich!"

I stopped and surveyed the speaker, not because the
request was unusual, but because the applicant for aid had
not acquired the beggar's whine.  He was a large, powerful
man, evidently a mechanic, for every trade leaves its
peculiar stamp upon its followers.

"Why should I give you a dime?  You are far more able to
work than I.  A man with half your strength should be
ashamed to beg."

"Work?" he retorted bitterly.  "Give me a job--at anything--
and see if I do not prove myself a man."

"But I have nothing for you to do."

"A dozen men have told me that to-day .  You sneer at me
because I do not earn the bread I eat, yet decline to give
me an opportunity to do so."

I steered him against a lunch counter and watched him
chisel desolation into a silver dollar, then listened to his
story--one that I had heard a hundred times within the year.
Thrown out of employment by the business depression, he
had tramped in search of work until he found himself
penniless, starving in the streets of a strange city.  He
handed me a letter, dated St. Louis, written by his wife.
Some of the words were misspelled and the bad
chirography was blotted as if by falling tears, but it breathed
the spirit of a Roman matron, of a Spartan mother.  Both
the children were ill.  She had obtained a little sewing and
provided food and some medicine, but two months' rent
was due and the landlord would turn them out unless it was
promptly paid.  She would do the best she could, and knew
that her husband would do the same.  Then through the
blinding tears came a flash of nether fire.  Transformed into
respectable English it read:

"Were I a man I would not tramp from city to city begging
employment only to be refused.  Were I a man I would not
see my babies starve while people are piling up millions of
money which they can never need.  In this country there
should be an opportunity for every man to make a living.
Were I a man I would make an effort to release myself and
my unhappy fellows from this brutal industrial bondage, this
chronic pauperism--if it cost my life.  I have two sons,
whom God knows I do dearly love; but I would consecrate
them to the holy cause of human liberty if I knew they
would perish on the scaffold.  I would rather see them die
like dogs than live like slaves."

He sat a long time silent after returning the letter to his
pocket, then said as though speaking to himself:

"I wonder if the rich people ever pause to reflect that
there's a million brawny men in my condition to-night--a
million men who only lack a leader?  I wonder if they
think we'll stand this kind o' thing forever?  Don't talk
to me about patriotism," he interrupted, fiercely.  "No man
can be a patriot on an empty stomach!  Why should I care
for the preservation of a government of, for and by the
plutocrat?  Let it go to the devil across lots!  D--n a flag
beneath which a competent and industrious mechanic
cannot make a living.  Anarchy?  Is anarchy worse than
starvation?  When conditions become such that a
workingman is half the time an ill-fed serf, and the other
half a wretched vagabond, he's ready for a change of any
kind--by any means.  I am supposed to be entitled to 'Life,
Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.'  I have Liberty--to
starve--and I can pursue Happiness--or rainbows--to my
heart's content.  There's absolutely no law prohibiting my
using the horns of the moon for a hatrack if I feel so
disposed!"

. . .

The optimists who are depending upon the "conservatism"
of the American people to maintain intact our political and
industrial systems; who proclaim that the present too
apparent spirit of unrest is but the ephemeral effect of a few
professional agitators, are of the same myopic brood as
those French aristocrats who declared that all was well until
the crust over the tartarean fires--steadily eaten away from
beneath, steadily hammered upon from above--gave way
with a crash like the crack of doom and that fair land was
transformed as if by infernal magic into a high-flaming
vortex of chaos, engulfing all forms and formulas,
threatening the civilization of a world.

"After us the deluge!" cried those court parasites, who, with
more understanding than their fellows, read aright the
mene, mene, tekel upharsin traced upon the walls of
royalty.  But the deluge waited not upon their convenience.
Like another avatar of Death gendered by Pride in the
womb of Sin, it burst forth to appall the world.  But the
American multi-millionaires mock at the "deluge"--can in
nowise understand how it were possible for the thin crust
that holds in thrall the fierce Gehenna fires to give 'way
beneath THEIR feet, dance they upon it never so hard.

The American nation is trembling on the verge of an
industrial revolution--a revolution that is inevitable; that will
come peaceably if it can, forcibly if it must.  So ripe are the
American workingmen for revolt against the existing order
of things; so galled are they by the heavy yoke laid upon
them; so desperate have they become that it but needs a
strong man to organize and lead them, and our present
industrial system--perhaps our political, also--would crumble
like an eggshell in the grip of an angry Titan.

Nor is the dissatisfaction confined to the industrial class, the
farmer, that Atlas upon whose broad shoulders the great
world rests, is in full sympathy with every attack made upon
the Cormorant by the Commune.  While not ready for a
revolution by force, he would not take up arms in defense
of the prescriptive rights of the plutocrat from the assaults
of the proletariat.  Yet the American press proclaims that all
is well!  The "able editor" looks into his leather spectacles--
free trade or high tariff brand--and with owl-like gravity
announces that if the import tax on putty be increased
somewhat, or fiddle-strings be placed on the free list, the
American mechanic will have money to throw at the birds--
that mortgages and mendicancy will pass like a hideous
nightmare, and the farmer gayly bestride his sulky plow
attired like unto Solomon in all his glory.

. . .

What is wrong?  In God's name, what is right?  Here we
have the most fertile land upon the globe, the best
supplied with all things necessary to a prosperous
people.  Our resources are not half developed; there is no
dearth of capital; our working people are the most
intelligent, energetic and capable upon which the sun ever
shone.

Man for man the world never contained their equal.  Their
productive capability is the marvel even of this age of
industrial miracles.  And yet, with every nerve strained to its
utmost tension; toiling, saving--at very death-grips with
destiny--they are sinking year by year deeper into the
Slough of Despond--into that most frightful of all Gehennas,
the hell of want!

Nor is this all.  While those who toil are but fighting a losing
battle wearing out hand and heart and brain for a crust that
becomes ever scantier, ever more bitter--there are
thousands and tens of thousands who cannot even obtain
the poor privilege of tramping in this brutal treadmill, but
must stand with folded arms and starve, else beg or steal.
All this might be borne--would be endured with heroic
fortitude--if such were the lot of all; but while the opportunity
to wear out one's strength for a bare existence is becoming
ever more a privilege to be grateful for, we are making
millionaires by the hundreds.  While the many battle
desperately for life, the few are piling up fortunes beside
which the famed wealth of ancient Lydia's kings were but a
beggar's patrimony.  The employer is becoming ever more
an autocrat, the employee ever more dependent upon his
good pleasure for the poor privilege of existing upon the
earth.

. . .

To say that the "conservatism" of the American
workingman will cause him to patiently endure all this is to
brand him a spiritless slave, deserving not only slavery, but
the shackles and the knout.  He will not endure it much
longer, and when his patience reaches its utmost limit--
when he tires of filling his belly with the East wind supplied
him in such plentitude by aspiring politicians and "able
editors," look ye to see something break.

. . .

The problems for our statesmen to solve are, First, how to
insure to every person able and willing to work an
opportunity to earn an honest livelihood; Second, to effect a
more suitable distribution of the wealth created among the
factors engaged in its production.  All other problems now
engaging the attention of publicists sink into insignificance
beside these.  They are to practical statecraft what the
immortality of the soul is to theology.  They must be solved;
at least, some progress must be made in that direction or
force will ere long attempt it.  The trouble with such
convulsions is that they invariably produce temporary evil,
but do not always compensate it with permanent good.
They are a kind of social mania a potu, racking the whole
organism, debilitating it--good chiefly as frightful examples
of what evil customs lead to.

To diagnose the disease and prescribe a remedy were no
easy task.  There is infinitely more the matter than a
maladjustment of the tariff, inflated railway stocks or a
dearth of white dollars.  It is a most difficult, a wonderfully
intricate problem--one entirely without precedent.  The rapid
development of America; the still more remarkable
advancement in the science of mechanics, conjoined to a
political organism not yet fully developed, but half
understood, yet marking an epoch in man's social progress;
commercial customs of by-gone days surviving in the midst
of much that is new--really when you come to think of it you
may well wonder that we have got thus far without more
than one great convulsion!  Clearly it is no place for
catholicons.

That a comparatively small class of men are absorbing the
wealth of the country as fast as it is produced, leasing to
those who create it scarce a bare subsistence, is patent to
all; that the vast body of the people, clothed with political
power and imbued with the spirit of "equality," will not
permit such conditions to long continue, any thoughtful man
will concede.  Even in European countries, where the
working people have come to regard privileged classes as a
matter of course, there are mutterings of a coming storm
that will only gather fresh terrors by delay.  In Europe the
change will probably be wrought by revolution; in America it
may be achieved by peaceful evolution if the moneyed
aristocracy does not, with its checks and repressions--with
its corrupted judiciary, purchased legislators and
obsequious press--drive a people, already sorely vexed, to
unreasoning madness.

. . .

What shall we do?  We must avoid the two extremes--that
of the radical reformer and the apostle of laissez faire.
We will find a middle course safest and best--will need to
proceed with caution, but by no means with cowardice.
The politico-economic school that would at once change the
existing order of things with as much sang-froid as a
miller substitutes steam for water-power forgets that society
is not a machine; that it was not made to order like a
newspaper editorial, and that to attempt by a radical
process to make it other than what it is--to change its
genius arbitrarily--were as fatuous as trying to transform a
wolf into a watchdog by a chemical process or surgical
operation.  But while the radical "reformer"--the man who
would ignore the lessons of history and launch boldly out
upon the tempestuous sea of experimentalism--is one
dangerous extreme, we must remember that it is not the
only one.  In avoiding Scylla we must not forget
Charybdis.  If we are to look ever to the past, to make no
experiments, to become the bondslaves of precedent, then
progress is at an end and society must petrify, retrograde
or consume itself in fierce fire whirlwinds.

When the American people emancipate themselves from
party-slavery--than which there is none more debasing;
when they cease to fight the battles of ambitious place-
hunters and begin in true earnest to fight their own, then,
and not till then, will the faults of our social organism be
rapidly reduced to the minimum.  When the common people
of this country decline to be divided into two or more hostile
camps by "issues" carefully concocted by political
harlequins, then will the combined wisdom, purified of
partisan prejudice, evolve the best possible national polity.

How many of the hard-working people of this nation who
are now assiduously assailing or defending the dogma of
protection or free trade or any other of the many "issues"
evolved from time to time by professional politicians as a
kind of Pegasus upon which they fondly hope to ride into
power--ever carefully considered the question in all its
bearings; studied it from a national, sectional or even
individual standpoint.  Questions upon which Adam Smith
and Auguste Compte, Jefferson and Hamilton disagreed,
are settled by the dicta of a partisan convention--composed
chiefly of political hacks and irresponsible hoodlums--with
less trouble than a colored wench selects a calico gown.

The American people, as P. T. Barnum long ago pointed
out, have a weakness for humbugs.  They are the natural
prey of the charlatan, and in nothing more so than in
matters political.  Despite their boasted intelligence, they
will follow with a trust that partakes of the pathetic the
mountebank who can perform the most sleight-of-hand
tricks, the demagogue who can make the most noise.  They
think, but are too busy or indifferent to think deeply, to
reason closely.  They "jump at conclusions," assert their
correctness stubbornly and prove the courage of their
convictions by their ballots.  They demonstrate their
"independence" by choosing their political fetich, their
confidence in the infallibility of their judgment by worshiping
it blindly.  Herein lies the chief danger--danger that the
American workingman will follow this or that ignus fatuus,
hoping thereby to find a shorter northwest passage to
impossible spice islands, until poverty has degraded him
from a self-respecting sovereign into a volcanic sans
culotte; until he loses hope of bettering his condition by
whereases, resolutions, trades-unions, acts of Congress,
etc., and, like another blind and desperate Samson, lays his
brawny hands upon the pillars of the temple and pulls it
down about his ears.

* * *
THE WOMAN THOU GAVEST ME.

Now that the clarion voice of the reformer is heard in the
land, demanding for woman all the rights and privileges
enjoyed by the sterner sex, perhaps it would be well to ask
the fair client to come into court and establish that "natural
equality" so vigorously claimed for her, as well as the fact, if
fact it be, that she is being "wronged" and "cruelly
oppressed" by the tyrant man.

Is it possible that the dear creature has, for some
thousands of years, been robbed of her birthright and
relegated to an inferior position in matters mundane simply
because her biceps are not so large as those of her
big brother, and she has no warlike whiskers?

As her attorneys in the suit to try title to this world's
wardship clamor for truth without trimmings, and rest their
case upon "principles of justice" untainted by prescription
or praemunire, suppose we grant their prayer and
proceed to the consideration of their cause unhandicapped
by chivalric sentiment.

That the greater intelligence should control the lesser must
be conceded.  To deny it would be to deny man's right to
the life and labor of inferior animals, to question God's
authority to govern man or beast.  If the experience of
several thousand years may be admitted in evidence the
subserviency of the minor to the major intelligence is an
immutable law of nature.  Only equal minds can be
accorded equal authority without doing violence to this law.

Is woman man's intellectual peer, entitled to share equally
with him the wardship of this world?  The simple fact that
for thousands of years man has been able to hold her in
that "state of subjection" of which her attorneys so bitterly
complain, is sufficient answer to this question,--is proof
positive that he is as much her superior mentally as
physically.  This sounds unchivalrous, but she will please
remember that her attorneys insist that this cause be tried
solely upon its merits.  Brute force does not rule the world.
If it did the lion or the elephant would be creation's lord,
and the Ethiop and the red Indian drive the Caucasian into
the waste places of the earth or reduce him to slavery.
Knowledge is power; brain not brawn is master throughout
the world.  Had all Eve's fair daughters been blessed with
more than masculine strength their position would have
been practically the same.  They would have sung lullabies
to the little ones, adorned themselves, and dreamed of
love and love's conquests while their brothers founded
empires, subdued the forces of nature and measured the
stars.

And both sexes would have been well content, as they
have ever been, despite the protests of self-constituted
"reformers" of the order established by the Infinite.  Man is
creation's lord de facto and de jure.  The immutable
laws of nature make his sovereignty both a privilege and a
duty.  The voice of prophecy proclaims him king; he wears
his crown by Divine ordination and right of conquest.
Woman was created to be "an help-meet unto man," not
his co-ruler.  It matters not whether Genesis be fact or
fiction; that such was her destiny she has proven by
fulfilling it.

Whatever "rights and privileges" she enjoys must be man's
free gift.  Man asserts his position; woman can but ask to
share the fruits of his victories.  These he can divide with
her; but he could not if he would, share with her his
sovereignty, his power, because he cannot endow her with
his judgment, his mental vigor, his courage and enterprise.
Whether he wills it or not, man must perforce remain the
master of the world, God's sole viceregent on this earth.

In very few civilized countries does man manifest much
opposition to the enfranchisement of woman.  Many favor it
heartily, and those who object do so chiefly on the ground
that woman does not want it.  Let a majority of the women
in any state of the American Union ask enfranchisement
and it will be accorded them.  Let them unite in demanding
any particular legislation and it will be enacted.  Let them
ask any possible thing whatsoever of their husbands and
brothers and it will not be denied them.

Woman does not demand the ballot, because her interest
centers in her home rather than her country; because she
shrinks from responsibility; because she knows that
she may safely trust her destiny to those who would die for
her.

Paradoxical as it may appear, woman is at once the subject
and the sovereign of man, his inferior and superior,
mentally and physically.  His inferior in strength she is his
superior in beauty.  Woman is the paragon of physical
perfection.  It is small wonder that the simple people of
bygone days believed that gods and angels became
enamored of the daughters of men and left heaven to bask
in their sunny smiles.  The mental differences of the sexes
correlate with the physical.  Woman's mind is not so
comprehensive, her intellect not so strong as that of man,
but it is of finer texture.  What it lacks in vigor it gains in
subtility.  If the mind of man is a Corliss engine, throbbing
with resistless strength and energy, that of woman is a
Geneva watch, by which the mightier machine is regulated.
Occasionally a woman enters the field of masculine
endeavor and keeps pace with the strongest; but such
cases are rare exceptions.  The women who have really
taken high rank in art or literature may be counted on the
fingers of one hand, and those who have achieved anything
remarkable in the field of invention, science or government,
upon the fingers of the other.

"It is not good that man should be alone;" and it would not
be did he, like Cadmus' soldiers, spring full grown from the
earth.  Man is the brain, woman the heart of the human
race.  She is the color and fragrance of the flower, the
bright bow in the black o'erhanging firmament of life, the
sweet chord that makes complete the human diapason.

If woman is kept in a "state of subjection," as those who
are trying to drag her into court and force her to file a bill of
grievances against her companion assert, she is certainly
the proudest of earthly subjects.  If she is a "slave"
she is bound with chains of her own forging and wears
them because she wills it.  In obeying she rules, in serving
she leads captive her captor.  Really she is the autocrat of
earth, the power behind the throne, the ruler of those who
rule.

In all life's battles woman's love is man's chief incentive, his
greatest guerdon of victory.  For woman he bares his
bosom to every peril, braves every danger.  It is for her that
he subdues the elements and searches out the hidden
treasures of earth; for her that he measures the stars and
determines the procession of the planets, for her that he
fills the world with art and luxury,--for her that he is a
creative god, rather than a destructive demon.

Woman is with us but not of us.  She is in very truth "but
little lower than the angels," and we should not drag her
down to our level under pretense of lifting her to greater
heights.  Give to her every possible advantage; open to her
every calling and profession that she cares to enter; accord
her all she asks, not grudgingly but cheerfully; but do not
force upon her "rights" she does not want, duties she
would shun, and which that beneficent God, who gave her
to us to civilize and humanize us, destined for our own
strong hands.


* * *
CHRIST COMES TO TEXAS.

AND CALLS ON THE ICONOCLAST.

The editor was reading a report of the regular meeting of
the Dallas Pastors' Association, at which the Second
Coming of Christ was learnedly considered.  Dr. Seasholes
declared that all good people will rise into the air, like so
many larks, to meet the Lord and conduct him to
earth--with flying banners and a brass-band, I suppose--
where he will reign a thousand years.  At the conclusion of
this felicitous period Satan is to be loosed for a little
season, and after he has pawed up the gravel with his long
toe-nails and given us a preliminary touch of Purgatory, we
are to have the genuine pyrotechnics.  Some of the divines
did not agree with the spectacular ceremonies arranged by
Dr. Seasholes for the Second Coming; but he seems
determined to carry out his program or enjoin the
procession.  The editor was musing on this remarkable
controversy and wondering, in a vague, tired way, why the
fool-killer did not take a pot-shot at the Dallas Pastors'
Association, when there came a gentle rap at his door and
a strange figure stood before him.  It was that of a man of
perhaps three-and-thirty years, barefoot, bareheaded and
clothed in a single garment, much worn and sadly soiled.

"Peace to this house," he said, in a voice soft and sweet
as that of a well-bred woman.  "A cup of cold water, I pray
you."  "Water?  Cert.  Steer yourself against the cooler
over there.  You look above the Weary Willie business.  Sit
down until I find a jumping-off place in this article on 'The
Monetary Situation,' and perhaps I can fish up a stray
quarter that's dodged the foreign mission fund."  He bowed
his thanks and sank wearily into the proffered seat.  In five
minutes he was sleeping softly, and the editor made a
careful study of his face.  It was of the Jewish type, strong
but tender.  The beard was glistening black and had
evidently never been to the barber's, while a shock of
unkempt hair, burned by the sun, hung around his
shoulders like the mane of a lion.

"Hello," said the business manager, as he helped
himself to the editor's plug tobacco; "another of your
Bohemian friends?  Some fellow who's tramping around the
world on a wager of 'steen million dollars?  Good face, but
a bath wouldn't hurt him."  The stranger roused himself and
the B. M. continued:  "Neighbor, we were just about to
crack a bottle of beer.  Have you any conscientious
scruples about joining us?"  He winked at the bookkeeper,
and the stranger bowed his thanks, accepted the amber
fluid, scrutinized it curiously and drank it off with evident
relish.

"That is very refreshing," he commented as he wiped the
foam from his black beard with his sleeve.  "Will it
intoxicate?"

He was informed that if taken on the allopathic plan it would
make one drunk some, but not the wild-eyed, murderons
mania peculiar to Prohibition booze.  He declined a second
glass, saying gently, "We should not abuse the good things
of life."  The bookkeeper was so startled that he missed his
face with a pint cup, and the mailing clerk did up a package
of hymn books for a dealer who wanted "Potiphar's Wife."
But the stranger was evidently unconscious that he had
forever queered himself with the Bohemian Club.  He took
a dry crust from a leathern wallet, and, blessing it, offered a
portion to the editor.

"Jesus Christ!  You don't eat that, do you?"

The visitor rose, a startled look on his face.

"You know me, then?  Yes, it is I--Jesus of Nazareth.  I
have walked the earth an entire year, clad as I was
eighteen centuries ago, living as I did then, mingling with
those called by my name, conversing with those who
profess to teach my doctrine, and none knew me.  Nay
more:  They sometimes spurned me from their doors, and
even delivered me to the minions of Caesar as a vagabond.
You look incredulous.  Behold the nail-prints in my hands
and feet, the spear wound in my side, the scars made
by the crown of thorns upon my brow."

"But I thought your second coming would be in power and
glory, and all the righteous would rise up into the
atmosphere to meet you and show you a soft spot to 'light.
Dr. Seasholes says so, and if he doesn't know, who does?"

"I attended the discussion by the Dallas Pastors'
Association," he said wearily.  "They permitted me to
sweep out the room and stand down in the hall.  It may
appear incredible; but there are just a few things that the
Dallas Pastors' Association doesn't know.  Of course you
couldn't make those gentlemen believe it; but it is a
lamentable fact.  The world is young; it must run its course.
Our Heavenly Father did not create it as the Chinese make
crackers--just to hear it pop.  Not until its power to produce
and nourish life is exhausted will the end be.  Your poet,
Campbell, was a true prophet.  The sun itself must die, and
not until that mighty source of light and heat becomes a
flickering lamp, will those fateful words be spoken.  'Time
was, but time shall be no more.'  I am not come as yet to
judge the world, but to mingle once again with the sons of
men, and observe how they keep my laws."

An expression of unutterable sadness stole into his face
and he sat a long time silent.

"I have suffered and sacrificed much for this people," he
said at length, as though speaking to himself, "and it has
borne so little fruit.  The world misunderstood me.  The
church planted by toil and nurtured with my blood has split
up into hundreds of warring factions, despite my warning
that a house divided against itself cannot stand.  Nor has it
stood--the Temple of Zion is a ruin, the habitation of
sanctified owls and theological bats.  The army of Israel is
striving in its camp, tribe against tribe, or wandering
desolate in the desert while the legions of Lucifer
overrun the land.  Here and there, among the simple poor, I
find traces of the truths I taught--here and there a heart that
is a holy temple in which abide Faith, Hope and Charity; but
the shepherds do not keep my sheep."

He leaned his head upon his hands and wept, while the
editor shifted uneasily in his chair and strove in vain to think
of something appropriate to say.  During his reportorial
career he had interviewed Satan and the arch-angel
Gabriel.  He had even inserted the journalistic pump into
Gov. Culberson and Dr. Cranfill without being overwhelmed
by their transcendent greatness; but this was different.  The
city hall clock chimed ten, the hour when the saloons set
out the mock-turtle soup and potato salad, the bull-beef and
sour beans as lagniappe to the heavy-laden schooner.
The editor remembered that Christ first came eating and
drinking, sat with publicans and sinners and was
denounced therefore as a wine-bibber and a glutton by the
Prohibitionists and other Miss Nancys of Palestine.  Still he
hesitated.  He wanted to do the elegant, but was afraid of
making a bad impression.  A glance at the dry and moldy
crust determined him.  He tapped the visitor on the
shoulder and said:

"Let's go and get some grub."

"I wouldn't worry about the world if I were you," I
continued, as he led the way to the elevator.  "It is really
not worth while.  If the devil wants it, I'd let him have it.  I
can think of no greater punishment you could inflict upon
him than to make him a present of it.  It were equivalent to
England giving Canada to the United States for meddling in
the Venezuelan matter.  Perhaps you know your business
best, but I have lived the longest.  I used to think that
perhaps the world would pay the salvage for saving it; but
that was before I moved to Waco.  I tell you frankly that if I
had your job in the New Jerusalem I'd nurse it and let
Bob Ingersoll, Doc Talmage and the rest of the noisy
blatherskites scrap it out here to suit themselves."

He did not reply, and the editor, remembering that his
advice had not been asked, changed the subject.

"I'm not going to steer you against a first-class hotel.  Jim
I. Moore wouldn't let you into his dining-room with your
shoes off, even though you brought a letter of credit from
the Creator.  Jim loves you dearly, but business is
business.  There's a place down here, however, run by a
man who doesn't trot with the sanctified set, where you can
waltz up to the feed trough in the same suit you wore when
you preached the Sermon on the Mount, and that without
giving the ultra-fashionables a case of the fantods."

"Ah, there we will doubtless meet with many of the good
brethren who do not observe empty forms and foolish
ceremonies."

"Rather.  But perhaps I should tell you that the church
does not approve of the place where we are going.  They
er--sell wine there you know; also that amber liquid with
the--er--froth on it."

"And why not wine?"

"Damfino--I mean--Oh, you'll have to ask Brother Cranfill.  I
s'pose because old Noah jagged up on it."

"Noah who?"

"Why just Noah; that old stiff--I mean that good man who
was saved for seed, when the overflow came, and who's
the great gran'daddy of all the niggers."

"Is it possible that the church is retailing that wretched old
myth which my Hebrew fathers borrowed of the barbarians.
Noah?  There was no such man.  By the shifting of the
earth's axis about 16,000 years ago a portion of the Asiatic
continent was overflowed."

"But the Noah story is in the Bible."

"So is the story of Adam and Eve, and many other
absurdities which really intelligent people would purge it of.
O will men be mental children ever!"

He ate sparingly, but scanned the visitors closely.  At the
next table a quartette of Texas colonels were absorbing
mint juleps through rye straws.  The Nazarene nudged the
editor and inquired what the beverage consisted of.  The
latter explained the mystery, and would have placed one
before his guest, but the latter insisted that a little wine for
the stomach's sake would suffice.  Several entered into
conversation with him and would have given him money,
but he gently declined to accept it, saying that the good
Father would provide that he was seeking to do good, not
to lay up treasures.

"Are these people sinners?"

He was informed that, according to the theology of the
Prohibs, they would occupy the hottest corner of Perdition.

"But they give to the poor, speak kindly to the stranger,
even though he be clothed in rags.  I am sure they would
not lie or steal or kill."

"But they will blaspheme a little sometimes.  Just listen to
those colonels.  Didn't you hear them say 'damn' and
'Hell's fire' and 'Devil'?  O, according to our theology
there's no hope for 'em.  A man may defraud a widow or
swindle an orphan and make a landing; but when he talks
about the Devil and Hell he's sure to be damned."

"Is Satan a sacred person, or Hell a place to be mentioned
reverently?  Blasphemy is speaking evil of God.  The
priesthood of every religious cult has manifested a
propensity to magnify venial faults into cardinal sins and
thereby bring worship into contempt by trifling.  To Hell with
those who make religion a trade and thrive thereby!"

We were on the street and it chanced that a well-fed,
silk-hatted dominie, sporting a diamond stud, was
dawdling by as the man of Galilee uttered this emphatic
protest against gain-grabbing preachers.  His face flushed
with anger, and turning upon the ill-clad stranger, he said:

"Do you mean to insult me, fellow?"

The Nazarene faced his heated interlocutor and replied with
quiet dignity:  "Assuredly not.  I did not suspect you of
being a minister.  You are not clad like one of the Apostles.
Surely you are not one of those disputatious sectaries who
wear purple and fine linen and fare sumptuously every day
while countless thousands cry to their Father in Heaven,
'Give us to eat and to drink lest we die'?"

"I want no lectures from you, sir.  I know my business,"
exclaimed the man of God, with rising color.

"Ah, I fear that 'business' is to coin the blood of Jesus of
Nazareth into golden guineas."

The infinite pity in the speaker's voice cowed the
pugnacious preacher, and he was about to pass on; but a
brown, toil-stained hand--the hand of a carpenter--was laid
upon his shoulder.  "Wait, my brother.  Let not the sun go
down upon thy wrath.  Him ye serve was even as I am--
poor and friendless.  He spake as I speak, the truth that
welled up in his heart.  Cruel things were said of him, but
he resented it not.  He was beaten with many stripes, and
mocked, and crucified; but he freely forgave.  Be thou
humble as he was humble; be thou forgiving even as he
forgave.  Love God and thy fellow-men.  That is the whole
law given by him ye serve.  Words are but as sounding
brass and a tinkling cymbal, but a good example endureth
forever."

"Lord! Lord!" exclaimed the editor.  "Why didn't you reveal
yourself to him?"

"He would not have believed me.  No; though I
performed before him miracles more wonderful than
those accredited to me in Palestine.  I have resumed my
earthly raiment and adopted my old mode of life as the best
possible disguise.  Believing me a vagabond, those
pretending to worship with all their heart and all their soul,
show unto me what they really are.  Now as ever do men
polish the outside of the cup while within is all
uncleanliness."

"Have you interviewed many of the big preachers?"

"Many, almost all.  I attended Sam Jones' recent services
at Austin.  He is simply a product of the evil times upon
which the church has fallen.  In religion, as in art and
letters, decadence is marked by sensationalism.  The
trouble with Sam is that he mistakes himself for me--thinks
he has been called to judge the world.  I was pained to
hear him consign about fifteen different classes of people to
Perdition without sifting them to see if, perchance, there
might not be one in the lot worthy of salvation.  I presented
him with a copy of my Sermon on the Mount.  He took a
fresh chew of tobacco and remarked that he was inclined to
think he had read it before somewhere.  Then he took up a
collection.  Sam represents the rebound from the old
religious belly-ache.  For years preachers had an idea that
there was nothing of gladness in the worship of God--that it
consisted simply of a chronic case of the snuffles.  Jones
has simply gone to the opposite extreme and transformed
the Temple of the Deity into a variety dive.  Nero fiddled
while Rome burned; but Jones indulges in the levity of the
buffoon while consigning millions of human beings to Hell.
Alas, that so few preachers understand the pity which
permeates all true religions."

"All true religions?"

"Even so.  All are true and of God that make people better,
nobler, more pitiful.  The Father is all-wise.  He
tempers the wind to the shorn lamb.  He gives to each
people a religion commensurate with its mentality.  I had
hoped that the church established nearly nineteen centuries
ago would suffice until the end of the world; that the simple
theology I taught would grow with the world's mental growth
and strengthen with its intellectual strength.  It was a
religion of Love.  I bound its devotees to no specific forms
and ceremonies--these were after-growths.  I expected
them.  The child must have something to lean upon until it
can walk; the barbaric worshiper must have symbols and
ceremonies to aid his comprehension.  These should have
passed ere this in Europe and America.  A religious rite
appropriate to semi-savages becomes, when injected into
an age of civilization, that good custom which doth corrupt
the world.  The people, seeing these savage non-essentials
insisted upon by the priesthood as something sacred and
necessary unto Salvation, turn skeptic and reject religion
altogether because it is encumbered by ridiculous rubbish.
O, when will men understand that the whole world is a
temple and all right living is worship!"

The editor was becoming really alarmed.  He was fearful
that his visitor was frightfully heterodox, hence he broke in
with, "If you're not careful, Doc Talmage will denounce you
as an infidel!"

"Brother Talmage is like unto the west wind--he bloweth
whithersoever he listeth, and no man knoweth whence his
blow cometh or whither it goeth.  I tried to have a talk with
him while in Washington, but he was too busy writing a
syndicate sermon on the political situation, demonstrating
that Dives had already done too much for Lazarus, and
peddling hallelujahs at two dollars apiece.  I had heard
much of him and expected to find him toiling early and late
among the poor and wretched, the suffering of the
Capital city.  When I called at his residence the servant told
me that his master could not be disturbed--said there had
been a dozen tramps there that morning.  I asked him what
salary his master received in a city filled with homeless
vagabonds for preaching Christ and Him crucified, but he
vouchsafed me no answer.  I went to hear the great man
preach, but the usher told me there was a mission church
around the corner where my spiritual wants would be
attended to.  If I failed to find a seat there I could stand on
the street-corner and hear the Salvation Army beat the
bass drum and sing, 'Come to Jesus.'  I lingered in the
vestibule, however, and heard his sermon.  I asked for
bread and he gave me wind-pudding.  I was sorry that I
didn't attend the Salvation Army exercises.  I prefer the
bass drum to the doctor.  It may be equally noisy, but
hardly so empty.  I saw men attired in fine cloth and women
ablaze with jewels kneel on velvet cushions and pray to me.
Then the choir sang,

   " 'Oh, how I love Jesus, for Jesus died for me.'

"And Dr. Talmage exclaimed, 'Come, dear Lord, O come!' I
came.  I walked down the center aisle, expecting that a
mighty shout of joy would shake the vaulted roof of Heaven
and be echoed back by the angels.  I supposed that Dr.
Talmage would advance and embrace me.  But no; the
men stared their disapproval; the women drew back their
perfumed skirts of glistening silk, and Dr. Talmage
thundered, 'Sirrah! who are you?' I raised my hand and
exclaimed in a loud voice:

" 'Jesus Christ!' "

The editor started up from his siesta and rubbed his eyes--
the foreman of the Baptist Standard had "pied a form."


BRADLEY-MARTIN BAL-MASQUE.

"APRES MOI LE DELUGE!"

Mrs. Bradley-Martin's sartorial kings and pseudo-queens,
her dukes and DuBarrys, princes and Pompadours, have
strutted their brief hour upon the mimic stage, disappearing
at daybreak like foul night-birds or an unclean dream--have
come and gone like the rank eructation of some crapulous
Sodom, a malodor from the cloacae of ancient capitals, a
breath blown from the festering lips of half-forgotten harlots,
a stench from the sepulcher of centuries devoid of shame.
Uncle Sam may now proceed to fumigate himself after his
enforced association with royal bummers and brazen
bawds; may comb the Bradley-Martin itch bacteria out of
his beard, and consider, for the ten-thousandth time, the
probable result of his strange commingling of royalty-
worshiping millionaire and sansculottic mendicant--how best
to put a ring in the nose of the golden calf ere it become a
Phalaris bull and relegate him to its belly.  Countless
columns have been written, printed, possibly read, anent
the Bradley-Martin ball--all the preachers and teachers,
editors and other able idiots pouring forth voluminous
opinions.  A tidal wave of printer's ink has swept across the
continent, churned to atrous foam by hurricanes of lawless
gibberish and wild gusts of resounding gab.  The empyrean
has been ripped and the tympana of the too patient gods
ravished with fulsome commendation and foolish curse,
showers of Parthian arrows and wholesale consignments of
soft-soap darkening the sun as they hurtled hither and yon
through the shrinking atmosphere.  A man dropping
suddenly in from Mars with a Nicaraguan canal scheme for
the consideration of Uncle Sam would have supposed
this simian hubbub and anserine to-do meant nothing less
than a new epocha for the universe, it being undecided
whether it should be auriferous or argentiferous--an age of
gold or a cycle of silver.  Now that the costly "function" has
funked itself into howling farce, an uncomfortable failure,
and the infuscated revellers recovered somewhat from royal
katzenjammer, we find that the majestic earth has not
moved an inch out of its accustomed orbit, that the grass
still grows and the cows yet calve that the law of gravitation
remains unrepealed, and Omnipotence continues to bring
forth Mazzaroth in his season and guide Arcturus with his
sons.  Perchance in time the American people may become
ashamed of having been thrown into a panic by the painful
effort of a pudgy parvenu to outdo even the Vanderbilts in
ostentatious vulgarity.  Rev. Billy Kersands Rainsford
cannot save this country with his mouth, nor can Mrs.
Bradley-Martin wreck it with her money.  It is entirely too
large to be permanently affected by the folly of any one
fool.  Preacher and parvenu were alike making a
grandstand play.  Now that the world has observed them,
and not without interest, let us hope that they will subside
for a little season.

This Dame DuBarry extravaganza was not without
significance to those familiar with history and its penchant
for repetition; but was by no means an epoch-maker.  It
was simply one more festering sore on the syphilitic body
social--another unclean maggot industriously wriggling in
the malodorous carcass of a canine.  It was another
evidence that civilization is in a continual flux, flowing now
forward, now backward--a brutal confession that the new
world aristocracy is oozing at present through the Armida-
palace or Domdaniel of DuBarrydom.  The Bradley-Martins
are henceforth entitled to wear their ears interlaced
with laurel leaves as a sign of superiority in their "set."
They won the burro pennant honestly, if not easily, daylight
being plainly visible between their foam-crested crupper and
the panting nostrils of the Vanderbilts.  They are now
monarch of Rag-fair, chief gyasticuti of the boundless realm
of Nescience and Noodledom.  Mrs. Bradley-Martin has
triumphed gloriously, raised herself by her own garters to
the vulgar throne of Vanity, the dais of the almighty dollar.
She is now Delphic oracle of doodle-bugs and hierophant of
the hot stuff.   Viva Regina! Likewise, rats!  Like most of
New York's aristocracy, she is of even nobler lineage than
Lady Vere de Vere, daughter of a hundred earls, having
been sired by a duly registered American sovereign early in
the present century.  His coat-of-arms was a cooper's adz
rampant, a beer-barrel couchant and the motto, "Two
heads are better than one."  By wearing his neighbors'
cast-off clothes and feeding his family on cornbread and
"sow-belly," he was able to lay the foundation of that
fortune which has made his daughter facile princeps of
New York's patricians.  John Jacob Astor, who acted as
royal consort to the cooper's regal daughter in the
quadrille d'honneur, is likewise descended from noble
Knights (of Labor) and dames of high degree.  He traces
his lineage in unbroken line to that haughty Johann Jakob
who came to America in the steerage, wearing a Limburger
linsey-woolsey and a pair of wooden shoes.  Beginning life
in the new world as a rat-catcher, he soon acquired a
gallon jug of Holland gin, a peck of Brummagem jewelry,
and robbed the Aborigines right and left.  He wore the
same shirt the year 'round, slept with his dogs and invested
his groschens in such Manhattan dirt as he could
conveniently transport upon his person.  Thus he enabled
his aristocratic descendants to wax so fat on "unearned
increment" that some of them must forswear their
fealty to Uncle Sam and seek in Yewrup a society whose
rough edges will not scratch the varnish off their culchah.
Mrs. Bradley-Martin does not exactly "look every inch a
queen," her horizontal having developed at the expense of
her perpendicular, suggesting the rather robust physique of
her father's beer barrels.  Still, she is an attractive woman,
having the ruddy complexion of an unlicked postage stamp
and the go-as-you-please features of a Turkish carpet.  Her
eyes are a trifle too ferrety, but the osculatory power of her
mouth in auld lang syne must have been such as to give
Cupid spinal curvature.  Her nose retreats somewhat
precipitately from the chasm; but whether that be its original
pattern, or it has been gradually forced upwards by eager
pilgrims to her shrine of adjustable pearls, is a secret
hidden in her own heart.  Like Willy Wally Astor, she finds
the customs of this country too crass to harmonize with her
supersensitive soul, and spends much time dangling about
the titled slobs "on the other side."  Some time ago she
purchased the epicene young Earl of Craven as husband
for her daughter, in the humble hope of mixing cooperage
and coronets, and may yet be gran'ma to some little Lord
Bunghole or fair Lady Firkin.  As a "pusher" in society she
can give points to Mrs. Potter Palmer or the wife of a
millionaire pork-packer .  Although she has "seen" the bluff
of the notorious Smith-Vanderbilt-Belmont female and
"raised" her out of her bunion repositories, she has
probably not yet reached the summit of her social ambition.
Bred to shabby gentility , Miss Alva Smith proceeded to
"splurge" when she captured a Vanderbilt.  She had
probably never seen a hundred dollar bill until permitted to
finger the fortune of the profane old ferryman who founded
her husband's aristocratic family.  She was a parvenu, a
nouveau riche, and could not rest until she had
proclaimed that fact by squandering half a million of the
man's money whom she subsequently dishonored, on the
ball which Mrs. Bradley-Martin set herself to beat.  Having
been divorced "for cause," she proceeded to crown her
gaucheries by purchasing for her ligneous-faced daughter a
disreputable duke who owes his title to a grand-aunt's
infamy--is the descendant of a plebeian who rose to power
by robbing dead soldiers and prostituting his sister to a
prince.  Mrs. Bradley-Martin has trumped two of her rival's
cards--and a social game, like seven-up, "is never out till
it's played out."

The denunciation of the ball by Dr. Rainsford proved him
not only a notoriety-seeking preacher, but a selfish parasite
who lacks sufficient sense to disguise his hypocrisy.  It
contained not one word of protest against the amassing of
enormous fortunes by the few at the expense of the many,
not a single plea for justice to a despoiled people, not one
word of Christian pity for their woes.  It was simply a
warning--foolishly flung from the housetop instead of
whispered in the closet--that such reckless waste would
breed discontent in the home of want--would "make
demagogues and agitators dangerous!"  Dr. Rainsford
would not alter, but conceal, existing conditions.  His theory
is that robbery is all right so long as the people do not rebel
thereby imperiling the system by which they are despoiled.
From his fashionable pulpit and sumptuous home he hurls
forth his anathema-maranatha at those who would presume
to abridge the prescriptive rights of the plutocracy--who
doubt that grinding penury in a land bursting with fatness is
pleasing to the All-Father!  He would by no means curtail
the wealth of Dives or better the condition of Lazarus; but
thinks it good policy for the former to refrain from piling his
plate so high in the presence of the hungry plebs, lest the
latter cease crying for crumbs and swipe the
tablecloth!  Dr. Rainsford is a paid servant of Dives, his
duly ordained Pandarus.  His duty is to tickle his masters
jaded palate with spiritual treacle seasoned with Jamaica
ginger, to cook up sensations as antidotes for ennui.  If
the "agitators" cause a seismic upheaval that will wreck the
plutocracy, what is to become of the fashionable
preachers?  Dr. Rainsford would not abolish Belshazzar's
feast--he would but close the door and draw the blinds, that
God's eye may not look upon the iniquity, nor his finger
trace upon the frescoed walls the fateful Mene Mene
Tekel Upharsin!  Save thy breath, good doctor, to cool thy
dainty broth; for, mad with pride, thy master hears nor
heeds the gabble of the goose beneath his walls, nor the
watchdog's warning.  Gnaw thy bone in peace, for the
people, schooled to patience and amused with panaceas,
will scarce resent the trampling of one more parvenu upon
their necks, be she ever so broad of beam.  If some years
hence they should rise against the robbers, led on by
"dangerous demagogues," repine not, for every dog,
sacerdotal or otherwise, can but have his day.

Turgid Talmage must likewise unload; Talmage, who
presumes to teach not only theology but political economy;
who interlards his sermons with strange visions of Heaven,
dreams of Hell, and still more wonderful hints on how to
make a people terrestrially prosperous.  He, like thousands
of "able editors," apologizes for such vulgar extravagance
by urging that it "puts money in circulation, makes
business better, and helps the people by supplying
employment!"  Has the world passed into its dotage, or
simply become an universal asylum for idiots?  If wanton
waste makes business better, then Uncle Sam has but to
squander in bal-masques, or other debauchery, his
seventy-five billions of wealth to inaugurate an industrial
boom!  To gratify their taste for the barbaric, to
advertise themselves to all the earth as the eastern termini
of west-bound equines, the Bradley-Martins wiped out of
existence $500,000 of the world's wealth, leaving just that
much less available capital for productive enterprises.  They
might as well have burned a building or sunk a vessel of
that value.  It is urged that "labor was employed and paid."
Quite true; but tell me, thou resounding ministerial vacuum,
thou unreflecting editorial parrot, where is its product?
What has society to show for the expenditure of this
energy?  A hole in its working capital--a hiatus in its larder
caused by employing and sustaining labor, not to produce
but to destroy.  Prodigality on the part of the rich personally
benefits a few parasites, just as the bursting of a molasses
barrel fattens useless flies; but waste, by reducing the
amount of wealth available for reproduction, breeds general
want.  A thousand editors have screamed in leaded type
that it were "worse for the wealthy to hoard than waste."
Thou lunatics, go learn the difference between a car and its
load of cotton, a bolt of muslin and that wherewith it is
measured, a nation's wealth and its exchange media.  What
does a man with the wealth he "hoards?"  Does he not
seek to make it earn an increment?  Concentration of capital
may be bad for the people, but destruction of capital takes
the tools from their hands and the food from their lips.  The
court of Louis XV., which American snobs have just
expended half-a-million trying to imitate, likewise, "made
business better" by wasting wealth--Madame DuBarry
posing as "public benefactress," and receiving no end of
encomiums from Paris shopkeepers, jewel merchants and
mantua-makers.  Much money was "put in circulation and
labor employed" in furnishing forth the transient splendors
of players and prostitutes; but somehow France did not
prosper.  Finally not even the pitiless screws of the
tax-farmer could wring blood from the national turnip.  The
working capital of France was so far consumed that her
people stood helpless, perishing of hunger.  Finally
Madame DuBarry was supplanted as "public benefactress"
by one with an even sharper tang to her tongue, namely,
la Belle Guillotine, who blithely led the quadrille
d'honneur, with a Robespierre for consort, to music
furnished gratis by the raucous throats of ragged sans-
culottes.  Instead of lords and ladies treading the stately
minuet in Versailles saloons adorned with beauty roses, the
bare feet of hungry men beat time to the fierce Carmagnole
on Parisian pavements.

It is not a little suggestive that the participants in this
foolish fandango should have turned for inspiration to the court
of Louis XV., whose debauchery and depravity, the historian
declares, had not been paralleled since the year of Tiberius
and Commodus--that the Bradley-Martin "function" should
have been copied from the extravaganzas of a harlot!
What glorious exemplars for New York's Four Hundred!--a
dissolute king, and a woman thus apostrophized by Thomas
Carlyle:  "Thou unclean thing, what a course was thine:
from that first truckle-bed, where thy mother bore thee to an
unnamed father; forward, through lowest subterranean
depths, and over highest sunlit heights of harlotdom and
rascaldom--to the guillotine-axe, which shears away thy
vainly whimpering head!"  Of the 350 male revelers more
than 100 were costumed as Louis XV., while but three
considered Washington worthy of imitation.  Was this the
result of admiration in New York's "hupper sukkles" for this
wretched Roi Faineant, or King Donothing, whose palace
was a brothel, and whose harlots stripped his subjects of
their paltry earnings and left them to perish?  Louis XV.,
who permitted his country to be wined, its revenues
squandered, its provinces lost, and half-a-million men sent
to an untimely death that a prostitute might be revenged for
an epigram!  Is that the kind of man our money lords
admire?  Louis lived until the fleur-de-lis of France was
struck down in every land and dishonored on every sea,
then died, deserted by his drabs, cursed by his country,
and was consigned to the grave and the devil as
unceremoniously as though he were a dead dog!  And now
more than one hundred men who have stripped the people
to enhance the splendor of palaces, don the royal robes of
this godless rake and do homage to bogus DuBarrys!
Small wonder that Dr. Rainsford feared such colossal
impudence might serve to remind Americans how France
got rid of royalty; might evoke a hoarse growl from the
many-headed monster; might cause some "dangerous
demagogue" to stir--perchance a Danton!  Fit patron saint
for our own plutocracy is this swinish king, once called
Bien aime, the Well-beloved; but after some thirty years
of Bradley-Martinism, named Ame de boue--A soul of
mud!  How much our super-select society resembles the
Madame DuBarrys, the Duc d'Aiguillons and Abbe Terrays,
who made the court of Louis a byword and a reproach, his
reign a crime, himself a hissing and a shaking of the head
of the nations!

Suggestive indeed that at the swellest of all swell affairs in
the American metropolis there should appear, according to
the press dispatches, "ten Mme. de Pompadours, eight
Mme. de Maintenons, four Mme. de la Vallieres, and three
Catherines of Russia."  Good God!  Has our "best society"
come to such a pass that its proudest ladies delight to
personate notorious prostitutes?"  There was no Racine or
Moliere, no Charlotte Corday or Mme. de Stael"--the
men posed as profligate kings, the women as
courtesans!  Yet in that same city young Mr. Seeley is
arrested for looking at a naked dancing-girl, and "Little
Egypt" has to "cut it" when she hears the cops!  And what
is the difference, pray, between a Pompadour and a Five
Points nymph du pave?  Simply this:  The one rustles in
silks for diamonds, the other hustles in rags for bread, their
occupation being identical.  New York was Tory even in
Revolutionary times.  From its very foundation it has been
at the feet of royalty and mouthing of "divine right."  It is
ever making itself an obtuse triangle before the god of its
idolatry--its knees and nose on the earth, its tail-feathers in
the air; but we had yet to learn that it considered "that
divinity which doth behedge a king" capable of sanctifying a
woman's shame, transforming a foul leman into an angel of
light!  Catherine of Russia was an able woman, but a
notorious harlot, foul as Milton's portress of Hell; a woman
who, as Byron informs us, loved all he-things except her
husband.  Is that why the masqueraders preferred the
character of Empress Catherine to that of Martha
Washington?  Did they consider it more in keeping with the
company?  Strange that each Russian empress was not
attended by a few of her favorite grenadiers, with "the fair-
faced Lanskoi," her boy-lover, thrown in as lagniappe.
More than one hundred Louis XVths and only ten
Pompadours!  What a pity!  But we may presume that each
Pompadour, like the frail original, was "in herself a host"!
Eight Maintenons, four Vallieres, and only one Louis XIVth
present to look after his personal property!  How proud a
genuine American gentleman--one untainted with royalist
fever--would have felt to see his wife or daughter posing as
the leman of Lanskoi, of Louis XVth, or le Grande
Monarque--of whom Three-Eyed Billy of England once said
that he selected young men for his ministers and corrupt
old cats for his mistresses!

Half a million dollars gone up in frippery and flowers, and
the bedizened gang didn't get half the fun out of it that a
party of country yaps will extract from a candy-pulling or a
husking-bee.  The Pompadours and DuBarrys didn't know
how.  Louis XVth went around by himself in droves, stiff
and uncomfortable as a Presbyterian Sunday-school,
wishing every time his rapier galled his kibes or tangled his
royal legs that he had remained comfortably dead in that
dog-hole at St. Denis.  There was entirely too much
formality for fun.  The next time New York's toad-eaters
give a bal-masque they should disguise themselves as
American sovereigns and their consorts.  Of course it will
be a trifle difficult for them to play the part of respectable
people; but they will find even awkward effort in that
direction refreshing, and calculated to inspire them with
respect for their country's flag.


* * *
A PILGRIMAGE TO PERDITION.

Sir Edwin Arnold is a profound optimist, and
apparently not a little proud of it.  He recently said to a
reporter:

"The course of mankind is constantly towards perfection.  I
believe in humanity.  I believe in the world's great future.
The trend of human events emphasizes the truth of this
statement; though we may be horrified to-day by reading of
a brute who butchers his wife, these events should not
shake our faith.  If we look at the matter philosophically we
will see that they are a diminishing series, and that the
world is growing grander and nobler,"

Optimism is a delightful thing, but is too frequently the
result of ignorance.  Sir Edwin is a learned and talented
man, but he is evidently a stranger to the great world
which he discusses so complacently and approvingly.  The
savant reposing in a palace-car, which is rushing through
the midnight storm at a rate of fifty miles an hour, regards
his situation with composure; but the unlettered engineer,
whose eye is on the track,--who notes every slippery curve,
swollen stream and overhanging bowlder,--who feels the
motive power of that proud train swaying and plunging like
a restless demon beneath his feet, is apt to be anxious
enough.

Sir Edwin is a palace-car passenger on the great world-
train, and knows little of the perils of the track.  His coach
rolls smooth, he takes his ease and indulges in optimistic
moralizing, while those who serve him look death in the
face so frequently that they learn to mock him,--to take
desperate chances that may plunge them down to
destruction and drag all else after.  It has been my lot to
look at life from the cab-windows, from the point of view of
the man with the grimy hand and the soiled jacket.  While
Sir Edwin has been contemplating with dreamy interest the
faraway purple hills, I have been compelled to scrutinize
less giant objects closer at hand; hence it is not strange
that my opinion of the world should differ somewhat from
that entertained by the speculative author of "The Light of
Asia."  In brief Sir Edwin knows all about the beauty, wealth
and success which make earth a Paradise for the few; I
something of that hideousness, poverty and despair that
make it a Purgatory for the many.  That world to which Sir
Edwin belongs, and which he contemplates so approvingly,
is but the gold-leaf on the graven image, the bright foam on
the bosom of a bottomless sea, a verdant crust cast over a
chaos of fierce despair,--which will some day rip it into a
million ribbons, enact an all-embracing French Revolution
that will sweep our boasted "Car of Progress" back a
thousand years on the crimson crest of a wave of blood
and fire!  If Sir Edwin had explored the infernal vortex
beneath his feet he would not talk so complacently of the
"trend of human events."  For the benefit of Sir Edwin and
many other wealthy and cultured palace-car passengers
who amuse themselves with theories; who infer that
because human slavery is abolished in the Occident and
the thrones of the Orient are beginning to totter before the
might of democracy; because science is marching on to
triumph after triumph, and no Spanish Inquisition or English
Court of High Commission longer casts its upas-shadow
athwart the hearts of men, the great world is "growing
nobler and better," I hereby tender my services to pilot
them through that Perdition which does not hover
indeterminate in the inane limboes of dogmatic theology,
but hath a well-defined latitude and longitude; is visual,
tactual,--in which untold millions of mankind writhe and
shriek from the cradle to the grave!

. . .


It is no long journey to the portals of the nether world.  In
many a costly church the worshipers may hear during the
rests in the doxology the shrieks of the damned.  A walk of
a few blocks at most in any of our great, and many of our
smaller American cities will enable us to enter that earthly
Gehenna whose horrors the pen of Dante could scarce
picture, which threatens to engulf the world.  Even in
Texas, a land so favored by the gods, so blest with brave
men and noble women, we may enter the purlieus of the
place of pain, across whose portal is inscribed the legend o'
dark despair; may commune with all Gehenna's grisly
gorgons and witness the writhings of thousands of wretched
creatures beneath the fierce fire-whips of the infernal furies.

Let us take a typical American city; not that here we are
nearer the great red heart of Hell than are the people of
other lands.  What is true of one is true in greater or less
degree of every city throughout the world.  We will suppose
the city we are to examine to contain a million inhabitants.
We will pause to contemplate its miles of broad streets and
magnificent buildings; its imposing schools and scores of
costly churches that rear their symmetrical spires far into
the empyrean and fill the great dome with their melodious
chimes; its marble fountains and costly plants which ravish
the senses with sweet perfumes; its wealth and wisdom,
luxury and learning, its philanthropic people and happy
homes were Peace reigns and Plenty ever smiles.  That is
one side of the shield,--the one upon which the Arnolds and
Talmages have looked so long that they forget there is any
other,--that a golden veil may hide the face of a Fury or a
Fiend.

The clock is proclaiming Night and Sin's high noon; follow
me and I will show you why I do not believe in "humanity"
quite so implicitly as does Sir Edwin; why even Dr. Talmage
has failed to wean me from "the awful sin of pessimism."
It is not necessary to linger long in the low concert halls
and brothels where girls scarce in their teens are made the
prey of the rum-inflamed passions of brutes old enough to
he their grandsires; where old roues, many of whose
names are a power "on 'change," bid against each other
for half-developed maids whose virginity is certified to by a
physician; where green gawks from the country are made
drunk with cheap wines sold to them at fancy prices by
courtesans, plucked and turned over to a subsidized police
if they protest; where hundreds of pure girls are entrapped,
drugged and ruined every day of the world.  These social
ulcers are so protrusive, have been written up so frequently
by enterprising young reporters who naively supposed that
to expose was to suppress, that even optimistic Dr.
Talmage must at least be cognizant that such places
exist,--even in Brooklyn, which enjoys the supernal blessing
of his direct ministrations, and from which moral Mecca his
sounding sentences are transmitted by the vicarious
apostles of the press to all men,--who possess a penchant
for light literature!

One glance into the low gambling dens, where haggard
creatures, created in God's image, but long ago degraded
below the brute level, nightly waste the few pence which
they pick up Heaven alone knows how,--perhaps by selling
the virtue of their daughters, robbing their wives of ill-got
gains or plundering the pockets of drunken laborers.  We
may pass by the opium joints where women of all ages and
classes lie for hours, stupid with filthy fumes, at the mercy
of bestial orientals and drunken negroes; also those dives
devoted to forms of debauchery so debased that many a
blase man of the world does not believe their existence
more than a demoniacal dream.  These are vortices of vice
too fearfully foul for eyes of aught but fiends; the air too
putrid for lungs that inhale that of pure and happy homes.
We must shun those plague spots, else bear false witness
to the world, for any true pen-picture of their hell-born
horrors would, like Medusa's awful face, turn all who gazed
thereon to stone!

. . .

We must content ourselves with traveling the purlieus of
Perdition, the sulphur-fumes of those profounder depths of
degradation being too strong for lungs accustomed to chant
optimistic lays; the glare of the burning marl too fierce for
eyes used only to vernal meads and still waters; but even
here, in the Purgatorium as it were, sights and sounds
calculated to appall the stoutest heart are not wanting.
Here stalks the demon Poverty.  He is by no means
so hideous as some of his brethren in the infernal
hierarchy, and perchance we may inspect his dominions
without succumbing to moral hysteria.

Poverty?  What do you know of it, my well-fed optimistic
friends?  You pay your taxes, give a few pence to the
beggar at the street corner, perhaps contribute a few
dollars to this or the other relief fund that does not relieve,--
and wonder that people do not go to work and earn their
bread.  "There is always work for those who really want it,"
one of you complacently informs me.  Are you quite sure?
In a city like this we are traversing I have seen fifty
thousand men who "really wanted work," and could not find
it.  Fifty thousand unemployed, destitute and desperate
people in one city.  I was one of the number.  Why didn't
they scatter? you will ask.  Whither should they go, and
how?  Take to the snow-clad country, be arrested as vags,
and herded as criminals?  For my part I did "scatter,"--
tramped one hundred miles in a northern winter without
food, and found three days' employment,--loading ice into
box cars!  Many of those fifty thousand idle men had
families to support.  How did they do it?  Now you are
getting into Hell!

Come with me and I will show you thousands of families in
this city alone who have not had in six months as good a
meal as could be picked out of your garbage barrel;
hundreds of families that sleep this winter night on the bare
floor of filthy tenements or huddled like swine on an armful
of foul rags and straw; delicate women and children dying
for lack of proper warmth and nourishment; hundreds of
men who regard it as a godsend to get arrested that they
may have shelter from the piercing winds of the night and a
bite to eat in the morning.  Put your head into this 10-cent
lodging house if you want to get some new ideas regarding
the "trend of humanity." Glance into this low
groggery--but one of several thousand in this great
city--and "size up the gang" before being too sure that a
"pessimist" is simply a person troubled with a
superabundance of black bile.  Of the million people who
make up this great city, probably six hundred thousand are
already plunged deep in the abyss where lurk Want and
Crime, or trembling on its verge, and the number who thus
"live from hand to mouth," who feel that they have "no
stake in the country,"--that God and man are against them--
is ever on the increase.  That verdant, sunkissed crust
upon which Arnolds complacently saunter and Talmages
proudly strut, grows thinner year by year, while the fires
below wax ever hotter, more turbulent, more explosive!

Would you know how thin this crust actually is; how fissured
and honey-combed from beneath, until it can scarce sustain
its own weight, and the sulphur fumes ever rise through it
like steam through a sieve, inspect the city government and
note how and what constitutes the controlling power.  When
you learn, as you will if you examine carefully, that those
thousands of vile drinking dens dictate who shall be our
public servants, and what laws we shall live under; that the
"madam" of the fashionable bagnio is more potent at police
headquarters than any delegation of the Y.M.C.A.; that no
whereas or resolution of philanthropists can withstand the
fiat of the ward bosses; that everywhere there is collusion
with criminals and jobbery, perhaps you will not be quite so
certain of "the world's great future."

. . .

Do you turn to the church to make good the promise of the
optimist?  Let us explore the "amen corner" and see how
many pious souls we shall there find whose incomes are
chiefly drawn from buildings rented for immoral
purposes.  Even while I write I see an old white-haired
man, whose power in prayer is the pride of his church,
making his rounds, collecting his monthly stipend from the
keepers of negro brothels and the lowest grade of drinking
dens,--places where nightly assemble people of all ages,
colors and sexes and enact scenes that might bring a blush
to even the brazen front of Belial!

The church?  What is it doing to extinguish the well-nigh
shoreless Gehenna that threatens to engulf it?  Drilling an
augur-hole here and there in the thin crust and pouring in a
few drops of water,--or oil, as the case may be; founding a
few missions; distributing a little dole; sending a few Bibles
to the heathen to offset the much bad whisky supplied them
by "Christian countries"; perfecting its choir and sending its
pastor to the Orient to hunt for "confirmation of Holy
Scripture "amid the mummified cats of Egypt or the hoary
trash of Palestine!

What is true of the city is true, though in lesser degree, of
the country.  If you think our agricultural brethren have no
taste of Hell examine the list of mortgages!  If you do not
believe that Moloch is the presiding deity of commerce visit
Trafalgar Square, the Place de la Concorde, or, worst of all,
our own Wall Street.  In old times men who despoiled
others were called pirates and banditti; were execrated by
honest men, anathematized by the church, a price set upon
their heads by the State; yet they never pretended to be
other than what they were; they did their devilish work
openly, with the strong hand.  Wall Street is a den of
banditti who rob, not by open force, but by secret fraud.
The tool of the seventeenth century freebooter was the
flashing sword; that of his nineteenth century successor the
cowardly and sneaking lie.  The first pillaged a few ships,
towns and castles; the latter plunders hundreds of
thousands every year of the world, and then has the
sublime audacity to come into court and plead that his
business is both legitimate and necessary.  And so rotten is
society,--so prostrate does it cower before the golden calf--
that the buccaneer, instead of being bastinadoed or
beheaded, is crowned with bays!  How can we harmonize
these stubborn facts with Sir Edwin's view that "the course
of mankind is constantly toward perfection?"  Of course we
should "look at the matter philosophically"; the trouble is
that too many content themselves merely with
philosophizing and do not look at the matter at all, but only
at some optimistic, far-fetched theory thereof.

It is very pleasant to close our eyes and believe--if we can--
that the world is gradually working out its salvation; that it is
steadily "growing grander and nobler"; to preach against
"the sins of pessimism"; but unfortunately the stubborn fact
is all too palpable that the shadow of the social world grows
ever broader and deeper; that while the sunlight gilds the
mountain tops the great valleys, wherein are congregated
the millions of "poor people who have no work," are buried
in cimmerian night.  If Sir Edwin and Dr. Talmage will but
listen they may hear shrieks of woe and wail--not unmingled
with bitter curses--cleaving that inky pall; may hear voices
proclaiming, Let there be light--though the world blaze for it!

. . .

Progress?  We boast of progress?  Progress whither?
From the slavery of the auction-block and cat-o'-nine-tails to
that of the great industrial system, where souls as well as
bodies are bought and sold; where wealth is created as by
the magic wand of a genie or the touch of gold-accursed
King Midas, while thousands and tens of thousands beg in
God's great name for the poor privilege of wearing out their
wretched lives in the brutal treadmill,--to barter their blood
for a scanty crust of black bread and beg in vain;
then, finding the world against them, turn their hands
against the world,--become recruits to the great army of
crime.  From the child-like simplicity, where man saw and
adored the Deity in all his works, heard his laughter in the
ripple of the stream, his voice in the thunder-storm and saw
his anger in the writhen bolt, to the present age of
skepticism, where he can see his Creator nowhere; and,
blinder than his barbarian ancestors--knowing more of
processes but less of principles--protests that Force is the
only Demiurgus, dead matter the only Immortal.

Progress toward Greatness!  Greatness of what?  Certainly
not of the individual, for the present conditions tend toward
mediocrity.  Greatness of the State?  What does eternity
know of States, that to promote their welfare immortal souls
should be sacrificed?  Why toil and travail, suffer and sin
for toy balloons which destiny will whistle down the winds?

There are entirely too many self-commissioned watchmen,
who, like Sir Edwin, sit at ease in their boxes and cry all's
well,--meaning thereby that it is so with them; too many
seers who look into their own cozy back parlors and
imagine that they are standing on a Mirza's Hill and reading
the riddle of human life; too many listening enchanted to
their own sweet voices and mistaking the sound for a
world-wide paean of praise, or at least the drowsy hum of
human content.  Such are blind Neros who complacently
fiddle while Rome is, if not actually burning, yet filled to
overflowing with combustibles, ready to burst into flame!


THE PLATONIC FRIENDSHIP FAKE.

A charming little lady, the front elevation of whose name
is Stella, takes pen in hand and gives the Icon. a red-hot
"roast" for having intimated that Platonic Love, so-called, is
a pretty good thing for respectable women to let alone.
Judged by the amount of caloric she generates, Stella must
be a star of the first magnitude, or even an entire
constellation.  She "believes in the pure, passionless love
described by Plato as sometimes existing between the
sexes--the affinities of mind as distinguished from the
carnal lusts of matter," and opines that the Apostle "must
be gross indeed not to comprehend this philosophic and
highly satisfactory companionship."

     "Twinkle, twinkle little star,
     How I wonder what you are,
     Up above the world so high,
     Like a diamond in the sky."

I plead guilty and cast myself upon the mercy of the court.
I sorrowfully admit that my aestheticism is not eighteen
karats fine, but mixed with considerable slag.  When I
should have been acquiring the higher culture, I was either
playing hookey or planting hogs.  Instead of being fed on
the transcendental philosophy of Plato, I was stuffed with
mealy Irish spuds and home-grown "punkin" pie.  When I
should have been learning to relish pate de foie
gras and love my neighbor's wife in a purely passionless
way, I was following one of McCormick's patents around a
forty-acre field or arguing a point of ethics with a
contumacious mule.  That I am unable to appreciate that
Platonic yearning of soul to soul, that deep calling
unto deep on which Stella dotes, is my misfortune
rather than my fault.  It appears to me too much like voting
the Prohibition ticket or playing poker with Confederate
currency.  When I love a woman I love her up one side and
down t'other.  I may be an uncultured and barbaric noodle,
but I want to get hold of her and bite her neck.  I want to
cuddle her sunny curls on my heaving shirt-front when I talk
to her about affinities.  I believe with Tennyson in the spirits
rushing together at the touching of the lips, and I just let
'em rush.  Men may esteem women and enjoy their society
with never a thought of sex.  I have many female friends,
some white-haired gran'dames, some mere girls in short
dresses.  But for their kindly interest and encouragement I
would have cast aside the faber and fled to the desert long
ago.  The friendship of a noble woman is life's holiest
perfume; but that is not the affinity of souls, the
supernatural spooning, the Platonic yum-yum for which fair
Stella pleads.  Love, as I understand the term, is to
friendship's non-consuming flame what the fierce glare of
the noonday sun is to the mild radiance of the harvest
moon.  It is something which makes two people of opposite
sexes absolutely necessary to each other.  It is a glory in
which the soul is bathed, an almost savage melody that
beats within the blood.  It is--O dammed; it's that which
transforms a snub-nosed dairy maid into a Grecian
goddess, a bench-legged farmer boy into a living Apollo
Belvedere.  "Love is love forevermore"--differing in degree,
but never in kind.  The Uranian is but the nobler nature of
the Pandemian Venus, not another entity.  Love is not
altogether of the earth earthy.  It is born of the spirit as well
as of the flesh, of the perfume as of the beauty of the great
red rose.  Few of those women who have led captive the
souls of the intellectual Titans of the world could boast of
wondrous beauty.  The moment man passes the pale
of savagery he demands something more than mere
physical perfection in a companion.  Purity, Gentleness,
Dignity--such are the three graces of womanhood that
ofttimes make Cupid forgive a shapeless bosom and adore
a homely face.  The love of a parent for a child is the
purest affection of which we can conceive; yet is the child
the fruition of a love that lies not ever in the clouds.
Platonic affection, so-called, is but confluent smallpox
masquerading as measles.  Those who have it may not
know what ails 'em; but they've got a simple case of
"spoons" all the same.  If Stella were "my dear heart's
better part," and tried to convince me that she felt a purely
Platonic affection for some other fellow, I'd apply for a writ
of injunction or lay for my transcendental rival with a
lignumvitae club loaded to scatter.  Nobody could
convince me that the country was secure.  The Platonic
racket is being sadly overworked in swell society.  Like
charity, it covers a multitude of sins.  Married women go
scouting around at all hours and in all kinds of places with
Platonic lovers, until the "old man" feeds a few slugs into a
muzzle-loading gun and lets the Platonism leak through
artificial holes in the hide of some gay gallant.  When
madame must have her beaux, and maids receive attention
from married men, there's something decayed in the moral
Denmarks.  Mrs. Tilton thought she felt a Platonic affection
for Henry Ward Beecher--was simply worshiping at the
shrine of his genius; but she made as bad a mess of it as
though she had called her complaint concupiscence.  Even
here in Texas, where we do preserve a faint adumbration of
the simplicity and virtue of ye olden time, it is no
uncommon thing to see a chipper married female, who
moves in the "best society," flitting about with some fellow
who's recognized, as the servants say, as her "steady
company."  But as we have improved on the
Pompeiian "house of joy," so have we added to the French
fashion of married flirtation a new and interesting feature.
The French allow maids but little liberty so far as male
companionship is concerned; but we remove the bridle
altogether, and while the matron flirts with the bachelor, the
maid appropriates the lonesome benedict.  All the old social
laws have been laid on the shelf and life rendered a
veritable go-as-you-please.  In real life there is no "pure
Platonic affection," whatever may betide in fiction.  No man
waits upon another's wife, provides her with carriages and
cut flowers, opera tickets and wine suppers with never a
suspicion of sex, and no maid who values her virtue will
receive marked attentions from a married man.  When a
virgin finds an "affinity" she should steer it against a
marriage contract at the earliest possible moment; when a
wife discovers one to whom she is not wedded she should
employ a bread and water diet to subdue her "natural
super-naturalism"-- and reinforce her religion with a season
of penitence and prayer.


* * *
TIENS TA FOI.

 Though thorny the pathway 'neath our feet,
 Though nothing in life be left that's sweet;
 Though friends prove faithless in trial's hours
 And love a curst and poisonous flower;
 Though Belial stalk in priestly gown
 And virtue's reward is fortune's frown;
 Though true hearts bleed and the coward slave
 Tramples in dust the fallen brave;
 Think not the unworthy acts of men
 Will 'scape the recording angel's pen;
 The sword of God, in ruin and wraith,
 Will surely fall!  Oh, cling to thy faith!

 Though worldly wise say it cannot be
 That there's a heaven for thee and me;
 Though logic's banner they have unfurled
 And by its cold light now view the world,
 Calling High God to the courts of man
 To be judged by human reason's span,
 And failing to grasp the power divine
 Will blindly assert:  "It doth not shine";
 Thy mother was wiser far than they
 In twilight hour when she knelt to pray,
 A radiant light on her sweet face
 From Eternal God's high dwelling-place.

 Lo here! lo here th' false prophets cry,
 Pointing out new paths unto the sky,
 Far pleasanter than our fathers trod
 With bleeding feet in the fear of God;
 While Atheists laugh our faith to scorn,
 And say that no man of woman born
 Ever pierced the evil or caught a gleam
 Of the mystic land beyond life's stream;
 That our fondest hopes, our prayers and sighs
 For life eternal beyond the skies,
 Are superstitions conceived in fear
 And cherished by priest and lying seer.

 The martyr's blood, the penitent's tears,
 The inspired word of Judea's seers,
 The name of God on the sacred mount,
 The river that poured from rocky fount
 In the burning sands beneath the rod,
 Obedient to the will of God;
 The prayers and sighs in Gethsemane,
 The red tide gushing on Calvary,
 The radiant smile when life is done
 Of saint that tells that heaven is won--
 Shall we say 'tis all a priestly lie
 And like soulless beasts lie down to die?

 Ah, better 'twould be to ride in mail
 A weary quest for the Holy Grail;
 Wield Saxon steel 'gainst Saracen sword
 Around the sepulcher of our Lord;
 See Cross and Crescent and mailed hand
 All plashed with blood in that sacred land,
 Than doubt that heaven e'er shed its light
 Deep into this world's long troublous night;
 That God hears our prayers, knows all our pains,
 That earthly sorrows are heavenly gains,
 That the grave's the gate to lasting life,
 Unsullied by sorrow, pain and strife.

 Oh, better worship at pagan shrine;
 Or, prophet of Islam, e'en at thine;
 To seek Nirvana in Buddhist lore,
 Or pray to Isis on Afric's shore;
 Better the dark, mysterious rites
 Of Ceres on Elusian heights;
 Better the Gueber's fierce God of fire--
 Oh, better to wake the trembling lyre
 To any Savior than to be hurled
 Godless and hopeless out of the world;
 To madly plunge in death's dark river,
 Lost to life and heaven forever.
 In dark seas where the whirlpool rages
 Stands the eternal Rock of Ages;
 Amid dangers dire, 'mid wreck and wraith
 God plants the banner of Christian faith.
 Unworthy the sailor whose heart doth fail
 When the God of storms rides on the gale;
 Coward the soldier who shuns the grave,
 And thrice accursed the trembling slave
 Who in life's battles, darkest hour
 Renounces God and denies His power.
 Then Tiens ta Foi through the bitter strife!
 O cling to the cross--through death to life!


* * *
THOMAS CARLYLE.

Of a recent edition of Carlyle's "Heroes and Hero
Worship," it is said that 100,000 copies are already sold.
The work has been on the market many years, and this
continued popularity is indeed encouraging.  It argues that
the taste for the legitimate, the sane in literature, has not
yet been drowned in the septic sea of fin de siecle
slop--that, despite the enervating influence of an all-
pervasive sensationalism, or sybaritism, there be still minds
capable of relishing the rugged, strong enough to digest the
mental pabulum furnished by a really masculine writer.
Carlyle ranges like an archangel through the universe of
intellect, overturning mountains to see how they are made--
now cleaving the empyrean with strong and steady wing,
now shearing clear down to the profoundest depths of
Ymir's Well at the foundations of the world.  That his
followers continue to increase argues well for the age, for
he is a man whom weaklings should avoid if they
would not be sawed in twain by mountain chains, forever
lost in pathless limboes or drowned in the unmeasured
deep.  Even the strongest must perforce part company with
him at times, else follow with the eye of faith, for his path
oft leads up into that far region where mortals can scarce
breathe, over Walpurgis' peaks, through bottomless chasms
and along the filmy edge of clouds.

The admirers of Carlyle--may their tribe increase!--are
indignant because one Edmund Gosse, in his introduction
to the late edition of "Heroes and Hero Worship," alludes to
the lion of modern literature as "an undignified human
being, growling like an ill-bred collie dog."  They take Mr.
Gosse too seriously--dignify him with their displeasure.
James Anthony Froude--a literary gun of much heavier
caliber than Mr. Gosse appears to us from this passing
glimpse--once wrote, if I remember aright, in a similar vein
of the grizzled sage; but the unkind critique has been
forgotten, and its author is fast following it into oblivion,
while the shade of Carlyle looms ever larger, towering
already above the Titans of his time, reaching even to the
shoulder of Shakespeare!  Gosse?  Who is this
presumptuous fellow who would take Carlyle in tutelage,
foist himself upon the attention of the public by making a
peep-show of the great essayist's faults?  There is, or was,
a pugilist named Gesse, or Goss; but as he did not deal
foul blows to the dead, this must be a different breed of
dogs.  Sometime since there lived a little Englishman
named William Edmund, or Edmund William Gosse, or
Goss; but I had hitherto supposed that, becoming disgusted
with himself, he crawled off and died.  As I remember him,
he was a kind of half-baked poetaster or he-bulbul, a
Johannes Factotum in the province of dilettanteism, a
universal Smart Alec who knew less about more
things than any other animal in England.  He was one of
those persistently pestiferous insects tersely called by
Carlyle "critic flies"--a descendant of that placed by
aesop in St. Paul's cupola.  They presume to judge all
things, great and small, by their "half-inch vision"--take the
measure of cathedrals and interpret to the world the
meaning of brainy men!  Unfortunately, the "critic fly" is
confined to no one nation--is what might be called, in
vigorous Texanese, an all-pervading dam-nuisance.
Mounted upon a mole, pimple or other cutaneous
imperfection of an intellectual colossus, it complacently
smooths its wings and explains, with a patronizing air, that
the big 'un isn't half bad; but sagely adds that had it been
consulted, his too visible imperfections would have been
eradicated.  We dislike to see an insect leave its periods
and semi-colons on the immortal marble; but it were idle to
grow angry with a Gosse.  This must be the English literary
exquisite whom Americans have hitherto incidentally heard
bellowing before the tent of this or the other giant and
taking tickets--I mean the prig, not the pug.  He is
comparatively youthful yet, and can, on occasion, digest a
good dinner.  Perchance when he is well past four-score,
worn with long years of labor compared with which the
slavery of the bagne were a blessing, and half-dead with
dyspepsia, he too, will "growl like a collie dog"; but never a
copper will the great world care whether he grumbles or
grins.  Should he even get hydrophobia, that fact would
scarce become historic.  The public marks and magnifies a
great man's foibles, but forgets both the little fellow and his
faults.  Jeanjean may hide from the battle in a hollow log,
and none hear of it; but let a Demosthenes lose his shield
and the world cackles over it for two-and-twenty centuries.
To digress for a moment, I believe the story of
Demosthenes' cowardice as damnable a lie as that
relating to Col. Ingersoll's surrender.  Even in his day
human vermin sought to wreck with falsehood those they
feared.  The world--unwisely I think--interests itself in the
personality of a genius, and somewhat impudently invades
his privacy.  A young man may muster up sufficient moral
courage to lie to his callers, and thus preserve the
proprieties; but an aged valetudinarian who wants to get
into a quiet nook and nurse himself, may show scant
courtesy--even brush the "critic fly" of the genus Gosse out
of doors with a hickory broom.

Carlyle belonged to "the irritable race of poets," albeit he
seldom imitated Pope's bad example and tortured his
rugged ideas into oleaginous rhyme.  There is a strange
wild melody in all his work--what he would call "harmony in
discord" suggesting that super-nervous temperament which
is inseparable from the highest genius, and which
degenerates so easily into acute neurosis--that "madness"
to which wit is popularly supposed to be so "near allied."
Such natures are aeolian harps acted upon, not by "the
viewless air," but by a subtler, more impalpable power,
which comes none know whence, and goes none know
whither--one moment yielding soft melodies as of an angel's
lute borne across sapphire seas, the next wailing like some
lost soul or shrieking like Eumenides.  The "self-poised,"
the "well-balanced" man, of whom you can safely predict
what he will do under given conditions; the man who never
bitterly disappoints you and makes you weep for very pity
of his weakness, will never appall you by exhibitions of his
strength.  He may possess constructive talent, but never
that creative power which we call genius because it
suggests the genii.  "No man is a hero to his valet," says
the adage.  Carlyle assumes this to be the fault of the
latter--due to sawdust or other cheap filling in the
head of the menial.  Yet, may not the valet be wiser in this
matter than the world?  The hero, the greatest genius, is
not always aflame with celestial fire, impelled by that
mysterious power which comes from "beyond the clouds"--
may be, for most part, the commonest kind of clay, a
creature in nowise to be worshiped.  The eagle, which
soars so proudly at the sun, will return to its eyrie with
drooping wing; the condor, whose shadow falls from afar on
Chimborazo's alabaster brow, cannot live always in the
empyrean, a thing ethereal, and back to earth is no better
than a carrion crow.  To genius more than to aught else,
perhaps, distance lends enchantment.  While we see only
the bold outline of the Titan, we are content to worship--
nay, insist upon it; but having scrutinized him inch by inch
with a microscope, we realize that familiarity breeds
contempt.  Well does Christ say that a prophet is not
without honor save in his own country--which is the origin of
the hero and valet adage.  I cannot understand why the
world insists upon seeing le Grand Monarque in his night-
cap and Carlyle in his chimney corner.  With the harem of
Byron and the drunken orgies of Burns, the poaching of
Shakespeare and the vanity of Voltaire it has nothing to
do--should content itself with what they have freely given it,
the intellectual heritage they have left to humanity, and not
pry into those frailties which they fain would hide.  If
Goldsmith "wrote like an angel and talked like a fool," it
was because when he wielded the pen there was only a
wise man present, and all are affected more or less by the
company they keep.  We care not whether the gold in our
coffers was mined by saint or sinner, so that it be standard
coin; then what boots it what manner of men stole from
heaven that Promethean fire which surges in the poet's
song, leaps in lightning-flash from the orator's lips, or
becomes "dark with excess of bright" in Carlyle's
Natural-Supernaturalism?  Judge ye the work, and let
the workman "growl like a collie dog" if it ease his dyspepsia!

That Carlyle was "an undignified human being," I can well
believe; for he was the wisest of his day, and dignity is the
distinguishing characteristic of the dodo and the donkey.  If
Mr. Gosse esteems it so highly, he might procure a pot of
glue and adorn his vermiform appendix with a few peacock
feathers, else take lessons in posturing from the turkey-
gobbler or editor of the Houston Post.  Had Carlyle been
born a long-eared ass, he might have been fully approved--
if not altogether appreciated--by Gosse, Froude and other
"critic flies."  When Doctor Samuel Johnson was told that
Boswell proposed to write his life, he threatened to prevent
it by taking that of his would-be biographer.  It were curious
to consider what "crabbed old Carlyle" would have done
had he suspected the danger of falling into the hands of a
literary backstairs Mrs. Grundy like Edmund Gosse!  In his
"Heroes and Hero Worship" he treated his colossi far
otherwise than he in turn has been treated by Gosse and
Froude.  He first recognized the fact that they were colossi,
and no fit subject for the microscope.  We hear nothing
from him to remind us of Lemuel Gulliver's disgust with the
yawning pores and unseemly blotches of the epidermis of
that monster Brobdingnagian maid who set him astride her
nipple.  He reverenced them because they possessed more
than the average of that intellectual strength which is not
only of God, but is God; then considered their life-work as a
whole, its efficient cause and ultimate consequence.  He
does not appear to have thought to inquire whether they
had dyspepsia, and how it affected them, being engrossed
in that more important question, viz., what ideas they were
possessed withal, how wrought out, and what part
these emanant volitions of the lords of intellect
played in the mighty drama of Human Life.

It is not my present purpose to review Carlyle's literary
labors--that were like crowding the Bard of Avon into a
magazine article.  For 300 years the world has been
studying the latter, and is not yet sure that it understands
him; yet Shakespeare is to Carlyle what a graded turnpike
is to a tortuous mountain path.  The former deals chiefly
with the visible; the latter with the intangible.  The first
tells us what men did; the last seeks to learn why they did it.
Carlyle is the prince of critics.  He is often lenient to a
fault, but seldom deceived--"looks quite through the shows of
things into the things themselves."  Uriel, keenest of vision
'mid all the host of heaven, is his guardian angel.  To follow
him into the sanctuaries of great souls and become familiar
with all their hopes and fears; to pass the portals of master
minds and watch the gradual evolution of great ideas in
these cyclopean workshops; to mount the hill of Mirza and
from it view the Tide of Time rushing ever into the illimitable
Sea of Eternity, and comprehend the meaning of that
mighty farce-tragedy enacted on the Bridge of Life, were
scarce so easy as listening to the buzzing of the "critic fly"
or dawdling over a French novel on a summer's day.

Carlyle is frequently called a "mystic," and mystagogue he
certainly is--a man who interprets mysteries.  If the average
reader urge that his interpretation is too oft an obscurum
per obscurius, he might reply, in the language of that other
woefully "undignified" and shockingly impolite human
being, Dr. Johnson:  "I am bound to find you in reasons,
Sir, but not in brains."  Carlyle was regarded by those
writers of his day who clung to and revered the time-worn
ruts, as chief of the "Spasmodic School," the members whereof
were supposed to be distinguished by "a stained and unnatural
style."
This "School," which was satirized by Aytoun while editor
of Blackwood's Magazine, was thought to include
Tennyson, Gilfillan and other popular authors of the time.  I
incline to the view that no writer of whom we have any
knowledge exhibits less affectation in the matter of style
than does the subject of this essay.  It is rugged and
massive; but so is his mind.  It were impossible to imagine
the author of "Sartor Resartus" and "The French
Revolution" expressing himself in the carefully rounded
periods of Macaulay, whose prose is half poetry, and
whose poetry is all prose.  Carlyle seems to care precious
little what kind of vehicle he uses for the conveyance of
ideas so long as it does not break down.  All his labor
"smells of the lamp"; but "the midnight oil"--of which our
modern "ready writers" evidently use so little--was
consumed in considering what to say rather than how to
say it.  Not even Shakespeare possesses so extensive a
vocabulary.  The technical terms of every profession and
subdivision of science come trippingly to his tongue.  But
even the dictionary is not large enough for him, and he
extends it this way and that, his daring neology creating
consternation among the critic flies and other ephemera.
He wrote as he thought, hence his style could not be other
than natural.  That of Aytoun was formed in the schools,
principally modeled by masters--made to fit a procrustean
bed--and was, therefore, eminently artificial.  If we apply the
term "unnatural" to the matter instead of the manner of
Carlyle and Tennyson, then away with genius, for
intellectual originality is tabooed!--no man is privileged to
think his own thoughts.  That is the law nowadays nowhere
except in the sanctum of the Gal-Dal News, where Col.
Jenkins takes the editorial eyas and teaches it to soar ln
exact imitation of himself.

Whether by the "Spasmodic" method or otherwise, Carlyle
dragged more true orients out of the depths than did any of
his contemporaries; and that is saying much, for "there
were giants in those days," and they were neither few nor
far between.  The intellectual glory of the first half of the
present century was scarce eclipsed by the Elizabethan
era.  It was in very truth "a feast of reason and a flow of
soul."  Goethe and "Jean Paul" were putting the finishing
touches to their work while Carlyle, then a young man, was
striving to interpret these so strange appearances to the
English-speaking world, to hammer some small appreciation
of German literature into the autotheistic British head.  Tom
Moore, sweetest of mere singers, and Lord Byron, prince of
poets, were but five and seven years respectively his
seniors.  He saw the beginning and the end of their literary
labors, as of those of Macaulay and Mill, Darwin, Disraeli
and Dickens.  Much of his best work was done ere the
death of Walter Scott, and he might have played as a
school boy with the ill-fated Shelley.  He had just begun his
long life-labor when Longfellow and Tennyson, Hugo and
Wagner came upon the scene, and together they wrought
wisely and well in that mighty seed-field which is the world!
What a galaxy of intellectual gods!--now all gone, returned
home to High Olympus--the weird land left to the Alfred
Austins, the William Dean Howells and the Ian McLarens!
Gone, but not forgotten; yet the world will in time forget--
even the amaranthine flowers must fade.  Of them all we
see but one star that blazes the brighter as the years run
on, and that one long mistaken for a mere erratic comet--
sans substance, or unformed nebulae hanging like a
splotch of semi-luminous vapor in a great void.  Year by
year the voice of Carlyle rings clearer and clearer from the
"Eternal Silence."  And as we listen with rapt
attention to the music of the spheres becoming
audible, intelligible to our dull ear--the Waterloo and Lisbon
earthquakes, the Revolutions and the Warring Religions, all
the glory and shame, the wild loves and bitter hatreds of
humanity--even Birth and Death--but minor notes in the
Grand Symphony, the Harmony of Infinitude, the little man
who has undertaken the management of the microphone,
without suspecting its significance, distracts us with the
unwished for and utterly useless information that the Voice
coming from beyond Time and Space, out of the
Everlasting Deep, once "growled like a collie dog!"

 * * *
RESQUIESCAT IN PACE.

The mortal remains of Jefferson Davis, for four eventful
years president of the Southern Confederacy, are now en
route to their last resting place in Hollywood cemetery in
the city of Richmond.  New Orleans, the metropolis of the
sunny south-land, surrenders, with sighs and tears, the dust
of the distinguished dead to the keeping of the old capital of
the Confederacy.  There, where died the dream of a new
nation; there, where the dashing Cavalier made his last
desperate stand against the stubborn Puritan; there, where
the cause was irretrievably lost,--where the stars and bars
made obeisance to the stars and stripes and the "gray
gigantic host" faded from the tragic stage of the world, will
be laid the dust of our honored dead to await the judgment
day.

Near the grave of Davis will spring a massive monument,
which will forever remain a landmark in American history,--
aye, in the mighty epic of the world!  More imposing
cenotaphs have risen, costlier mausoleums have
charmed the eye, more gigantic monuments have
aspired to kiss the clouds; but to the student of mankind
none were more significant, to the historian none more
interesting, to the poet none will appeal more powerfully
through the long ages yet to be.  It will be a new and
grander Memnon in masonry, ever sounding celestial music
for him that hath ears to hear, when smitten by the golden
shafts of Justice's shining orb, when gilded with the
celestial radiance of Love and Charity.

To-morrow the Southern people will, with tender hands and
loving hearts, finally commit their dead chieftain to the care
of the impartial historian.  May another Plutarch arise to
paint him as he was--nothing extenuating, naught set down
in malice.  May another Macaulay come forth from the
fecund womb of the mighty future to add to the charm of
history the music of his voice.

When the generation that knew and loved Davis shall have
passed from earth; when those who idealized him shall
have crossed the narrow boundaries of Time into Eternity's
shoreless sea; when those brave souls who set their
breasts against the bayonet shall one and all be gathered
into the great hand of God; when those who saw in him the
incarnation of a principle in whose defense they had
pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor,
shall be no longer with us to warp our better judgment,
Jefferson Davis will sink to the ordinary level as a
statesman and a soldier.  It will be seen that his intellect
was of the commonplace, his judgment ofttimes faulty,--that
he can have no claim on the bays that lie ever green upon
the brow of genius; but his dauntless courage, his devotion
to his people, his purity of purpose--in a word, his American
manhood--may well defy the crucial test of time and the
analysis of the most exacting historian.

The honors which the South pays to the memory of
Jefferson Davis are as unique as they are pathetic.
He stood for the division of the Union, and the South
rejoices that we are one nation and one people.  He stood
for the perpetuation of human slavery, and the South
rejoices that the foul curse hath been lifted from her
forever.  Intensely loyal to the Union to-day, she bedews
with her tears and covers with her rarest flowers the bier of
him who devoted his best energies to destroy it.  The
successful revolutionary leader is always lionized; the
patriot who strives and fails, remains dear to the people so
long as his cause awakes a responsive echo in their hearts;
but where hitherto in the great world's history has chieftain
been thus honored, when even those who bore the battle's
brunt give thanks to God that his flag went down in defeat
lo rise no more forever?  It is the grandest tribute ever paid
to American manhood.

 * * *
CORONATION OF THE CZAR.

AMERICAN TOADYISM ON TAP.

With more barbaric mummery, flummery and vulgar waste
of wealth than characterized even the late Marlborough-
Vanderbilt wedding, Nicholas Two-Eyes was crowned
Emperor of the rag-tag and bob-tail of creation,
officially known as "all the Russias."  Nick has a nice easy
job at a salary considerably in excess of ye average
country editor, and he gets it all in gold roubles instead of
post-oak cord-wood and green watermelons, albeit his
felicity is slightly marred by an ever-present fear that he
may inadvertently swallow a few ounces of arsenic or sit
down on an infernal machine.

Nick is emphatically an emperor who emps.  He isn't
bothered with do-nothing congresses or Populist
politicians who want him impeached.  When he saith to a
man "come," he cometh p. d. q.; to another "go" he
getteth a hustle on him that would shame a pneumatic tire.
Nick is the greatest monarch "what they is."  He is the
divinely ordained Chief Gyasticutus of that motley
aggregation of tallow-munchers and unwashed ignorami
whose very existence is a menace to modern civilization.
The Goths and Visigoths were models of cleanliness and
avatars of intelligence compared with a majority of the
seventy different breeds of bipedal brutes who acknowledge
the rule of the Romanoffs.  A Russian peasant smells like
the Chicago river on a summer's day, or Tolstoi's "Kreutzer
Sonata."  He's more disagreeable to the olfactories than old
John Jacob Astor's hide house, from whose effluvia sprung
the master spirits of Gotham's Four Hundred.  He will eat
what would send a coyote howling out of the country.  To
him a jug of train-oil were as angel-food, a keg of stale
soap-grease a ferial feast.  During his entire life he enjoys
but two baths--one when he is born, the other when he's
buried.  A religious fanatic, he obeys but one scriptural
injunction--"Be fruitful and multiply."  Even the Russian
ladies wash only to suit the dresses they wear--high-necked
or decollete.  The average Slav is as stupidly
ignorant as any Agency Indian.  He respects no law but
that of blind force.  His Magna Charta is the dynamite
bomb.  He is courageous with the bravery of the brute,
which has no conception of life's sacredness.  Doubtless
the rule of the bayonet is the only government possible for
such a barbarous people--and the Romanoffs have not
allowed it to rust.

The Czar is the immediate ruler of nearly 130,000,000
semi-savages, his lightest word their supreme law, while the
chiefs of the robber hordes of Central Asia
acknowledge him their official head.  Such
tremendous power in the hands of a weak-minded,
vacillating monarch like Nicholas II--descended from
Catherine the Courtesan, and having in his veins the blood
of cranks--may well cause western Europe to lie awake.
Bonaparte declared that in a hundred years the continent
would be all Russian or all Republican--by which he meant
that unless this nation of savages in esse and Vandals
in posse were stamped out it would imitate the example
of Alaric and Attila and precipitate such another intellectual
night as that known as the Dark Ages.  In western Europe
Republicanism is making but slight progress, while in the
East the power of the Great White Khan is rapidly
increasing.  In a struggle between the semi-savagery of the
East and the civilization of the West, China and Turkey
would be the natural and inevitable allies of the Czar.
Small wonder that the Great First Consul trudged home
from Moscow with a heavy heart!

Some faint idea of the savage ignorance of Russia may be
had from the history of the Siberian exiles and the fiendish
persecutions of the Jewish people.  Siberia is the Ice Hell of
the old Norse mythologists, into which men, women and
children have been indiscriminately cast on the bare
suspicion of desiring to better the wretched condition of the
Russian people.  Its horrors, which have long been a
hideous nightmare to civilized men, need no description
here.  The very name of Siberia causes humanity to
shudder--it casts a shadow on the sun!  The experience of
the Jews in Russia was akin to that of the early settlers in
America, who were exposed to the unbridled ferocity of the
Aborigines; yet the so-called Christian nations dared do no
more than petition the Czar that these savage atrocities
should cease--futile prayers to the hog-headed god of the
Ammonites!

The young man who has just been crowned at Moscow at
an expense of some millions, and whose emblem of
authority is ornamented with rubies as large as eggs and
ablaze with 2,564 costly diamonds--while half his people
are feeding on fetid offal--is a weak-faced pigmy who would
probably be peddling Russia's favorite drunk promoter over
a pine bar had he not chanced to be born in the purple.
Having been spawned in a royal bed--perchance the same
in which his great gran'dame Catherine was wont to receive
her paramours--he becomes the most powerful of princes--
haloed with "that divinity which doth behedge a king"--and
all the earth rejoices to do him honor.

For months past wealthy Americans have been hastening
to Moscow to enjoy the barbaric fete and perchance
pick up a greasy count or scorbutic duke for their
daughters.  They were not permitted to witness the
coronation, but they could look at the Kremlin, stand in the
street and watch the Czar and his wooden-faced wife sail
by in their chariot of gold, and perhaps be cuffed out of the
way by a court chamberlain.  Surely that were felicity
enough for fools!  Our boasted Republican government,
whose shibboleth has ever been the equality of all men--
that the harvester of the lowly hoop-pole stands on a parity
with a prince swinging a gilded scepter and robbing a
poverty-stricken people--considered that its paid
representatives in Russia would be unequal to the task of
spilling sufficient slobber over the chief representative of
"divine right," the great arch-enemy of human liberty, and
sent special envoys to assist at the ceremony.  These
haughty American sovereigns were not permitted, however,
to enter the sacred presence of the Czar attired in their
regal robes--the dress of American gentlemen; but were
required to dike out like English flunkeys at a fancy feed.
"Evening coat with plain metal buttons, white vest,
knee-breeches, black silk stockings, no ornaments"--such
was the ukase issued to the envoys of Uncle Sam by the
royal seneschal.  They "obeyed with alacrity."  Of course
they did.  Had they been ordered to appear in their shirt-
tails, one flap dyed green and the other yellow, their legs
painted like barber-poles and wearing asses' ears, they
would have "obeyed with alacrity"--without ever a thought
of advising the seneschal to go to Siberia.  The rear
admiral in command of the Mediterranean fleet was ordered
to Kronstadt with his flagship; sent to attend the coronation
"as the naval envoy of the United States"--a journey of
some thousands of miles at a minimum expense of $1,000
a day, to watch a young dude stick a million-dollar dog
muzzle on his own foolish pate, while his female running
mate cavorted around with a dozen dudines supporting her
tail-feathers!  And "Jones he pays the freight"--puts up for
this egregious folly.  It has cost the American tax-payers a
quarter of a million dollars to have their mis-representatives
prancing around the Kremlin in short-stop pants and silk
stockings, bowing and scraping like a Pullman porter who
has just received a dollar tip from some reckless Tezsan.

We have nothing in common with Russia.  One government
is the antithesis of the other.  They are "on friendly terms"
because they have practically no intercourse.  Russia has
no American possessions upon which we can pull the
foolish manifesto of the erstwhile Monroe.  There's no trade
between the two countries--hasn't been since Russia
unloaded her Alaskan glaciers upon us at a fancy price.  It
would have been eminently proper had Minister
Breckinridge presented himself--togged out in his best
Arkansas jeans instead of being attired like a troubadour--to
wish Nick exemption from the Nihilists and express
the hope that the occasion wouldn't swell his head;
but there was absolutely no excuse for sending warships on
an expensive cruise, and special envoys 5,000 miles to
make unmitigated asses of themselves.

The unpalatable fact is that we are a nation of toad-eaters.
President Cleveland is, in this respect at least, eminently
representative of the American people.  The axiom that
"like takes to like" accounts for his popularity.  It was that
which enabled him to beat Jim Blaine.  When the Grand
Duke Alexis was in this country, upper-tendom slopped over
him so persistently and offensively that the young man
incontinently fled.  The adulation he received from American
belles made him such a misogynist that he never got
married.  The girl who got an introduction to the Duke was
pointed out for years thereafter as an especial favorite of
fortune.  The obituary of a Louisville lady who died a short
time ago contained the startling announcement that she
had actually danced with the Duke.  Every chappie who
was permitted to pay for a mint julep absorbed by this
subject of a crack-brained Czar secured a certificate to that
effect and had it framed.

In 1892, when more than the usual number of Russians
were going hungry to bed, America undertook to abrogate
the law of the survival of the fittest by sending the starving
wretches a ship-load of provisions.  Dr. T. DeWitt Talmage,
Dr. Louis Klopsch and other prominent Americans were
sent over as commissioners to give out the grub.  While in
Russia they were permitted, as a special concession, to
speak to the Caesarovitch, who afterwards succeeded to
the crown.  Of course these American Sovereigns were
"overcome with such condescension," could "hardly get
their breath"--even in short pants.  They all wrote it up for
the American press, and now Dr. Klopsch is
rehearsing every detail of that important event--the
crowning felicity of his life.  He tells us how the
commissioners "received full instructions as to dress"; what
a "bountiful repast" they enjoyed with the crown prince's
servants--while millions were starving to death; how they
cooled their heels in the hall for an hour or two while their
invisible host finished his cigar; how their "hearts fluttered"
when the seneschal gave them their final instructions in
court etiquette--not to expectorate on the carpet or scratch
the furniture--then trotted them in; how the crown prince
graciously permitted them to stand with uncovered heads
for a few moments in his august presence, and then
managed to get rid of them without actually kicking them
down stairs!  He "shook hands" with the party as a signal
for them to pull their freight.  And to this good day Drs.
Talmage and Klopsch will not use toilet paper with the hand
that has been pressed by royalty!  But the charity
commissioners wreaked a terrible revenge on the crown
prince--whose starving people they were feeding--for thus
insulting American manhood; they sent him a handsomely
bound copy of Talmage's book!  The fact that he has not
broken off diplomatic relations with the United States may
be accepted, however, as prima facie evidence that he
has not yet read it.  Perhaps he added insult to injury by
sending it to the Siberian exiles.  The Czaritza, or Empress,
is a grand-daughter of Queen Victoria.  She is rather
handsome, but her face, like that of all those born to the
house of Hanover is expressionless as a clothing store
dummy, hard as a blue-steel hatchet.  Princess Alice, as
she was known in England, was a very devout Protestant;
but she promptly abjured the religion in which she was
raised and changed her name to Alexandra Theodorovna
for the blessed privilege of sharing an emperor's bed and
board.  Thrift is a characteristic of Queen Victoria's
kids, and their religious scruples count for naught when
weighed against a crown.


* * *
THROWING STONES AT CHRIST.

Are you throwing stones at Christ and the Christian
Cause?

Pause, reflect before you answer.  Not all the stones are
thrown by the Atheist, the Agnostic, the Infidel.  No, the
most cruel stones, the ones that wound most deeply, are
thrown from the pulpit itself.

The kiss of Judas strikes deeper than the spear of the
Roman legionary; the denial of Peter is more cruel than the
Crown of Thorns.

Are you Throwing Stones at Christ and the Christian
Cause?

You in the Amen Corner stand forth and answer me.  Drop
that catechism! release that credo! take your lips from that
crucifix!  Now look me in the eye and speak the words of
truth and soberness:  Are you a property owner?  Have you
buildings rented to keepers of dives and bagnios?  Do you
come here on Sunday and pray the Lord to protect the
young from temptation while you are the silent partner of
criminals?  Have you ever contributed to send missionaries
to Madagascar money that was received from people
whose business it is to debauch your neighbor's sons and,
if possible, degrade his daughters?  No?  Thank God for
that.  Do you know of any member of this church who is so
guilty?  You suspect as much?  Then why do you not go on
your knees to him and beg him to turn from his evil ways?
Do you not know that by keeping silent you tacitly endorse
his infamy--that you bring the Christian cause into
contempt; that you make it a byword and a reproach--that
you are Throwing Stones at Christ?

No; do not sit down yet.  What are your worldly
possessions?  How much did that diamond in your shirt-
front cost?  What was the expense of that costume worn by
the woman who worships at your side?  You surprise me!
Worth fifty, a thousand dollars!--wearing diamonds, buying
$1,000 dresses--for what?  To wear to church--in which to
worship Him who had not where to lay his head!  And a
thousand people in this one city alone in abject poverty--
"And the greatest of these is Charity."  What a cruel stone
is Selfishness to Throw at Christ!

Is that your minister in immaculate broadcloth and shiny
boots, turning the leaves of his Bible with lily-fingers?
Pardon me that I did not recognize him.  You see I have
been reading of John the Baptist with his raiment of camel's
hair,--of Christ with his single garment, tramping barefoot,
unshaven and unshorn over Judea's blazing hills.

Stand up, thou vicegerent of the Hebrew carpenter, and let
me question thee:  You will not?  I have no authority?  Yet
publicans and sinners questioned thy Master, and He
answered freely and with all gentleness.  Art thou greater
than He?

Are you Throwing Stones at Christ and the Christian Cause?

Be careful,--think well before you answer.  In a minister of
God a mistake in this matter were little better than a crime.
Are you inculcating the spirit of Christ or Belial--of Love or
Hate?  What do ye when mocked, reviled, your purposes
called in question?  Do you go to the mocker, extend to him
a brother's hand and strive by moral suasion to lead him
out of the depths of everlasting darkness into the
bright effulgence of heavenly Day?  Do you turn the other
cheek to the smiter and pray, "Father, forgive them, they
know not what they do"?  Or do you mount the pulpit with a
splenetic heart and, with frantic gestures and a voice
hoarse with passion denounce the criticism as "infernal
rubbish"?

Are you seeking the salvation of souls or notoriety?  Are
you striving to foment discord in your community or cast oil
upon the troubled waters?  Are you striving to establish on
earth the universal brotherhood of Man and common
fatherhood of God, or Throwing Stones at Christ and the
Christian Cause from the cover of a canting hypocrisy?

Do you strive when criticised to transfer the criticism from
yourself to the Savior?  Do you brand men who dare to
differ from you as blasphemers,--as though you were one
with God and that to question your superior wisdom and
goodness were equal to deny the Almighty?  Do you, by
presumption where you should be meek, by belligerency
where you should act the peacemaker, by dogmatism
where you should humbly seek the light, by denunciation
where you should propitiate, call down the world's contempt
on the cause you profess to serve--Cast Stones at Christ?

It is Written, "Judge not lest ye be judged."  Do you Always
heed the law?--carefully refrain from resolving yourself into
an inquisitorial court,--becoming both prosecutor and judge
and condemning those who chance to differ from you?

"Why so hot, little man?"  The world rolled on, oh so many
weary years before the Fates kindly sent thee to set it right;
it will go on much in the same old way after both thee and
thy work have been forgotten.

To the stones cast at Christ by professed unbelievers we
need give but little heed.  They rain harmless as
Parthian shafts on the shield of Achilles.  Never was
atheistical book written, never was infidel argument penned
that touched the core of any religion, Christian or Pagan.
They but serve as driving sand of the desert to scour the
eating rust from the Christian armor.  Seldom indeed does
the avowed infidel cast a stone at Christ,--he contents
himself with holding up to the world's scorn the mummeries
in which dogmatizers have invested the teachings of the
grandest man that ever died for truth.  God created nothing
in vain.  Even the atheist has his uses; nay, even the
splenetic preacher may fill an important niche in the great
world's economy--may be a real blessing in disguise.

Very remarkable is it that Christ's holy cause best
prospered, was purest, most powerful for good when most
persecuted, "The blood of the martyrs was the seed of the
church."  From the auto da fe arose the anthem that
thrilled the Pagan heart.  From prison cells poured forth
paeans of praise that caused princes to kiss the cross.
From the outlawed conventicle went forth a holy zeal that
carried millions to the throne of grace,--from the gloomy
midnight meeting there burst a light that illumed the world.

The stones cast by avowed enemies were the steps by
which the Cause of Christ mounted from poverty and
obscurity to thrones and wealth, to name and fame,--the
wings with which it encircled the great round globe, the
power that enabled it to break down the barriers of the
most obdurate hearts.

It is the stones cast by professed friends--the stones of
Selfishness and Pride, of Intolerance and Vain-glory,--of
Hate and Discord masquerading in the garb of Love and
Law--that cause the wounds on Calvary to bleed afresh, the
tears in Gethsemane to flow anew, the Crown of Thorns
to once more burn the throbbing brow, the scourge to
fall across the naked shoulders of the Son of God.


Are you Throwing Stones at Christ and His Cause?


 * * *
LOOKING BACKWARD.

When it comes to "Looking Backward," Bellamy isn't in it
a little bit with Prof. Herman V. Hilprecht.  The retrospective
glance of the latter covers a period of at least 11,000 years;
and what is of infinitely more importance, it is that of a
learned paleologist instead of a sensation-mongering
empiric.  The Professor has succeeded in lifting a corner of
that black veil which hangs between the prehistoric and the
present, in affording us a fleeting glimpse of our fellow man
as he appeared long ages before the birth of Abraham.  He
has demonstrated that man has been a civilized animal
much longer than is popularly supposed--that at least 5,000
years before the supposed advent of Adam he not only
lived sociably in cities and had gods and kings, but was
able to read and write!  For eight years past the Professor
and his co-laborers, under the patronage of the University
of Pennsylvania, have been carrying on their explorations.
The site of Nippur, the ancient capital of Kengi, later known
as Babylonia, is the scene of their labors.  Hitherto Nippur
has been supposed to have been the world's oldest city;
but the excavations made not only prove that it rose upon
the ruins of others, but affords some knowledge of a long
line of kings who lived so long ago that their very names
were forgotten before the flight of the Israelites from Egypt,
or even the building of the Tower of Babel.

 "What is the story of this buried past?
   Were all its doors flung wide,
        For us to search its rooms?
   And we to see the race, from first to last,
   And how they lived and died."

Sargon is the most ancient Chaldean monarch mentioned in
the Bible, and hitherto archaeologists have agreed that
he was a fiction; but the Professor has not only proven that
he had a habitation as well as a name, but has catalogued
some thirty of his predecessors.  Science has amply
demonstrated the existence of man upon the earth long
before the psychozoic era of the Biblical cosmogony; but
Prof. Hilprecht is the first to demonstrate the high antiquity
of his civilization.  To the average man this will appear
neither more interesting nor profitable than a two-headed
calf or petrified corpse; but to the philosophic mind it affords
much food for reflection.  We have presumed that we could
trace the history of man back to the time when he began to
practice the art of writing, as distinguished from the
transference of thought by crude pictorials--that our
prehistoric progenitor was simply a savage.  It now appears
that people may build indestructible temples, and kings and
priests write intelligently on imperishable material, and the
nation be as utterly forgotten as though it had never
existed.  With these facts in mind, it were curious to
speculate on what the world 11,000 years hence will know
of our now famous men--such, for instance, as Cleveland
and McKinley!  What will the historian of that faraway time
have to say of Mark Hanna?  Printing has been called "the
art preservative"; but is it?  Suppose the priests of Bel--that
deity who antedates by so many centuries the Jewish
Jehovah--had committed the history of their temples to
"cold type" instead of graving it upon sacred vases:
Would Prof. Hilprecht and other Assyriologists be
deciphering it to-day?  Printing has substituted flimsy paper
for parchment just as the pen substituted parchment for
waxen tablets, as the stylus substituted the latter for the far
more enduring leaflet of torrified clay.  Imagine the effect of
11,000 years upon a modern library!  Where will the
archaeologist of the year 12,896 turn for the history of our
time--where search for those "few immortal names that
were not born to die"?  Oral transmission of historic data,
such as prevails among savages, such as prevailed among
the Hellenes in the age of Homer, has been supplanted by
the press.  Long before Macaulay's New Zealander stands
on a broken arch of London bridge to sketch the ruins of St.
Paul's, every book now extant will have perished.  Will they
be continuously reproduced, and thus, like the human race
itself, run ever on?  Quien sabey?  Eras of barbarism
have overtaken civilizations as pretentious as our own--
intellectual nights in which the patiently acquired learning of
ages was lost.  Petrifaction as in China, retrogression
begotten of luxury as in Athens, submersion beneath an
avalanche of human debris as in Rome, ignorance-breeding
despoliation as in Ireland--these be the lions in the path of
civilization.  No race or nation of which we have any record
has avoided a recrudescence of barbarism for an hundred
generations.  A few centuries of our wasting climate
obliterates inscriptions on brass and wrecks the proudest
monuments of marble.  The recently imported Egyptian
obelisk, which stood for ages on Nilus' plain, is already
falling into ruins.  We can scarce decipher the deep-cut
epitaphs of the Pilgrim Fathers.  The mansion of the sire is
uninhabitable for the son.  The history of McKinley's
promised era of "Progress and Prosperity" will be written
by the press reporter, that busy litterateur who has neither
yesterday nor to-morrow.  Some subsidized
biographer may bind McKinley up in calf, and chance
preserve a stray copy for some centuries--then good-by to
all his greatness!  The mighty Washington has not been
dead a hundred years, yet has already become--as R. G.
Ingersoll informs us--"merely a steel engraving."  Adams
and Hancock and Franklin are paling stars, despite our
printing-presses, have become little more than idle words in
the school-boy's lexicon.  Our proud Republic, our boasted
civilization will pass, for change is the order of the universe.
What records will they leave behind?  What is to prevent
them being as utterly forgotten as were Sargon's
predecessors?  Here and there the delver of far years will
find the fragment of a wall, perchance an inscription carved
in stone and protected by chance from the gnawing tooth of
time.  And from these posterity will construct for us a
history in which we will appear, perhaps, as the straggling
vanguard of civilization instead of heirs of all the ages.
They may dig up a petrified dude and figure out that we
were a species of anthropoid ape--learnedly proclaim us as
"the missing link!"  Suppose that by some mischance a
picture of the new woman in bloomers and bestride a bike
should be preserved:  Would posterity accept her as its
progenitor, or class her as a lusus naturae--perchance
an hermaphrodite?  A few coins will doubtless be
discovered--if the excavators avoid the Texas treasury--and
triumphant Populism take it for granted that 'twas on these
curious disks that our "infant industry" cut its teeth.  The
"In God We Trust" inscription may be regarded as a
barbaric hoodoo to prevent infantile bellyache or the evil
eye, but the dollar mark will be entirely unintelligible to a
people so many thousand years removed from the savage
superstition of metallic money.  Of course woman will have
ruled the world so long that "tyrant man" will be regarded
as a sun myth, and the Goddess of Liberty on our
coins be mistaken for portraits of our female monarchs.
Thus will Cleveland and McKinley, like Hippolyta and other
amazons of old, be passed down to remote posterity in
petticoats.  If the electrotype from which the New York
Journal prints its portraits of Mark Hanna should be
found among the tumuli of Manhattan Island, it were well
worth remaining alive until that time to hear the curious
speculation of craniological cranks.  Should the paleologists
unearth the World building, they will find in the basement
an imperishable object about the size of a bushel-basket,
which will puzzle them not a little, but which his
contemporaries could readily inform them was the gall-bag
of Josef Phewlitzer's circulation liar.  The discovery of
Editor Dana's office cat nicely embalmed may get us
accredited with the worship of felis domestica alias
cream-canner, as a "judgment" for our persistent slander of
the ancient Egyptians.  But seriously, is it not a trifle
startling to reflect of how little real importance all our
feverish work and worry is, and how small a space it is
ordained to occupy in the mighty epic of mankind!  Here we
have been fretting, fuming, and even fighting for months
past to "save the country," only to learn that it will in
nowise stay saved--is hastening rapidly on to the tomb of
the world's history, will pass in turn through that gloomy
sepulcher of countless nations into the great inane, the
eternal void, the all-embracing night of utter nothingness!
With all our patriotism and scannel-piping, our boasting and
our battlefields, our solemn Declarations and labored
Constitutions, we are but constructing a house of cards.

 "The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
   The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
   Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
   And like this insubstantial pageant faded,
   Leave not a rack behind.  We are such stuff
   As dreams are made of, and our little life
   Is rounded with a sleep."

We devote our energies to the propagation of a religion
which Reason, that pitiless monarch of the mind, tells us
must as inevitably pass as did those of Isis and Bel and
Cybele, leaving in the earth's all-absorbing bosom only a
few shattered altars and broken fanes.  We are striving to
win and wear the immortelles, only to be told that mighty
empires have passed from the memory of mankind, and
proud kings who may have ruled the world, sunk into the
far depths of Time and been forgotten.  We divide into
classes industrial and sets social and give Pride free rein to
vaunt herself, knowing that the hour will surely come when
not even a Hilprecht can distinguish between the prince's
ashes and the pauper's dust--can e'en so much as say,
"This cold dead earth, o'er which lizards crawl and from
which springs the poisonous worm and noxious weed, once
lived and loved."  We busy ourselves about the style of a
coat or the cut of a corsage; we dispute anent our faiths
and plan new follies; we struggle for wealth that we may
flaunt a petty opulence in our fellows' faces and win the
envy of fools--and the span of Life but three score and ten,
while a thousand years are but as one tick of the horologe
of Time!  We quarrel about our political creeds and religious
cults, as though it made any difference whether we wore
white or yellow badges, sacrificed at the shrine of Jupiter or
worshiped in the temples of Jehovah.  Why so hot, little
man?  Look up!  Thou seest that sun?  'Tis the same that
shone on this debris when it was the throbbing metropolis
of a world.  The self-same moon that looks so
peacefully down smiled on the midnight tryst in Nippur's
scented groves or Babylon's hanging gardens; the same
stars that now fret Heaven's black vault with astral fire
winked and blinked 11,000 years ago while the sandaled
feet of youth, on polished cedar floors, beat out the
rhythmic passion of its blood.  There too were the Heaven
of requited love and the Hell of breaking hearts; there too
were women beauteous as the dawn and ambitious men,
grasping with eager hands at what they fondly thought the
ever-fadeless bays; there too were crowned kings and
fashion's sumptuous courts, chanting priests and tearful
penitents--the same farce tragedy of Life and Death.  And
now an unsightly heap of rubbish marks this once bright
theater in which prince and pauper each played his part--
marks it, and nothing more.  But the sun shines on, and the
stars, and the silver moon still draws the restless wave
around a rolling world.  How small we are, how ephemeral,
how helpless in God's great hand!  Is it not strange that we
do not cling, each to the others, like shipwrecked mariners
riding the stormy waters on some frail raft and looking with
dilating eyes into the black abyss?--that we waste our little
lives in wild wars and civic strife?--that all our souls are
concentrated in that one word, selfishness?--that we have
time to hate?  If History be Philosophy teaching by
example, what lesson does Prof. Hilprecht bring us from the
chronicles of those kings who died 5,000 years before that
garden was planted "eastward in Eden!"


* * *
ARE WOMEN DEVOID OF DESIRE?

Perhaps a religious periodical like the ICONOCLAST
should avoid a question of such delicacy, should leave it to
the medical magazines, which may speak as plainly as they
please, even in the presence of the proverbial
"young person"--now deep in the study of physiology and
even essaying the practice of therapeutics.  My quarrel,
however, is with these same medical magazines, which
delight in discovering mares' nests for no other apparent
purpose than to make mankind uncomfortable.  They will
persist in disregarding the time-honored axiom that
"everybody knows more than anybody," a truism which Dr.
Spahr elaborated in his declaration that "the common
observation of common people is more trustworthy than the
statistical investigations of the most unprejudiced expert"--
even though he be a distinguished M.D.  I have before me
an essay by George Troup Maxwell, M.D., of Florida, read
before the association of doctors and printed, with evident
approval, by the Virginia Medical Semi-Monthly.  Like
most gentlemen of his profession, Dr. Maxwell discusses
matters of the utmost delicacy with refreshing freedom, an
example which I must follow to some extent if I would
expose his fallacies; hence the "young person"--unless
indeed she be studying to become a doctor or a writer of
"realistic" fiction--is solemnly adjured to dive no deeper
here.  Dr. Maxwell makes several startling assertions from
which I--albeit a doctor of divinity instead of medicine--must
emphatically dissent.  I make no apology for so doing, for it
is the time-honored prerogative of preachers to speak ex
cathedra on all questions, whether religious, scientific or
political.  The pulpit is to all other professions what
philosophy is to the various schools of science--exercises
supervisory power, and by a tap here and a prod there,
makes them consentient with its own infallible scheme of
things, so to speak.  It is a very trying occupation, yet some
complain that we parsons must have our summer vacation
on full pay and nurse our precious health at swell hotels,
while common people feed on potatoes--and plant
and grow six-cent cotton for the benefit of the contribution
plate.  But from of old there have been morbose people
ever ready to criticize the holy and put cockleburs in the
back hair of the pure in heart.  The salient features of Dr.
Maxwell's essay may be summarized; as follows:

Sexually considered, civilized man is more beastial than the
brutes.  He does not respect the person of his gestant wife,
and this disregard of natural law is the most potent failure
in the curtailment of natural increase.  Certain physiological
facts indicate that woman is destitute of desire.  Carpenter,
the great English scientist, is quoted in support of this
proposition, and a "female lecturer of distinction" (name not
given) to establish the theory that the chief cause of marital
unhappiness and the ill health of wives is the sexual
inhumanity of husbands--such inhumanity being quite as
common among the better as among the uncultured.

The foregoing is as delicately as I can state propositions of
such far-reaching importance, and which neither Dr.
Maxwell nor the "female lecturer of distinction" treat in a
manner at all "mealy-mouthed."  Even after exhausting my
stock of euphemisms the recital appears risque enough
to alarm more than one lady reader, and I am tempted to
turn back; but courage, good soul! there's nobody looking,
and if we must live it is important that we learn.  "The
proper study of mankind is man;" and we can obtain no
true idea of the animal if we view him only in holiday attire.
As despite all "progress of science," incubators and other
labor-saving machinery, people still persist in entering the
world in the primogenial way, the relation of the sexes is of
quite immeasurable importance, and knowledge thereof
should not be monopolized by the narrow circle who read
medical magazines.  It is well that we come
occasionally out of the cloud-realm of sentiment and
discuss the relations of man and woman from the
standpoint of practical common sense.  I am aware that the
views expressed by Dr. Maxwell are entertained by some
very able medical men; but they violate the public
understanding, and, as usual, the people are right and the
specialists are wrong.  We do not find desire, as here
understood, in plants and the lowest development of animal
life, it being particularly an attribute of the higher biogeny.
As the more perfect the animal organism the more acute
the sensations of pleasure and pain, it follows that in man,
most complex of earthly creatures, is found the most
powerful procreative passion.  But while this is the
necessary correlative of his superior nervo-muscular
organization, his better attributes are likewise developed--or
differentiated--by the same law of evolution.  Desire, though
accentuated, is refined and rendered subordinate to his
reason, while the brute is the blind slave of instinct.  With
the desire of the man and the reason of the mollusk, the
genus homo would be all that he is painted by Dr.
Maxwell.  Should man become for one day "more beastial
than the brute" his boasted civilization would revert to
subter-savagery.  Under such conditions human progress,
society itself, were impossible.  It is by no means true, as
Dr. Maxwell asserts, that children are born solely because
men are animals possessing animalistic instincts.  True,
they could not well be born were men not animals; but the
"sweet reasonableness" of things enters ever more and
more into the advent of children upon this earth.  Were man
made altogether of mud, intent only on the indulgence of
brute desire, there had been no sacred institution of
marriage, and family names proudly handed down from sire
to son through many centuries.  The name of father had not
been venerable, nor that of mother a synonym of
sanctity.  To the civilized man marriage does not mean, as
Dr. Maxwell seems to imagine, simply license for obscene
riot, but a solemn covenant that he and the object of his
adoration have forsaken all else to cleave each unto the
other through weal and through woe, through life unto
death.  Desire may be the basic principle of the union, but
only as the earth is the basic principle of the rose's beauty
and the jasmine's perfume.  Since earliest biblical days
women have sought to bear children that their husbands
might love them better; indicating that indulgence is not
man's sole concern, even though he be a barbarian; that
one reason he seeks the opposite sex is his desire for fair
daughters and brave sons--a love in which there is no taint
of lust.  Hugo, to whom the human heart was as a printed
page, has given us an admirable portrait of "the way of a
man with a maid" in the courtship of Marius and Cosette.
Youth and ardor and opportunity, yet no thought of evil--all
the dross in human nature transformed into the spirituelle
by the pure white light of love.  True, all men are not
Mariuses or Romeos.  There be Lovelaces and Cagliostros
and Calibans; but prithee, good sir, let us judge our kind by
the nobler instead of the baser standards.  Josephs and St.
Anthonys are not plentiful I grant you; but neither are such
brutish husbands as those you denounce.  Love and poetry
and chivalry still have an abiding-place in the heart of man,
and the mother and matriarch of this triune is woman.  Prof.
Carpenter, Dr. Maxwell and the "female lecturer of
distinction" to the contrary notwithstanding, it is doubtful if
the sexes differ much in the intensity of desire.  True, I
have written somewhere that "God made the male to seek,
the female to be sought"; but it does not follow therefore
that every woman is a Daphne who would be transformed
into a laurel tree to escape an importunate lover.  There
may have been women so bloodless that their love
left frost on the window-panes of their boudoirs; but never
did their sons become world compellers.  Despite the pretty
theory of Dr. Maxwell, the same fiery cross is laid upon the
daughters as upon the sons of men, and thousands falter
and fall beneath it and are swept downwards to their doom.
Were it otherwise, were women the passionless creatures
some doctors delight to paint them, all our encomiums of
female virtue were idle mockery.  It is because we realize
that in the veins of the vestal virgin runs the same fierce
tide which Egypt's Queen nor Russia's Empress could
control, and which flamed in battle-splendor in the ten
years' war of Troy, that with uncovered heads we render
her the tribute of our respect.  Women admit all this in
demanding the "single standard of morals."  It is doubtless
true that many women are less amorous than their lords--
are to some extent the victims of the latter; but before
assuming that this defect is congenital it were well to
inquire if there be not an efficient post-natal cause.  It is no
compliment to woman to urge that she contributes
unwillingly to the world, would fain ignore the God-given law
to "be fruitful and multiply."  Regardless of the affected
horror of anaemic prudes and ancient wall-flowers, the
woman of to-day insists upon being recognized as a vital
force--is even beginning to comprehend that, refine it as
you will, differentiate it as you may, it is the same vital force
which fills the cradle that sways the scepter.  As she
aspires to share with man the regency of this world, she will
scarce thank Carpenter and Maxwell for a premise from
which the conclusion must be inevitably drawn that, as a
world-power, she must ever rank with eunuchs--that she is
here solely by man's volition and despite her implied
protest.  We must understand woman before presuming to
measure her passions or estimate her powers; and it is well
to remember that after some sixty centuries of
interested scrutiny she remains very much a mystery--to
eminent physicians as well as others.  Her mind seems to
bewilder the psychologists no less than her body puzzles
the physiologists--both find the factual impossible and the
self-evident absurd.  Dr. Maxwell has discovered, however,
that comparatively few women marry men whom they would
select were they free to inspect the entire human penfold
and make a choice of a mate.  Now if he will conjoin that
fact to this other, equally self-evident, that with the average
woman desire is the fruitage of which love is the flower,
perchance he will find a valid explanation of what Carpenter
calls her sexual passivity.  Man is a born polygamist, but
woman is not naturally polyandrous.  This statement--which
I have made hitherto to the consternation of the godly and
at imminent danger of being prosecuted for heresy--is
substantiated by the fact that with man desire usually
precedes love, while the latter is not its necessary
sequence; but with the normal woman love must act as
pilot for passion--so much is she our moral superior.  Every
woman is a day-dreamer and a worshiper.  During girlhood
she pictures to herself some perfect man--some impossible
demigod--who is to drift within the little circle of her life and
make her the proudest of women, the happiest of wives.  In
grace or beauty, in genius or bravery--or all these
attributes--he is to be the paragon, to tower like Saul above
his brethren.  Her husband is to be a man of whom she will
be intensely proud, herself the envy of her sex.  If this be
not correct let some old mother in Israel answer.  Happy for
the daydreamer if her fairy prince, or somewhat her fond
imaginings can accept as such, lays heart and fortune at
her feet; sorrowful indeed if he come not, worse if he
materialize and have eyes only for others.  If she be so
fortunate as to wed the one man in all the world
whom she would have chosen had such choice been
vouchsafed her by kind Heaven, o'ermastering love will
sweep her through all the heavens a sensuous fancy ever
feigned; but the chances are that her idol lives only in the
ghostly realm of dreams, else goes elsewhere to wive, and
she marries not whom she would but whom she must--
wedlock, thanks to her mistaken training, being the end and
aim of her existence.  Instead of an idol to adore, she
secures some foolish eidolon whom she can scarce
respect, and through days of disgust and nights of agony
strives to "do her duty," to conceal from the world her
disappointment.  Thus is blood that might have been a
sirocco to stir the soul of an anchorite, transformed into an
icy mist--the Paphian Venus lies crushed, degraded, cold,
amid the reeds of Pan.  But this mesalliance, this mating
with Davus the detested instead of with Oedipus the
adored, is not the only cause of indifference.  The health of
American wives, their muliebrity or womanly power, is
sapped in various ways.  Millions of them are overworked,
all the virility ground out of them in the brutal treadmill of
existence; and it not infrequently happens that they are the
wives of men in easy circumstances, who are too fat-
headed to realize that those womanly attributes which so
charm the sterner sex cannot long withstand continual
drudgery.  One is tempted to believe that such men married
to save the expense of hiring a housekeeper, that they
hoped by sleeping with their laundress to avoid wash bills.
Take the great middle class of America (which is the social
and moral cream of the country) and you will find that, as a
rule, the men have abundant leisure in which to recuperate
from the exhaustion of labor, and are robust as Jove's
Phoenician bull, while their wives slave from early morn till
dewy eve and present the faded, "washed-out" appearance
that bespeaks the work which is never done and the
worry which ends only with death.  If you will look closely
you will detect traces of tight corsets and other sartorial
enginery with which Dame Fashion attempts to eliminate
the little life which continual cooking, washing and pot-
walloping has left--for woman, though her heart be broken,
her spirit crushed and her viscera a chaos, still clings to her
vanity, will "follow the fashions" though they lead to a
funeral.  Such is your Idalian Aphrodite ten years after
marriage, when to her matured charms the beauty of her
girlhood should be as moonlight unto sunlight and as water
unto wine.  And this wan, suffering creature, with a drug-
shop on her pantry shelves and more "female complaints"
than were known to the father of medicine, is expected to
comfort the couch of Caesar!  Nor is this all.  As the
struggle for existence grows harder (as it has been doing in
America for some decades) and the necessity for "keeping
up appearances" more imperative, ever greater precautions
are taken to prevent family increase.  So widespread is this
evil that you can scarce pick up a paper without finding
some abortion nostrum advertised.  Scan the next paper
that comes into your home and see if the virtues of some
tansy, penny-royal or other foeticidal compound be not
therein set forth.  Were these crime promoters not
extensively sold the murderous scoundrels who
manufacture them could not annually expend vast sums of
money without "public educators" for their exploitation.
These advertisements frequently suggest the crime; that is
their intent; hence publishers who insert them are the co-
partners of abortionists and share both the iniquity and the
cash.  But even this costly advertising does not indicate the
extent of the evil, for by far the greater part of those
married women who desire to avoid maternity are their own
practitioners--paying the penalty with premature age,
impotency and pain.  As a rule the mother of a large family
is a healthy woman with vigor unimpaired, while others of
her age having few children or none are the semi-invalids
who denounce their husbands to the doctor.  The practice
of avoiding marital responsibility is frequently condemned
by the medical press, even by the pulpit; but while M.D.'s
and D.D.'s make a specialty of both gynecology and
gyneolatry, neither seem to understand the spirit in which
these sins against hygienics are committed.  Doubtless a
few fashionable butterflies avoid motherhood for selfish
reasons; but these are unimportant exceptions to the rule.
If a woman does not love her husband she may not care to
bear him children; but maternal instinct usually dominates
this desire.  If she does love him, and his financial
resources be limited, she hesitates to increase his
responsibilities.  The social standing of a family in this
artificial age is measured chiefly by the faithfulness with
which it follows fashion's decrees; and as every child, by
enhancing expense makes service of this modern Moloch
more difficult, the unborn innocents are slain.  She
considers the educational and other advantages that will
accrue to the children already born, and unselfishly--if
sinfully--sacrifices herself.  It is an evil that will scarce be
eliminated by the dehortations of homilists who see no
deeper than the surface.  Dr. Maxwell and his lady lecturer
are certainly mistaken in the assumption that American
husbands do not consider the welfare of their wives when in
a delicate condition, and it is a mistake that must be
classed either as criminal negligence or calumny.  I opine
that the lady lecturer aforesaid is a sour old maid--that if
she ever becomes a wife and mother she will learn
somewhat of the caprices of her sex subsequent to
conception that will materially modify her complaint.
Reasoning by analogy from the inferior order of animals to
man hagled more than one enthusiastic physiologist
into serious error.  The medical profession is continually
alarming the country.  It has been but a little while since
men were assured that they were poisoning their babies by
kissing them, and now they are flatly told that their wives
regard the nuptial couch with aversion.  Havana cigars give
a fellow the "tobacco heart," plug exhausts the saliva
necessary to digestion, and bourbon whiskey burns his
stomach full of blowholes.  Beer makes him bilious, tea and
coffee knock out his nerves, while plum-pudding gives him
dyspepsia, grape pie appendicitis and hot biscuits
undermine his general health.  Emotional preaching afflicts
him with "jerks," golf has a tendency to paresis, the round
dance infects him with philogyny and bicycling deforms his
face.  We might just as well be dead and with Lucifer as
believe these doctors, for life wouldn't be half worth the
living if we heeded their laws.  My brethren of the loaded
capsule and sociable stethoscope are evidently off their
equipoise.  Babies flourish much better on the kiss
micrococcus than on the slipper bacillus, few women will
live with impotent husbands, and nearly every centenarian
is a collocation of bad habits that, by all the laws of
Hippocrates, should have buried him at the halfway house.
It may seem unchivalrous to say so, but it is a stubborn fact
nevertheless, and merits the consideration of Dr. Maxwell,
that more men are misled by lustful women than maids
betrayed by designing men.  In fact, no man--at least no
civilized man--makes improper advances to a woman
unless he receives some encouragement, being deterred
both by chivalrous sentiment and respect for the persuasive
shotgun.  Despite the picture drawn by the lady lecturer and
others of the horrors of married life, I opine that the woman
who captures a sure-enough man who isn't negotiating
simply for a cook and chambermaid, and who can be
depended upon to play Romeo to her Juliet for sixty
years or so, should be in no unseemly haste to break into
that heaven where Hymen is given the marble heart, and
the matron who breaks into the game with seven obedient
husbands to her credit has no advantage over the old maid
who never swallowed a pillow while watching a man clad
only in a single garment and a cerulean halo of profanity,
making frantic swipes under the bureau for a missing collar-
button.


* * *
HYPNOTIC POWER OF HER.

I have received a letter from Tyler, Texas, propounding
the following fateful conundrum:  "Can Woman Hypnotize
Man?"  My correspondent adds that "by answering, the
ICONOCLAST will confer a favor on the people of Tyler,
decide a bet and settle a vexatious question."

The affirmative scoops the stakes--wins dead easy, and
world without end.  The man who puts his doubloons on the
negative either never saw a woman until after she was
dead, or didn't know what ailed him when under her
hypnotic influence.  Perhaps he imagined that he had a
chronic case of yellow jaundice, was threatened with
paresis or had been inadvertently struck by lightning.
Perhaps he's under the mystic spell of some "wily Vivien"
even now, and laying foolish wagers in his mesmeric sleep.
"Can woman hypnotize man?  "Well, I should snigger.
She can hypnotize anything that wears pants, from the
prince at his gilded poker game, to the peasant scattering
worm poison in the lowly cotton patch and revolving in his
think tank the tenets of Populism; and I'm not sure but the
clothing store dummies and their brother dudes are simply
the physical wrecks and mental ruins of her hypnotic
medicine.  She hypnotizes because she can't help it.
She's built that way.  The Tyler savants are 'way behind the
times.  They are plunging into the shoreless realm of
psychology in search of information that was trite in
antediluvian times.  They are trying to determine whether
man is a free moral agent in matters matrimonial, when the
sire of Solomon had made answer, and Lillian Russell's
multitudinous husbands settled the "vexatious question"
forever and for aye.  But perhaps Tyler has been too busy
raising politicians to keep pace with the psychological
procession.  Eve hypnotized Adam and made him cast
away the empire of the earth for a scrubby apple, and ever
since her fair daughters have been making men imitate
their remote forefather's folly.

Woman does not "operate" as do the professional he-
hypnotists.  Instead of giving you a bright button or brand-
new dime to look at, she puts her dimples in evidence--
maelstroms of love in a sea of beauty.  She dazzles you for
a moment with the dreamy splendor of her eyes, then
studies the toe of a boot that would raise a Kansas corn-
crop for Trilby or supply Cinderella with bunions.  She looks
down to blush and she looks up to sigh--catches you "a-
comin' an' goin' "--and you're gone!  You realize that the
linchpin is slipping out of your logic, but you let 'er slip.
You suspect that your judgment has taken unto itself wings,
and that you couldn't tell whether you're a red-licker
Democrat or a hard-cider Prohibitionist; but you don't care.
You simply bid farewell to every fear and give the
"operator" your undivided attention.  She plays with a
skilled hand on all your senses, until the last one of them
"passes in music out of sight" and leaves you a mental
bankrupt.  She makes you drunken with the music of her
voice and maddens you with the low, sweet melody of her
skirts.  She permits you, quite accidentally, of course,
to catch a glimpse of an ankle turned for an angel, and, as
she bends forward to chastise you with her fan, your
vagrant gaze rests for a fleeting moment on alabaster
hemispheres rising in a billowy sea of lace, like Aphrodite
cradled in old ocean's foam.  You are now far advanced in
the hypnotic trance, and very fond of it as far as you've got.
Her every posture is a living picture, her slightest
movement a sensuous symphony, her breath upon your
cheek a perfumed air to waft you to the dreamy but
dangerous land of the lotus-eaters.  You drift nearer, and
ever nearer, like a moth revolving in narrowing circles
around an incandescent light, until you find yourself alone
with her in some cozy nook, the world forgetting if not by
your creditors forgot.  Being naturally industrious, you seek
employment, and she gives you her hand to hold.  Of
course, she could hold it herself, but the occupation
pleases you, and she doesn't mind.  Besides, you make
more rapid progress into the realm of irresponsibility by
taking care of it for her occasionally.  You conceive that
what is worth doing at all is worth doing well, and freeze to
that little fragment of pulsing snow like a farmer to his
Waterbury in a camp-meeting crowd.  She rewards your
devotion to duty by a gentle pressure, and a magnetic thrill
starts at your finger tips and goes through your system like
an applejack toddy, until it makes your toes tingle, then
starts on its return trip, gathering volume as it travels, until
it becomes a tidal wave that envelops all your world.  You
are now uncertain whether you have hit the lottery for the
capital prize or been nominated for justice of the peace.
You have lost your identity, and should you chance to meet
yourself in the middle of the road would need an
introduction.  The larger the supply of brains you sat into
the game with, the less you have left.  You begin to talk
incoherently, and lay the premise for a breach of
promise case.  You sip the hand-made nectar from the rosy
slot in her face, harrow the Parisian peach bloom on her
cheek with your scrubbing-brush mustache, reduce the
circumference of her health-corset with your manly arm,
and your hypnotism is complete.  Right there the last faint
adumbration of responsibility ends and complete mental
aberration begins.  You sigh like a furnace and write
sonnets to your mistress' eyebrow--you cut fantastic capers
before high Heaven for the divertisement of those who don't
yet know how it is themselves.  The "operator" may break
the spell by marrying you, in which case you will return by
easy stages to the normal and again become a sane man
and useful member of society; but if she lets you down with
the "sister" racket, your nervous system is pretty apt to
sour.  When a woman loses her hypnotic power she either
straddles a bike, becomes a religious crank or seeks
surcease for her sorrow among the female suffragists.


* * *
VICTOR HUGO'S IMMORTALITY.

Philadelphia's school board has barred Victor Hugo's
"Les Miserables" from the list of books to be used in the
high school in the teaching of French, as a book not fit for
girls.  What would not one give for a diagram of the heads
of these educators?  It must be a nasty mind which can find
anything immoral in that book as a whole.  One may take a
chapter out here and there, and show it to be broad and
coarse, divorced from the context, but the whole effect of
the book is moral.  The mind of the man who can say that
"Les Miserables" will not tend as a whole to make a girl
more womanly, a boy more manly, must be poisoned by
the miasma from a filthy heart.  What and who in it
are immoral?  Not Valjean!  Not Fantine even, nor Cosette!
Not Marius!  Not Javert, the detective!  Is the chapter on
Cambronne's surrender the offending fragment of the great
literary masterpiece?  That chapter is the sublimity of
disgust!  There never was anyone hurt spiritually or morally
by the great French masterpiece of fiction.  The man who
can say the book is defiling, would draw defilement from
the fount of Castaly.  The Philadelphia school board has
declared itself an aggregation of asses.  "Les Miserables"
is the greatest poem of divine humanity that this world has
known since Shakespeare wrote "Lear."  But I suppose
"Lear," too, is immoral.  I suppose everything is immoral,
from "Oedipus, the Tyrant," to Hall Caine's "Christian,"
that teaches that men are born of woman, and that love will
have its way, even unto all bitterness.  It is eminently fitting
that "Les Miserables" should be condemned as immoral in
the most immoral city in the United States.  A Philadelphian
may be depended upon to see immorality in one of
Raphael's Madonnas.--St. Louis Mirror.

My esteemed contemporary should bottle up its indignation,
there is absolutely nothing to be gained by lambasting
idiots, by criticizing cretins.  Editor Reedy is but casting his
pearls before swine--is talking to people who, having eyes
see not, having ears hear not, and whose cerebra are filled
with sawdust.  They are like unto a lot of sheep that follow
the master ram, not because they comprehend or care
whither he is going, but because they smell him, and point
their proboscidi in his direction as naturally as the needle
lines the pole.  It was Jean Paul--was it not?--who
discovered that if a cane be held horizontally before the
lead ram of a flock, compelling him to saltate, then
removed, the thousandth ewe lamb will jump at that point
just as did the pioneer.  So it is with a pietistical and
puristical people--they will follow some stupid old
bellwether because utterly incapable of independent
thought, of individual ratiocination.  When "Les Miserables"
first appeared some literary Columbus made the
remarkable discovery that it was a French book, that it was
shot full of "slang," the expressive patois of the race,
that it was liberally spiced with argot, the vernacular of
vagabonds.  Hugo's immortal masterpiece has not yet
recovered from this discovery--the thousandth ewe lamb is
still blithely saltating over the blackthorn.  It is as useless
to contend against the purist fad as against the holiness fake.
Like a plague of army worms or epidemic of epizootic, it
must run its course.  Preternicety of expression, an
affectation of euphemism, has in every age and clime
evidenced moral degeneration and mental decay.  When
people emasculate their minds, they redouble their
corporeal devotion at the shrine of Priapus, for nature
preserves the equipoise.  Every writer of virility is now
voted obscene, every man who strikes sledge-hammer
blows at brutal wrong intrenched in prescriptive right is
denounced as immoral.  "Les Miserables" not fit for young
ladies' reading!--and this the epocha of the New Woman, of
the single standard of mind and morals.  While woman is
insisting that she is every way man's equal, entitled to
share with him the wardship of this world, Detroit is putting
bloomers on the statues of Dian, Boston refusing the
Bacchante, Waco draping the marble figure of a child
exhibited at her cotton palace, Anthony Comstock having
cataleptic convulsions, "Les Miserables" excluded from
Philadelphia high schools and the ICONOCLAST
denounced by certain bewhiskered old he-virgins as
obscene!  And so it goes.  This world is becoming so
awfully nice that it's infernally nawsty.  It sees evil in
everything because its point of view is that of the pimp.  Its
mind is a foul sewer whose exhalations coat even the
Rose of Sharon with slime.  A writer may no longer call a
spade a spade; he must cautiously refer to it as an
agricultural implement lest he shock the supersensitiveness
of hedonists and call down upon his head the Anathema
Maranatha of men infinitely worse than Oscar Wilde.  What
the Mirror means by "Cambronne's surrender" I cannot
imagine, unless Editor Reedy was indulging in grim irony.  I
present extracts from the account of Cambronne, which he
suspects may have given the pietistical Quakers a pain.  It
is the finale of Hugo's matchless word-painting of the Battle
of Waterloo:

"A few squares of the guard, standing motionless in the
swash of the rout, like rocks in running water, held out till
night.  They awaited the double shadow of night and death,
and let them surround them.  Each regiment, isolated from
the others, and no longer connected with the army, which
was broken on all sides, died where it stood.  The gloomy
squares, deserted, conquered and terrible, struggled
formidably with death, for Ulm, Wagram, Jena and
Friedland were dying in it.  When twilight set in at nine in
the evening, one square still remained at the foot of the
plateau of Mont St. Jean.  In this mournful valley, at the
foot of the slope scaled by the cuirassiers, now inundated
by the English masses, beneath the converging fire of the
hostile and victorious artillery, under a fearful hailstorm of
projectiles, this square still resisted.  It was commanded by
an obscure officer by the name of Cambronne.  At each
volley the square still diminished, but continued to reply to
the canister with musketry fire, and each moment
contracted its four walls.  Fugitives in the distance, stopping
at moments to draw breath, listened in the darkness to this
gloomy diminishing thunder.  When this legion had become
only a handful, when their colors were but a rag,
when their ammunition was exhausted, and muskets were
clubbed, and when the pile of corpses was greater than the
living group, the victors felt a species of sacred awe, and
the English artillery ceased firing.  It was a sort of respite;
these combatants had around them an army of specters,
outlines of mounted men, the black profile of guns, and the
white sky visible through the wheels; the colossal death's
head which heroes ever glimpse in the smoke of battle,
advanced and looked at them.  They could hear in the
twilight gloom that the guns were being loaded; the lighted
matches, resembling the eyes of a tiger in the night, formed
a circle round their heads.  The linstocks of the English
batteries approached the guns, and at this moment an
English general, Colville according to some, Maitland
according to others, holding the supreme moment
suspended over the heads of these men, shouted to them,
'Brave Frenchmen, surrender!'  Cambronne answered,
'Merde.'  To Cambronne's exclamation, an English voice
replied, 'Fire!'  The batteries flashed, the hillside trembled,
from all these throats of brass came a last eruption of
grape, a vast cloud of smoke vaguely whitened by the
rising moon rolled up, and when the smoke had been
dissipated, there was nothing.  The dreaded remnant was
annihilated, the guard was dead.  The four walls of the
living redoubt lay low, with here and there a scarcely
perceptible quiver among the corpses.  Thus the French
legions, grander than those of Rome, expired on Mont St.
Jean, on the earth sodden with rain and blood."

Hugo quite needlessly apologized for quoting the
Frenchman's laconic reply to the summons to surrender.
He was writing history, and no milk-and-water euphemism
could have expressed Cambronne's defiance and contempt.
Of course John Bull pitilessly shot to death that heroic
fragment of the Old Guard, which forgot in its supreme
hour that while foolhardiness may be magnificent, it
is not war.  I would have put a cordon of soldiers about that
pathetic remnant of Napoleon's greatness and held it there
to this good day rather than have plowed it down as a
farmer plows jimson weeds into a pile of compost; but John
Bull is not built that way--is impregnated with the chivalry of
Baylor.  Cambronne's reply is the only objectionable word in
the entire work, and certain it might be pardoned in a scrap
of history by people whose press and pulpit have
apotheosized "Trilby," Du Maurier's supposititious
prostitute.  I presume that the Philadelphia school board is
about on an intellectual and moral parity with the trustees of
Baylor--haven't the remotest idea whether merde means
maggots or moonshine.  Victor Hugo was a lord in the
aristocracy of intellect; his masterpiece is nature's faithful
mirror.  Ame de boue should be branded with a hot iron
on the hickory-nut head of every creature whom its perusal
does not benefit.  His description of the Battle of Waterloo
is to "Ben-Hur's" chariot race what Mount Aetna in
eruption is to a glow worm.  It transcends the loftiest flights
of Shakespeare.  Before it even "The Wondrous Tales of
Troy" pales its ineffectual fires.  It casts the shadow of its
genius upon Bulwer's "Pompeii" as the wing of the condor
shades the crow.  Byron's "sound of revelry by night" is the
throbbing of a snare drum drowned in Hugo's thunders of
Mont St. Jean.  Danton's rage sinks to an inaudible
whisper, and even Aeschylus shrivels before that
cataclysm of Promethean fire; that celestial monsoon.  It
stirs the heart like the rustle of a silken gonfalon dipped in
gore, like the whistle of rifle-balls, like the rhythmic
dissonance of a battery slinging shrapnel from the heights
of Gettysburg into the ragged legions of General Lee.  I
have counseled my contemporary to be calm; but by
Heaven! it does stir my soul into mutiny to see a lot
of intellectual pismires, who have secured positions of trust
because of their political pull in the Tenderloin, hurling their
petty scorn at Victor Hugo.  It were like Carlyle's "critic fly"
complacently rubbing its hinder legs and giving its opinion
of the Parthenon, like aesop's vindictive snail besliming
the masterpiece of Phidias, like a Baylor professor lecturing
on the poetry of Lord Byron.  Every writer of eminence
since the days of Moses has had to run the gauntlet of
these slight people's impotent wrath.  While slandering the
prophets of progress and religion they have vented their
foul rheum on all the gods of literature.  Kansas, I am told,
put a man in the penitentiary for sending through the mails
biblical texts printed on postal cards.  Speaking of Goethe's
"Wilhelm Meister," Carlyle says:

" 'Meister,' it appears is a vulgar work; no gentleman, we
hear in certain circles, could have written it; few real
gentlemen, it is insinuated, can like to read it; no real lady,
unless possessed of considerable courage should profess
having read it at all!"

And yet "Wilhelm Meister" changed the whole current of
European literature--the work was practically committed to
memory by the noblest men and women of the world.  We
hear the venerated Queen of Prussia repeating from it in
her cruel exile,

     "Wer nie sein Brod mit Thranen ass,
     Wer nicht die Kummervollen Nachte
     Auf Seinem Bette weinend sass,
     Der Kennt euch nicht, ihr himmlischen Machte."

Let the Philadelphia school board and the Baylorian
managers construe it if they can.

     "Udi vura udorini udiri cicova cilti mora
     Udorini talti hollna u ede caimoni mora"

What?  I guess "nit."  The idea of keeping "Les
Miserables" away from the ladies!--just as though there
could be found in the whole country a sixteen-year-old maid
with any pretensions to intelligence who hasn't wept over
little Cosette, been in love with Enjolras and "doted on"
Gavroche and Jean Valjean!  So ultra nice has the world
become that we must skip the Canticles.  Shakespeare's
plays must now be clapper-clawed to make them palatable.
Alexander Pope's philosophic rhyme must be deleted with
dashes.  Walt Whitman's poetry is too strong for the
average stomach.  But we continue to fire into the bosoms
of our families the daily press with its specialization of
Hogan's Alley and the Yellow Kid, reeking with its burden of
ads. of abortion recipes and syphilitic nostrums--even take
our wives and daughters to the Tabernacle to be told by
Sam Jones that if they don't think he has backbone he'll
"pull up his shirt-tail and show 'em!"  Byron was vigorously
denounced by the vindictive Miss Nancys of his day, but
scornfully replied:

     "I have not loved the world, nor the world me;
     I have not flatter'd its rank breath nor bow'd
     To its idolatries a patient knee."

There seems to be nothing left that we may safely read
except Watts' Hymns, Talmage's sermons and the pathetic
story of Mary's Little Lamb--a promising diet truly, upon
which to rear intellectual titans.  The remarkable thing about
this purist fad is that all the Podsnaps wear pants--the
ladies are not on tenter-hooks all the time lest something
be said or written that will "bring a blush to the cheek of a
young person."  It is the he-virgins, the bearded women
who are ever on the watch lest young femininity become
impregnated with an idea.  This country's got a bad
case of malus pudor--and needs an heroic dose of
double-action liver pills.


* * *
THE SCIENCE OF KISSING.

I note that a Britisher named Prof. Bridger has been
infringing my copyright by proclaiming, as an original
discovery, that kissing is an excellent tonic and will cure
dyspepsia.  When the o'erbusy bacteriologists first
announced that osculation was a dangerous pastime, that
divers and sundry varieties of bacteria hopped blithely back
and forth engendering disease and death, I undertook a
series of experiments solely in the interest of science.
Being a Baptist Preacher and making camp-meetings my
specialty, I had unusual opportunity for investigation, for
those of our faith are strict constructionists of the biblical
law to "greet one another with a kiss."  I succeeded in
demonstrating before the end of the tenting season that
osculation, when practiced with reasonable discretion and
unfaltering industry, is an infallible antidote for at least half
the ills that human flesh is heir to.  The reason the doctors
arrived at different conclusions is that they kissed
indiscriminately and reasoned inductively.  They found on
casting up the account that bad breath and face powder,
the sour milk-bottle of youth and the chilling frost of age,
comprised six-sevenths of the sum total.  Under such
conditions there was nothing to do but establish a
quarantine.  I pointed out, as Prof. Bridger has since done,
that a health microbe as well as a disease bacillus
nidificates on the osculatory apparatus, and added that
failure to absorb a sufficient quantity of these hygiologic
germs into the system causes old maids to look jaundiced
and bachelors to die sooner than benedicts.  Kisses, when
selected with due care and taken on the installment
plan, will not only restore a misplaced appetite, but are
especially beneficial in cases of hay fever, as they banish
that tired feeling, tone up the liver, invigorate the heart, and
make the blood to sing through the system like a giant
jewsharp.  I found by patient experiment that the health
microbe becomes active at fifteen, reaches maturity at
twenty, begins to lose its vigor at forty, and is quite useless
as a tonic when, as someone has tersely expressed it, a
woman's kisses begin to "taste of her teeth."  Thin bluish
lips produce very few health germs, and those scarce worth
the harvesting; but a full red mouth with Cupid curves at the
corners, will yield enormously if the crop be properly
cultivated.  I did not discover whether the blonde or
brunette variety is entitled to precedence in medical
science, but incline to the opinion that a judicious admixture
is most advisable from a therapeutical standpoint.  Great
care should be taken when collecting the germs not to
crush them by violent collision or blow them away with a
loud explosion that sounds like hitting an empty sugar
hogshead with a green hide.  The practice still prevailing in
many parts of this country of chasing a young woman ever
the furniture and around the barn like an amateur cowboy
trying to rope a maverick, rounding her up in the presence
of a dozen people, unscrewing her neck and planting
almost any place a kiss that sounds like a muley cow
pulling her hind foot out of a black-waxy mud hole, and
which jars the putty off the window panes, possesses no
more curative powers than hitting a flitch of bacon with the
back of your hand.  I prithee, avoid it; when a girl runs from
a kiss you may take it for granted either that the germ crop
is not ripe or you are poaching on somebody else's
preserves.  The best results can be obtained about the
midnight hour, when the dew is on the rose, the
jasmine bud drunken with its own perfume and the mock-
bird trilling a last good night to his drowsy mate.  You
entice your best girl into the garden to watch Venus' flaming
orb hanging like the Kohinoor pendant from the crescent
moon.  You pause beneath the great gnarled live oak, its
myriad leaves rustling softly as the wings of seraphs.  Don't
be in a hurry, and for God's sake, don't gab--in such a night
silence is the acme of eloquence.  "In such a night Troilus
mounted the Trojan walls and sighed his soul toward the
Grecian tents where Cressid lay."  She watches the fireflies
respiring in phosphorescent flame amid the clover blooms,
while you watch her and twine a spray of honeysuckle in
her hair.  Your clumsy fingers unloose the guards and her
fragrant tresses, caught up by the cool night wind, float
about your face.  Somehow her hand gets tangled up with
yours, and after a spasmodic flutter there remains a willing
prisoner.  The fireflies have failed to interest her and she is
studying the stars.  You move your shoulder forward to give
her head a rest and get hold of her other hand.  Be patient;
when she wants you to kiss her she'll find means to make it
manifest, and a maid worth kissing despises a forward
man.  She looks very beautiful with her face upturned in the
moonlight; but don't say a word about it, for there's a little
of the poseur about all the daughters of Eve.  She
withdraws her eyes from the stars, slowly turns them
dreamily upon yours, and you note that they are filled with
astral fire.  They roam idly over the shadowy garden, then
close as beneath a weight of weariness.  Her head rests
more heavily against your shoulder and her bosom
trembles with a half-audible sigh.  There is now really no
occasion for further delay.  Do not swoop down upon the
health germs like a hungry hen-hawk on a green gosling,
but incline your head gently until your carefully deodorized
breath is upon her lips--there pause, for the essence
of enjoyment is in anticipation.  The man who gulps down a
glass of old wine without first inhaling its oenanthic and
feasting his eyes upon its ruddy splendors, is simply a sot.
Wait until you have noted the dark lashes lying upon the
cheek of sun-flushed snow, "the charm of married brows,"
the throat of alabaster, the dimple in her chin, the wine-tint
of her half-parted lips with their glint of pearl--wait until her
eyes half-open, look inquiringly into yours, and close again,
then cincture her gently but firmly with one arm, support her
chin with the other hand, and give the health germs ample
time to change their home.  A kiss to have any scientific
value, should last one minute and seven seconds by
Shrewsbury clock, and be repeated seven times, not in
swift succession, but with the usual interval between wine
at a symposiac.  Byron did these things differently, but the
author of "Don Juan" is not a safe example for young folks
to follow.  He pictures Mars lying with his head in the lap of
Venus,

   "Feeding on thy sweet cheek, while thy lips are
   With lava-kisses melting while they burn,
   Shower'd on his eyelids, brow and mouth as from an urn."

That may be eminently satisfactory to Mars, but scarce
proper for Venus.  It is exciting, but not scientific.  It
suggests charity children gorging themselves with plum-
pudding, rather than poetic natures drunken with beauty;
and fragrance, swooning 'neath the sweetness of a duet
sung by their own chaste souls.  The dyspeptic who cannot
recover by following my prescription deserves to die.  The
pessimist whom it doesn't make look at life through rose-
tinted glasses, should be excluded from human society.
The hypochondriac whom it doesn't help ought to be
hanged.  There is not a human ill--unless it be hypocrisy--
for which nature does not provide a remedy, and I
recommend the health germ which builds its nest on
lovely woman's lips as worth more than the whole materia
medica.  I don't know whether it will raise the dead, but I've
always doubted the story that Egypt kissed the cold lips of
her Roman Antony--have suspected it would have brought
me back to life and love had I been dead a month.  The
unscientific catch-as-catch-can kiss has no more beneficial
effect than slapping yourself in the face with a raw beef-
steak.  It is but a slight improvement on the civilization of
Ashantee, where a man proposes marriage by knocking his
Dulcina down with a club and dragging her through the
backwoods' pasture by the hair of her head; but kisses
properly taken--beneath the stars and among the roses--are
the perennial fount of youth for which Ponce de Leon sailed
far seas in a vain search for the blessed Bimini.


* * *
THE NEW SOUTH.

One of the cardinal faults of the American character is a
propensity to brag.  Brother Jonathan's egotism long since
passed into a proverb.  In no section of this land of the
alleged free and home of the ism does the blowhard blow
longer and louder than in the South.  We are the people,
the nonpareil; there are none like us beneath the sun!
From the empyrean we look down upon common humanity,
talk turgid and swell up with the vain glory of a young
turkey-cock with his first tail feathers!  It were well for us to
cease our foolish boasting and con well the stern lessons
taught at the cannon's mouth.  The first and greatest of
these is that only by honest labor, by earnest endeavor,
can a people become truly great.  The war swept away the
curse that was our weakness, negro slavery.  It broke in
upon our old exclusiveness, shattered the foolish
caste that held us in iron thrall, made labor respectable and
progress possible.  It brought energetic Northern people
among us to teach us that the way to greatness lies
through the workshop,--to incite us to shake of our
indolence and enter the race for preferment.  Grant's red-
throated batteries did more than break the shackles from
the wrists of the blacks; they tore the cursed fetters of caste
and custom from the minds of the whites,--a nobler
emancipation.  They set the heart of southern chivalry to
beating with a truer, a stronger life.  In the mad tempest of
battle the New South was born; the crash of arms was the
groans of maternity, the deluge of blood her baptismal rite.
From the ashes of desolate homes and ruined cities she
sprang phoenix-like, and is now mounting the empyrean
with strong and steady wing.  The emancipation
proclamation was a bow of promise that never again while
the world stands and the heavens endure will North and
South meet in battle shock; that the greatness of the one
shall become the proud heritage of the other; that the
grandest section of the American Union shall yet, with
God's blessing, produce the greatest people that ever
adorned the earth.

The war is long past.  We fought and lost.  Our triumphant
foe extended to us a brother's hand, accorded us the honor
due a brave and spirited people.  That we should suffer
reconstruction pains was to have been expected.  That they
were unnecessarily severe was due chiefly to the greed of
a clique of politicians; partly also to the fact that the North
misunderstood us and our black wards, even as we persist
in misunderstanding the "Yankee."  But no gibbet rose in
that storm-swept waste; our very leaders now occupy
positions of honor and trust under the flag they defied.  Let
us not requite the generosity of our erstwhile foes by an
attempt to tarnish their well-earned laurels.  Rather
let us praise and emulate them--strive with them in a nobler
field than that of war.  When the North and South blend in
one homogeneous people, as blend they must, when the
blood of the stern Puritan mingles with that of the dashing
Cavalier, then indeed will be a nation and a people at which
the world will stand agaze; for Northern vigor wedded to
Southern blood will

   "Strike within the pulses like a god's,
   To push us forward through a life of shocks,
   Dangers and deeds, until endurance grows
   Sinew'd with action, and the full grown will,
   Circled through all experience, pure law,
   Commeasure perfect freedom."


* * *
DOGMATISM THE MOTHER OF DOUBT.

A WORSHIP FOR THE WORLD.

"Church Unification" has long been the dream of many
earnest souls, who regret to see the various denominations
wasting energy warring upon each other that should be
brought to bear on the legions of Lucifer; but even the most
sanguine must admit there is little prospect of their dreams
becoming more tangible--at least for some ages yet.  The
bloody chasm which Luther and his co-laborers opened will
not be bridged during the lifetime of the present generation,
and human wisdom is not competent to formulate a
"creed," to devise a "doctrine," upon which the Protestant
world will consent to unite.  The present tendency is not
toward church unification, but greater and more sharply
defined division.  Instead of dogmatic controversy
dying away it is becoming more general; "heterodoxy" is
being hunted with a keener zest than for years, and
doctrinal disputation has become well-nigh as virulent as
the polemics of partisan politics.

In the meantime a majority of mankind in highly civilized
countries remain away from church--take no thought of the
future or seek truth in science rather than revelation.
Dogmatism is the fruitful mother of Doubt.  By assuming to
know too much of God's great plan; by demanding too
abject obedience to his fiats; by attempting to stifle honest
inquiry and seal the lips of living scholars with the dicta of
dead scholastics, by standing ever ready to brand as
blasphemers all who presume to question or dare to differ,
the church has driven millions of Godfearing men into
passive indifference or overt opposition, and the number is
rapidly increasing.  The church does not realize how
stupendous this army really is.  Not every man who regards
the church as but a pretender proclaims that fact on the
housetops.  It is not "good policy," and policy is the
distinguishing characteristic of this day and age.  Church
people are very sensitive to criticism of their creed (perhaps
the mother of a malformed or vicious child could tell why),
and most men have loved ones or patrons who are trying to
find a little comfort among the husks of an iron-bound
orthodoxy.  If any devout dogmatizer really desires to learn
how general is this attitude of nonreceptivity of the orthodox
religion, let him assume the role of a scoffer; then he will
hear the truth from men's lips; for while the doubter may
yield passive assent to the prevalent orthodoxy, the earnest
believer is not apt to enact the role of Peter without
compulsion.  Instead of conquering the world, the church is
rapidly losing what it has hitherto gained.  True, it still
retains a semblance of vigor and prosperity; but, like many
a great political structure, its brilliancy is born of
decay.  It is no longer the dominating factor in social life,
the heart and soul of civilization, but an annex--increasing
in magnificence as wealth increases and mankind can
afford to expend more for ostentation and fashionable
diversion.

It is noticeable that the less attention the minister pays to
creeds, the less dogmatism he indulges in, the more
popular he becomes with the people, the more eagerly they
flock to hear him.  The world does not care to listen to
prosy lectures on foreordination and the terrors of Tartarus,
because its reason rejects such cruel creeds; it takes little
interest in the question whether Christ was dipped or
sprinkled by the gentleman in the camel's-hair cutaway,
because it cannot, for the life of it, see that it makes any
difference; it does not want to be worried with jejune
speculations anent the Trinity, because it considers one
God quite sufficient if it can but find him; does not want to
hear much about the miracles, because it considers it a
matter of absolute indifference whether they are true or not.
But just the same, the great world is heart-hungry for real
knowledge of the All-Father, eager to embrace any faith
that does no violence to its reason, to grasp at any tangible
thread of hope of a happy life with loved ones beyond the
tomb's dark portals.

Prof. James T. Bixby, in a powerful plea for truth-seekers,
quoted approvingly the words of an eminent ecclesiastic of
the church of England who characterized the present age
as "preeminently the age of doubt."  Another writer says
that Europe is turning in despair toward Nirvana.  The
almost unprecedented success of Hartman's "Philosophy of
the Unconscious"--which is little more or less that
Buddhism--gives a strong color of truth to the startling
assertion.  While Europe is sending missionaries to the
Ganges, India is planting the black pessimism of
Gautama on the Rhine and the Seine!  Nineteen
centuries of dogmatizing, to end in an "age of doubt" and a
cry for the oblivion of Nirvana!  Clearly there is something
wrong, for doubt and a desire for annihilation is not the
normal condition of the human mind.  A belief in God, that
the universe is the result of design, is inherent in man.  It is
not a belief that must be implanted and tenderly nursed; it
is one that manifests itself in the lowest form of savage life
of which we have cognizance--one that is well-nigh
impossible to crush out--and complementing this belief, in
most instances, is the hope of immortality.  No cataclysm of
crime into which man can plunge is able to eradicate his
belief that he is the creature of a supernatural power and
intelligence.  The tendency of scientific research is to
strengthen it by making more manifest the wondrous works
of God.  It is doubtful if the belief in man's divine origin was
ever entirely obliterated from any human mind--if there ever
was or will be an "atheist."  Many men believe themselves
such; but if they will carefully examine their position, they
will usually find that they have been carried to this extreme
by a powerful revulsion from incredible dogmatism, and that
they can only maintain it by a continual and unnatural
effort--by a persistent outrage upon that very intelligence of
which they boast.  The moment they cease to act on the
defensive they begin to drift back under the divine spell; to
pay homage, conscious or unconscious, to the All-Father.

Those who deny the inspiration of the Bible are, for the
most part, but doubting Thomases who ask to see the nail-
prints in the hands of their risen Lord; who are disposed to
question him, not because they are irreligious, but because
they want the Truth, and they know for a verity that it is the
truth.

Is it not possible to found a church in which may be
gathered the millions who cannot swallow the miracles, the
incarnation, the plenary inspiration of the Bible, and other
non-essential husks that enshroud the Christian cultus;
where that religion which exists, conscious or unconscious,
in their nature, may find room for expansion; where honest
inquiry may be prosecuted, doubts freely and fairly
discussed and perhaps dispelled; where all Truth, whether
found in the Bible or the Koran, the Law of Mana or the
Zend-Avesta, science or philosophy, may be eagerly seized
and carefully treasured?  If it were possible to thus bring
together and utilize the vast amount of religious energy
which lies without the pale of all present churches,
unrecognized by the most, warred upon by the many; if it
were possible to gather all believers in God together where
they may strengthen their faith by communion and worship;
extend their knowledge by research in every field, spiritual
and material, secular and religious, what a mighty recruit
would thus be added to those powers that are working for
the world's salvation!

Let me briefly sketch such a church as I would like to be a
member of--such as I imagine millions of others who are
not, will never be members of existent communions, would
worship in with pleasure.  Its chief "essential" should be
belief in God--not the God of the Jews, Mohammedans or
Christians, but the God of everything, animate and
inanimate in the whole broad universe; the God of Justice
and Wisdom, Truth and Love; the God seen in the face of
every noble woman and honest man, heard in every truth,
felt in every holy aspiration.  Everyone believing in the
existence of such a God--and I doubt if any do not--should
be eligible for membership, no matter what their theories
regarding his personality, plans and powers.  Truth should
be sought assiduously, and welcomed wherever
found.  We should not attempt to make it fit a preconceived
theory, but to make the theory conform to it.  Science
should be the handmaid of the church, philosophy its
helpful brother; but its ecumenical council, its court of last
resort, should be the religious instinct inherent in man--that
perception so fine, so subtle, that all attempts to weave it
into words to clothe it so that the eye may perceive and the
reason handle it, have signally failed; which logic has
hammered at with all her ballistae and battering-rams for
thirty centuries or more in vain; which, above all things else,
binds the human race in one great brotherhood, has
supplied the missing links in every cult, bridged its laches,
surmounted its incongruities, comprised its inexpugnable
fortress upon which the high flood-tide of worldly wisdom
beats in vain.

Its body doctrine should be Love of God, Charity for man,
Truth, Honor, Purity.  In these are comprised "the whole
Hebrew Decalogue, with Solon's and Lycurgus'
Constitutions, Justinian's Pandects, the Code Napoleon and
all codes, catechisms, divinities, moralities whatsoever, that
man has hitherto devised (and enforced with altar-fire and
gallows-ropes) for his social guidance."  They embrace all
that is blessed and beautiful, gracious and great in every
sect, science and philosophy known to man.  These are
"points of doctrine" upon which there can be no dissension;
Buddhist and Mohammedan, Jew and Gentile, Catholic and
Calvinist, philosopher and "free-thinker," will all approve.

Regarding what provision the Lord will make for us
hereafter, the plenary or partial inspiration of the Bible, the
evidential value of the miracles, the divinity of Christ, and
kindred subjects, every communicant may properly be left
free to exercise his individual judgment.  To formulate a
cast-iron article of faith upon any or all these
questions would be to enter the realm of dogmatics,
to add one more voice to the ecclesiastical wrangle that is
filling the earth and heaven and hades with its unprofitable
din--to found a sect instead of a world-embracing church
devoted to the simple worship of God and the inculcation of
morals.  To many a religion without a future-life annex may
appear as unfinished as a building without a roof; as
ephemeral, as unstable as one put together without nails or
mortar; but such forget that future reward and punishment
was no part of the early Hebrew cult--that the doctrine of
man's immortality is but a late and apparently a Gentile
graft; that the Buddhist religion, which has held the souls of
countless millions in thrall, teaches complete extinction of
the ego as the greatest good.  Man does not embrace
religion "for what there is in it"; does not worship because
God possesses the power to reward and punish, any more
than he stands entranced by the glory of the sunrise
because the rays of the Day-god will ripen his cotton and
corn.  He pays involuntary homage to the Higher Power, as
he does to men of genius who benefit him but indirectly, to
women of great beauty whom he never hopes to possess.

We may safely trust our future to the same great Power to
whom we owe the present.  It is of far more importance that
we make the most possible of this life than that we have
fixed convictions anent the next.  It is safe to assume that
had the great God intended we should know for a surety
what awaits us beyond Death's dark river, He would have
made it so manifest that diversity of opinion would be
impossible; that had he intended we should each and all
accept Christ as a divinity, He would have driven stronger
pegs upon which the doubting Thomases of this late day
could hang their faith; that had He intended the Bible
should stand for all time as His infallible word, it would not
have been intrusted for so many centuries to the care
of fallible men; that had He intended we should each and
all believe the miracles, He would have made better
provision for their authentication--or built our heads on a
different plan.  Belief in immortality is a very comforting
doctrine--for such as hope to dodge hell-pains--and is so
general, so prone to manifest itself, where the mind of man
has not been persistently trained in an opposite direction,
that we may almost call it a religious instinct, which is but a
vulgarism for a divine and direct revelation of God;
therefore, it should not be discouraged in our new world-
church, but given every opportunity for expansion.  No one
should be excluded, however, if he fail to find evidence,
within or without, to sustain the theory.

Such a church would embrace all others as the ocean-
stream of the ancients encompassed and fed every sea.  It
would be the tie that would bind all in unity.  It should
welcome to its pulpit all ministers of whatsoever
denomination who desire to treat the worship of God from a
nonsectarian standpoint or read a homily calculated to
strengthen the morals of mankind.  Its hymns should be
songs of praise to that God who made us the greatest in
His visible creation; its prayers should be thanks for past
mercies and petitions that He will make our brightest
dreams of life eternal beyond the skies a blessed reality--
that having brought us so near His bright effulgence in-
create for Time, He will gather us to His loving bosom for
all Eternity.

Such is the church in which I hope one day to see the
whole world gathered--a church whose paeans of praise
to the great God would drown dogmatic dialecties as the
swelling notes of an organ drown the fretful complaining of
a child.


AN UNPROFITABLE CONTROVERSY.

Mr. Gladstone and Prof. Huxley have been warmly
debating the story of the swine, the devil and the deep sea.
What an occupation for two of the master spirits of the age!
Is it any wonder that young men, contemplating such
polemics, should turn away from revealed religion
altogether?

Fortunately the religious world is no longer convulsed from
center to circumference by such disputations.  The day has
gone by when the whole fabric of the Christian religion
could be shaken to its foundation by the discovery of an
error in biblical chronology, or the impossibility of a large
whale swallowing a small prophet.  Gradually the worship of
the Creator is grounding itself on general principles and
Christian apologetics is slowly but surely mounting above
the particularists, spreading & broader opinion, leaving to
the antiquary and the zoilist the inaccuracies and
inconsistencies of tradition.

All friends of the Faith should hasten this movement.
Really, it matters not whether the Gadarenes, whose swine
were drowned, were Jews or Gentiles; whether Christ did or
did not east out devils, raise the dead or cause the blind to
see.  It matters not whether Joseph or the Holy Spirit was
his immediate father.  Are we not all sons of the Most High
God, and is not the advent of each and all as much a
mystery as though we were begotten without an earthly
father, spoken into existence, or sprang like Minerva from
the brow of Jove?  Why should the world stand agaze for
nineteen centuries at one miracle, when sixty, full as great,
as incomprehensible, are happening every minute?  If God
is the author of us all, is it more wonderful that He should
create us in one way than in another?  Was it necessary
that the All-Father should change the order of
generation to prove His existence, or that Christ should
enter the world in an uncommon manner to establish His
claim to preeminence among the sons of God?

It is altogether immaterial how Christ came into the world.
Sufficient it is for us to know that he came and brought with
him hope for sorrowing millions.  That He was of God it
required no preternatural birth, no wondrous miracles to
establish.  It was not the healing He brought to the flesh,
but the comfort he administered to the spirit that stamped
him Divine.

Is it possible that in this world of sorrow, sin and death,
where millions are stretching out their hands to Heaven and
praying for a sign that the loved ones who have crossed
the dark river are safe in the bosom of the Great All-Father;
where millions more are going down to death in an agony
of doubt and fear, that Prof. Huxley and Mr. Gladstone--
science and religion--can find no grander work to do than
dispute about the ownership of a herd of swine drowned
nineteen centuries ago?  When churchmen decline to
engage in acrimonious disputation regarding non-essentials,
either with non-churchmen or each other; when the
churches no longer insist that this or that dogma must be
observed or accepted as a prerequisite to salvation; when
they study the spirit of revelation more and the letter less;
when they admit that all religions that have brought comfort
to humanity were Divine, and seek light wherever it is to be
found, whether in the Bible or the Vedas, ethnic philosophy
or science the occupation of the Paines and Ingersolls will
be forever gone and religion command the respect of all
mankind.

In union there is strength, in disunion weakness.  If this
world is ever to be "christianized" the different
denominations must learn that they are not natural
enemies, but allies,--differently organized corps,
differently uniformed divisions of one great army.  Instead
of wasting their strength warring upon each other, in
repelling atheistical assaults upon outworks that are a
source of weakness and should be abandoned, they must
swing into line, shoulder to shoulder, each with its own
particular oriflamme and shibboleth, if it will, and present a
solid front to the common enemy, which is not the doubter
of particular dogmas, but that Evil of which is born sorrow,
shame and death.  When the different divisions of the
church which acknowledges Christ as its head, become
mutually supporting and its officers distinguish the real
battle from the hasty firing of frightened pickets, then and
not till then will the banner of Christianity float triumphant
over a world redeemed; then will the fatherhood of God and
brotherhood of Man be known upon the earth.


* * *
GARTERS AND AMEN GROANS.

On one page of the Houston Post for Sunday, December
12, I find several columns devoted to "Our Boys and Girls,"
on the next the following advertisement prominently
displayed by a Houston haberdasher:

"Our Ladies' Garter Department:  We can give you an All-
Silk Garter for 50c. with nice buckles with such reading on
them as 'Private Grounds,' 'Stop, Mamma is Coming,'
'Look Quick,' 'Good Night, Call Again,' 'I Am a Warm
Baby,' 'Take Off Your Things,' etc."

The paper contains the usual Sunday morning quota of
church notices, religious news and editorial moralizing--
constituting a delectable olla-podrida calculated to turn the
stomach of a self-respecting yaller dog.  Doubtless many
purveyors of garters keep in stock those peculiarly
adapted to the trade of the "tenderloin"; but this is
the first time that I have seen such truck advertised in any
paper permitted to pass through the mails or enter the
homes of respectable people.  Imagine a Houston parson
rising from family prayers on Sunday morning and placing
in the hands of his young daughter a "great moral daily"
which sets forth in display type that, for the small sum of
fifty cents, she can secure a pair of silken garters that warn
the great he-world that she's "a warm baby," and bid it
"look quick" at her shapely legs!  Think of a modest old
mother in Israel watching the face of her youthful son as he
learns for the first time of garters that invite him to "take off
your things"!  Fine Sabbath morning reading that for the so-
called Christian people of Harris county!  Such an "ad."
would forever damn even the Nashville Banner, or show
in the feculent columns of the Kansas City Star like a
splotch of soot on the marble face of Raphael's Madonna.
The Police Gazette and Sunday Sun are debarred
from the mails, yet neither ever contained aught one-half so
horrible.  We keep the "Decameron" and Daudet's
eroticisms under lock and key; yet they are only
"suggestive," while this is frankly feculent, a brazen bid for
bawdry.  Should the ICONOCLAST publish such a thing it
would be promptly denounced from ten thousand pulpits as
a pander to pruriency; yet against the iniquity of the Daily
Chippie Chaser, alias the Houston Post, not one
preacher has raised his voice in protest!  Why?  Because
the dirty rag does not attack their religious dogma--does not
strike at their bread and butter!  The shortest route to the
heart of the average parson is through his pocket--hit him
there and you raise a howl that startles high Heaven.  Print
his church notices, report his foolish little sermons, kneel
with him in prayer, slander agnostics and atheists, serve
the ICONOCLAST as the foul yahoos did Gulliver, flip
a plugged nickel into the contribution box, and you may
safely flaunt the patois of the nymph du pave in the fair
face of every honest girl between Cape Cod and the
Golden Gate.  And as it is with the average preacher so it
is with the bulk of his parishioners.  The Post introduces
the language of the prostitute into the parlors of its patrons.
It boasts a boys' and: girls' club--"The Happyhammers"--of
more than six-hundred members, and to these children it
carries the first knowledge of sexual perversity, gives them
their initial lesson in social sin.  Were this the paper's first
offense we might attribute it to the carelessness or stupidity
of a clerk in its counting-room and the incompetence of its
business; manager; but it is an old, a shameless, a
persistent sinner against all life's decencies and proprieties.
Its "personal column" was for years the most revolting
thing known to yaller journalism.  Its counting-room was an
assignation post-office.  The paper was the recognized
organ of "Happy Hollow," the Hell's Half Acre of Houston.
It was a pander to all the worst passions that run riot in the
"tenderloin," a procurer of young girls to glut the lust of
godless libertines.  Its sign was the ligniyoni, its ideal the
almighty dollar.  Through its feculent columns Muckle-
mouthed Meg and Doll Tearsheet made assignations with
forks-of-the-creeks fools, while blear-eyed bummers and
rotten-livered rounders requested respectable women to
meet them at unfrequented places and wear camp-meeting
lingerie.  The ICONOCLAST compelled its unrespected
contemporary to purify its "personal column"--and this
service to society has never been forgiven by the bench-
legged hydrocephalous grand panjandrum of that paper.
The Post next proceeded to publish a directory of
Houston's red-light district, giving names and addresses of
the "madames," the number of their "boarders" and the
condition of the merchandise thrown upon the
market.  All that was necessary to make the Post's
Bawdy-house Guide complete was the addition of rate-
cards.  On that little bit of journalistic "enterprise" the
ICONOCLAST put a kibosh also, much to the satisfaction of
every decent family in Harris county.  Now the fecular sheet
has found a new road to infamy--is advertising garters fit
only to adorn the crummy underpinning of negro prostitutes.
It does seem that the Post will do anything for a dollar--
except be decent.  Owing to the mental perversity of its
management, respectability is for it impossible.  It is a
social leper, a journalistic pariah.  It is devoid of political
principle as a thieving tomcat of conscience.  It has no
more stability than a bad smell in a simoon.  It has deified
and damned every statesman by turn.  It has been on
every possible side of every public question, and wept bitter
tears of regret because further change of policy were
impossible.  It is a perfect maelstrom of misinformation, the
avatar of impudence, the incarnation of infamy--a social
cesspool whose malodor spreads contagion like the rank
breath of the gila-monster or the shade of a upas tree.  Yet
its editor, I am told, aspires to the lieutenant-governorship
of Texas.  Verily, he's "got his gall."  He will indeed be "a
warm baby" if elevated to that inconsiderable office and
permitted to monkey with the scepter while the governor is
doing the elegant elsewhere.  Texas may certainly consider
herself fortunate if he does not pawn the fasces of power
and blow in the proceeds of the erstwhile John Bell's variety
joint.  Should he do so, he will probably be permitted to
"take off his things."  The Post "ad." is worse than that
of holy John Wanamaker, who once announced in the
Philadelphia papers that "Parisian thoughts are sewn in our
underwear."  With such lingerie I should imagine that "call
again" garters would be the proper caper.  Such a
combination would suggest the patent medicine certificate
of the happy husband who joyfully testified that "My wife
was so nervous that I could not sleep with her, but after
taking two bottles of your remarkable, etc., she has so far
recovered that anybody can sleep with her."  Just what
effect the "Parisian thought" underwear of holy John
Wanamaker had upon the preeminently respectable people
of Philadelphia I shall not assume to say, but I should
consider such goods contraband of war when found on a
Sunday-school bargain counter.  Imagine the result of
introducing "Parisian thoughts" into the unbleached muslin
lingerie of a lot of single-standard-of-morals old maids!
There's really no telling for what Harrison's professional
Sunday school superintendent is responsible.  He's a rank
conspirator against the Seventh Commandment.  The
Post should be abated as an incorrigible nuisance--it is a
standing menace to the morality of the community.  It has
never been a legitimate journal.  Its chief sources of
revenue have been fake voting contests and unclean
"ads." that range in sphacelation from abortion pills to
garters for prostitutes.  What this country seems to need is
a press censorship.  The second-rate newspapers are
mistaking liberty for license.  The dogma that public opinion
can be depended upon to correct the evil is an "iridescent
dream"--the public will stand almost anything so long as its
religious theses and political confessions of faith are let
alone.  Men claiming to be quasi-decent, if not altogether
respectable, will carry home day after day and suffer to be
read by their young daughters such a paper as the Houston
Post--with its "w. y. o. d.," and "take off your things"
advertisements, its puffs of abortion pills and syphilitic
panaceas--who would have a conniption fit and fall in it
should a copy of Bob Ingersoll's eloquent lecture on
Abraham Lincoln creep into their library.  The stench
of such a paper creeps abroad like the malodor of a cloaca,
beslimes the senses like the noxious exhalations of an
open sewer.  How in God's name men can be found so
debased as to work on such a sheet is beyond my
comprehension.  I once undertook to hold down its editorial
page; but soon "got sore at myself," cursed everything
connected therewith, from the pink-haired president of the
company to the peewee business manager, got out, purified
myself and have been sick at the stomach ever since.
Should a man lay a copy of the foul sheet on my parlor
table, I'd blow his head off with a shotgun.  All that I now
see of the paper is the clippings sent me by disgusted
Houstonians, and I take those out behind the barn to read--
then bury them lest they poison the hogs.  I regard my
temporary connection with the sheet much as Jean Valjean
must his tramp through the Parisian sewers.  It is a ten-
legged nightmare, an infamy that I can never outlive.  I
strove manfully to make the foul thing respectable, but the
Augean stables proved too much for my pitchfork.  I
managed to occasionally inject into the sphacelated sheet a
quasi-intelligent idea, to disguise its feculence with a breath
of sentiment that by contrast seemed an air from Araby the
blest; but the stupid ignorance and dollar-worshiping of the
management soon dragged it back into the noisome depths
of hopeless nescience and subter-brutish degradation.
Poor old Houston!  A morning newspaper should be a city's
crown of glory, an intellectual Aurora ushering in the new-
born day; but in Houston's case her chief newspaper is a
sorrow's crown of sorrow, her inexpungeable badge of
shame.


LIFE AND DEATH.

In a city beyond far seas there dwelt a Youth who claimed
not land nor gold, yet wealthier was than sceptered
sovereign, richer far than fancy ever feigned.  The great
round earth, the sun, the moon and all the stars that flame
like fireflies in the silken web of night were his, because
garnered in the salvatory of his soul.  And the beaded dew
upon the morning-glories, the crimson tints of dawn, Iris'
bended bow and all the cloth-of-gold and robes of purple
that mark the royal pathway of the descending sun; the
perfume of all the flowers, the bulbul's sensuous song, and
every flowing line that marks woman's perfect form he
hoarded in his heart and gloated over as a miser does his
gain.  And the Youth was in love with Life and held her to
his heart as God's most gracious gift.  Ah, beautiful was
she, with her trustful eyes of blue, and hair of tangled
sunbeams blown about a brow of alabaster, arms of ivory
and bust whose rounded loveliness were a pulsing pillow
where ever dreamed Desire--beautiful beyond compare,
and sweet as odors blown across the brine from the island-
valley of Avalon, mad'ning as Lydian music, in which
swoons the soul of youth while all the passion in the blood
beats time in delirious ecstasy.  And Youth and Life built
fair castles in the air, with turrets of sapphire and gates of
beaten gold, wherein they dreamed the days away on a
bed of thornless roses, drained the chalice of the
honeysuckle, ate the lotus-bud and thought of naught in all
the world but love.  Of this soft dalliance was born a son,
and Life cried with falling tears, "Now I am shamed!"
"Nay," said the Youth, "for I will hide our child within my
heart and none shall know."  And Life laughed and
kissed the boy, and called him Ambition, and hid him
in the secret recesses of her lover's heart, and gayly went
and came as though her fair breasts had never burgeoned
with a wealth of liquid pearl.  But the child was restless
within its prison house and beat against the walls, and grew
day by day, and fought with teeth and nails, until the Youth
cried out in agony.  And Life said mockingly:  "Hast not
room enough within thy heart for one poor child to range--
that heart which holds the earth, the sun and stars?  Cast
forth the foolish rubbish--the rainbow and the flowers, the
incense and the summer sea.  Make room, make room for
thine and mine--though naught else doth remain."  He cast
them forth with fond regret, and Ambition grew and filled his
heart and strove with all his strength.  The Youth looked no
more upon the fair field flowers, but thought only of the
victor's wreath; he heard no melody but fame's shrill
trumpet rising ever louder on the blast, and saw no beauty
but in Minerva's laureled brow; the cool sylvan path became
a blinding mountain trail, his hours of dalliance days of toil
and nights of agony.  The hidden son had become master
of the sire, and all the host of Heaven melted into a single
star which poured its baleful fire into his face the
treacherous star of Hope.  And so he strove with
augmenting strength, his goal the highest, his guerdon the
immortelles.  But oft he fell, and cursed his folly for having
left the flowery vale to beat against the barren mountain
rocks; but Life upbraided him, and with her soft breath
fanned the paling star to brighter flame--the star behind
which lay the throne.  And Death followed them, shadowy,
indistinct, like a spirit wrapt in mist.  And Life mocked at
Death, crying:  "Behold the envious strumpet doth follow,
to despoil me of mine own!  Faugh!  How uncanny and how
cold!  What lover would hang upon those ashen lips?  Her
bosom is marble, and in her stony heart there flames
no fire.  With her Ambition perishes and the Star of Hope
forever fades.  Her house is a ghastly tomb, her bed the
granite rock, her lover childless, for her womb is barren."
And the Youth, glancing with a shudder at the figure in the
mist, drew close to Life and echoed her words with
trembling lip, "How uncanny and how cold!"  Thus fared he
on through many a toilsome year, to where no shadow falls
to East or West--to manhood's glorious noon.  He looked at
the towering heights before him with undaunted eye,
measuring his strength against the walls of stone.  He
glanced back, and a chill swept over him, for he was
standing far up on the mountainside, he was in a barren
desert whose level waste stretched back to the pathetic
tomb where Love was left to starve and sweet Content lay
festering in her shroud.  "Fool," cried Life, "why looked ye
back like wife of ancient Lot?  Now are ye indeed undone!"
The voice was harsh and shrill, and starting as from an
uneasy dream, he looked on Life with wide-open eyes and
soul that understood.  He found her far less fair than in the
heydey of his youth, when he reveled in her voluptuous
charms and loved her well.  Her face was hard and stern
as that of some hag from Hell; the sunlight had faded from
her hair, the cestus of red roses become a poisonous
serpent, her fragrant breath a consuming flame, her robe of
glory, a sackcloth suit, begrimed with ashes, torn by thorns
and stained with blood.  "Thou hast changed, O Life!" he
cried in horror.  "Not so," she said; "the change is thine.
In youth you saw me not, but only dreamed you saw.  She
you loved was a creature of your vain imaginings; I am Life,
mother of that scurvy brat, Ambition."  She pointed upward,
saying:  "Behold, thy star is gone, and the shining goal
hangs pathless in the heavens.  When the sun hath
reached the zenith it must descend.  Henceforth your
path leads downward, for every hour will sap your lusty
strength, and every step be weaker than the last, until you
sink into senility.  Come, my love, you do not know me yet;
behold me as I am!"  She cast aside her soiled and ragged
robe and stood revealed in all her hideousness--a thing of
horror.  Her breasts distilled a poisonous dew, around her
gaunt limbs aspics crawled, her eyes were fierce and
hollow, and in one bony hand she held a scroll on which
was writ the record of her frauds and follies, her sin and
shame.  "Come," she cried mockingly, "let us on together.
You may caress me as in the days of old, and I will answer
with a curse.  Hold me to your heart and I will wither it with
my breath of flame.  Praise me, and I will requite you with
dishonor and crown you with the grewsome chaplets of
grief.  Fool!  Thou hast striven for a prismatic bubble
bursting on the crest of a receding wave.  Why scorned you
gold and lands to grasp at castles in the air?  Why
dreamed of the Dimiurgus when desiring harlots beckoned
thee?  Why dealt with open hand and unsuspecting heart
when thrown 'mid a world of thieves?  Hadst thou been
content and not aspired to rise above the grossness, the
falsehood and the folly which is Life, I would have loved
thee well and deceived thee with a painted beauty to the
end--my foul breasts would have been to thee ever a
fragrant bed of flowers.  You have invaded Life's mysteries,
the penalty whereof is pain.  You have looked upon the
past; behold the future!"  He looked, and saw a tortuous
path winding downward through bogs and poisonous fens
and bitter pools.  In the far distance an old man, tottering
beneath his weight of years, stood leaning on a staff,
reading a riddle propounded by a sullen sphinx, and striving
with failing intellect to understand--"Cui Bono?"  Near by
was an open grave, beside which an angel of mercy stood
and beckoned him.  "Thou hast tarried long, my
lover," she said in a low sweet voice that was the distant
note of aeolian harp, or summer zephyr soughing
through the pines.  With a cry of gladness he cast himself
into her cool arms; she touched his tired eyes with her soft
white hands, she pressed a kiss upon his lips that drained
his breath in an expiring gasp of pleasure all passionless,
and, cradled upon her bosom like a weary child, he fell
asleep.  The burden and its bearer, hallowed by a pale
glory as of St. Elmo's fire sank into the open grave, yet the
sphinx sat stolidly holding the painted riddle in his stony
hand--"Cui Bono?"  But there was none to answer; the
path faded like the phosphorescent track of a ship in
midnight waters, and all was dark.  He turned fiercely to
Life, a question on his lip, but ere he could utter it she had
answered, with a bitter shrug:  "The angel with the pitying
eyes; the beauteous one?"  My rival, Death--so uncanny
and so cold!  All who love me leave me for this sorceress,
and she holds them 'neath the magic of her spell
forevermore.  But what care I?  I do take the grain and give
to her the husk; I drink the wine and leave the lees.  Mine
the bursting bud, hers the withered flower.  Go to her and
thou wilt.  I have slain Ambition and blotted thy foolish
ignis fatuus from the firmament.  For thee the very sun
henceforth is cold, the moon a monstrous wheel of blood,
the stars but aged eyes winking back their tears as they
look upon thy broken altars and ruined fanes, the grass
grown green above the ashes of thy dead.  Go; I want thee
not, for thou hast seen me as I am.  I am for the red wine
and wild revel, where 'in Folly's cup still laughs the bubble
Joy'--for the idle day-dream and the sensuous dance, the
fond kiss of foolish Love and the velvet couch of Lust."
Then Death came and stood near him, beautiful with a
beauty all spirituelle, a world of pity in her eyes.  But
he shrank from her with a shudder, seeing which she said:
"Am I indeed so cold--I, who warm the universe?  Is the
bosom of Mercy to be feared and the breath of peace
despised?  What is Life that she should mock me?--this
hideous harlot whose kisses poison and whose words
betray?  Is she not the mother of all ills?  Behold her
demoniac brood:  Hate and Horror, Discord and Disease,
Pride and Pain! she is the creature of Time, the slave of
Space.  She is the bastard spawn of Heat and Moisture--
was engendered 'mid the unclean ooze of miasmic
swamps, in the womb of noisome fens.  And I?  I am
empress of all that is, or was, or can ever be.  Come dwell
with me, and all the earth shall be thy home, thy period
eternity.  Would'st live again?  Then will I make of thy
clustering locks grasses to wave in the cool meadows
green, of thine eyes fair daisies that nod in the dewy dawn,
of thy heart a great blush rose worn between the breasts of
beauty, of thy body an oak to defy the elements, of thy
blood a wave breaking in slumbrous thunder upon a beach
of gold, of thy breath the jasmine's perfume, of thy restless
spirit the levin brand that crashes in thunder peal above the
storm.  Why press the cruel thorn into thy heart, the iron
into thy soul?  Thus do I clasp thee to a bosom ever true,
and shield thee from the slings and arrows of the world.
Thy hot heart beats faint and ever fainter 'gainst its
pulseless pillow, until it ceases with a sigh, and thou art
mine and eternal peace is thine."


* * *
THE GARDEN OF THE GODS.

Much has been written of Texas by immigration boomers,
"able editors" and others, with an eye single to the
almighty dollar.  Its healthfulness, delightful climate,
undeveloped resources, churches, schools, etc., have
been expatiated upon times without number, but little has
been said of its transcendent beauty.  The average "able
editor" is not a very aesthetic animal.  He has an eye for
the beautiful, 'tis true; but his tastes are of the earth earthy.

A half-page display ad. with wood-cut portrait of a chamber-
set occupying the foreground and the clare-obscure worked
up with various sizes and styles of black type, possesses
far more charm for him than does the deep blue of our
Southern sky, whose mighty concave seems to reach to
Infinity's uttermost verge; a two-story brick livery stable or
laundry is to him far more interesting than the splendors of
the Day-god rising from the ocean's blue; an eighty-cent
dollar with its lying legend more beautiful in his eyes than
even Austin's violet crown bathed in the radiance of the
morning or arched with twilight's dome of fretted gold.  The
"able editor" cares naught for purple hills, unless they
contain mineral; for broad champaigns unless the soil be
good; for flashing brooks unless they can be made to turn a
millwheel or water a cow.

The "able editor" takes it for granted that everybody is as
grossly materialistic as himself,--care not whether the sky
above their heads is blue or black so long as the soil
beneath their feet is fertile; whether the landscape be
pleasant or forbidding so long as it will yield them creature
comforts.  Perhaps he is very nearly right.  The fact that
millions will make their homes beneath leaden skies, amid
scenes of desolation, while there is room and to spare in
our sunny Southland, is not without its significance,--
indicates plainly that man has not yet progressed far into
that spiritual kingdom where the soul must be fed as well
as the stomach; where sunlight is more necessary than
sauer-kraut, where beauty furnishes forth more delights
than beer.

Still there must be a few people in this gain-grabbing world
not altogether indifferent to the beauties of nature; to whom
the gold of the evening sky is more precious than that
wrung with infinite toil from the bowels of the earth; to
whom the purple of the hills is more pleasing than the
crustacean dyes of ancient Tyre; the flashing of clear
waters more delightful than the gleam of diamonds; the
autumn's rainbow tints more inspiring than the dull red heart
of the ruby.  To have such a home in Texas were like a
sojourn in that pleasant paradise where our primal parents
first tasted terrestrial delights.  No Alps or Apennines burst
from Texas' broad bosom and rear their cold, dead peaks
mile above mile into heaven's mighty vault; no Vesuvius
belches his lurid, angry flame at the stars like a colossal
cannon worked by Titans at war with the Heavenly
Hierarchy; no Niagara churns its green waters into rainbow-
tinted foam.  The grandeur of Texas is not that of
destruction and desolation; its beauties are not those which
thrill the heart with awe, but fill it with adoration and sweet
content.  Not dark and dreary mountains riven by the bolts
of angry Jove; not gloomy Walpurgis gorges where devils
dance and witches shriek; not the savage thunder of the
avalanche, but the sun-kissed valley of Cashmere, the
purple hills of the lotus eaters' land, the pastoral beauties of
Tempe's delightful vale.  Here is repeated a thousand times
that suburban home which Horace sang; here the coast
where Odysseus, "the much-enduring man," cast anchor
and declared he would no longer roam; here the Elysian
fields "far beyond the sunset"; here the valley of Avilion lies

   "Deep-meadowed, happy, fair with orchard-lawns
     And bowery hollows crowned with summer sea,"

where Queens nurse the wounded hero back to life;
here the lost Atlantis, new-found; the land where it is
always summer; where airs softer than those of Araby the
Blest are ever blowing; skies bluer than ever arched famed
Tuscany bid earthworms look heavenward; sunsets whose
gleaming gold might ransom a universe!

What care I who owns this broad expanse of emerald mead
and purple hills? who pays the taxes and digs and delves
therein for gain?  It is all mine, and the sky above it is mine
to the horizon's uttermost verge; the flashing waters, the
cool mists creeping down the hills, the soft breeze stealing
up from Neptune's watery world with healing on its wings,
still fragrant with spices of the Spanish main--all, all mine; a
priceless heritage which no man toiled for, which no
spendthrift can east away.

* * *
WOMAN'S WICKEDNESS.

CHASTITY GOING OUT OF FASHION.

By the "social evil" is commonly understood illicit
intercourse of the sexes, a violation of law or custom
intended to regulate the procreative passion.

The "evil" is probably as old as society, coeval with
mankind.  History--tradition itself--goes not back to a time
when statutes, confessedly human, or professedly divine,
were capable of controlling the fierce fires that blaze within
the blood--when all-consuming Love was cold Reason's
humble slave and Passion yielded blind obedience unto
Precept.  Although the heavens have been ever peopled
with threatening gods and the great inane filled with gaping
hells; although kings and courts have thundered their
inhibitions forth, and society turned upon illicit love
Medusa's awful frown, the Paphian Venus has flourished in
every age and clime, and still flaunts her scarlet flag in the
face of Heaven.

The history of humanity--its poetry, its romance, its very
religion--is little more than a Joseph's coat, woven of Love's
celestial warp and Passion's infernal woof in the loom of
Time.  For sensuous Cleopatra's smiles Mark Antony
thought the world well lost; for false Helen's favors proud
Ilion's temples blazed, and the world is strewn with broken
altars and ruined fanes, with empty crowns and crumbling
thrones blasted by the selfsame curse.

In many cities of every land abandoned women are so
numerous, despite all these centuries of law-making and
moralizing, that they find it impossible to earn a livelihood
by their nefarious trade--are driven by sheer necessity to
seek more respectable employment.  The supply of public
prostitutes is apparently limited only by the demand, while
the number of "kept women" is constantly increasing, and
society becoming day by day more lenient to those
favorites of fortune who have indulged in little escapades
not in strict accord with the Seventh Commandment.  It is
now a common occurrence for a female member of the
"Four Hundred" who has confessedly gone astray, to be
received back on an equality with her most virtuous sisters.
In ancient Sparta theft was considered proper, but getting
caught a crime.  Modern society has improved upon that
peculiar moral code.  Adultery--if the debauchee have
wealth--is but a venial fault, and to be found out a trifling
misfortune, calling for condolence rather than
condemnation.  It is not so much the number of professed
prostitutes that alarms the student of sociology, as the
brutal indifference to even the semblance of sexual purity
which is taking possession of our social aristocracy, and
which poison, percolating through the underlying
strata, threatens to eliminate womanly continence
from the world.

If, despite all our safeguards of law and the restraining
force of religion, society becomes more hopelessly corrupt;
if, with our advancing civilization, courtesans increase in
number; if, with our boasted progress in education and the
arts, women of alleged respectability grow less chary of
their charms--if the necessities of poverty and the luxury of
wealth alike breed brazen bawds and multiply cuckolds--it is
a fair inference that there is something radically wrong with
our social system.

It might be well, perhaps, for priests and publicists to cease
launching foolish anathemas and useless statutes at
prostitution long enough to inquire what is driving so many
bright young women into dens of infamy,--for those good
souls who are assiduously striving to drag their fallen
sisters out of the depths, to study the causes of the disease
before attempting a cure.  I say disease, for I cannot agree
with those utilitarians who profess to regard prostitution as
a "necessary evil"; who protest that the brute passions of
man must be sated,--that but for the Scarlet Woman he
would debauch the Vestal Virgin.  I do not believe that
Almighty God decreed that one-half the women of this
world should be sacrificed upon the unclean altar of Lust
that the others might be saved.  It is an infamous, a
revolting doctrine, a damning libel of the Deity.  All the
courtesans beneath Heaven's blue concave never caused a
single son of Adam's misery to refrain from tempting, so far
as he possessed the power, one virtuous woman.  Never.

Governor Fishback, of Arkansas, recently declared that
"houses of ill-fame are necessary to city life," and added:
"If you close these sewers of men's animal passions you
overflow the home and spread disaster."

This theory has been adopted by many municipalities,
courtesans duly licensed, their business legitimatized and
accorded the protection of the law.  If houses of ill-fame be
"necessary to city life"; if they prevent the overflow of the
home of bestial lust and the spread of disaster, it follows as
a natural sequence that the prostitute is a public
benefactor, to be encouraged rather than condemned,
deserving of civic honor rather than social infamy.  Will
Governor Fishback and his fellow utilitarians be kind
enough to make a careful examination of the quasi-
respectable element of society and inform us how large an
army of courtesans will be necessary to enable it to pass a
baking powder purity test?

Governor Fishback does not appear to have profited by
Pope's suggestion that "The proper study of mankind is
man," or he would know full well that the presence in a city
of prostitutes but serves to accentuate the dangers that
environ pure womanhood.  He would know that they add
fuel to Lust's unholy fires, that thousands of them are
procuresses as well as prostitutes, and that one bad
woman can do more to corrupt her sex than can any
libertine since the days of Sir Launcelot.  He would likewise
know that so perverse is the nature of man that he would
leave a harem filled with desirous houris more beautiful
than ever danced through Mohammedan dream of
Paradise, to dig pitfalls for the unwary feet of some
misshapen country wench who was striving to lead an
honest life.  As a muley cow will turn from a manger filled
with new-mown hay, and wear out her thievish tongue
trying to coax a wisp of rotten straw through a crack in a
neighbor's barn, so will man turn from consenting Venus'
matchless charms to solicit scornful Dian.

What is it that is railroading so large a portion of the young
women to Hell?  What causes so many to forsake
the "straight and narrow path" that is supposed to
lead to everlasting life, and seek the irremediable way of
eternal death?  What mad phantasy is it that leads so many
wives to sacrifice the honor of their husbands and shame
their children?  Is it evil inherent in the daughters of Eve
themselves?  Is it lawless lust or force of circumstances
that adds legion after legion to the cohorts of shame?  Or
has our boasted progress brought with it a suspicion that
female chastity is, after all, an overprized bauble--that what
is no crime against nature should be tolerated by this
eminently practical age?  We have cast behind us the
myths and miracles, proven the absurdity of our ancestors'
most cherished traditions and brought their idols beneath
the iconoclastic hammer.  In this general social and
intellectual house-cleaning have we consigned virtue to the
rubbish heap--or at best relegated it to the garret with the
spinning-wheel, hand-loom and other out-of-date trumpery?
Time was when a woman branded as a bawd hid her face
for shame, or consorted only with her kind; now, if she can
but become sufficiently notorious she goes upon the stage,
and men take their wives and daughters to see her play
"Camille" and kindred characters.  This may signify much;
among other things that the courtesan is creeping into
social favor--even that a new code of morals is now
abuilding, in which she will be the grand exemplar.  As
change is the order of the day, and what one age damns its
successor ofttimes deifies, who knows but an up-to-date
religion may yet be evolved with Bacchic revels for sacred
rites and a favorite prostitute for high priestess?

Were I called upon to diagnose the social disease; did any
duly ordained committee--from the numerous "Reform"
societies, Ministerial Association, secular legislatures or
other bodies that are taking unto themselves great
credit for assiduously making a bad matter worse--
call upon me for advice anent the proper method of
restoring to healthy life the world's moribund morality, I
would probably shock the souls out of them by stating a
few plain facts without troubling myself to provide polite
trimmings.

You cannot reform society from the bottom; you must begin
at the top.

Man, physically considered, is merely an animal, and the
law of his life is identical with that of the brute creation.
Continence in man or woman is a violation of nature's
edicts, a sacrifice made by the individual to the necessities
of civilization.

Like the beast of the field, man formerly took unto himself a
mate, and with his rude strength defended her from the
advances of other males.  Such, reduced to the last
analysis, is the basis of marriage, of female chastity and
family honor.  Rape and adultery were prohibited under
pains and penalties, and behind the sword of the criminal
law grew up the moral code.  As wealth increased man
multiplied his wives and added concubines; but woman was
taught that while polygamy was pleasing to the gods
polyandry was the reverse--that while the husband was
privileged to seek sexual pleasure in a foreign bed, the wife
who looked with desiring eyes upon other than her rightful
lord merited the scorn of earth and provoked the wrath of
Heaven.

For long ages woman was but the creature of man's
caprice, the drudge or ornament of his home, mistress of
neither her body nor her mind.  But as the world advanced
and matter was made more subject unto mind--as divine
Reason wrested the scepter from brute Force--woman
began to assume her proper place in the world's economy.
She is stepping forth into the garish light of freedom, is
realizing for the first time in the history of the human
race that she is a moral entity--that even she, and not
another, is the arbiter of her fate.  And, as ever before,
new-found freedom is manifesting itself in criminal folly--
liberty has become a synonym for license.

The "progressive" woman--the woman who is not only well
"up-to-date," but skirmishing with the future--is asking her
brother:  "If thou, why not I?  If man is forgiven a score of
mistresses must woman, blessed with like reason and
cursed with kindred passions, be damned for one lover?"
And while the question grates upon her ear, the answer
comes not trippingly to the tongue.  I do not mean that all
women who imagine themselves progressive are eager to
assume the same easy morals that from time immemorial
have characterized the sterner sex; but this line of
argument, peculiar to their class, while not likely to make
men better, is well calculated to make foolish women
worse.  The sooner they realize that he-Dians are as
scarce in the country as brains in the head of a
chrysanthemum dude; that such sexual purity as the world
is to be blessed withal must be furnished by the softer sex,
the better for all concerned.  That they will eventually cease
their altogether useless clamor that bearded men become
as modest as blushing maids, and agree with the poet that
"Whatever is, is right," the lessons of history bid us hope.
When the French people threw of the yoke of the royalist
and aristocrat they likewise loudly clamored for equality,
fraternity and other apparently reasonable but utterly
impossible things, until the bitter school of experience
taught them better.  The progressive women have not yet
set up la Belle Guillotine--in Washington or elsewhere--for
the decapitation of male incorrigibles; which significant fact
confirms our old faith that the ladies rather like a man who
would not deliberately overdo the part of Joseph.

But the female "reformer," with her social board of
equalization theories, is but a small factor in that mighty
force which is filling the land with unfaithful wives and the
potter's field with degraded prostitutes.

When the people of a nation are almost universally poor,
sexual purity is the general rule.  Simple living and severe
toil keep in check the passions and make it possible to
mold the mind with moral precepts.  But when a nation
becomes divided into the very rich and the extremely poor;
when wilful Waste and woeful Want go hand in hand; when
luxury renders abnormal the passions of the one; and
cupidity, born of envy, blunts the moral perceptions of the
other, then indeed is that nation delivered over to the world,
the flesh and the devil.  When all alike are poor,
contentment reigns.  The son grows up a useful, self-reliant
man, the daughter an industrious, virtuous woman.  From
this class comes nearly every benefactor of mankind.  It
has ever been the great repository of morality, the balance-
wheel of society, the brain and brawn of the majestic world.
Divided into millionaires and mendicants, the poor man's
son becomes feverish to make a showy fortune by fair
means or by foul, while his daughter looks with envious eye
upon m'lady, follows her fashions and too often apes her
morals.  The real life is supplanted by the artificial, and
people are judged, not by what they are, but by what they
have.  The "true-love match" becomes but a
reminiscence--the blind god's bow is manipulated by brutish
Mammon.  Men and women make "marriages of
convenience," consult their fortunes rather than their
affections--seek first a lawful companion with a well-filled
purse, and then a congenial paramour.

The working girl soon learns that beyond a few stale
platitudes--fired of much as a hungry man says grace--she
gets no more credit for wearing honest rags than
flaunting dishonest silks; that good name, however
precious it may be to her, is really going out of fashion--that
when the world pretends to prize it above rubies it is lying--
is indulging in the luxury of hypocrisy.  She likewise learns
that the young men really worth marrying, knowing that a
family means a continual striving to be fully as fashionable
and artificial as those better able to play the fool, seek
mistresses rather than wives.  She becomes discouraged,
desperate, and drifts into the vortex.

Much is said by self-constituted reformers of the
lachrymose school anent trusting maids "betrayed" by
base-hearted scoundrels and loving wives led astray by
designing villains; but I could never work my sympathies up
to the slopping over stage for these pathetic victims of
man's perfidy.  It may be that my tear-glands lack a hair-
trigger attachment, and my sob-machine is not of the most
approved pattern.  Perchance woman is fully as big a fool
as these reformers paint her--that she has no better sense
than a blind horse that has been taught to yield a ready
obedience to any master--to submit itself without question
to the guidance of any hand.  Will the "progressive"
woman--who is just now busy boycotting Col. Breckinridge
and spilling her salt tears over his discarded drab--kindly
take a day of and tell us what is to become of this glorious
country when such incorrigible she-idiots get control of it?
It is well enough to protect the honor of children with severe
laws and a double-shotted gun; but the average young
woman is amply able to guard her virtue if she really values
it, while the married woman who becomes so intimate with
a male friend that he dares assail her continence, deserves
no sympathy.  She is the tempter, not the victim.  True it is
that maids, and matrons too, as pure as the white rose that
blooms above the green glacier, have been swept too far
by the fierce whirlwind of love and passion; but of
these the world doth seldom hear.  The woman whose sin
is sanctified by love--who staked her name and fame upon
a cowardly lie masquerading in the garb of eternal truth--
never yet rushed into court with her tale of woe or aired her
grievance in the public prints.  The world thenceforth can
give but one thing she wants, and that's an unmarked
grave.  May God in his mercy shield all such from the
parrot criticisms and brutal insults of the fish-blooded,
pharisaical female, whose heart never thrilled to love's wild
melody, yet who marries for money--puts her frozen charms
up at auction for the highest bidder, and having obtained a
fair price by false pretenses, imagines herself preeminently
respectable!  In the name of all the gods at once, which is
the fouler crime, the greater "social evil":  For a woman to
deliberately barter her person for gold and lands, for gew-
gaws, social position and a preferred pew in a fashionable
church--even though the sale be in accordance with law,
have the benediction of a stupid priest and the sanction of
a corrupt and canting world--or, in defiance of custom and
forgetful of cold precept, to cast the priceless jewel of a
woman's honor upon the altar of illicit love?

Give the latter woman a chance, forget her fault, and she
will become a blessing to society, an ornament to Heaven;
the former is fit inhabitant only for a Hell of ice.  She has
deliberately dishonored herself, her sex and the man whose
name she bears, and Custom can no more absolve her
than the pope can pardon sin.  She is the most dreadful
product of the "Social Evil," of unhallowed sexual
commerce--is the child of Mammon and Medusa, the blue-
ribbon abortion of this monster-bearing age.


TALMAGE THE TURGID.

That man who first coined the phrase, "Nothing succeeds
like success," had a great head.  Talmage is emphatically a
success,--viewed from a worldly point of view.  He attracts
the largest audiences of any American preacher; his
sermons are more extensively printed, more eagerly read
than those of any other divine.  He is regarded by the
public as the greatest of modern preachers, and he
evidently thinks this verdict a righteous one.  Why this is so,
I am at a loss to determine.  I have read his sermons and
writings with unusual care, hoping thereby to discover in
what particular he towers like Saul above his brethren,--
wherein he is greater than the thousands of obscure pulpit-
pounders who do battle with the devil for a few dollars and
a destructive donation party per year; but so far I have
signally failed.  I have yet to see in print a single sermon by
the so-called "great Talmage" remarkable for wit, wisdom
or eloquence; or a single scrap from his pen that might not
have been written by a sophomore or a young reporter.

I have before me, while I write, one of his latest oratorical
efforts, entitled "Bricks Without Straw."  It was delivered to
one of the largest audiences that ever crowded into the
great tabernacle, is considerably above the Talmagian
average, was evidently regarded as one of his "ablest
efforts," for the great daily in which I find it prefaces it with
a "three-story head," a short biographical sketch and a
portrait of the speaker making an evident effort to look
wise.  Yet such a sermon delivered before a Texas
congregation by a fledgling D.D. seeking a "call" would
provoke supercilious smiles on the part of those
people who considered it their painful duty to remain
awake.  At the close of the services the good deacons
would probably feel called upon to take the young man out
behind the church and give him a little fatherly advice, the
burthen of which would be to become an auctioneer or
seek a situation as "spouter" for a snake side-show.

Had "Bricks Without Straw" been written as a "Sunday
special" by a horse-editor of any daily paper in Texas, the
managing editor would have chucked it into the waste-
basket and advised the young man that journalism was not
his forte.  It is a rambling fragmentary piece of mental
hodge-podge, in which scraps of school book Egyptology,
garbled Bible stories, false political economy and fragments
of misapplied history tumble over each other like specters
in a delirium.  It is just such a discourse as one might
expect from the lips of a female lieutenant in the Salvation
Army who possessed a vivid imagination, a smattering of
learning and a voluble tongue, but little judgment.  The only
original information I can find in the discourse is to the
effect that when Joseph was a bare-legged little Hebrew,
making mud-pies in the land of his forefathers, his daddy
called him "Joe"; that the Bible refers to Egypt and
Egyptians just "two hundred and eighty-nine times," and
that "Egypt is our great-grandmother."

He goes out of his way to denounce as "lunatics" those
who would place the American railways and telegraphs
under governmental control.  He is quite sure that the
logical effect of such a proceeding would be the revival in
free America of the old Egyptian tyranny.  The analogy
between a tyrant enslaving his subjects by means of a
monopoly of the food supply, and a free people managing a
great property for their own advantage, could only be traced
by a Talmagian head.

During the few months that Mr. Talmage was pottering
about in the land of the erstwhile Pharaohs, examining
mummified cats and drawing a fat salary for unrendered
services, he evidently forgot that in his own, his native land,
the people "rule the roost"; that the government is but their
creature and has to dance to music of their making.  If the
distinguished gentleman had spent his vacation in the
hayloft in close communion with a copy of the constitution
of the United States and a primary work on political
economy, instead of gadding from the pyramids to the
Acropolis hunting for small pegs upon which to hang large
theories, perhaps he would be able to occasionally say
something sensible.

Of course, in sloshing around over so wide a field, Mr.
Talmage gave his hearers his truly valuable opinion of
Mohammedanism.  He admitted that it is a religion of
cleanliness, sobriety and devotion; but the fact that its
founder had four wives caused him to sweat in agony.
Polygamy, according to Mr. Talmage, "blights everything it
touches."  Those who practice it are, he is quite sure, the
enemies of womankind.  Is it not a trifle strange that from
so foul a root should spring such a celestial plant as the
Christian religion? that from the loins of a polygamous
people should come an immaculate Christ?  How can we
mention Abraham, Isaac and Jacob without a curse, or
think of a God whose teachings they followed, without
horror--unless indeed we take issue with the public and
vote Mr. Talmage an ass of the longest-eared variety.

Mr. Talmage is quite sure that God was on the side of the
allies at the Battle of Waterloo; that he was on the side of
the Russians during the French invasion.  Mr. Talmage
does not take it upon himself to explain, however, how the
Deity chanced to be on the other side at Marengo and
Austerlitz!  No wonder that war is a risky business, if
the God of battle changes his allegiance so erratically and
without apparent provocation!  Mr. Talmage should advise
the government to cease expending money for ironclads
and coast fortifications.  In case of a foreign complication it
were "all day with us" if the Autocrat of the Universe were
swinging a battle-ax against us; while if we chanced to have
him with us, we could send Baby McKee out with the
jawbone of a hen, and put the armies of the world to
shame!

Mr. Talmage should retire to some secluded spot and make
a careful analysis of his sermons before firing them out to
the press.  They may sound all right in the big tabernacle,
where a great volume of noise is the chief desideratum; but
they make very poor reading.  Like a flapjack, they may
tickle the palate when served hot and with plenty of "sop";
but when allowed to grow cold are stale, flat and
unprofitable.

Mr. Talmage is troubled with a diarrhoea of words and
should take something for it.  Perhaps the best possible
prescription would be a long rest,--of a couple of centuries
or so.  How in God's name the American people ever
became afflicted with the idea that he is a great man, is a
riddle which might make Oedipus cudgel his wits in vain.
He is not even a skillful pretender, shining like the moon, by
borrowed light,--for he does not shine at all.  His sentences
are neither picturesque, dramatic nor wise.  His so-called
"sermons" are but fragmentary and usually ignorant
allusions to things in general.  He seldom or never
encroaches upon the realms of science and philosophy,
although he frequently attempts it, and evidently imagines
that he is succeeding admirably, when he is but sloshing
around, like a drunken comet that is chiefly tail, in inane
limboes.

I can find no other explanation of Mr. Talmage's
distinction than that, like Elliott F. Shepard, he can be
more kinds of a fool in a given time than any other man in
his profession.  That were indeed distinction enough for one
man, well calculated to cause the world to stand agaze!
Notoriety and fame have, in this age, become synonymous
if not exactly the same.  The world gauges greatness by
the volume of sound which the aspirant for immortal honors
succeeds in setting afloat, little caring whether it be such
celestial harp-music as caused Thebe's walls to rise, or the
discordant bray of the ram's horn which made Jericho's to
fall, and Mr. Talmage is emphatically a noise-producer.
From the lecherous, but learned and logical Beecher to the
gabbling inanity now doing the drum-major act, is a long
stride.


* * *
NUDE ART AT CHICAGO.

Now the very Old Nick is to pay at the World's Fair, and
an exasperating stringency in the money market.  The great
"uncultured West" is flocking to Chicago to see the show,
and is seeing more than it bargained for.  Its modest cheek
has been set aflame by the exuberant display of the nude
in art.  And the West is kicking, kicking with both feet,
kicking like a bay steer who has a kick coming and knows
how to recalcitrate.  The culchawed East and blase
Yewrup look on with mild astonishment and wondah what
ails the bawbarians, doncher know.

We learn from our Chicago correspondent that the great
buildings are liberally adorned with "figures of nude men of
heroic size, not a detail of which has escaped the loving
care of the fin de siecle sculptors.  Elsewhere the
examples of the nude represent both sexes."  Yet the East
wonders that the West is shocked,--cannot understand why
"wives drag their husbands away and young ladies leave
the building with faces ablaze with indignation!"  Our
correspondent volunteers the information that "a much
severer test of the patience of the Western people will
come when the art palace is opened"; also that "the
treatment the Western people are getting is drastic and
cruel, but it will work wonders in cultivating and refining
them."

We beg leave to dissent from the conclusion.  We hardly
think that any of our readers will accuse us of prudery.  We
are willing to concede special privileges to art.  Its province
is to portray the beautiful, and the most beautiful thing on
all God's earth is a perfect female form.  The painter or
sculptor who loves his art may be permitted to reproduce in
modest pose a naked female figure; but he should not be
allowed to force it upon the attention of a mixed multitude.
Let him place it where it will only be seen by those who
seek it.  A man may take his mother, wife,--even his
sweetheart to look upon such work of art, and they may be
better, purer, nobler for having worshiped at the shrine of
beauty; but to compel them to stand before it with a mixed
multitude to most of whom it suggests but grossest
sensuality, is a brutal crime against modesty.  So much for
the female nude.

What man would take a woman near and dear to him to
look upon a nude male statue or painting,--"not a detail of
which has escaped the loving care" of the artist?  Certainly
few Western or Southern men would do so!  Worship of the
beautiful may pardon the nude female figure, but the nude
male figure never.  Hercules nude is but an animal, and
Apollo a nightmare.  To place nude male figures
indiscriminately about the great Fair buildings, where they
must be seen by modest maids, whether they will or no,
and that while insolent strangers enjoy their confusion, is
the very apotheosis of brutality.

The idea that such an outrage upon divine modesty will
"cultivate and refine" people sounds like one of
Satan's satires.  We honor the "uncultured West" for
making a heroic kick, and trust that it will keep on
recalcitrating until every unclean statue forced upon its
attention in the name of art is forever disfigured.  The
protest of the West proves that its mind is still pure,--that it
has not yet reached that plane of "culture" where modesty
perishes in the frosts of formalism.

The liberty accorded art has degenerated into license.  The
beautiful is no longer sought, but the bizarre.  It is not the
massy shoulders of Hercules, the rounded arm of Juno, the
beautiful bust of Hebe, the godlike pose of Apollo or the
shapely limb of Aphrodite that painter and sculptor seek to
reproduce; it is an "effect" similar to that of Boccaccio or a
fragrant French novel.  It is not against the true in art that
the West is rebelling, but against the vulgar.


* * *
"THERE'S ONE COMES AFTER."

A SKETCH.

None so poor but they may build fairy castles in the air;
none so wretched but they may fondly gaze upon the fickle
star of Hope, flaming ever in that Heaven we see by Faith.

A man, worn with suffering and sorrow and sin, was toiling
homeward in the night from a far hunter's camp, whither he
had been banished by a doctor's edict, "Rest from labor
lest ye die."  "That indeed is a misfortune," he had said,
and redoubled his vigils at the desk.  Then they brought his
little son, the last gem in the sacred circle of the home
whose breaking up broke his heart, and placed the child
upon his knee.  He looked at its fair face and said, "I will
go."  A man for whom the shadows should still be
falling toward the west, but old before his time, deep
scarred by angry storms, battered and bruised like some
presumptuous mortal who had seized his puny spear and
plunged into such wars as the Titans were wont to wage
upon the Grecian Gods.  The jaded steed stumbled along
the dark and dangerous way, while its rider dreamed with
wide open eyes and sometimes muttered to himself in that
dreary solitude.

"There's one comes after--in dying I do not die, in losing I
simply pass the sword from sire to son.  I may but fill a
ditch for a better to mount upon and win the mural crown.
What, then, if that other be----"

The owl hooted as he passed, and from the thicket came
the angry snarl of wolves.  "How human!" he bitterly
exclaimed.  "Hoots and hungry howls, all along life's path--
a weird pilgrimage in the dark."

He nodded, his head bowing almost to the saddle-bow,
then awoke humming, he knew not why,

   "As long as the heart knows passion.
     As long as life, as long."

His dog, a powerful mastiff, bristled and uttered an angry
growl as a great gray wolf slunk along in the dry grass but
a few yards distant.  "The brutes follow the wounded," he
muttered, "and I am stricken deep."  He unslung his heavy
fowling-piece and fired.  The eyes of the brute glowed like
green globes of phosphorescence in the light of the gun,
then sank down with a howl that drew its comrades about
it, not to succor and to save, but to tear and rend.  He
watched them a moment, muttering again, "How human!"
and turning to an aged oak that spread its branches wide,
built a fire of brush and bivouacked.  But he could not
sleep--the blue devils were playing at hide-and-seek within
his heart, and phantoms that once were flesh came
trooping from out the gloom and hovered round him.  He
put out his hands to them, he cried to them to speak to
him, but they receded into the darkness from whence they
came--the grave had given up its dead only to mock him, to
emphasize his utter desolation.  He embraced the sturdy
oak as though he would draw strength from its stubborn
heart which had defied the storms of a thousand years,
then sank prostrate at its base and, with only dumb animals
to note his weakness, wept as only strong men weep when
shivered by the bolts of Destiny.

"One left--but one of those I loved; my strength is broken,
my labors are in vain--I can but die; yet must I live, lest the
one in whom is centered all my hopes, doth fall in evil ways
and also come to naught."

He dreamed of the days that were dead, and of those
rushing upon him from the mystic future, "each bearing its
burden of sorrow."  He trod again life's thorny path, from
the cradle to manhood's somber noon, a path strewn with
wreck and wraith and wet with blood and tears.  Again the
well-known forms came from beyond the firelight and,
winding their shadowy arms about his neck, wept for his
loneliness.  He tried to embrace them, to gather them to his
heart as in the old days when they welcomed his
homecoming with glad acclaim, but clutched only air--his
kisses fell on vacancy.  As they receded into the gloom he
followed crying, "Stay!  Stay!" and wandered here and
there through bogs and briers and over the rough rocks,
calling them each by name with many an endearing term,
until he fell exhausted, and, putting forth his hand to break
his fall, encircled the neck of his faithful dog and lay there
bruised and bleeding.  Then other phantoms came, two
women, one old, one young, bearing a ghastly burden,
around which little children wailed.  They laid it down at his
feet, a horrid thing with wide-scaring eyes and gaping
wounds all wet with gore.  And the elder bowed herself
upon it and kissed the rigid hands, the lips and hair and
moaned that she was left childless in her age, but the
younger stood erect, imperious, the frightened children
clinging to her skirts and, calling him by a name that froze
his blood, bade him look upon her widowhood.

"It was self-defense," he doggedly replied, as he met the
glance of her scornful eyes.

"O egotist!" she cried; "must a man die that a dog may
live?  Must a mother's gray hairs be brought in sorrow to
the grave; must the heart of a wife be crushed within a
bloody hand and children never know a father's loving care,
that such a thing as thou may'st yet encumber this fair
earth?  Precious indeed must be that life, purchased at
such a price!"

But again the forms that had fled returned, and one, a frail,
sweet-faced woman with a world of pity in her eyes, stood
between him and his accuser.  She took the scornful
woman's hand and gently said:  "Sister, 'twas thee or me,
'twas thine or mine;" and in the music of her voice the
ghastly object vanished.

The hoot of the owl and the howl of the wolf grew faint and
far away; he fell into an uneasy slumber and saw himself,
aged and gray, trying to keep pace with a fair youth, who
mounted with free and graceful step a mountain whose
summit was crowned with the light of everlasting day.
Steeper and steeper grew the path, yet he strove with
failing strength.  The youth reached out a strong hand to
him and said, "Lean on me;" but he put it back, crying
fiercely:  "No! no! climb thou alone farther I cannot go.  On!
On to the summit, where breaks the great white light, and
there is no death!"

The youth struggled with the steeps and overcame them
one by one, and mounted higher and ever higher, until
he stood where never man had stood, the glory of
the gods upon his face, the immortelles upon his brow.
And people wondered and said to him, "Who is it that
stands upon the mountain top where only tread the gods?"
And he answered, "It is I--it is my other self."  And they
said, "The poor old man is mad; let be, let be."

The dog crept closer to its master and laid its head upon
his breast.  The vision changed, and he sat by a seacoal
fire in chambers that once had echoed the glad voices of
those whose graves were 'mid the soughing pines.  He held
his one treasure to his heart and sang to it the old ditties
that its mother was wont to sing when soothing her babe to
slumber, until the golden head drooped low upon his breast.
He wove about it fond dreams of what should be in the
years to come, when, grown to manhood, it entered the
arena of the world.  A bony hand stole over his shoulder
and seized the child, and looking up he beheld Death
standing by his chair.  He clasped his treasure close and
struggled with the grisly specter, but it only mocked him,
and tearing the child from him, fled into the outer void.  He
struggled to his feet and from his parched lips there burst a
cry that echoed and reechoed through the dark woods and
was hurled back from the distant hills.

At dawn the rustics found him, lying cold as his rocky bed,
the beaded dew upon his grizzled beard, his horse with
head low hanging over him, his dog keeping watch and
ward.


* * *
POOR OLD TEXAS.

'Twas said in days of old that misfortune never comes
singly.  The fates are turning upon Texas an unkindly eye.
She is o'erwhelmed quite, sunk in the Serbonian bogs of
dark despair.  First our mighty Democratic majority
slipped up on the Hoggeian banana peel and drove
its vertebrae through the crown of its convention plug, while
unfeeling Populists and Republicans jeered and flouted us.
Then our blessed railway kermishen lost its linchpin and the
soulless corporations heaped coals of fire upon our heads
by reducing rates, thereby making our boasted wisdom a
byword and a reproach.  The cyclone swooped down upon
us from Kansas and swiped our crops, making our boasts
that here was an Elysium beyond the storm-belt sound as
hollow as Adam's dream of Eden after he was lifted over
the garden wall.  Still we bore up and presented a bold, if
not an unbroken front to a carping world.  But the vials of
wrath were not yet exhausted.  Pandora's box had not yet
emptied itself of all its plagues.  Our sorrow's crown of
sorrow was yet to come.  It is here; our humiliation is
accomplished, our agony is complete.  A lone highwayman
has held up and robbed a populous passenger train in
Texas--in West Texas, the rendezvous of the sure-enough
bad man, who catches catamounts and clips their claws,--
who defies whole barrels o' Jersey lightning and uses the
bucking-broncho for his laughter, yea, his sport!  Shades o'
Ben Thompson and Luke Short, has it come to this,--that a
rank stranger can lasso a Texas train, drive the passengers
under the seats, plunder them at his pleasure, with no one
to molest or make him afraid!  Half a hundred Texans
trembling at sight of one gun were a sight worth seeing,--
and they did not even know it was loaded!  Gone is our
ancient glory--our rep. is irretrievably in the tureen.
Henceforth when a pilgrim from the pathless Southwest
registers at an Eastern hotel the bell-boys will not fall over
each other to do him honor as a dime-novel hero, nor the
gilded clerk insure his life before politely requesting him to
pay in advance.  The last lingering shadow of our greatness
hath departed.  The tenderfoot will trample upon us,
and the visiting capitalist neglect to ask us up to the bar.
The fair ladies of other lands will no longer worship us as
the picturesque knights of a reckless but romantic chivalry.
They will remember that in a whole trainload of Texans
there was not one who would fight even on compulsion,--
will sweep by with frigid hauteur, leaving us to weep for the
days that are no more.  Alas, poor Texas!

* * *
THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT.

A correspondent wants to know what I think of "the
Single Standard of Morals, which assumes that tampering
with the Seventh Commandment is as demoralizing to men
as to women."

The single standard of morals, like the single standard of
money, would be a magnificent thing were there at least
double the present amount of raw material for it to
measure.  I hope to see the day when the libertine will be
relegated to the social level of the prostitute where he
logically belongs; but we are not dealing now with theories,
but with actual conditions.  I trust that I may speak plainly
on this delicate subject without offending the unco' guid or
giving the priorient pulpiteers a pain.  I believe the sexes
should be equally pure--when I make a world all my women
shall be paragons of virtue, and all my men he-virgins.  I'll
construct no Messalinas nor Cleopatras, no Lovelaces or
Sir Launcelots.  I'll people the world with St. Anthonys and
Penelopes, Josephs and Rebecca Merlindy Johnsings.  I'll
apply the soft pedal to the fierce scream of passion and pull
all the barbs from the arrows that whiz from the Love God's
bow.  Life will not then be quite so exhilarating, but it will be
much better worth the living.  Meantime a little
spraining of the Seventh Commandment is by no
means so demoralizing to man as to woman, despite the
frantic protests of those who would drag the millennium in
by the ears by forcing upon society, willy nilly, the single
standard of morals.  Man is the grosser animal, has not so
far to fall; the shock to his sensibilities is not so serious--he
is not so amenable to shame.  A coat of black paint ruins a
marble Diana, but has little appreciable effect on an iron
Hercules.  Illicit intercourse is not so demoralizing to man
as to woman, for the further reason that it is not considered
so great a crime.  An act is demoralizing or degrading in
proportion as the perpetrator thereof considers it criminal,
as it lowers his self-respect; and men regard their crinolinic
peccancy as a venial fault, while women consider such
lapses on the part of their sex as grievous sin; hence the
lightning of lust scarce blackens the pillar while it shatters
the vase.  The moral effect of an act is determined by the
prevailing standard of ethics.  Were polyandry the general
practice, a woman could have a multiplicity of husbands
and be considered pure; where polygamy is the rule, a man
may have a multitude of wives and be regarded as moral.
Ethical codes ever adapt themselves to conditions.
Solomon was one of the most honorable men of his age,
but were he alive to-day he would be branded as a
shameless lecher, a contumacious criminal.  There have
been religions, existing through long ages and extending
over vast empires, in which the organs of generation were
considered as sacred symbols and prostitution in the
purlieus of the temple regarded as pleasing to the gods.  It
is easy enough for bigoted ignorance to brand those people
as barbarians; but in many provinces of art and science
they have ever remained our masters.  "The tents of the
maidens" were simply places where fair religious
enthusiasts sold themselves to the first stranger who
offered them a piece of silver, and laid their gains upon the
altar of the gods.  The robber barons of old-time Germany,
the diplomatic liars of medieval Italy, the thieves of ancient
Lacedaemon and the polygamists of biblical Palestine
considered themselves as respectable people, and as they
were so regarded by their compatriots, they were not
morally degraded by their deeds.  But the robber and the
liar, the thief and the polygamist of this age are cattle of
quite another color--there has been a radical change in the
moral code, the peccadillos of the past have become the
crimes of the present.  The cross, once an obscene pagan
symbol, has been transformed from an emblem of
reproduction into one of destruction; the "tents of the
maidens" are struck; Corinth no longer implores the gods to
increase the number and enhance the beauty of its
courtesans; Venus Pandemos has given place to Our Lady
of Pain, and the obscene Dionysius fled before a crucified
Christ.  No more does the fair religious postulant play the
bacchante in flower-strewn palaces while naked Cupids
crown the brimming cup and sandaled feet beat time on
polished cedar floors to music that is the cry of brute
passion in the blood--kneeling in the cold gray dawn upon
the stones she clasps a marble cross.  The wanton worship
of the flesh has passed with the world's youth; but though
much of man's crassness has been purged away in Time's
great crucible, he is still of the earth earthy and clings
tenaciously to his ancient prerogative of polygamy.  When
he marries, society does not really expect him to respect
his oath to "forsake all others"--regards it as a formal bow
to the convenances, a promise with a mental reservation
annex; but it considers a woman's vow as sacred and the
breaking thereof as rankest blasphemy.  He is allowed but
one wife, but he may have a score of mistresses and
society will placidly wink the other eye--until some
tearful maiden requires him to share the shame she can no
longer conceal or an "injured husband" goes a-gunning.
This should not be so, but so it is.  There be fools, both
male and female, who will rise up to exclaim that this is
false; but that it is Gospel truth is proven every day in the
year in every community on the American continent.  Men
with reputations for licentiousness that would shame old
Silenus are cordially received in the most exclusive society.
They are found at every high-falutin' "function," bending
over the white hands of the most accomplished ladies in
the land; on every ballroom floor, encircling the waists of
debutantes; in the parlors of our best people, paying
court to their young daughters.  The noblest women in this
world become their wives--fondly undertake their
"reformation" while indignantly drawing their skirts aside
lest they come in contact with the tawdry finery of females
whom these lawless satyrs have debauched.  Of course
when a woman learns that her reformatory work has proven
a failure, drear and dismal, she complains bitterly, may
even demand a divorce; yet she could count upon the
fingers of one hand the hubbies whom she would trust
behind a sheet of paper with a wayward daughter.  She
doesn't believe a little bit in the virtue of the genus male,
yet insists that her own husband be a saint--assumes that
her own charms should cause him to regard all other
women with indifference, and when she learns of his
polygamous practices suffers all the pangs of wounded
pride.

If a woman be homely as a bois d'arc hedge she may
suppose the world supercharged with St. Anthonys, for she
has not been much sought; but if she be beautiful and has
mingled much with men she realizes all too well that the
story of Joseph is a foolish romance or that Mrs. Potiphar
was quite passe.  And though she be pure as a vestal
virgin of Rome's best days she secretly despises the
man with whom she does not have to stand just a
little bit on the defensive.  Of course she demands that her
male acquaintances shall be gentlemen and treat her with
due courtesy and respect; but it nettles her not a little to
learn that her charms are altogether ignored.  She likes to
feel her power, to know that she is good in the eyes of
men, something desired--that her virtue is a priceless jewel
over which she must ever keep close guard; hence she
likes best the male she is compelled to watch, while a man
has absolutely no use for wife or mistress upon whose
fealty he would not lay his life.  The result is that when a
woman commits one sexual sin she puts hope behind her,
her feet take hold on Hell, she sinks lower and lower until
she becomes the shameless associate of bummers and
bawds.  She is made to feel that she has murdered her
womanhood, that the red cross of Cain blazes upon her
brow.  Realizing that she is a social outcast, a moral pariah,
she becomes reckless, defiant, and finally glories in
betraying the fool who trusts her.  No matter how fair the
mountain upon which she has leave to feed, she will batten
on the moor.  Love was her excuse when first she went
astray, and she hugs the delusion to her heart that Cupid
can sanctify a crime; but where honor spreads not its wings
of snow love perishes in the fierce simoon of lust.  The man
with whom she enters the primrose path feels that he is as
good as his fellows.  He may watch with a sigh her descent
to the noisome regions of the damned; but comforts himself
with the reflection that she would have found her way to
hades without his help--that

     "Virtue as it never will be moved,
     Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven,
     So lust, though to a radiant angel linked,
     Will sate itself in a celestial bed,
     And prey on garbage"--

that had he played the prude she would have found
another and perhaps a baser paramour.  He knows that the
stain of lechery is on his soul but draws comfort from the
fact that such is the common heritage of his sex, forgets his
victim and struggles toward the stars.  He is financially
honest, generous, and guards the honor of wife and
daughters as God's best gift.  His amorous dalliance with
others instead of weaning him from his wife, causes him to
regard her with greater veneration, to contrast her purity
with his own pollution, her virtue with another's vice.
Paradoxical as it may appear, there are no men in this
world who so reverence good women as those who are
notorious for their illicit amours.  I am not, of course,
speaking of the consorts of common courtesans, of human
hogs; but of the men who people the red-light district with
their cast-off mistresses.

Pitiful as it may appear, it hurts a man more to trifle with
the Eighth Commandment once than to break the Seventh
a thousand times--he is worse demoralized by stealing a
mangy mule than by ruining a maid.  The male lecher may
be in all things else a lord; the thief is considered altogether
and irremediably corrupt.  Society will tolerate the one if his
offense be not too flagrant, but to the other it refuses even
the shadow of forgiveness.  For three centuries the world
has been trying to explain away Shakespeare's poaching,
but has not thought it worth while to even apologize for his
sexual perversity.  Washington caught his death while
keeping an assignation with a neighbor's wife; but there's
little said about it--he's still the "father of his country,"
including seventy million people of all classes and colors.
Had the "slight exposure which brought on a fatal
sickness," been the result of prowling in his neighbor's barn
instead of his boudoir his name would be anathema
forevermore.  The world forgives him for debauching
another man's wife, but would never have forgiven him had
he raided the same man's henroost.  It does not mean by
this that a scrawny pullet is of more importance than family
honor; it simply means that the man who steals a pullet is a
cowardly thief, while the one who ignores the advances of a
pretty woman is an incorrigible idiot.  Ben Franklin could
have mistresses scattered all over the City of Brotherly
Love, and Dan Webster consort with all the light women of
Washington, and still be men of genius beneath whose
imperial feet Columbia was proud to lay her shining hair;
but had either been caught sneaking from a neighbor's
woodpile with a two-cent bundle of fagots, the world would
have rung with his infamy.  The complaint against
Demosthenes is not that he was a libertine--a man before
whose honeyed eloquence maiden modesty and wifely
virtue were as wax; but that he threw away sword and
shield and fled like a mule-eared rabbit before the spears of
Macedon.  I digress long enough to say that I have
patiently investigated the story of the great orator's flight,
and am fully convinced that it was a foul political falsehood,
just as the current story of Col.  Ingersoll's cowardice and
capture is a religious lie.

Of course society has to make an occasional example and
its moral maleficence, like death, loved a shining mark.  It
damned Breckinridge for getting tangled up with a desiring
maid in a closed carriage, and relegated him to the political
wilderness, yet twice elevated to the presidency the most
disreputable old Falstaff that ever vibrated between cheap
beer joints and ham-fatted old washerwomen who smelled
of stale soap-suds and undeodorized diapers.  Cleveland
"told the truth"--when he had to--and was made a little tin
Jesus of by the moral jabberwocks; Breckinridge, an
infinitely better and brainier man, 'fessed up--and
couldn't go to Congress from the studhorse district of
Kentucky.  When society goes hunting for scapegoats it
usually manages to get a gnat lodged in its esophagus
while relegating a mangy dromedary to its internal
economy.

Such are the conditions which prevail to-day; but I am far
from agreeing with the dictum of Pope that "whatever is, is
right."  Had the world ever proceeded on that principle we
would still be honoring robbers and liars, thieves and
polygamists.  The wider license accorded man harmonizes
neither with divine law, decency nor the canons of common
sense.  We place womanly virtue on a pedestal and
worship it while tacitly encouraging men to destroy it.  We
overlook the fact that a man cannot fracture the Seventh
Commandment without considerable assistance.  We
should adopt a loftier standard of morality, nobler ideals for
men.  Because he is more earthly than woman it does not
follow that he should be made altogether of muck.  He has
made some little progress since the days of Judah and
Tamar, David and Bathsheba.  He no longer consorts with
courtesans on the public highway, nor pens up half a
hundred wives in a harem, then goes broke buying
concubines.  He has learned that there is such a thing as
shame, assumes a virtue though he has it not, seeks to
conceal his concupiscence.  What in one age society drives
to a semblance of concealment in the next it brands as
criminal, hence we may hope that at no distant day the
single standard of morals will become more than an
irridescent dream--that Josephs will not be confined
altogether to gum-chewing members of the Y.M.C.A.  We
may eventually reach that moral plain where the male
debauchee will be considered a moral outcast; but the time
is not yet, and until its advent illicit commerce will continue
to be more demoralizing to women than to men.

Of course there are exceptions to the rule--there are
women who rise superior to the social law.  George Eliot,
Queen Elizabeth, Sarah Bernhardt and others have
trampled the social edict beneath their feet and refused to
consider themselves sinners--have laughed an outraged
world to scorn and stood defiant, sufficient unto themselves.
Those women were intellectual amazons whom naught but
the writhen bolts of God could humble, whose genius
flamed with a white light even through the dun clouds of
lechery; but we cannot measure the workaday woman by
the few "whose minds might, like the elements, furnish
forth creation."  A Bernhardt is great, not because of her
social sin, but despite thereof.  With her art is the all-in-all,
sex but an incident.  She is strong enough to mount the
empyrean despite the lernean serpent-coil which drags
others to perdition--to compel the world to tolerate if not
forgive the black stain in her heart because of the divine
radiance which encircles her head.  Occasionally there is a
woman who can sacrifice her purity without sinking to the
slums through loss of self-respect--can still maintain the
fierce battle for fame, can be grand after she has ceased to
be good.  Mrs. Grundy can rave, and every orthodox goose
stretch forth its rubberneck to express its disapproval; but
instead of bending beneath the weight of scorn, instead of
sinking into the mire of the slough upon which she has set
her feet she seems like old Antaeus, to gather fresh
strength from the earth with which to write her name among
the immortals.  Queen Elizabeth is to this good day the
pride of orthodox England--she had more brains than all its
other monarchs combined; yet by solemn act of parliament
it was decreed that the first bastard born to the "Virgin
Queen" should ascend the throne of Britain.  Thus was the
highest possible premium placed upon female lechery, and
it was placed there after due deliberation by a "God-
fearing," Catholic-hating Episcopalian parliament!
Fortunately for Mrs. Wettin, the present governmental
figure-head, jolly old Liz either availed herself of some of
the "preventatives" so extensively advertised in "great
family newspapers," or neglected to own her illegitimate
offspring.  I cannot help but think that a love-child by
Elizabeth and the courtly Raleigh would have been a great
improvement on any of the soggy-headed things spawned
by the House of Hanover.  I do not apologize for nor
condone the sexual frailties of distinguished females; the
noblest career to which any woman can aspire is that of
honest wifehood, and if she attains to that she is, though of
mediocre mind, infinitely superior to the most famous
wanton.

It is worthy of remark that most distinguished women since
the days of Sappho and Semiramis have been impure,
while not a few great men have been remarkable for their
continency.  Woman has been called "the weaker vessel,"
and certain it is that men stand the glamor of greatness, the
temptations that come with riches, the white light that beats
upon a throne, much better than do Eve's fair daughters.
As a man becomes great, he respects more and more the
cumulative wisdom of the world, becomes obedient; as a
woman becomes great she grows disdainful and rebellious.
Thus it is that while in the common walks of life woman is
infinitely purer than man, as we ascend into the higher
realms, whether in art, letters or statecraft, we discover a
tendency to reverse this law until we often find great men
anchorites and great women trampling on the moral code.

There be some who explain man's larger sexual liberty on
physiological grounds, excuse it on the hypothesis of
necessity.  Physicians of the ultra-progressive school have
even gone so far as to assert that continence in man is the
chief cause of impotency--have pointed out that it is
usually the wives of good men who go wrong, and insisted
that to the former hypothesis must be attributed the latter
fact.  I am unable to find any reason in physiology why
such a rule should not work both ways.  I have said
somewhere that man is naturally polygamous, and I might
have added with equal truth that woman is naturally
polyandrous.  The difference is that woman's sexual
education began earlier and she has progressed somewhat
further from "a state of nature" wherein free love is the law.
Man early began to defend his prerogatives, to strengthen
the moral concept of his mate with a club, to frame laws for
the protection of his female property.  The infraction of
established custom soon came to be considered a social
crime, an offense of which even the gods took cognizance.
Woman's polyandrous instinct yielded somewhat to
education--she was compelled to make this sacrifice upon
the altar of society.  Thus was female continence not a
thing decreed by Heaven or "natural law," but was
begotten of brute force.  We see a survival of the old
animalistic instinct in prostitution and the all too frequent
illicit intercourse prevailing in the higher walks of life.
Unquestionably the Seventh Commandment is violative of
natural law as applied to either sex; but most natural laws
must be amended somewhat ere we can have even a
semblance of civilization; hence we cannot excuse man's
peccadillos on that broad plea that it's "the nature of the
brute."  Joseph and St. Anthony, Gautama and Sir Galahad
are ideals toward which man must ever strive with all his
strength if he would purge the subsoil out of his system--
would mount above the gutter where wallow the dumb
beasts and take his place among the gods.  The custom of
thousands of years to the contrary notwithstanding, it is
damnable that a wife should be compelled to share a
husband's caresses with lewd women.  Tennyson
assures us that "as the husband is the wife is."
Fortunately for society this is false; still there are thorns in
the bed and rebellion in the heart of the woman who must
play wife to a Lovelace or a Launcelot.  It is not true that it
is the wives of good men who go astray; it is the wives who
are naturally corrupt or morally weak.  A talented lady
contributor to the ICONOCLAST once asserted that 'tis not
for good women that men have done great deeds.
Perchance this is true, for men who do great deeds are
goaded thereto, not by the swish of crinoline, but by the
immortal gods.  Such acts are bred in the bone, are born in
the blood and brain.  It certainly is not for bad women that
men soar at the sun, for every man worth the killing
despises corruption in womankind.  He worships on bended
knee and with uncovered head at the shrines of Minerva
and Dian, and but amuses himself by stealth at that of the
Pandemian Venus.  When Antony deserted his Roman wife
for Egypt's sensuous queen, he quickly became an
enervated ass and his name thenceforth was Ichabod.
Great Caesar dallied with the same dusky wanton, but
ever in his intrepid heart ruled that "woman above
reproach."  Alexander of Macedon refrained from making
the wife of Persia's conquered king his mistress.  Napoleon
found time even among the thunders of war to write daily to
his wife, and when he finally turned from her it was not to
seek a fairer flame but to place a son upon the throne of
France.  Grant stood forth in an era of unbridled license
unsullied as a god.  Great men have been unfaithful to their
marital vows, but it has been those of mediocre minds and
india-rubber morals who have cowered at the feet of
mistresses--who have thrown their world away for reechy
kisses shared by others.  While it is true that the world's
intellectual titans have seldom been he-virgins or
feathered saints, they did not draw godlike inspiration
from their own dishonor.


* * *
OPTIMISM VS. PESSIMISM.

THE PREACHED AND THE "APOSTLE."

I am in receipt of a long letter from a Missouri minister, in
which, to my surprise, he says:  "I regret to note that you
are a Pessimist.  Permit me to express the hope that so
powerful a journal as the ICONOCLAST will yet espouse
the sunny philosophy of Optimism, which teaches that all
that is accords with the Plan of the Creator, and works
together for the ultimate good."

 "God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform."

I had not hitherto suspected that I was inoculated with the
awful microbes of Pessimism, but if my reverend friend is a
professor in the sunny school of Optimism, I certainly do
not belong to that sect.  If "all that is accords with the Plan
of the Creator," did not Christ deserve to be crucified for
bringing about new conditions, and Galileo to go to jail for
interfering with the stupid ignorance of certain Catholic
cardinals?  Can even the Missouri minister be held guiltless
when he attempts to turn my thinking apparatus around and
make it operate from the other end?  Surely he should not
interfere in even so slight a particular with the "Plan of the
Creator," who may have been moving "in a mysterious way
his wonders to perform" when he gave the supposedly
pessimistic bend to my mind.  Nay, if my Christian friend do
but have the rheumatism, should he not refrain from
poulticing himself, lest he throw the celestial
machinery out of gear?  If changes wrought in religion,
science, government, etc., constitute a portion of the
"Plan," we must concede it to have originally been a very
faulty affair--quite upsetting the optimistic theory that
"Whatever is is right."

The terms Pessimism and Optimism are handled very
loosely in these latter days.  In the modern acceptance of
the terms, the first may be defined as a chronic intellectual
bellyache, the latter as an incurable case of mossbackism.
The thorough Pessimist believes the world is going in hot
haste to the demnition bowwows, and that nothing short of
a miracle can head it off; the full-fledged Optimist carries
concealed about his person an abiding faith that "God
ordereth all things well"--that he not only designed the
mighty universe, but is giving his personal attention to the
details of its management.  Really, I do not believe I am
Pessimist to hurt, or that my reverend critic is so
dangerously ill of the Optimistic disease as he imagines.
Perhaps he has been living too high for great intellectual
effort.  Were he in the condition of some millions of his
fellow creatures, the cuticle of whose abdomens is flapping
against their vertebrae like a wet dish-rag wrapping itself
around a wire clothesline, perhaps there would not be quite
so much sunshine in his philosophy.  The man with whom
the world goes well is apt to prattle of the "ultimate good"
when considering the woes of other people.

The basis of Optimism is foreordination, the foolish faith
that before God created the majestic universe and sent the
planets whirling about the blazing sun; that before the first
star gleamed in the black, overhanging firmament or a
single mountain peak rose from the watery waste, he
calmly sat him down and mapped out every act of moral
man--decreed every war and pestilence, the rise and fall of
every nation, and fixed the date of every birth and
death.  That may be excellent "orthodoxy," but it is
not good sense.  I reject the theory that all the happenings
here below "accord with the Plan of the Creator--work
together for the ultimate good."  Hence, I am not an
Optimist.  I dare not accuse my Creator of being
responsible for all the sin and sorrow, suffering and shame
that since the dawn of history has bedewed the world with
blood and tears.

I do not believe the "Plan of the Creator" contemplated that
millions of people should perish miserably by war, and
famine and pestilence.  I do not believe the black buck who
ravishes and murders a white babe is one of the great
moral agents of the Almighty, nor that the infamous act has
any possible tendency to promote "the ultimate good."
And did I so believe, I would keep my shotgun loaded just
the same.  I do not believe that the blessed God intended
there should ever be a liar or a thief, a prostitute or a
murderer in this beautiful world.  I do not believe that the
Creator entered into a compact with the devil or a covenant
with the cholera.  And if not, then all that is does not
"accord with the Plan of the Creator."  If that be
Pessimism, make the most of it.

That there is a Divine Plan I do not doubt; but I believe it to
be broader, deeper, more worthy of the great Demiurgus
than that which pictures him telling a priest how to carve his
pantaloons or sacrifice a pair of pigeons, than standing idly
by with his hands under his coat-tails, while some drunken
duffer beats the head of his better half with a bootjack, or a
bronze brute rips the scalp from a smiling babe.  If that's
the kind of a hairpin who occupies the throne of Heaven, I
don't blame Lucifer for raising a revolution.  I would have
taken a fall out of him myself, even had I known that my
viscera would be strewn across the face of the shrinking
universe.

God gave us life, and this grand old globe for habitat.  He
stored it with everything necessary to the health and
happiness of the human race--poured his treasures forth
with a hand so bounteous that though its population were
doubled, trebled, it might go on forever and no mortal son
of Adam need suffer for life's necessaries.  The gaunt
specters of Want and Pestilence are not of his creation;
they were born of Greed and Ignorance.  God sent no devil
with hoofs and horns to torment or tempt us; he gave to us
passions necessary to the perpetuation and progress of the
race and divine Reason wherewith to rule them--then left us
to work out our own salvation, aided by those silent forces
that are pressing all animate and inanimate life onward to
perfection.  Reason needs no celestial guide, no heavenly
monitor, for it is the grandest attribute of God himself.
Where Reason sits enthroned God reigns!

For more than half a million years man has been toiling
upwards, impelled by that mysterious law that causes the
pine to spring towards the sun.  Sometimes the advance is
by leaps and bounds, as when some giant intellect--some
Son of God, especially gifted with the attributes of his Sire--
brushes aside the obstructions at which lesser men toil in
vain; sometimes the Car of Progress stands still for a
thousand years, else rolls slowly back toward brutishness,
there being none of sufficient strength to advance the
standards further up the rugged mountainside--nearer the
Celestial City.  Thus, ever in ebb and flow, gaining and
losing, only to regain; nations rising and falling but to serve
as stepping-stones whereon mount a nobler race, a grander
people, the irrepressible conflict of the Godlike with the
Beastlike in man goes bravely on.

In half a million years we have come far--won many a fair
field from the dominion of Darkness.  We no longer dwell in
caves and hollow trees, fighting naked with the wild
beasts of the forest for our prey.  We have erected temples
to that God who dwells, not only in the heavens, but here
on earth--in the brain and heart of the human race.  We
have made matter so far subject unto mind that nature's
mighty forces have become our obedient bondslaves.  We
have built societies, nations, weighed the world and
measured the stars.  We have acquired not only knowledge
and power, but love and modesty.  The procreative passion
no longer crawls, a hideous thing, but soars aloft, a winged
Psyche.  Thus, one by one, through the long ages, have we
built up within ourselves the attributes of the Most High,
toward whom our feet are tending.  Life is no longer mere
animalism, content to gorge itself with roots and raw meat
and sit in the sun.  The ear craves melody, the eye beauty,
the brain dominion, while the soul mounts to the very stars!

Thus far have we come out of the Valley of Darkness, led
on, not by those who believe that "all that is accords with
the Plan of the Creator," but by those whose battle-cry has
ever been,

   "Forward, forward let us range,
     Let the great world spin forever
     Down the ringing grooves of change."

Every reformation yet wrought in religion, science or
polities, was the work of men who declined to accept the
doctrines enunciated by the Missouri divine.  If I am a
Pessimist I am in such excellent company as Confucius and
Christ, General Washington and Mr. Gladstone, Prof. Morse
and Dr. Pasteur, while my critic is training with the gang
that poisoned Socrates, bribed Iscariot and crucified the
Savior.  And the world persists in judging a man by the
company he keeps!


ADAM AND EVE.

After God had expended five days creating this little dog-
kennel of a world, and one in manufacturing the remainder
of the majestic universe out of a job-lot of political boom
material, he "planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there
he put the man he had formed."  Adam was at that time a
bachelor, therefore, his own boss.  He was monarch of all
he surveyed and his right there was none yet to dispute.
He could stay out and play poker all night in perfect
confidence that when he fell over the picket fence at 5 A.M.
he would find no vinegar-faced old female nursing a curtain
lecture to keep it warm, setting her tear-jugs in order and
working up a choice assortment of snuffles.  There were no
lightning-rod agents to inveigle him into putting $100 worth
of pot metal corkscrews on a $15 barn.  He didn't care a
rap about the "law of rent," nor who paid the "tariff tax,"
and no political Buzfuz bankrupted his patience trying to
explain the silver problem.  He didn't have to anchor his
smokehouse to the center of gravity with a log chain, set a
double-barreled bear trap in the donjon-keep of his hennery
nor tie a brace of pessimistic bull-dogs in his melon patch,
for the nigger preacher had not yet arrived with his
adjustable morals and omnivorous mouth.  No female
committees of uncertain age invaded his place of business
and buncoed him out of a double saw-buck for the benefit
of a pastor who would expend it seeing what Parkhurst saw
and feeling what Parkhurst felt.  Collectors for dry-goods
emporiums and millinery parlors did not haunt him like an
accusing conscience, and the pestiferous candidate was
still happily hidden in the womb of time with the picnic
pismire and the partisan newspaper.  Adam could express
an honest opinion without colliding with the platform
of his party or being persecuted by the professional heresy-
hunters.  He could shoot out the lights and yoop without
getting into a controversy with the chicken-court and being
fined one dollar for the benefit of the state and fleeced out
of forty for the behoof of thieving officials.  He had no
collar-buttons to lose, no upper vest pockets to spill his
pencils and his patience, and his breeches never bagged at
the knees.  There were no tailors to torment him with
scraps of ancient history, no almond-eyed he-washer-
woman to starch the tail of his Sunday shirt as stiff as a
checkerboard.

Adam was more than 100 years old when he lost a rib and
gained a wife.  Genesis does not say so in exact words, but
I can make nothing else of the argument.  Our first parents
received special instructions to "be fruitful and multiply."
They were given distinctly to understand that was what they
were here for.  They were brimming with health and
strength, for disease and death had not yet come into the
world.  Their blood was pure and thrilled with the passion
that is the music of physical perfection--yet Adam was 130
years old when his third child was born.  If Adam and Eve
were of equal age a marriage in American "high life"--the
mating of a scorbutic dude with a milliner's sign--could
scarce make so poor a record.  After the birth of Seth the
first of men "begat sons and daughters"--seems to have
become imbued with an ambition to found a family.  As the
first years of a marriage are usually the most fruitful, we
may fairly conclude that our common mother was an old
man's darling.  Woman does not appear to have been
included in the original plan of creation.  She was altogether
unnecessary, for if God could create one man out of the
dust of the earth without her assistance he could make a
million more--could keep on manufacturing them as
long as his dust lasted.  But multiplication of
"masterpieces" was no part of the Creator's plan.  Adam
was to rule the earth even as Jehovah rules the heavens.
As there is but one Lord of Heaven, there should be but
one lord of earth--one only Man, who should live forever,
the good genius of a globe created, not for a race of
marauders and murderers but for that infinitely happier life
which we denominate the lower animals.  This beautiful
world was not built for politicians and preachers, kings and
cuckolds; but for the beasts and birds, the forests and the
flowers, and over all of life, animate and inanimate, the
earthly image of Almighty God was made the absolute but
loving lord.  The lion should serve him and the wild deer
come at his call.  The bald eagle, whose bold wings seem
to fan the noonday sun to fiercer flame, should bend from
the empyrean at his bidding, and the roc bear him over
land and sea on its broad pinions.  As his great Archetype
rules the Cherubim and Seraphim, so should Man, a god in
miniature, reign over the earth-born, the inhabitants of a
lesser heaven.  As no queen shares God's eternal throne,
so none should divide the majesty of earth's diadem.  There
is neither marrying nor giving in marriage, we are told,
among the angels.  They rise above sex, into the realm of
the purely spiritual, scorning the sensual joys that are the
heritage of bird and beast, for intellectual pleasures that
never pall; and why should Man, the especial object of
God's providence, be grosser than his ministers?

Were I a poet I would ask no grander theme than Adam's
first century upon the earth--that age of gold when Man was
sufficient unto himself.  A century undisputed master of the
world!  A century of familiar converse in Eden's consecrated
groves with the great First Cause--the omnipresent and
omnipotent God.  Picture one day of such existence!
Ambition and Avarice, Jealousy and Passion, those demons
that have deluged the world with blood and tears, have no
place in Adam's peaceful bosom.  He is not in the Grove of
Daphne, where lust is law, but in the Garden of God where
love is life.  His subjects, not dumb as now, or speaking a
language strange to our dull ears, greet him as he comes
forth at break of day from his aromatic bower.  A thousand
feathered songsters drown his soul in melody divine, while
every bud and blossom, a living censer, sways in the balmy
breath of morn and pours forth its grateful perfume.  The
forest monarch lays his massy head on Adam's knee, the
spotted leopard purrs about him and the fawn nestles
between his feet.  High above the Caucasian peaks a
condor poises motionless in mid-heaven, the unrisen sun
gilding him as with beaten gold.  Now the sawlike summits,
cloud-kissing and crowned with eternal snow, burst into the
brilliant sea and gleam like the brow of God, while the
purple mists are drawn up from the deep valleys as though
the giants fain would hide from earth their splendors,
reserving them alone for Heaven.  Higher and higher
wheels the great sun, driving the river mist before it and
sending down through the softly whispering foliage a
thousand shafts of burnished gold that seek out the violet,
drain the nectareous dewdrop from its chalice and kiss the
grape until its youthful sap changes to empurpled blood
beneath the passionate caress.  In the cool shadows by the
great spring--a magic mirror in whose pellucid depths are
reflected heaven's imperial concave and Eden's virgin
splendors--God walks familiar with Adam as with a younger
brother, explains to him the use and beauty of all that is,
and spreads before his wondering eyes Creation's mighty
plan.

And yet God suspects that Adam is not content, for we
hear him soliloquizing:  "It is not good that the man
should be alone."  The clay of which the first of men
is formed is beginning to assert itself.  He watches the
panther fondling his playful cubs, the eagle's solicitude for
his imperial brood perched on the beetling crag, and the
paternal instinct awakes within him.  He hears the mocking-
bird trilling to his mate, the dove pitying the loneliness of
Creation's mystic lord, and a fierce longing for a
companionship dearer than he has yet known takes
possession of him.  To the swarming life about him his high
thoughts are incomprehensible; in God's presence his soul
swoons beneath an intellectual glory to which he cannot
rise, encumbered as he is by earthly clay.  He sends his
swift-winged messenger forth to summon before his throne
every fowl of the air and every beast of the field.  Down
through the gates of the garden they come, countless
thousands, and pass before their king.  "But for Adam
there was not found a helpmeet for him."  Sick at heart he
turns away.  The sunset has lost its glory, the spheres their
music, life its sweetness.  The beams of the moon chill his
blood and Arcturus leads forth his shining sons but to mock
his barrenness.  The flowers that wreathe his couch stifle
him with their sensuous perfume and he flies from the
nightingale's passionate song as the slave flees the
scourge.  Through the dark paths and over the moss-grown
bowlders he stumbles on, across the fields where the
fireflies glow like showers of flame, beneath the tall cedars
whose every sigh seems drawn from the depths of an
accepted lover's soul.  Exhausted, he sinks down where the
waters burst from the foundations of the earth and, dividing
into four, seem to reiterate in ceaseless monotone, "Behold
my mighty sons."  A feeling of utter loneliness, of hopeless
desolation falls upon him, such as hammers at the heart
when Death has despoiled us of all that Life held dear.  He
pillows his head upon the sleeping lion and shields
himself from the sharp night air with the tawny mane.  A
cub, already hunting in dreams, comes whining and nestles
down over his heart, while Love's brilliant star pours its
splendors full upon his face.  The long black lashes,
burdened with unshed tears, drop low, a drowsiness falls
upon him and Adam sleeps.  The heavens are rolled
together like a scroll and God descends in the midst of a
legion of Angels, brightest of whom is Lucifer, Son of the
Morning, not yet forever fallen.  "It is not good that the man
should be alone."  The fitful slumber deepens; the winds
are hushed; the song of the nightingale sinks lower and
lower, then ceases with an awe-struck sigh; the lynx and
the jackal, the horned owl and the scaly serpent slink away
into the deepest wood, while Love's emblem glows like a
globe of molten gold.  Then comes a burst of melody
divine, beneath which the earth trembles like a young
maid's heart when, half in ecstasy, half in fear, she first
feels burning upon her own the bearded lips of her life's
dear lord.  It is the Morning Stars singing together!  There
is a perfumed air on Adam's cheek, sweeter than ever
swooned in the rose garden of Cashmere or the jasmine
bowers of Araby the Blest; there is a touch upon his
forehead softer than the white dove's fluttering bosom;
there is a voice in his ear more musical than Israfil's
marshaling the Faithful in fields of asphodel, crying,
"Awake, my lord!" and the first of men is looking with
enraptured soul upon the last, best work of an all-wise God,
a beautiful woman.

* * *
WORKING FASHION'S FOOLS.

Miss Sallie H.--s is one of the very few society women
who, aided by nothing but their beauty, wit and talent, lift
themselves into national prominence and attain something
like fame.  Miss H--s has been for several seasons
the acknowledged belle of New York, and her position has
not been disputed.  She is a dark beauty, her features of
classical purity, her profile very delicate and her figure
superb.  She is a brilliant talker, and her talents are many
and varied.  Presumably she has been the object of many
masculine attentions and the subject of many masculine
quarrels; but she has kept her head and hand to herself.
At least she has done so until a few weeks ago.  Then the
announcement of her engagement to Mr. Duncan E--t was
made public.  She is to be married at Newport, September
15, and the wedding is to be as quiet an affair as possible.
Mr. E--t is a young New York business man, good looking
and talented.  He goes in for athletics.-- Chicago News.


The above slug of "taffy" was accompanied by a woodcut
portrait of Miss H--s which made her resemble a half-naked
Indian squaw suffering with an acute attack of mulligrubs,
superinduced by an overfeed of baked dog.  If Miss H--s'
face does not hurt her for very homeliness, any male jury in
the country would award her damages against the News
in the sum of a million dollars, and help her collect it with a
shotgun.

But those guileless innocents who imagine Miss H--s
entitled to sympathy are sadly mistaken.  She, her fool
friends or relatives paid a good round price for that "puff,"
and fully expected that the "artist," as well as the penny-a-
liner, would indulge in a little fulsome flattery instead of
turning state's evidence and convicting his co-laborer of
perjury.

Nearly every metropolitan daily is now engaged in this
nauseous puffery business, and the infection is rapidly
spreading to the illustrated weeklies and magazines.  No
wonder that foreigners have much to say about our
bad manners, worse taste, lack of refinement and offensive
"loudness," when the "leading society ladies" of the land
will pay big prices to have themselves written up like variety
actresses or prize cattle, when they will pay to have their
portraits paraded in the public prints and their personal
charms proclaimed much as auctioneers in antebellum days
expatiated upon the physical perfection of slaves put upon
the block; when they will beg the attention of the world and
pour into its unwilling ear an exaggerated tale of their love
affairs,--not omitting the suggestion that certain silly
masculine inanities have fought for their favors!

The present nauseating puffery of "society belles" has
grown out of the unpardonable bad taste--not to say
presumptuous insolence--which the American press has
ever displayed in dealing with the fair sex.  First it was "the
accomplished" or "the vivacious" Miss So-and-so.  That
"caught."  Every woman likes to be thought accomplished
or interesting, just as every man delights to see himself
paraded in the papers as a "public-spirited citizen."  Then
the press grew bolder and introduced the adjectives
"charming," "fascinating," "beautiful," etc.  That "took" still
better.  The next step was the "write up" in extenso; next
the portrait.  Thus, in a ratio of geometrical progression, the
bad habit has grown from the daring but courtly compliment
to its present disguising proportions, and the vanity and
folly of the fair followers of fashion have grown with it.

What will be its ultimate development?  Where will the
rivalry of "enterprising journals," their determination to
outdo each other in fulsome flattery of female fools who
have money to pay for it, finally land them?  Already they
are freely commenting upon the form and features of
the fair sex.  What can they do next but go into particulars
and inform us how much their patron measures around the
bust (they have already told us of the snowy whiteness of
her bosom); the actual size of the "tiny little foot" as sworn
to by the bootmaker, and how many inches of elastic it
requires to make her garter?  When this becomes
commonplace, perhaps it will be necessary, in order to
command attention, to publish portraits of their patrons
posing as Venuses, Eves, Hebes, etc., in puris naturalibus!

Is it not strange that a man will pay newspapers to say
publicly about his wife or daughter things that he would
knock his best friend down for saying to him privately; that
he will deliberately set every scurrilous tongue wagging
about the woman he loves and professes to honor; cause
her form and features to be discussed in every dive?
Should one of our American women overhear a male
acquaintance commenting on the whiteness of her bosom,
the size of her foot, the shape of her waist and the "latent
passion in her dark eyes," she would want him
horsewhipped or shot; yet she will pay a rank stranger a
dollar a line to say these things in the public prints.  Verily
'tis a strange world--and sadly in need of a few more
industrious fool killers!


* * *
THE PUBLIC PEDAGOGUE.

MAKING WISE MEN BY MACHINERY.

If I might presume to tender a few words of advice to so
high and mighty a personage as the president of the
University of Texas, I should recommend that he carefully
study the Solomonic proverb:  "Even a fool, when he
holdeth his peace, is counted wise; and he that shutteth
his lips is esteemed a man of understanding."  In
other words, never pull your trigger until sure you're loaded;
for while a fizzle causes the unskillful to laugh, it cannot but
"make the judicious grieve."  Every man capable of tracing
effects to their efficient causes, who chanced to hear or
read President George T. Winston's address before the
Association of Superintendents and Principals of Public
Schools, must have sighed in bitterness of soul, "Poor Old
Texas!"  These gentlemen, assembled for the ostensible
purpose of enhancing their proficiency by the interchange of
ideas, had a right to expect valuable instruction from the
lips of a man who occupies the post of honor in the chief
educational institute of the State; but were regaled with a
cataclysm of misinformation, precipitated from an
amorphous mind, which seemed to be a compromise
between Milton's unimaginable chaos and that "land of
darkness, as darkness itself, and where the light was as
darkness."  That such an address could proceed from the
president of a State University is most remarkable; that it
should be received as an oracle by the men at whose feet
sit the youth of Texas is simply astounding.  I read the
address in no unfriendly or hypercritic spirit, for none rejoice
more than I in whatsoever contributes, even a little, to the
luster of the Lone Star.  Every laurel won by Texas in the
forum or the field is worn by all her citizens; her every
failure in the arena of the world is shame to all her sons.
President Winston evidently appreciated the importance of
the occasion but was unable to rise to it.  Instead of an
address at once philosophic and practical, conveying to his
auditors a clear concept of duty and the best method of
discharging it, he indulged in a rambling country lyceum
discourse, wherein worthless conclusions were drawn by
main strength and awkwardness from false premises,
interlarded with glaring misstatements and seasoned
with Anglomaniacal slop.  It is not pleasant to think of
hundreds of bright young minds being molded by a man
who is a living vindication of Sheridan, long accused of
libeling nature in his character of Mrs. Malaprop.  "What,"
says Pope, "must be the priest when the monkey is a
god?"  And what, the taxpayers of Texas well may ask,
must be the day-drudges of an educational system wherein
a Winston occupies the post of honor?  Where Texas found
the party whom she has made president of her boasted
university, I cannot imagine, but he talks like an Anglicized
Yankee--one of those fellows who try to conceal the
cerulean hue of their equators by wearing the British flag
for a belly-band.  It is but mournful consolation to reflect
that the chiefs of pretentious educational institutes
elsewhere have proven by their parroting that they have as
little conception of the social contract and true position of
the pedagogue in "the scheme of things," as has our own
'varsity president.  Texas' educational system is probably up
to the average, and President Winston as wise as many
other pompous "gerund-grinders" who look into leather
spectacles and see nothing, yet imagine that, like the
adventurer in the Arabian tale, they are gazing upon all the
wealth of the world; but that is no reason why we should
continue to waste the public revenue on Lagado professors
who would extract sunbeams from cucumbers and calcine
ice into gunpowder.  While nothing short of a perusal of the
complete text of the oration in question can give an
adequate ides of how much folly a 'varsity president can
pump through his face in a given period, its salient features
can be summed up in a brief paragraph:

"The schoolmaster represents the two greatest factors in
modern progress--education and organization.  These two
factors are really one, for education is a means to
organization.  Power unorganized is no longer power.
Organization means strength and progress; individualism
means weakness and decay.  The English people have
risen by organized effort to the mastery of the globe.  They
have created the cheapest and most efficient government,
combining in the highest degree individual liberty and
national power.  They have created the greatest store of
things contributing to the welfare, happiness and refinement
of humanity, and in education, literature, science and art
have lifted humanity upon the highest plane of civilization.
The Irish race is deficient in the faculty of organization, and
will be crushed out with the Indian and Negro, by the more
highly organized races.  Football requires better
organization than do other games, a higher order of
intellect, hence its popularity with the people.  The best
universities may be expected to furnish the best football
teams.  The superior organization of the North enabled it to
surpass the South in peace and crush it in war.  The public
schoolteacher, being the chief factor in organization, to him
must be given the credit for the quick recovery of the South
from the ravages of civil war.  He is the chief power in
things material as well as in matters intellectual.  He alone
can introduce new systems of thought and action in any
province of human endeavor."

Having thus seined President Winston's rhetorical sea, let
us examine our catch and determine what is valuable food
and what mere jelly-fish.  That the schoolmaster is a very
important factor in the social system there can be no
question.  Let him have all the honor to which he is entitled;
but let him not seek to appropriate that which belongs to
others.  The pedagogue is not the fount of wisdom: he is
but the pipe--of large or small caliber as the case may be--
through which the wisdom of others flows to fertilize the
intellectual fields.  How much, prithee, have all the
public pedagogues of America--including the president of
the Texas 'varsity--added to the world's stock of wisdom
during the last decade?  Does it begin to dawn upon
President Winston that there is another very important
factor in the world's progress, viz., the Newtons, Bacons,
Koperniks, Watts, Edisons, Shakespeares, Burkes, Keplers,
Platos, Jeffersons and others who, by patient research or
the outpourings of super-gifted minds have furnished forth
the pedagogue's stock-in-trade?  Science and Art,
Philosophy and Religion--all that contributes to man's
welfare, material or spiritual, originated in obscure closets
and caves, in the open fields, beneath the star-domed vault
of night, and during all these ages have received chief
furtherance from individual genius or application, the
schools but recording the progress made, spreading abroad
more or less skillfully, the sacred fire wrested from Heaven
by intellectual Titans.  Still the pedagogue may well be
proud of his profession, for it is a privilege to think--or even
think at--the thoughts of men of genius, to officiate as their
messengers to mankind.  Let these royal heralds flourish
their birchrods in every bypath, cry "The King!" and thereby
get much honor.  Winston says that education and
organization are really the same, because one is a means
to the other.  How that may be I know not.  An avowal of
love is usually a means to a baby; still it were a work of
supererogation to put diapers on a proposal of marriage.
Organization is ever education of a certain sort; but
education is not always organization.  Many of the world's
wisest have stood, like Byron, AMONG men, but not OF
them--"In a shroud of thoughts which were not their
thoughts."

Oxen organized in teams may accomplish more than
working single; but you cannot yoke Pegasus and a plow-
horse--Bellerophon's winged mount peremptorily refuses
to be "organized" and turn rectilinear furrows, but
plunges through Time and Space in an orbit of its own
making--often mistaken by the patient organizers for a
lawless comet, its appearance a dire portent.  You cannot
drive Shakespeare and Charles Hoyt in double harness, nor
make the mock-bird and night-hawk sing in harmony.

The public pedagogue does not go out every morning
before breakfast and, with ferula for Archimedean lever and
Three R's for fulcrum, prize open the gates of day.  The
organization of infants of every conceivable degree of
intellectuality into classes, and their formal elevation
through successive "grades" by means of cunningly
devised educational jack-screws or block-and-tackle, does
not constitute the complete dynamics of the universe,
President Winston to the contrary, notwithstanding.
Knowledge must exist somewhere before there be any
pedagogue to impart it; and though, under the name of
Truth, it hide in Ymir's Well, those whose souls are athirst
therefore will assuredly find it, though denied all mechanical
furtherance.  Education is simply the acquirement of useful
information, it matters not how nor where nor when.
Deprive any man--even a 'varsity president--of all
knowledge but that obtained in the schools and he were
helpless as an infant abandoned in mid-ocean.  He could
not so much as distinguish between peas and beans,
between dogs and wolves, by the descriptions furnished by
naturalists.  That man who has lived to learn wisely and
well has reached the Ultima Thule of terrestrial knowledge,
the ne plus ultra of human understanding.  More can no
college professor or 'varsity president impart.  If he know
not this he is uneducated, though he be graduate of every
university from Salamanca to the Sorbonne, and from
Oxford to Austin.

Organization connotes mutual interdependence of the
component parts, limitation of individualism, the
circumscription of personal liberty.  To a certain extent this
is advantageous to man--without it civilization, human
progress, were impossible; but to draw a line between wise
use and abuse were a task of some difficulty.  President
Winston assures us that the British Government is the best
in the world, yet it is a chaos compared to the organization
of the Russian autocracy.  Because we find beneficial that
organization which makes cooperation possible, would he
carry it to the extent of communism?  Because
concentration of capital reduces cost of production, does he
approve of that organization which enables trusts to juggle
prices?  When organization has reached that point where
one-third of our wealth-producers must stand idle because
denied the privilege of producing the wherewithal to feed
and clothe and house themselves, it might be well for
'varsity presidents to apply the soft pedal to their paean
of praise and inquire diligently whether it be possible to get
entirely too much of a good thing.  Too many accept St.
Paul's concession of a little wine for the stomach's sake for
license to become sots.

Thomas Carlyle, who could see almost as far into a
millstone as the average 'varsity president, was of the
opinion that the tendency to ever more compact
organization was transforming both education and religion
into farces, blighting the spiritual and intellectual life of man
and precipitating in the world of industry the most important
and complex question with which political economists had
ever been called upon to deal.  That was nearly seventy
years ago, when vast organization of capital had just
begun--when the age of machinery, both for the grinding of
corn and the inculcation of knowledge, was but nascent.
Hear him growl:

"Though mechanism, wisely contrived, has done much for
man, we cannot be persuaded that it has ever been
the chief source of his worth or happiness. . . .  We have
machines for education.  Instruction, that mysterious
communing of Wisdom and Ignorance, is no longer an
indefinable, tentative process, requiring a study of individual
aptitude, and a perpetual variation of means and methods
to attain the same end; but a secure, universal,
straightforward business to be conducted in the gross, by
proper mechanism, with such intellect as comes to
hand. . . .  Philosophy, Science, Art, Literature, all depend
on machinery.  No Newton, by silent meditation, now
discovers the system of the world by the falling of an apple;
but some quite other than Newton stands in his Museum,
his Scientic Institution, and behind whole batteries of
retorts, digesters and galvanic piles imperatively
'interrogates nature'--who, however, shows no haste to
answer.  In defect of Raphaels, and Angelos, and Mozarts,
we have Royal Academies of Painting, Sculpture, Music;
whereby the languishing spirit of Art may be strengthened
by the more generous diet of a Public Kitchen. . . .  Hence
the Royal and Imperial Societies, the Bibliotheques,
Glypthotheques, Technotheques, which front us in all
capital cities, like so many well-finished hives, to which it is
expected the stray agencies of Wisdom will swarm of their
own accord, and hive and make honey! . . .  Men have
grown mechanical in head and heart as well as in hand.
They have lost faith in individual endeavor and in natural
force of any kind.  Not for internal perfection, but for
external combination and arrangement, for institutions,
constitutions--for Mechanism of one sort or another, do they
hope and struggle. . . .  Science and Art have derived only
partial help from the culture or manuring of institutions--
often have suffered damage."

Of course Carlyle may have been mistaken; still the fact
that since he uttered his warning the world has not
produced one man of genius except in the department of
mechanics--that intellectually the last half of the present
century is to the first half as "moonlight unto sunlight and
as water unto wine"; that religion is becoming even more
materialistic, patriotism passing and poetry dying or already
dead; that millionaires are multiplying while the legion of
idle labor grows larger, suggests that important inferences
may be drawn from this ever-increasing organization of
powers spiritual and material; and, like Quintius Fixlien, I
"invite the reader to draw them."

If "the English race" be indeed "rising to the mastery of
the globe," there is no cause for immediate alarm, for, at
his present rate of progress, it will be some ages yet before
John Bull succeeds in stealing it all.  Nations, like
individuals, have their youth, their lusty manhood and their
decline; and there is every indication that Britain has
passed the meridian of her power, while Russia and
America, her equals in the arena of the world, still find their
shadows falling toward the west.  Persia, Assyria, Rome
and Spain have aspired to the lordship of the world; and
each in turn has been brought low by that insidious power
that for a century has been draining the iron from the blood
of England--the love of luxury, the subjection of Glory to
Greed.  If history be "philosophy teaching by example," the
lion of Britain is senescent, if not already dead and stuffed
with sawdust; but let the world look well to that savage
brute known as the Russian bear.  No:  England is not
"master of the globe," nor can she ever be; for her home
territory is trifling and distant provinces are a source of
weakness in war.

It were idle to discuss with a confirmed Anglomaniac the
respective merits of the British and American governments.
It may be that the former is "cheapest," despite the
maintenance of an established church, a great army and
navy and a sovereign who, with her worthless spawn, costs
the taxpayers $3,145,000 per annum, while our president
requires less than one-sixtieth of that sum.  England does
not pension the adult orphan children of men who sprained
their moral character in an effort to dodge the draft, nor
does Queen Victoria sell government bonds to banker
syndicates on private bids; hence I will have no controversy
with the learned Theban on the question of economy.  The
British subject may enjoy greater "individual liberty" than
does the American sovereign, for aught I am prepared to
prove.  True, he is taxed to support a church founded by
that eminent Christian Apostles Henry VIII, and whose next
fidei defensor will be the present worshipful Prince of
Wales; is represented in but one branch of Parliament and
has no voice in the selection of his chief executive officer.
If the sovereign and hereditary house of lords refuse to do
his bidding, he must grin and bear it, while we can "turn
the rascals out"--even if we turn a more disreputable crew
of chronic gab-traps and industrial cut-throats in.  He enjoys
one privilege which is denied us, much to the dissatisfaction
of our Anglomaniacs, that of purchasing titles of nobility; but
we can acquire a life tenure of the title of Judge by
arbitrating a horse-trade or officiating one term as justice of
the peace, while by assiduous bootlicking we may, like
Rienzi Miltiades Johnsing, obtain a lieutenant-colonelcy--or
even a gigadier-brindleship--on the gilded staff of some 2 x
4 governor, and disport in all the glorious pomp and
circumstance of war at inaugural balls or on mimic
battlefields; hence honors are easy.

. . . . . .

That the Irish race is deficient in the organizing faculty is a
great discovery, and I would advise President Winston
to apply for a patent.  John Bull will prove himself
ungrateful indeed if he neglects to pension him for having
demonstrated that those Irish organizations which, for half a
century have kept his public servants looking under their
beds o' nights for things neither ornamental nor useful,
were mere Fata Morganas, Brocken specters or disease of
the imagination.  Winston has evidently been misled by a
mere than Boeotian ignorance blithely footing it hand-in-
hand with a vivid anti-Celtic imagination.  He does not know
that Ireland was the seat of learning and the expounder of
law, both human and divine, when the rest of Europe was a
wide-weltering chaos in which shrieked the demons
Ignorance and Disorder.  He was oblivious of the fact that
the American people--the master organizers of the age--are
far more Irish than English.  You can scarce scratch an
American babe of the third generation without drawing
Celtic blood.  Strange that the only Federal regiment which
did not go to pieces at the Battle of Bull Run, though
occupying the hottest part of the field--was composed of
these very Irishmen who are incapable of organization!
McClellan, the greatest military organizer of modern times--
though by no means the ablest commander--was of Celtic
extraction, as was the Duke of Wellington, as are the men
at the head of the British and American armies to-day.

Were President Winston better informed he would not talk
so glibly of what the "English race" has done for literature.
No Englishman of pure Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-Saxon-
Norman lineage has ever reached the front rank in the
great Republic of Letters.  In Art and Science, in Oratory
and Music--even in War and Commerce--they have had to
content themselves with walking well to the rear of the
band-wagon.  Shakespeare was of Welsh descent, but
whether of Celtic or Cimbric stock it were difficult to
determine.  The Cimbri and Celts are both very ancient
races.  A remnant of the former is found in Wales, while the
survivors of the latter are the Irish and Scotch Highlanders.
Northern France and Wales have strong Celtic contingents.
Byron, "Rare" Ben Jonson, Christopher North, Oliver
Goldsmith, Dean Swift, Lawrence Sterne and Louis
Stevenson were Celts by blood.  Scott, Burns, Carlyle and
Macaulay were Scots of Celtic extraction.  Tom Moore,
Brinsley Sheridan and Edmund Burke were Irishmen, as are
Balfe and Sullivan, the musical composers.  Disraeli was a
Jew.  The genealogy of Pope and Tennyson remain to be
traced.  That the original Duke of Marlborough was an
Englishman by birth and breeding "goes without saying."
He acted like one.  No Celtic commander could have
robbed his dead soldiers.  In the province of belles-lettres
John Bull can at least claim Alfred Austin, his present poet-
laureate, and Oscar Wilde, the dramatic decadent.  Dr.
Jameson is England's military lion and President George T.
Winston of the Texas 'varsity her representative of learning!
The English proper are but "a nation of shopkeepers," and
the greatest shops are not conducted by Anglo-Saxons.
England's great manufacturers are Scots, her merchant
princes are Irishmen, her leading bankers are Jews and her
reigning family an indifferent breed of Low Dutch.  The
Romans overran England, but unable to subjugate either
Scotland or Ireland, abandoned "perfidious Albion," as a
worthless conquest.  Everybody took a turn at robbing it
whenever it had anything worth carrying off, until the
Norman buccaneers appropriated it bodily and reduced the
Saxons to serfdom.  By amalgamation with the inferior race
they produced the Tudors, who gave them 'An'some 'Arry
and a Virgin (?) Queen.  Then the Scotch Stuarts took a
turn at ruling and robbing England, and were followed by
the religious bigots and witch-burners.  The French
ruled it awhile through their puppets and were succeeded
by the Dutch, who held it in such contempt that they would
not permit its language to be spoken at court.  They are still
milking it for more than three millions per annum, with an
extra pull at the udder whenever one of the seventy-odd
descendants of the Sovereign concludes to found a family.
The Scotch, the Welsh and Dutch enabled England to
enslave and plunder Ireland, and upon this meat John Bull,
the J. Caesar of pawnbrokers, is growing great.

I much fear that President Winston studied sports under the
tuition of Referee Earp, else he could have scarce given a
decision to the favorite of the college campus.  Football
requires neither the intellect nor the perfect organization
which is a sine qua non to success in our great "national
game."  Its chief requisites are long hair, leathery lungs and
abnormally developed legs.  The game owes its popularity
to the average boy's predilection for the brutal, his inherent
animalism.  Football has for ages been a favorite game with
savages, while baseball is a product of civilization.  I am not
decrying football--I incline to the view that an occasional
rough-and-tumble scrapping match in which there is
imminent danger of black eyes, and even of broken bones,
is good for a boy I simply point out that as an intellectual
game it not only ranks far below chess, billiards and
baseball, but does not rise to a parity with pugilism.  It is a
mistake to assume that an intellectual divertisement must
be popular with an intellectual people.  The highest culture
is but a film cast over a fathomless sea of savagery.  The
most learned of the Greeks, the most cultured of the
Romans gloried in brutal games, and to-day a dog fight, a
slugging match or even a college football game is relished
by the Titan of intellect as keenly as by the Bowery tough.

I cannot imagine where President Winston absorbed the
idea that lack of organization has been the curse of the
South.  It may surprise him to be told that in ante-bellum
days it was not only the chief repository of culture, but
possessed a fair proportion of the nation's wealth.  The
South has ever been chiefly an agricultural country, and will
so remain despite the frantic efforts of enthusiasts to
subvert natural laws.  Not until the resources of our soil are
in great measure exhausted, or increase of population
forces people from the fields, can the South become a
great manufacturing country.  Such is the lesson of history,
which we can only ignore to our loss.  Wealth accumulates
at large manufacturing and trade centers as it cannot
elsewhere, and naturally seeks to further its interest by
organization.  The concentration of forces, intellectual and
industrial, on that stupendous scale which has won
President Winston's admiration, is a post-bellum
development both North and South.  The greatest of
American organizers have been Southern men.
Washington and Jefferson were types of the individualism
which is supposed to have been our bane; yet one
organized the Continental Army which won our
independence, the other organized the Federal
Government.  It is not true that the Southern Confederacy
was crushed by superior organization.  Better disciplined
troops than the veterans of Lee and Jackson never faced a
battery.  "Hardee's Tactics," one of the most highly
esteemed of military manuals, was the work of a
Confederate general.  The assault on the heights of
Gettysburg has become historic as much because of the
wonderful organization displayed by the Confederate troops
as because it marked the supreme hour of a nation's
agony.  It was the only time in the history of this world
when an assaulting column was greeted with cheers of
admiration by the soldiers who stood to receive the shock.
That fact alone should suffice to make an American
college president proud of his country--should purge him of
every atribilarious taint of Anglomaniacism.  Only once have
the sons of men in any age or clime displayed a grander
heroism than did those who hurled themselves against the
heights of Gettysburg, and that when the Federals silenced
their guns to cheer the dauntless courage of their foe.  It is
not my present purpose to refight the Civil War, and trace
every effect to its efficient cause; I have simply undertaken
to make good my original proposition--that President
Winston is, as Thersites says of Patroclus, "a fool
positive," and should, therefore, hold his peace.

The schoolteacher has doubtless played no unimportant
part in the rehabilitation of the South; but he should not set
up as Autocrat of the Universe on a salary of $40 a month,
and burden the Asses' Bridge with the idea that he
"maketh all things, and without him was nothing made that
is made."  His ferula may be an Aaron's rod which buds
and blossoms; but it does not bear sufficient fruit to furnish
a hungry world with necessary aliment.  We still crave
manna from Heaven and grapes from Hebron.  The public
pedagogue does not make the laws of trade.  His province
is to interpret them; and proud may he be of his labor if his
proteges do not find it necessary to forget, at the very
gateway of a commercial career, that he ever had a name
and habitation on the earth.  Nor does he frequently alarm
the plodding natives by the "introduction of new systems of
thought and action."  Such "systems" do not spring
completely panoplied from the cerebrum of our educational
Jove, and stand about on one foot like a lost goose, or
country lad, awaiting an introduction.  New systems of
thought and action are usually the growth of ages, the seed
often sown by men we hear not of.  When of such sudden
development that they require a formal introduction,
they are apt to be received with the scant courtesy of a
poor relation, the introducer reviled as a crank or
condemned as a heretic and crucified.  Generally speaking,
the professional educator confines himself pretty closely to
his birch and his textbooks, being quite content to
propagate, as best he may, the ideas of others.  Neither the
birch nor the text-book, it may be well to remark, constitutes
the world's stock of wisdom, but only an incidental
furtherance thereto--the key, as it were, by which the
treasure is more readily come at.  When the schoolmaster
has put his pupil in possession of the open sesame he
considers his duty done--that he has earned his provender.
And perhaps he has.  In this day and age it is all that is
expected of him, all that he is paid for.  He is not required
to inculcate wisdom, which is well; for that can no man do.
He is not even expected to impart much knowledge; but to
put his pupil through a course of mental calisthenics,
miscalled education.  But even this is by no means to be
despised.  With mind strengthened by exercise, even in a
desert, and lungs developed by football, the youth may be
able to delve the harder for knowledge when happily
released from the "gerund-grinder," to pray the more lustily
to the immortal gods for understanding, which transmutes
what were else base metal into ingots of fine gold.  There
was a time when more was expected of a teacher; but that
was before the application of labor-saving machinery to
spiritual matters; before colleges became known as places
"where coals are brightened and diamonds are dimmed"--
before it became customary to cast potential Homers and
Hannibals, Topsies and Blind Toms into the same
educational hopper, and hire some gabby-Holofernes from
God knows where to manipulate the mill.  It was a time
when men considered qualified to teach declined to waste
effort on numskulls, no matter whose brats they
might be.  It was a time when the fame of a great, the
honor of a good and the infamy of a bad man were shared
by their preceptors.  Those were the days of individualism
which President Winston so much deplores--the era which
fashioned those men whom the world for twenty centuries
has been proud to hail as masters.  As the doctors have
decided that all human frailties are but diseases, I do not
despair of our 'varsity president.  Some Theodorus may yet
arise to "purge him canonically with Anticryan hellebore,"
and thus clear out the perverse habit of his brain and make
him a man of as goodly sense as the rejuvenatedGargantua.


* * *
PUFFERY OF THE PRESS.

The "able editor" is perhaps the only quack doctor extant
who greedily swallows his own medicine and foolishly
imagines that it does him good.

Puffery is the "able editor's" invariable prescription, no
matter whether the patient be a moss-grown town, a
broken-down political roue--the victim of early
indiscretions--or a Cheap-John merchant suffering the first
paroxysms of financial dissolution.  Although he knows how
his medicine is made,--knows that it is a nauseous
compound of rank hypocrisy and brazen mendacity--he
actually believes that, if taken in liberal doses, it is potent
to cure commercial paralysis or put new life into a political
corpse.  When the first experiment fails to prove
satisfactory, instead of changing the treatment he doubles
the dose.

One would suppose that, like most Cagliostros who pick up
a precarious livelihood by pumping the bellies of their
betters full of the east wind, the "able editor" would
laugh in his sleeve at his dupes; but not so.  He is
more in earnest than the Lagado doctor, described by
Gulliver, who had discovered a short-cut for the cure of
colic,--as little discouraged when a patient bursts under the
somewhat peculiar treatment.  So greedy is he for his own
medicine, so fond of working the bellows for the expansion
of his own bowels, that he can scarce find time to attend to
his patients.  Pick up any newspaper, big or little, "great
daily," with fake voting contest annex, or country weekly
shot full of ads. of city swindling concerns and note what
the "able editor" thinks of himself; how he twists and turns
to find some pretext for parading his own transcendent
greatness!  See how he greedily seizes upon every little
chunk of "taffy" and rolls it as a sweet morsel under his
tongue; how he places in his cap every foolish feather
which the idle wind of puffery wafts within his clutch, and
then struts in the face of Heaven, a sight to provoke the
contempt of men, the pity of the gods!  Let the
Boomerville Broadaxe but intimate that the Bungtown
Boomer knows a thing or two, and forthwith the latter
transfers the saccharine slug to its own columns, and
perchance, "points to it with pride,"--bids the Bungtown
world behold what the world of Boomerville thinks of it!
Then the Bungtown Boomer intimates that the
Boomerville Broadaxe likewise knows a thing or two, and
the latter, which has been eagerly watching for this Roland
for its Oliver, swoops hungrily down upon this delectable
morsel and cries ha! ha!  It has obtained value received,
has tickled and been tickled in return!  Then the editors of
these two great "public educators" begin a cross-fire of
sugar-plums, much to the edification of the world and their
own mutual satisfaction!

What would we think of that lawyer, doctor or merchant
who went about assiduously proclaiming with sound of
trumpet what his fellows said about him?  Would we
not vote him a fool? at best a conceited prig, lacking in
taste and good manners?

Commendation is sweet to all; but it is just as permissible
for a belle to boast her conquests in the ballroom; the
lawyer to inform judge and jury what his fellow-disciples of
Blackstone think of him; the scholar to parade his erudition
or the merchant his integrity, as for an editor to reproduce
in his own paper fulsome compliments paid him for no other
purpose under Heaven than to get a puff in return.


* * *
THE BIKE BACILLUS.

The Women's Rescue League met recently at Washington
and launched a double-shotted anathema at the female
bike fiend.  The Leaguers attribute to the bicycle craze "the
alarming increase" in the number of courtesans, and call
upon ministers and respectable women everywhere to
denounce cycling by the sex as "vulgar and indecent."  Nor
do they stop there.  The bike, in their opinion, is
irremediably bad.  While destroying the morals of the maid,
it wreeks the prospective motherhood of the matron.  It is
provocative of diseases peculiar to women, and calculated
to transform the sex into a grand army of invalids.  These
are a few of the reasons why the Women's Rescue League
is scattering tacks in the pathway of the pneumatic tire.
There are others.

Those whose specialty is the conservation of virtue should
carefully study the causation of vice.  In dealing with the
red-light district, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of
cure.  To remove the causes which produce courtesans
were a nobler work than to drag debased
womanhood out of the depths.  Doubtless the
Rescuers imagine they have made a new discovery of
inestimable benefit to society--have laid the ax to the root of
that evil of which the bawdy-house is the flower and Hell
the fruitage.  After patient research in the science of sexual
criminology, they have determined that the bicycle is
naughty without being nice.  It is perversity personified.  It
is the incarnation of cussedness, the avatar of evil.  Turn it
which way you will, it rolls into the primrose path of
dalliance, whose objective point is the aceldama.  No more
do woman's feet "take hold on Hell": she goes scorching
over the brink with her tootsies on the handle-bar.  So say
the ladies of the Rescue League.

What are we going to do about it?  Clearly it were useless
to denounce a "craze," sheer folly to argue against a
"fad."  We had better save our breath to cool our broth.
The ministers cannot be depended on to lend their moral
support to this new movement against the Magdalen
maker--they have bought bikes and are chasing the girl in
bloomers.  One-half the great she-world's on wheels--the
other wondering how it feels to ride clothespin fashion.
Clearly the Women's Rescue League cannot stem the tide--
not even with the help of the ICONOCLAST and ex-
Governor Hogg; it must either straddle a bike and join in
the stampede, climb a fence or get run over.  Hevings! is
there no help for us--no halting-place this side of hetairism?
Are we all pedaling at breakneck pace to the Grove of
Daphne, where lust is law?  Is the bike transforming this
staid old world into one wild bacchic orgy or phallic revel?
Have we toiled afoot thus far up the social mountainside,
only to go bowling down on a pneumatic tire--"as low as to
the fiends?"  Head us, somebody!  Police!

Just why the bicycle affects woman so unfavorably, the
Leaguers do not inform us.  We are left to surmise why
tramping a bike should make her more reckless than
treading a sewing-machine; why exercise in the open air
should be more deleterious to health and morals than the
round dance in a heated ball-room, or even the delightfully
dangerous back-parlor hug; why segregation on the cycle
should be more potent to evoke those passions which
make for perdition than the narrow-seated buggy, with its
surreptitious pressure of limb to limb and the moral
euthanasia which the man of the world knows so well how
to distill into the ear of womanhood.  Why the bike should
be more dangerous to morals than the French fiddle
mentioned by Shakespeare appears to be a question solely
within the province of the pathologist.  As pantagruelism is
proceeding almost exclusively on micrological lines, we may
expect that, sooner or later, some "eminent physician" will
startle the world by discovering the bicycle bacillus.  All our
ills appear to be caused by minute insects that get inside of
us, demoralize our system of government and inaugurate a
reign of anarchy.  Everything, from mugwumpery to the
meddler's itch, from corns to crime, is now traced to the
pernicious activity of some microbian.  Even our currency
system is blasted by goldbugs, and Prohibition milk-
sickness is being treated with vermifuge.  A Kansas M.D.
has succeeded in hiving the old-age microbe, and is now
treating the ballet girls whom Weis & Greenwall and Rigsby
& Walker will bring South next winter, while a New York
empiric has discovered the insanity insect and is fumigating
the brain of the Rev. Mr. Parkhurst.  Thus does medical
science go marching from conquest to conquest, reforming
and rejuvenating this wicked and suffering world.  Clearly
the Rescue League should have cried for aid to the doctors
of medicine instead of to the doctors of divinity.  If the
bicycle bacillus can be caught and killed, the red-light
district will disappear and the Rescuers turn their
wonderful energies in new directions.  Once the existence
of this nymphomania-micrococcus--as we philomaths would
call it--is established, the rest will be dead easy.  Whether
patients will be treated externally or internally depends, of
course, upon the habits of the infinitesimal vulture that is
feeding on our social vitals.  We do not know as yet
whether it is a moral microbe or a physical phylloxera.  If
the former, the mind will have to be taken out, sand-
papered, carefully rinsed in a strong aseptic solution and
treated with soothing antaphrodisiacs after each meet of the
bicycle brigade; if the latter, the evil can easily be obviated
by providing the softer sex with medicated cycling suits, or
half-soling their bloomers with asbestos.  If the Rescuers
really have the good of their frail sisters at heart they
should cooperate with the physician--should provide
themselves with compound microscopes and search
assiduously for baccili, instead of appealing to preachers
who may themselves be veritable breeding grounds for the
most destructive of all bacteria.  It may be necessary, in
order to compel success, for the Rescuers to sacrifice
themselves upon the altar of science, to become martyrs to
the cause.  In striving to save others from the pestilence
that walketh in darkness, they may be themselves
destroyed; but the true reformer draws back from no
danger.  Let them take their lives in their hands, if need be,
boldly seize the bicycle bacillus by the ears and bump his
head.

The crisis is indeed acute; still we may rely on science to
save us.  It is possible that the first step in that direction
has been already taken, for is not the insanity germ
discovered by the New York doctor responsible for the
"bicycle craze" as well as the reform frenzy?  And if a
"free-silver lunatic" or "goldbug crank" can be permanently
cured by the simple expedient of boring a hole in his
lumbar region and drawing off the cerebro-spinal fluid, and
in it the microbes that build wheels in his head, is there not
hope that the bicycle habit may be altogether abolished by
the return of the "fiends" to mental normality?  Now that
Dr. Babcock has learned to cast out devils, will not the
world be redeemed?  Cert!  Let the Women's Rescue
League take courage, and bask in the sunny optimism of
the ICONOCLAST.  We'll soon have all the various brands
of bacteria in the bouillon; then there'll be nobody to rescue,
nothing to reform, and the Leaguers and the public can
take a much needed rest.

In all seriousness, I opine that the bike is a harmless
instrument when properly handled.  The trouble is not so
much with the evasive machine as with the woman who
straddles it.  It will carry its rider to church as rapidly as to
the Reservation.  Doubtless many women employ it to seek
opportunities for evil--as a means of attracting the attention
of libidinous men; but had the bike never been built, they
would find some other way into the path of sin--would get
there just the same.  There were courtesans before it
came; there will be demimondaines ages after its
departure.  Mary Magdalen either walked or rode a mule
Aspasia was a "scorcher," but she couldn't "coast."  Helen
of Troy never saw a pneumatic tire.  Semiramis preferred a
side-saddle.  Cleopatra didn't attract Col Antony's attention
by mounting a machine in the market place.  The bike is no
more an incentive to bawdry than is a wheelbarrow.  It
doesn't make a woman depraved; it only renders her
ridiculous.


EVIDENCES OF MAN'S IMMORTALITY.

Unless you accept the testimony of the Bible as
conclusive, what evidence have you of God's existence and
man's immortality?--GLADSTONE.

The same evidence that we would have of the existence of
the ocean were one drop of water withdrawn, of the life of a
forest, were a single leaf to fall.  The Bible did not create
man's belief in God's existence and his own immortality, but
of this belief, old as Zoroaster, antedating Babylon, was the
Bible born.  It is simply an outward evidence of man's
inward grace.  I do accept the testimony of the Bible, but
only as one of a cloud of witnesses.  In questions of such
grave import, we cannot have too much evidence; hence it
is strange indeed that anyone should make the Bible the
sole foundation of his faith, should take his stand upon an
infinitesimal portion of what the world knew in ages past.
The Bible is but one of many sacred books in which man
has borne witness that he is the favored creature of an
Almighty Being, but one voice in a multitude singing
hosannas to the Most High, a single note in the mighty
diapason of the universe.

A hundred men are shipwrecked upon an island in the
Arctic Ocean.  By day and night they dream of absent
friends, of mother, wife and child, the pleasant meadows or
the sunny hills of their distant homes.  Hourly they scan the
horizon with eager eyes.  Daily they ask each other, "Is
there hope?"  All former animosities are forgotten, for they
are brothers in misfortune.  One declares that the island
lies in the pathway of a regular line of steamers, and that
they must soon be rescued.  This view is approved by
many, and their hearts beat high with hope.  Their
sufferings are borne with cheerfulness, their
hardships appear trivial, for their probation is soon to
pass and they will be at home.  Another avers that they are
too far north to be reached by the ocean liners, but that a
whaler will soon be due in that vicinity, and all will be well.
This view is approved by some, and thus there are two
parties confidently expecting succor, but from different
sources.  A third studies the map, notes the advanced
season, inspects the food supply and shakes his head.
"We shall be lost," he says; "desire has misled your
judgment; you do but dream."  Do the two parties that
entertain hope strive, each to disprove the theory of the
other, and unite in persecuting the dissenter?  No; they
reason together, each anxious to ascertain the truth,
knowing that it will profit him nothing to believe a lie.
Suddenly a cry is heard, "A sail!"  Do those who put their
trust in the whaler turn their backs to the sea and say, "Oh,
H--l! that's only one of those regular steamship heretics! no
rag of canvas will he discover!"  Do those who were
destitute of hope decline to look?  No; all rush to the shore,
and strain their eyes to penetrate the mist, little caring
whether it be whaler or steamer, so they do but see a ship.
When one makes out the vessel, he is not content until the
eyes of others confirm his vision, and all look, not with the
jealous hope that he may be wrong, but with an earnest
prayer that he may be right.  That island is this little earth,
its shipwrecked mariners all sons of men; yet how different
we set about determining whether, from out the everlasting
sea that encircles us, there comes indeed a Ship of Zion to
succor and to save!

What one man believes or disbelieves is a matter of little
moment; for belief will not put gods on High Olympus, nor
unbelief extinguish the fires of Hell.  Man can neither create
nor uncreate the actual by a mental emanation.  If Deity
exists, he would continue to exist did a universe deny
him; if he exists not, then all the faith and prayers and
sacrifices of a thousand centuries will not evolve him from
the night of nothingness.  There is or there is not a life
beyond the grave, regardless of the denial of every atheist
and the affirmation of every prophet.  Then what boots it
whether we believe or disbelieve in God's existence or
man's immortality?  Nothing, in so far as it concerns the
factual; much, in that upon our hopes and fears is based
our terrestrial bane or blessing.  Banish all belief in God,
eliminate the idea of man's responsibility to a higher power,
make him the sole lord of his life and earthly good his
greatest guerdon, and you destroy the dynamics of
progress, the genius of civilization.  Man has a tendency to
become what he believes himself to be.  Consciously or
unconsciously, he strives with less or greater strength
toward his ideal; hence it is all-important that he consider
himself an immortal rather than the pitiful sport of Time and
Space; a child of Omniscience, rather than the ephemeral
emanation of unclean ooze.  Had man always considered
himself simply an animal, his tendencies would have been
ever earthward; believing himself half divine, he has striven
to mount above the stars.  True, many great men have
been Atheists; but they were formed by ancestry and
environment permeated by worship of Divine power.
Without a belief in his own semi-divinity to lead the race
onward and upward, the conditions which produce a
Voltaire or Ingersoll were impossible.  Civilization is further
advanced than ever before, and Atheism more general; but
those who employ this fact as argument against religious
faith forget that a body thrown upward will continue to
ascend for a time after it has parted from the propelling
power.  Atheism is in nowise responsible for human
progress, for Atheism is nothing--a mere negation--and
"out of nothing nothing comes."  A belief in God affords
man a basis upon which to build; it is an
acknowledgment of authority, the chief prerequisite of order;
but in Atheism there is no constructive element.  While it
may be no more immoral to deny the existence of Deity
than to question the Wondrous Tale of Troy, history
teaches us that, considered from a purely utilitarian
standpoint, the most absurd faith is better for a nation than
none; that the civic virtues do not long survive the sacrifice;
that when a people desert their altars their glories soon
decay.  The civilization of the world has been time and
again imperiled by the spirit of Denial.  When Rome began
to mock her gods, she found the barbarians thundering at
her gates.  When France insulted her priesthood and
crowned a courtesan as Goddess of Reason in Notre
Dame, Paris was a maelstrom and the nation a chaos in
which Murder raged and Discord shrieked.  To-day we are
boasting of our progress, but 'tis the onward march of
Jaganath, beneath whose iron wheels patriotism, honesty,
purity and the manly spirit of independence are crushed
into the mire.  We have drifted into an Atheistical age, and
its concomitants are selfishness, sensationalism and sham.
The old heartiness and healthiness have gone out of life,
have been supplanted by the artificial.  Everything is now
show and seeming--"leather and prunella"--the body social
become merely a galvanic machine or electric motor.  In
our gran'sire's day "the great man helped the poor, and the
poor man loved the great"; now the great man
systematically despoils the poor and the poor man regards
the great with a feeling of envy and hatred akin to that of
which the French Revolution was born.  Character no
longer counts for aught unless reinforced by a bank
account.  Men who have despoiled the widow of her mite
and the orphan of his patrimony are hailed with the acclaim
due to conquering heroes.  Our most successful books and
periodicals would pollute a Parisian sewer or disgrace
a Portuguese bagnio.  The suffrages of the people are
bought and sold like sheep.  The national policy is dictated
by Dives.  Men are sent to Congress whom God intended
for the gallows, while those he ticketed for the penitentiary
spout inanities in fashionable pulpits.  The merchant who
pays his debts in full when he might settle for ten cents on
the dollar is considered deficient in common sense.  The
grandsons of Revolutionary soldiers, who considered
themselves the equal of kings and the superior of wear the
livery of lackeys to obtain an easy living.  Presidents save
seven-figure fortunes on five-figure salaries and are
applauded by people who profess to be respectable.
Governors waste the public revenues in suppressing
pugilistic enterprises, begotten of their own encouragement,
only to be reelected by fools and slobbered over by
pharisees.  Bradley-Martin balls are given while half a
million better people go hungry to bed.  Friendship has
become a farce, the preface of fraud.  Revolting crimes
increase and sexuality is tinged with the infamy of the
Orient.  Men who were too proud to borrow leave sons who
are not ashamed to beg.  In man great riches are
preferable to a good name, and in woman a silken gown
covers a multitude of sins.  The homely virtues of the old
mothers in Israel are mocked, while strumpets fouler than
Sycorax are received in society boasting itself select.  Why
is this?  It is because the old religious spirit is dormant if
not dead; it is because when people consider themselves
but as the beasts that perish, they can make no spiritual
progress, but imitate their supposed ancestors.  Religion is
becoming little more than a luxury, the temple a sumptuous
palace wherein people ennuied with themselves may
parade their costly clothes, have their jaded passions
soothed by sensuous music, their greed for the bizarre
satiated by sensational sermons.

This being true, the question of evidence of God's existence
and man's immortality becomes the most important ever
propounded.  The devout worshiper points to his Sacred
Book; but we have had Sacred Books in abundance so far
back as we can trace human history, yet the wave of
Atheism, of Unbelief, rises ever higher and higher--
threatens to engulf the world.  After nearly nineteen
centuries of earnest proselyting less than a third of the
world has accepted Christianity, and in those countries
professedly Christian, Atheism flourishes as it does
nowhere else.  Of more than seventy million Americans,
less than twenty-four million are church communicants, and
it is doubtful if half of these really believe the Bible.
Beecher criticized it almost as freely as does Ingersoll,
while a number of prominent preachers of the Briggs-Abbott
brand are even now explaining, in the pulpit and the press,
that it is little more than a collection of myths.  The people
are drifting ever further from the Book of Books, and the
pulpit appears ambitious to lead the procession.  It is idle to
urge that man should believe the Bible; for man should
believe nothing, man can believe nothing but what receives
the sanction of his reason.  He is no more responsible for
what he believes or disbelieves than for the color of his
eyes or the place of birth.  He may deceive the world with a
false profession of faith, but can deceive neither God nor
himself.  The mind of even the worst of men is a court in
which every cause is tried with rigid impartiality, with
absolute honesty.  A fool may mislead it, a child may
convince it, but not even its possessor can coerce it; hence
to command one to "believe," without first providing him
with a satisfactory basis for his faith, were an idle waste of
breath.  A man is no more blamable for doubting the
existence of Deity than for doubting aught else that may
seem to him absurd.  He doubts because the
evidence submitted is unsatisfactory, or his mind is
incapable of properly analyzing it.  Probably none of the
Sacred Books ever yet convinced an intelligent human
being that there is aught in the universe greater than
himself.  I do not mean by this that the Bible and the Koran,
the Zend-Avesta and the Vedas are all false, but that there
is lack of sufficient evidence that they are true.  Those who
accept them do so because they harmonize with their own
half-conscious religious conceptions, because their truth is
established by esoteric rather than by exoteric evidence.
All attempts to supplant Buddhism and Mohammedanism
by Christianity have proven futile, and that because the
former do while Christianity does not voice the religious
sentiment of the Orient, a sentiment which exists regardless
of their Sacred Books, and of which the latter are but
indications.  You can no more demonstrate the truth of the
Bible to a Hindu than you can demonstrate the truth of the
Vedas to a Christian, for in either case outward evidence is
wanting and the subject is not en rapport with the new
doctrine.  It is not infrequently urged that evidence sufficient
to convince Mr. Gladstone should likewise convince Col.
Ingersoll.  And so it doubtless would in a court of law; but in
matters spiritual what may appear "confirmation strong as
proofs of Holy Writ" to the one may seem an absurdity
absolute to the other.  Neither had the pleasure of Moses'
acquaintance.  All witnesses of his miracles have been
dead so long that their very graves are forgotten.  There is
nothing in the accounts, however, violative of Mr.
Gladstone's conception of Deity, hence he finds no difficulty
in accepting them.  To Col. Ingersoll, however, there is
something ridiculous in the idea of the Creator of the
Cosmos become a bonfire and holding a private confab
with the stuttering Hebrew.  He demands undisputable
evidence, it is not forthcoming, and he brands the
story as a fraud.  For the same reason that Mr. Gladstone
accepts the miracles of Moses he accepts Christ as the
Savior; for the same reason that he denies the burning
bush, Col. Ingersoll denies Christ's divinity.  The story of a
suffering Savior appeals directly to Mr. Gladstone's heart,
but it gets no further than Col. Ingersoll's head.  The one
tries it by his sympathies, the other by the rules of evidence
that obtain in a court of law.  In summing up, Col. Ingersoll
might say:  It has not been demonstrated to the satisfaction
of this court that Jesus ever claimed to be "the only
begotten Son of God."  The testimony to the effect that he
raised the dead, walked upon the waves, came forth from
the grave and ascended bodily into Heaven, appears to be
all hearsay, and by witnesses of unknown credibility.  If we
consider the impression made upon his contemporaries, we
find that his miracles and resurrection failed to convince
those best qualified to analyze evidence.  He seems to
have been regarded as nothing more than a popular
religious reformer or schismatic.  From the New Testament
we learn that he did not found a new faith, but lived and
died in that of his fathers--that it is impossible to follow the
instruction of Jesus without becoming in religion a Jew.  As
he was the sixteenth savior the world has crucified, his
tragic death does not prove him divine.  As immaculate
conceptions were quite common among the Greeks and
Romans, with whom both he and his immediate following
came much in contact, I incline to the view that he entered
the world in the good old way.

Granting the correctness of such a conclusion, it does not
necessarily follow that Jesus was not heaven-sent, or that
he was in any way unworthy the love and veneration of the
world.  The proposition of the eloquent Father Brannan that
Jesus was either in very truth the only begotten Son
of the Father, or an impious fraud deserving execration, is
only tenable on the supposition that the language attributed
to him by New Testament writers is properly authenticated.
When we remember that the art of printing had not then
been invented; that Christ wrote nothing himself; that the
record of his life was probably not composed until he had
been long dead; that the besetting sin of the East is
exaggeration; that it was the custom of the Greeks, in
whose language the New Testament was first written, to
assign a heavenly origin to popular heroes, we must
concede that there is some reason for doubt whether Jesus
ever claimed to be other than the son of Joseph the
carpenter.  Granting that his life and language are correctly
reported, that he was indeed Divinity:  The fact remains that
a vast majority of mankind decline to accept him as such;
that while the church is striving with so little success to
raise his standard in Paynim lands, Atheism is striking its
roots ever deeper into our own.  The church should
recognize the fact that no man is an Atheist from choice.
Deep in the heart of every human being is implanted a
horror of annihilation.  A man may become reconciled to
the idea, just as he may become resigned to the necessity
of being hanged; but he strives as desperately to escape
the one as he does to avoid the other.  Does the church
owe any duty to the honest doubter, further than the
reiteration of a dogma which his reason rejects?  When he
asks for evidence of God's existence, Judaism points him to
the miracles of Moses, Christianity to those of Jesus,
Mohammedanism to the revelations of its prophet; and if he
find these beyond his comprehension or violative of his
reason, they dismiss him with a gentle reminder that "the
fool hath said in his heart there is no God."  He retorts by
accusing his critics either of superstitious ignorance or rank
dishonesty, so honors are easy.  He is told that if he
doesn't perform the impossible--work a miracle by altering
the construction of his own mind--he will be damned, and is
touched up semi-occasionally by the pulpiteers as an
emissary of the devil.  Being thus put on the defensive, he
undertakes to demonstrate that all revealed religions are a
fraud deliberately perpetrated by the various priesthoods.
He searches through their Sacred Books for contradictions
and absurdities, and not without success; proves that their
God knew little about astronomy and less about geography;
then sits him down "over against" the church, like Jonah
squatting under his miraculous gourd-vine in the suburbs of
Nineveh, and confidently expects to see it collapse.  He
imagines that in pointing out a number of evident errors and
inconsistencies in "revealed religion" he has hit Theism in
its stronghold; but he hasn't.  He has but torn and trampled
the ragged vestments of religion, struck at non-essentials,
called attention to the clumsy manner in which finite man
has bodied forth his idea of Infinity--has made the unskillful
laugh and the judicious grieve.  In an ignorant age the
supernatural appeals most powerfully to the people; hence
it is not strange that revealed religion, so-called, should
have been grounded upon the miraculous; but the passage
of the Red Sea, the raising of Lazarus and kindred wonders
are not readily accepted in an enlightened era, and are
utilized by scoffers to bring all religion into contempt.  We
can scarce conceive of God being reduced to the necessity
of violating his own laws to demonstrate his presence and
power.  While it were presumption to ask any church to
abate one jot or tittle of its dogma, it seems to me that all
would gain by relying less upon the "evidential value of the
miracles"; that a broader, nobler basis can be found for
religious faith, one more in accord with the wisdom and
dignity of the great All-Father than tradition of signs and
wonders in a foreign land in the long ago.  Had God
desired to personally manifest himself unto man, to deliver
a code of laws, to establish a particular form of worship, it
is reasonable to suppose that he would have done so in a
manner that would have left no doubt in the mind of any
man, of any age or clime, anent either his divinity or his
desires.  That he has not done this, argues that all
"revealed religions" are but the voices of the godlike within
man, rather than direct revelations from without.  All
religions are fundamentally the same, and each is the
highest spiritual concept of its devotees.  Whence came the
gods of the ancient Greek and Egyptian, of the Mede and
Persian?  If they were made known by direct revelation,
how came they to be false gods?  If they were the result of
a spirit of worship inherent in all men, who implanted that
spirit?  If God, he must have done so for a purpose, and
what purpose other than to enable man to work out his own
salvation?  Would we not expect him to operate through
this spirit for universal guidance, rather than leave the world
in darkness while he retired to an obscure corner thereof
and practiced legerdemain for the edification of a few half-
civilized people?  If we adopt the internal instead of the
external view of the origin of Judaism and Christianity, all
the other Sacred Books range themselves about the Bible
and with it bear witness that man is the creature of Design
and not a freak of Chance.  We bring to confirm the
teachings of Moses and Christ and the wise Zoroaster, the
loving Gautama, the patient Mahomet, the priests and
prophets of every clime, the altars of every age, the
countless millions, who, since man's advent on the earth,
have worshiped the All-in-All.  If this be not basis broad
enough for man's belief, add thereto the story of God's
wisdom written in the stars and the never-ceasing anthem
of the sea; the history of every consecrated man who
has died for man, whether his name be Christ or Damien;
the song of every bird and the gleam of every beauty; the
eternal truth that shines in a mother's eyes, the laughter of
little children and the leonine courage of creation's lord;
every burning tear that has fallen on the face of the dead,
and every cry of anguish that has gone up from the open
grave to the throne of the Living God.  Were not this
"revelation" enough?  Yet 'tis but the binding of humanity's
Sacred Book, of that Universal Bible in which God speaks
from the age and from hour to hour to all who have ears to
hear.

The fact that man desires immortality is proof enough that
he was not born to perish.  'Tis a "direct revelation" to the
individual, if he will but heed it--will get out of the grime of
the man-created city, with its artificialities, into the God-
created country, where he may hear the "still small voice"
speaking to that subtler sense, which in animals is instinct,
in man is inspiration.  There is no error in the ordering of
the universe.  It was not jumbled together by self-created
"force," operating in accordance with "laws" self-evolved
from chaos, on matter which, like Mrs. Stowe's juvenile
nigger, "jis growed."  It is the work of a Master who
"ordereth all things well."  Beauty might be born of Chance,
but only Omniscience could have decreed the adoration it
inspires.  Hate might spring from the womb of Chaos, but
Love must be the child of Order.  Pain might be begotten of
monsters, but only Infinite wisdom could have invented
Sorrow.  Nature does not put feathers on fishes, fins on
birds, nor give aught that lives an impossible desire or an
objectless instinct.  Then why should man desire
immortality, why should he fear annihilation more than the
fires of Hell?  During a third of his life he is unconscious,
and annihilation is but an ever-dreamless sleep.  Whether
he sleeps the sleep of health or that of death, an
hour and an eternity are the same to him; yet he desires
the one and dreads the other.  If man's fierce longing for
immortal life is not to be gratified, then is the whole
universe a cruel lie; its wonderful arrangement from star to
flower, its careful adaptation of means to ends, the
provision for the satisfaction of every sense, an arrant
fraud, a colossal falsehood.  If there be no God, then is
creation a calamity; if there be a God and no immortality for
man, then it is a crime.

God does not reveal himself to beasts, nor to men of
brutish minds.  How can those who have no ear for music,
no eye for beauty, hear the melody of the universe or
comprehend the symmetry of the All?  What need have
those for immortality to whom love is only lust, charity a
pander to pride, a full stomach the greatest good and gold
a god?  It is these who become "motive grinders," dig
genius out of the earth like spuds and goobers, and
achieve perpetual motion by making the universe a self-
operative machine needing neither key nor steam generator
to "make it go."  They pride themselves, sometimes justly,
on their reasoning powers; but the product of their logic-mill
is like artificial flowers, as unprofitable as the icy kiss of
the Venus de Medici.  Of that knowledge gleaned in the Vale of
Sorrow they know nothing; of that wisdom which cannot be
demonstrated by the laws of logic they have no more
conception than has a mole of the glories of the morning.
They are of the earth earthy.  To make them understand a
message God would have to typewrite it, add the seal of a
notary public and deliver it in person.  They hear not the
silver tones of Memnon, heed not the wondrous messages
that come from the dumb lips of the dead.  They search
through musty tomes and explore long-forgotten languages
to prove the rhapsodies of some old prophet false, while
the grave of the babe that was buried yesterday is
more than a prophecy--is an Ark of the Covenant.


* * *
THE PROFESSIONAL REFORMER.

This is preeminently the era of the reformer, and there
are few things, great or small, upon which he has not tried
his Archimedean lever with more or less effect.

Progress should ever be the shibboleth of man, but
progress and improvement are not always synonyms.
When a man becomes possessed of an idea that differs
materially from the ideas of mankind in general; when he
takes issue with the emulative wisdom of a world he
knows not how many ages old, simple modesty would
suggest that, before arrogating to himself superior
discernment, he inquire diligently whether he is really a
philosopher or a fool.  When a man takes issue with the
world the chances are as one to infinity that he is wrong.
Since man's appearance upon the earth a great many
sages have graced it, and the present generation is "heir
of all the ages."  Its judgment is grounded upon the net
result of thousands of years of careful study and costly
experiment, and it is much safer to trust to it than to new-
born theories.

Occasionally a man appears who can add to the general
stock of wisdom; but such men are seldom conscious of the
fact that they are wiser than the world they live in,--seldom
consider that they have a special call to embark in a
"radical reform" crusade.  They know that society is an
organism, not a machine, and that it cannot be violently
transformed, any more than a man can be changed into a
demigod, or a monkey into a mastodon.  They realize that
the "old order changeth, yielding place to new"; but they
also realize that the change must be slow in order to be
healthy.  Nearly every change that the world has
witnessed has been slowly, almost imperceptibly wrought.
Even all governments that have stood the test of time were
the work of time.  The present government of England has
been built up almost imperceptibly, and the Constitution of
the United States is but a differentiation of Magna Charta,
not a new and violent birth.  It is much safer to change the
old order of human thought and action by evolutionary than
by revolutionary methods.

. . .

It has been the custom of society for many ages to make
woman the custodian of her own virtue; but in this age of
reformers it has been discovered that this is a grievous
mistake.  According to the new school of morals, woman is
not competent to distinguish between right and wrong, and
even wives of mature years are sometimes "led astray" by
"fell destroyers," whom the "injured husband" feels in duty
bound to chase around the world, if need be, with a Gatling
gun.  Instances where "designing villains" have "invaded
the sanctity of the home" are multiplying, and while the
world is not ready to forgive the erring woman it is daily
asked to anathematize her paramour and stand between
her husband and the penitentiary should his marksmanship
prove successful.  In other words, the world is asked to
regard every man that a woman may chance to meet as
her guardian angel,--to place her honor in his keeping
instead of her own; to crucify him should he not prove as
indifferent as Adonis, as chaste as Joseph.  Truly this is
very complimentary to man, but quite the reverse to
woman.  It would substitute male for female virtue and
place the sanctity of the home at the mercy of strangers.
Unquestionably all men should be pure; but they are not.
In fact the pure man is the exception and not the rule.
Every man who takes unto himself a wife must know this.
He knows that he places his honor in the keeping of
the woman, not in the keeping of his fellow men.  He knows
that she can live as pure as Diana if she elects to do so;
that if she does not so choose she will have no difficulty in
finding companions in crime.  He does know--as does the
world--that no man will attempt to "lead her astray" so long
as her deportment is such as becomes a true wife; that no
"wolf in sheep's clothing" will ever find his way into the fold
without her assistance.

It will not do.  Every sane woman who has arrived at the
age of discretion is the guardian of her own honor.  To
relieve her of this responsibility is to insult her intelligence.

To divide the responsibility with men of the world is to place
her on the same moral plane with the roue and the
courtesan, ready to err should opportunity offer.

It is a trifle strange that those good people who value
female purity so highly that they would reform every
roue in Christendom to secure it, have little or nothing
to say about the chief cause of hymeneal infidelity,--
loveless marriages.  No woman who really loves her
husband can be untrue to him.  Duty and inclination point
the same way.  But if a woman does not love her husband
she will, in nearly every instance, love someone else.  She
may never manifest this illicit affection by word or look--she
may not admit it even to her own heart; but no matter how
strongly armed she be in honesty, she stands within the
pale of danger.  From the questionable act of bartering,
according to due forms of law and with priestly blessing, an
attractive person for wealth or social position, is a
comparatively easy step to practices no more
reprehensible, but wanting the sanction of society.  Is it at
all strange that an impulsive young woman, whose parents
have persuaded her to marry a man she cordially detests,
and who is perhaps four times her age, should conclude
that moral codes are chiefly fashionable cant and that
a pretense of observing them is all that is really necessary?

. . .

While the reformers are busy saving the world it is strange
that they do not devise some method of checking the
decided misogamistic tendency of the young men of to-day.
Marriages are becoming decidedly unpopular with them,
and the result is that thousands of young men, who should
be model husbands, are living lives of but quasi-
respectability; thousands of young women who should be
honored wives and happy mothers are thrown upon their
own resources,--forced to choose between virtue and rags
and silks and shame.  The latter soon learn that honest
poverty brings almost as complete social ostracism, almost
as much contumely, as dishonest finery, and, despairing of
ever becoming true men's wives, too many of them become
false men's mistresses.

Here is work in abundance for the reformer.  To it, oh, ye
saviors of the world.  Teach the young men of the land that
marriage is a thing to be desired, even though they be not
millionaires and no heiress smiles upon them.

. . .

The true reformer will not wait for some grand "mission,"
some mighty crusade to call him to action.  The world is full
of wrong which needs no preternatural prescience to
discover--fraud which bears its name boldly upon its very
face.  The true reformer will denounce fraud and falsehood
wherever found--will assail the wrong no matter how
strongly intrenched it be in prescriptive right.  But he will
make haste slowly to change the fundamental principles
upon which society is founded.  He will proceed cautiously,
modestly, until he does know, so far as aught is given to
human wisdom to know, that it is a "condition and not a
theory" with which he is dealing; that he earl point the
world to new truths whose recognition and adoption will
make better the condition of his species; then, if he be a
true man, he will speak, not in humble whispers, lest he
offend potentates and powers; not ambiguously, that he
may escape "the oppressor's wrong, the proud man's
contumely," but in clarion tones, like another Peter-the-
Hermit, who, bearing all, swerving neither to the right nor to
the left, preached the crusade of the Holy Sepulcher till at
last his words of fire burned through dull understandings,
into cold hearts, and steel-clad Europe quivered like a
million globules of quicksilver, then massed beneath his
ragged standard.


* * *
TRILBY AND THE TRILBYITES.

APOTHEOSIZING THE PROSTITUTE.


The Trilby craze has overrun the land like the "grip"
bacillus or the seven-year locust.  Here in America it has
become almost as disgusting as the plague of lice sent
upon Egypt to eat the chilled steel veneering off the heart
of Pharaoh the fickle.  Everything is Trilby.  We have Trilby
bonnets and bonbons, poses and plays, dresses and
drinks.  Trilby sermons have been preached from prominent
pulpits, and the periodicals, from penny-post to pretentious
magazine, have Trilbyismus and have it bad.  One would
think that the world had just found Salvation, so loud and
unctuous is its hosannah--that Trilby was some new Caaba-
stone or greater Palladium floated down from Heaven on
the wings of Du Maurier's transcendent genius; that after
waiting and watching for six thousand--or million--years, a
perfect exemplar had been bequeathed to the world.

I have read Du Maurier's foolish little book--as a
disagreeable duty.  The lot of the critic is an unenviable
one.  He must read everything, even such insufferable rot
as "Coin's Financial School," and those literary nightmares
turned loose in rejoinder--veritable Rozinantes, each
bearing a chop-logic Don Quixote with pasteboard helmet
and windmill spear.  I knew by the press comments--I had
already surmised from its popularity with upper-tendom--
that "Trilby" was simply a highly spiced story of female
frailty; hence I approached it with "long teeth"'--like a
politician eating crow, or a country boy absorbing his first
glass of lager beer.  I had received a surfeit of the
Camillean style of literature in my youth before I learned
with Ecclesiastes the Preacher--or even with Parkhurst--that
"all is vanity."

So far as my experience goes the only story of a fallen
woman that was worth the writing--and the reading--is that
of Mary Magdalen; and it is not French.  Her affaires
d'amour appear to have ended with her repentance.  She
did not try to marry a duke, elevate the stage or break into
swell society.  After closing her maison de joie she
ceased to be "bonne camarade et bonne fille" in the
tough de tough quarter of the Judean metropolis.  There
were no more strolls on the Battery by moonlight alone love
after exchanging her silken robe de chambre for an old-
fashioned nightgown with never a ruffle.  When she applied
the soft pedal the Bacchic revel became a silent prayer.  So
far as we can gather, the cultured gentlemen of Judea did
not fall over each other in a frantic effort to ensnare her
with Hymen's noose.  If the Apostles recommended her life
to the ladies of their congregations as worthy emulation the
stenographer must have been nodding worse than Homer.
If the elite of Jerusalem named their daughters for her and
made her the subject of public discussion, that fact
has been forgotten.  And yet it is reasonably certain that
she was beautiful--even more beautiful than Trilby, the
bones of whose face were so attractive, the pink of whose
tootsie-wootsies so irresistible.  The Magdalen of St. Luke
appears to have been in many respects the superior of the
Magdalen of Du Maurier.  She does not appear to have
been an ignorant and coarse-grained she-gamin who
frequented the students' quarter of the sacred city, posing
to strolling artists for "the altogether," being, in the crowded
atelier like Mother Eve in Eden "naked and not ashamed."
We may suppose that the sensuous blood of the Orient ran
riot in her veins--that she was swept into the fierce
maelstrom by love and passion and would have perished
there but for the infinite pity of our Lord, who cast out the
seven devils that lurked within her heart like harpies in a
Grecian temple, and stilled the storm that beat like
sulphurous waves of fire within her snowy breast.

"And behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner,
when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's
house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, and stood at
his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet
with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head,
and kissed his feet and anointed them with ointment."

How stale, flat and unprofitable the modern stories of semi-
repentant prostitutes beside that pathetic passage, which
shears down into the very soul--penetrates to the
profoundest depths of the sacred Lake of Tears!  And yet
this ultra-orthodox age--which would suppress the
ICONOCLAST if it could for poking fun at Poll Parrot
preachers--has not become crazed over Mary Magdalen--
has not so much as named a canal-boat or a cocktail for her.

Du Maurier says of his heroine:  "With her it was lightly
come and lightly go and never come back again. . . .
Sheer gayety of heart and genial good fellowship, the
difficulty of saying nay to earnest pleading . . . so little did
she know of love's heartaches and raptures and torments
and clingings and jealousies," etc.  A woman who had
never been in love, yet confessed to criminal intimacy with
three men--and was not yet at the end of her string!  Not
even the pride of dress, the scourge of need, the fire-whips
of passion to urge her on, she sinned, as the Yankees
would say, simply "to be a-doin' "--broke the Seventh
Commandment "more in a frolicsome spirit of camaraderie
than anything else."  That's the way we used to kill people
in Texas.  Still I opine that when a young woman gets so
awfully jolly that she distributes her favors around
promiscuously just to put people in a good humor, she's a
shaky piece of furniture to make a fad of--a doubtful
example to be commended from the pulpit to America's
young daughters.  The French enthusiasts once crowned a
courtesan in Notre Dame as Goddess of Reason and
worshiped her; but I was hardly prepared to see the
American people enthrone another as Goddess of
Respectability and become hysterical in their devotion.  I
am no he-prude.  I have probably said as many kindly
things of fallen womanhood as Du Maurier himself, but I
dislike to see a rotten drab deified.  I dislike to see a great
publishing house like that of Harper & Bros. so indifferent to
decency, so careless of moral consequences, that, for the
sake of gain, it will turn loose upon this land the foul
liaisons of the French capital.  I dislike to see the mothers
of the next generation of Americans trying to "make up" to
resemble the counterfeit presentment of a brazen bawd.  It
indicates that our entire social system is sadly in need of
fumigation--such as Sodom and Gomorrah received.

Trilby, the child of a bummy preacher and a bastard bar-
maid, was born and bred in the slum of the wickedest
city in the world.  Little was to be expected of such
birth and breeding.  We are not surprised that she regards
fornication as but a venial fault--like cigarette smoking--and
sins "capriciously, desultorily, more in a frolicsome spirit of
camaraderie than anything else."  Girls so reared are apt to
be a trifle frolicsome.  We are not shocked to see her
stripped stark naked in Carrel's atelier in the presence of
half a hundred hoodlums of the Latin quarter--seeming as
unconcerned as a society belle at opera or ball with half her
back exposed, her bust ready to spill itself out of her
corsage if she chance to stoop.  We even feel that it is in
perfect accord with the eternal fitness of things when these
wild sprouts of Bohemia, "with kindly solicitude, help her on
with her clothes."  We can even pause to admire the
experienced skill with which they put each garment in its
proper place--and deftly button it.  That she should have
the ribald slang of the free-and-easy neighborhood at her
tongue's end and be destitute of delicacy as a young cow
might be expected; but we are hardly prepared to see one
grown up among such surroundings so unutterably stupid
as not to know when her companions are "guying" her.
Trilby croaking "Ben Bolt" for the edification of les trois
Angliches were a sight worthy of a lunatic asylum.  It was
even more ridiculous than the social performance of that
other half-wit, Little Billee, in Carrel's atelier.  Stupidity
covers even more sins than charity, hence we should not
judge Du Maurier's heroine too harshly.  As weak intellects
yield readily to hypnotic power, Svengali had an easy
victim.  I have no word of criticism for the poor creature.  I
do not blame Du Maurier for drawing her as he found--or
imagined--her, nor can I blame popular preachers, "able
editors" and half-wit women for worshiping the freckled and
faulty grisette as a goddess; for does not Carlyle truly tell
us that "what we see, and can not see over, is good
as Infinity?"  Still I cannot entertain an exalted opinion of
either the intelligence or morals of a people who will place
such a character on a pedestal and prostrate themselves
before it.

I confess my surprise at the phenomenal popularity of the
book among people familiar with Dickens, Scott and
Thackeray, triune transcendent of fiction.  I had hoped
when "Ben Hur" made its great hit that the golden age of
flash fiction was past--that it could henceforth count among
its patrons only stable boys and scullions; but the same
nation that received "Ben Hur" with tears of thankfulness--
thankfulness for a priceless jewel of spotless purity ablaze
with the immortal fire of genius--has gone mad with joy over
a dirty tale of bawdry that might have been better told by a
cheap reporter bordering on the jimjams.  Has the
American nation suddenly declined into intellectual dotage--
reached the bald-head and dizzy soubrette finale in the
mighty drama of life?

I can account for the success of Du Maurier's book only on
the hypothesis that "like takes to like"--that the world is full
of frail Trilbys and half-baked duffers like Little Billee, who,
Narcissuslike, worship their own image.  They don't mind
the contradictions and absurdities with which the book
abounds; in fact, those who read up-to-date French novels
are seldom gifted with sufficient continuity of thought to
detect contradictions if they appear two pages apart.  The
book is ultra-bizarre, a thin intellectual soup served in
grotesque, even impossible dishes and highly flavored with
vulgar animalism--just the mental pabulum craved by those
whose culture is artificial, mentality weak and morals mere
matter of form.  The plot was evidently loaded to scatter.  It
is about as probable as Jack and the Beanstalk, and is
worked out with the skill of a country editor trying to
"cover" a national convention.  The story affords
about as much food for thought as one of Talmage's plate-
matter sermons--is fully as "fillin' " as drinking the froth out
of a pop-bottle, and equally as exhilarating.  Like other sots,
the more the literary bacchanal drinks the more he thirsts--
appetite increased by what it feeds upon.  We can forgive
Byron and Boccaccio the lax morals of their productions
because of their literary excellence, just as we wink at the
little social lapses of Sarah Bernhardt because of her
unapproachable genius; but Du Maurier's book is wholly
bad.  It could only have been made worse by being made
bigger.  It is a moral crime, a literary abortion.  The style is
faulty and the narrative marred--if a bad egg can be
spoiled--by slang lugged in from the slums of two
continents with evident labor.  Employed naturally, slang
may serve--in a pinch--for Attic salt; but slang for its own
sake is smut on the nose instead of a "beauty-spot" on the
cheek of Venus--sure evidence of a paucity of ideas.  A
trite proverb, a non-translatable phrase from a foreign
tongue may be permissible; but the writer who jumbles two
languages together indiscriminately is but a pedantic prig.
It were bad enough if Du Maurier mixed good English with
better French; but he employs in his bilingual book the very
worst of both--obsolete American provincialisms and the
patois of the quartier latin side by side.  To the
cultured American who knows only the English of Lindley
Murray and scholastic French, the book is about as
intelligible as Greek to Casca or the "dog-latin" of the
American schoolboy to Julius Caesar.

His characters resemble the distorted freaks of nature in a
dime museum.  They may all be possible, but not one of
them probable.  Taffy and Gecko are the best of the lot.
The first is a big, good-natured Englishman who wants to
see his sweetheart married to his friend, weds another and
supports her quite handsomely by painting pictures
he cannot sell; the latter a Pole with an Italian's
temperament, yet who sees the woman he loves in the
power of a demon--by whom she is presumably
debauched--and makes no effort to rescue her, is not even
jealous.  Svengali is the greatest musician in the world, yet
cannot make a living in Paris, the modern home of art.  He
is altogether and irretrievably bad--despite the harmony in
which his soul is steeped!  Think of a hawk outwarbling a
nightingale--of a demon flooding the world with melody
most divine!  We may now expect Mephistopheles to
warble "Nearer My God to Thee" between the acts!  Trilby
can sing no more than a burro.  Like the useful animal, she
has plenty of voice, and, like him, she can knock the horns
off the moon with it or send it on a hot chase after the
receding ghost of Hamlet's sire; but she is "tone-deaf"--
can't tell Ophelia's plaint from the performance of Thomas'
orchestra.  Svengali hypnotizes her, and, beneath his magic
spell she becomes the greatest cantatrice in Europe.
Hypnotism is a power but little understood; so we must
permit Du Maurier to make such Jules Verne's excursions
into that unknown realm as may please him.  Had Svengali
made a contortionist of the stiff old Devonshire vicar we
could not cry "impossible."  The Laird of Cockpen is a
good-natured fellow to whom Trilby tells her troubles
instead of pouring them into the capacious ear of a
policeman.  He is a kind of bewhiskered Sir Galahad who
goes in quest of Trilby instead of the Holy Grail, and having
found her, sits down on her bed and cheers her up while
she kisses and caresses him.  As she is in love with his
friend, the performance is eminently proper, quite platonic.
The Laird advises Trilby to give up sitting for "the
altogether"; yet Du Maurier assures us that "nothing is so
chaste as nudity"--that "Venus herself, as she drops her
garments and steps on to the model-throne, leaves
behind her on the floor every weapon by which she can
pierce to the grosser passions of men."

Then he informs us that a naked woman is such a fright
"that Don Juan himself were fain to hide his eyes in sorrow
and disenchantment and fly to other climes."  How thankful
Cupid must be that he was born blind!  Still the most of us
are willing to risk one eye on the average "altogether"
model.  Du Maurier--who is a somewhat better artist than
author--illustrates his own book.  He gives us several
portraits of Trilby, all open-mouthed, with a vacant stare.
Strange that he did not draw his heroine nude as she sat
on the bed hugging and kissing the Laird--that he did not
hang up "on the floor every weapon" by which Venus
herself "can pierce to the grosser passions of men."  But
perchance he was afraid the Laird would "hide his eyes in
sorrow and disenchantment and fly to other climes."  He
could not be spared just yet.  Despite his plea for the nude,
I think he exercised excellent judgment in leaving Trilby
"clothed and in her right mind"--such as it was--while the
Laird roosted on her couch in that attic bedroom and was--
to us a Tennysonianism--mouthed and mumbled.  Even
New York's "four hundred" might have felt a little
squeamish at seeing this pair of platonic turtle doves hid
away in an obscure corner of naughty Paris in puris
naturalibus even if "there is nothing so chaste as nudity."

Du Maurier says that Trilby never sat to him for "the
altogether," and adds:  "I would as soon have asked the
Queen of Spain to let me paint her legs."  If nudity be so
chaste, and Trilby didn't mind the exposure even a little bit,
why should he hesitate?  And why should he not paint the
legs of the Queen of Spain--or even the underpinning of the
Queen of Hawaii--as well as her arms?  But if we
pause to point out all the absurd contradictions in this
flake of ultra-French froth we shall wear out more than one
pencil.

Little Billee is a very nice young man who has been kept
too close to his mother's apron-strings for his own good--a
girlish, hysterical kind of boy, who should be given spoon-
victuals and put to bed early.  Of course he wants to marry
Trilby, for he is of that age when the swish of a petticoat
makes us seasick.  She is perfectly willing to become his
mistress--although she had "repented" of her sins and
been "forgiven" but a few days before.  She has sense
enough--despite Du Maurier's portraits of her--to know that
she is unworthy to become a gentleman's wife, to be mated
with a he-virgin like Little Billee.  But she is overpersuaded--
as usual--and consents.  Then the young calf's mother
comes on the scene and asks her to spare her little pansy
blossom--not to blight his life with the frost of her follies.
And of course she consents again.  She's the great
consenter--always in the hands of friends, like an American
politician.  "The difficulty of saying nay to earnest pleading"
prevents a mesalliance.  Trilby skips the trala and Little
Billee--who has no chance to secure a reconsideration cries
himself sick, but recovers,--comes up smiling like a cotton-
patch after a spring shower.  He is taken to England, but
fails to find that "absence makes the heart grow fonder."
He gets wedded to his art quite prettily, and even thinks of
turning Mormon and taking the vicar's daughter for a
second bride, but slips up on an atheistical orange peel,
something has gone wrong with his head.  Where his bump
of amativeness should stick out like a walnut there is a
discouraging depression which alarms him greatly, and
worries the reader not a little.  But finally he sees Trilby
again, and, the wheel in his head, which has stuck fast for
five years, begins to whizz around like the internal
economy of an alarm clock--or a sky terrier with a
clothespin on his tail.

Of course there is now nothing for Trilby to do but to die.
They could be paired off in a kind of morganatic marriage;
but it is customary in novels where the heroine has been
too frolicsome, for her to get comfortably buried instead of
happily married,--and perhaps it is just as well.  Even a
French novelist must make some little mock concession to
the orthodox belief that the wage of sin is death.  So Trilby
sinks into the grave with a song like the dying swan, and
Little Billee follows suit--upsets the entire Christian religion
by dying very peaceably as an Atheist, without so much as
a shudder on the brink of that outer darkness where there's
supposed to be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Svengali has also fallen by the wayside, a number of
characters have been very happily forgotten, so the story
drags along to the close on three not very attractive legs,
Taffy, the Laird and Gecko.  It is a bad drama worse
staged, with an ignorant bawd for heroine, a weak little
thing for leading man, an impossible Caliban for heavy
villain and Atheism for moral.  Such is the wonderful work
that has given this alleged land of intelligence a case of
literary mania a potu, set it to singing the praises of a
grimy grisette more melodiously than she warbled,
"mironton, mirontaine" at the bidding of the villainous
Svengali.  Such is this new lion of literature who has set
American maids and matrons to paddling about home
barefoot and posing in public with open mouths--flattering
themselves that they resemble a female whom they would
scald if she ventured into their back yard.


BALAAM'S ASS.

AND OTHER BURROS.

     "Force first made conquest, and that conquest, law;
     Till Superstition taught the tyrant awe,
     Then shared the tyranny, then lent it aid,
     And gods of conquerors, slaves of subjects made.
     She, from the rending earth and bursting skies,
     Saw gods descend and fiends infernal rise;
     Here fixed the dreadful, there the blest abodes;
     Fear made her devils and weak hope her gods;
     Gods partial, changeful, passionate, unjust,
     Whose attributes were rage, revenge and lust;
     Such as the souls of cowards might conceive,
     And, formed like tyrants, tyrants would believe.
     Zeal then, not charity, became the guide;
     And hell was built on spite, and heaven on pride."
                                 --POPE.

Kind reader, have a care!  For aught I know this article
may be the rankest blasphemy, and reading it may wreck
your immortal soul--granting of course, that you are in
possession of such perishable property.  I submitted it to
several of my brother ministers and sought their opinion as
to the propriety of publishing it; but while some assured me
that it was calculated to purify the moral atmosphere
somewhat and foster respect for true religion, others were
equally certain that Satan had inspired it--that it was, in
fact, a choice bit of immigration literature for the lower
regions.  Finding even the elders unable to decide what
should be done with Balaam's Ass--whether it should be
turned loose upon the land like another evangelist, or
consigned to the flames as a hopeless heretic--I determined
to give it the benefit of the doubt.  The animal may
break into the preserves of some unctuous hypocrites and
trample a few choice flowers of sacerdotal folly; but I opine
that no honest man of average intellect will find herein
occasion for complaint.  I would not wantonly wound the
sensibilities of those earnest but ignorant souls who believe
the very chapter headings of the Bible to have been
inspired; who interpret literally every foolish fable preserved
therein--"like flies in amber"; but the Car of Progress
cannot roll forward without crushing an occasional pismire.
We cannot bid it stand forever in the same old rut, like an
abandoned road-cart or "Jeffersonian Democrat," because
across its shining pathway lie the honest prejudices of
zealous stupidity.

The Bible is a great gold-mine, in which inexhaustible store
of yellow metal is mixed with much worthless rubbish that
must be purged away by honest criticism before the book
becomes really profitable even fit for general circulation.  I
would rather place in the hands of an innocent girl a copy
of the Police Gazette or Sunday Sun than an
unexpurgated Bible.  It is a book I value much, yet keep
under lock and key with "Don Juan" and the "Decameron."
It contains both the grandest morality and most degrading
obscenity ever conceived in the brain of mortal man.  There
are passages whose beauty and power might cause the
heart of an angel to leap in ecstasy, others that would call a
blush of shame to the brassy front of the foulest fiend that
ever howled and shrieked through the sulphurous valleys of
Hell.

The man who rejects the Bible altogether because it is
honey-combed with barbarous traditions, rank with revolting
stories and darkened by the shadow of a savage
superstition, is cousin-german to him that casts aside a
priceless pearl because it is coated with ocean slime.  He
that accepts it in its entirety--gulps it down like an
anaconda absorbing an unwashed goat; who makes no
attempt to separate the essential from the accidental--the
utterance of inspiration from the garrulity of hopeless
nescience; who forgets that it is half an epic poem filled
with the gorgeous imagery of the Orient, may, like the ass
which Balaam rode, open its mouth and speak; but he
never saw the Angel of the Lord; he utters the words of
emptiness and ignorance.

Had the Bible been taught intelligently and truthfully the
entire world would have accepted it centuries ago.  Its very
worst enemies are those who insist upon its inerrancy--who
strive by some esoteric alchemy of logic to transmute its
every fragment of base metal into bars of yellow gold, the
folly of the creature into the wisdom of the Creator.  During
the Dark Ages hide-bound orthodoxy prevailed and
practically every man was a church communicant; it is
paramount to-day only in those countries that have failed to
keep pace with the Car of Progress.  It is a sad
commentary upon all religious faiths that they flourish best
where ignorance prevails--that Atheism is rapidly becoming
the recognized correlative of education.  By presuming to
know too much of God's great plan; by decrying intelligent
criticism and attempting to seal the lips of living students
with the dicta of dead scholastics; by standing ever ready to
brand as blasphemers those who presume to question or
dare to differ, the dogmatists are driving millions of God-
fearing men into passive indifference or overt opposition.

Ignorance is not a crime per se; but it is the mother of
Superstition and Intolerance, those twin demons that have
time and again deluged the world with blood and tears; that
for forty centuries have stood like ravenous wolves in the
path of human progress; that with their empoisoned
fangs have torn a thousand times the snowy breast
of Liberty--that have done more to inspire Doubt and foster
Infidelity than all the French philosophes that ever
wielded pen.  The logical, well-informed man who to-day
becomes a church communicant does not so because of
the doctrine promulgated by the average pulpiteer, but
despite of it.

The long night of intellectual slavery has not altogether
passed, but on the higher hills already flame the harbingers
of Reason's glorious morn.  Gone is the Inquisition with its
sacred infamies--the Christian rack is broken and the
thumb-screw rusted in twain.  The persuasive wheel no
longer whisks the non-conformist into full communion, the
Iron Virgin has ceased to press the writhing heretic to her
orthodox heart.  The faggot has fallen from the hand of the
saintly fanatic and the branding iron from the loving grasp
of the benevolent bigot, while Superstition, that once did
rule the world with autocratic sway, can only shriek her
impotent curses forth and flourish her foolish boycott at
Reason's growing flame.

If I can but enable sectarians to understand that all so-
called sacred books are essentially the same--that Brahma
and Baal, Jupiter and Jehovah are really identical; if I can
but make them cognizant of the crime they commit in
decrying honest criticism; if I can but convince them that
the man who is

   "Slave to no sect, who takes no private road,
     But looks through nature up to nature's God,"

is not necessarily an active emissary of evil whom it is their
duty to denounce; if I can but create a suspicion in the
minds of the clergy that perhaps they know no more of the
Omnipotent than do other men--are possibly mistaking bile
for benevolence, gall for godliness and chronic laziness for
"a call to preach"--I will feel that these few hours
expended grooming Balaam's burro have not been cast
away.

. . .

Our information concerning the Rev. Mr. Balaam and his
burro is very limited.  Although the latter was endowed with
the gift of gab it appears to have spoken but once and then
at the especial bidding of an angel, which fact leads us to
suspect that the voluble jackasses now extant have
deteriorated at both ends since the days of their
distinguished ancestor--have parted with all their brain as
well as with half their legs.  Brother Balaam does not
appear to have "syndicated" his sermons or made any
special bid for notoriety.  If he ever hired half-starved
courtesans a la Parkhurst--to dance the can-can, then
hastened into court to file complaint against the very bawds
he had filled with booze and dandled naked on his knee; if
he called the ladies of his congregation "old sows" after the
manner of Sam Jones; if he got himself tried on a charge of
heresy or became entangled with some half-wit sister
whose religious fervor led her to mistake Levite for the
Lord, no record of the shameful circumstance has been
preserved.  He appears to have attended pretty strictly to
the prophet business, and we may presume, from such
stray bits of his biography as have come down to us, that
he prospered.

The Israelites, who had gotten out of Egypt between two
days with considerable of the portable property of other
people concealed about their persons, had gone into the
Bill Dalton business under the direct guidance--as they
claimed--of their Deity, and were for some time eminently
successful.  Wholesale murder and robbery became their
only industry, arson and oppression their recognized
amusement.  They had swiped up several cities--"leaving
not a soul alive"--and were now grinding the snickersnee for
Moab and Midian.  The people of the petty nations of
Palestine--whom God's anointed received an
imperative command to "utterly destroy"--had builded them
happy homes and accumulated considerable property by
patient industry.  They appear to have been peacefully
disposed and devout worshipers of those deities from
whom the better attributes of Jehovah were subsequently
borrowed.  The Israelites had not struck a lick of honest
labor for forty years.  They had drifted about like Cosey's
"Commonwealers" and developed into the most fiendish
mob of God-fearing guerrillas and marauding cut-throats of
which history makes mention.  Compared with Joshua's
murderous Jews, the Huns who followed Attila were avatars
of mercy and the Sioux of Sitting Bull were Good
Samaritans.  A careful comparison of the crimes committed
by the Kurds in Armenia with those perpetrated by "God's
chosen people" in Palestine will prove that the followers of
Allah are but amateurs in the art of outrage.  Doubtless any
other people, brutalized by centuries of bondage, then
turned loose without king or country, with only ignorant
prophets for guides and avaricious priests for law-givers,
would have become equally cruel--would have adopted a
divinity devoid of mercy and a stranger to justice.  The god
of a people is, and must of necessity ever be a reflection of
themselves, an idealization of their own virtues and vices--a
magic mirror in which, Narcissuslike, man worships his own
image.

The Jews are one of the grandest people that ever dwelt
upon the earth.  A more intellectual and progressive race is
unknown to human history; but, like all others, it had its age
of savagery and its epoch of barbarism before it reached
the golden era of civilization.  I am not criticizing the Jews
for their treatment of the Canaanites during that century
when crass ignorance made them credulous and bondage
rendered them brutal; but to assume that the
excesses of semi-savages were Heaven-inspired
were a damning libel of the Deity.  I rather enjoy being lied
about by malicious lollipops; but did I sit secure in some
celestial citadel, holding the thunderbolts of Heaven within
my hand, it were hardly safe to assert that I instigated such
unparalleled atrocities as were perpetrated by the
emancipated Israelites in Palestine.  I would certainly be
tempted to take a potshot at an occasional preacher who
persisted in defaming me with his foolish dogmatism.

Balak, the king of Moab and Midian, saw that he was not
strong enough to withstand the sacred marauders, and well
knew that surrender meant a wholesale massacre--that
those who had dared to defend their homes would be
placed under harrows of iron--that the silvery head of the
aged grandsire would sink beneath a sword wielded in the
name of God; that unborn babes would be ripped from the
wombs of Moabite women and the maidens of Midian
coerced into concubinage by their heaven-led captors.  In
this dire extremity Balak bethought him of Brother Balaam,
who was not "a prophet of God," as popularly supposed,
but a priest of Baal, the deity devoutly worshiped in Moab
and Midian.  It were ridiculous to suppose that the king,
princes and elders of Moab and Midian would appeal for aid
to the God of their enemies instead of to their own divinity,
for in those days the principal business of a deity was to
wage war in behalf of his worshipers.  Balaam was a
Midianite, and Balak sent messengers to him "with the
reward of divination in their hand," and begged that he
would kindly come over and knock the Israelites off the
Christmas tree with one of his smooth-bore, muzzle-loading
maledictions; "for," said he, with a pious fervor that proves
he was addressing a priest of his own faith, "I wot that he
whom thou blesseth is blessed, and whom thou curseth is
cursed."  He evidently believed that Balaam carried
the celestial thunderbolts concealed about his person--that
when he turned them loose those on whom they alighted
frizzled up like a fat angleworm on a sea-coal fire.  The
good man said he would see what could be done to help
Balak out of the hole.

   "And God came unto Balaam and said,
     'What men are these with thee?' "


As Balaam was evidently expecting the visit we may
conclude that the caller was Baal, as Jehovah was not at
that time on visiting terms with the Gentile priests--was
busily engaged pulling down their altars and putting them to
the sword.  Balaam gratified the very natural curiosity of his
celestial visitor, and the latter, after learning all the
particulars, cautioned his diviner or priest not to make any
bad breaks.  Balaam sent the ambassadors back with word
that Baal was a trifle shy of curses at that particular time.
Balak evidently understood the situation, for he sent other
agents with larger offerings.  Balaam still insisted that he
had received no permission to wipe up the Plain of Moab
with the ex-brick builders, but saddled his ass and went
along, promising to do the best he could for his bleeding
country.  He evidently desired to size up the situation and
be quite sure that none of his curses would come home to
roost.  Doubtless he also desired to see if Balak was
bidding all he could afford for celestial aid, for we have no
reason to believe that Brother Balaam was in the prophet
business for his health or peddling curses for recreation.
While en route his companions probably informed him
that the Jews were as frequent as jugs in a Prohibition
precinct--that they had slaughtered the people of Ai, driven
Og into the earth, overcome Ammon and were making the
rest of the Canaanitish nations hard to catch, for the good
man was seized with a sudden desire to take the
back track.  His burro balked and Balaam told his fellow
travelers that an angel was interfering with his
transportation facilities.  Perhaps the princes of Moab made
ribald remarks anent the celestial obstruction--even hinted
that Balaam had best get a Maud S. move on him or he
might contract a vigorous case of unavailing regret.  Then
the burro began to blab.  Like many of the old pagan
priests, Balaam was doubtless an adept in the art of
ventriloquism.  That may have convinced the ambassadors
and bulled the price of curses; for then, as now, it was no
uncommon thing for the utterance of an ass to be mistaken
for that of an oracle.  Or some Doubting Thomas may have
twisted the burro's tail.  For some reason not set forth by
the sacred chronicler, the angel withdrew his objections and
the prophet proceeded on his way, but still protesting that
no permit had been accorded him to put a kibosh on
Joshua's free-booters.

Balaam was entirely too smart to pray for rain when the
wind was in the wrong quarter--altogether too smooth to
launch his anathemas at an army he knew could take Moab
by the back-hair and rub her nose in the sawdust.  He
counted the campfires of Israel and concluded that Balak's
promises of high honors were worth no more than a camp-
meeting certificate of conversion--that he would soon be
hoofing it over the hills with his coat-tails full of arrows; so,
after working his patrons for all the spare cash in sight, he
made a sneak, leaving his sovereign to wage war without
the aid of supernatural weapons.  Like many of his
sacerdotal successors, Balaam took precious good care to
get on the winning side.

. . .

Ever since the days of Brother Balaam there has been
considerable trading of curses for cold cash.  The industry
has been patiently built up from humble beginnings to a
magnificent business.  From an itinerant curse
peddler, trotting about on a spavined burro and resorting to
the methods of the mountebank to create a market for his
merchandise, it has become a vast commercial concern
with costly establishments in every country.  The first
curses, as might have been expected, were very crude
affairs--little more than hoodoos, intended to promote the
material welfare of the purchaser at the expense of other
people.  A king of ye olden times bought a curse and
turned it loose upon his enemies--"played the god an
engine on his foe"--much as a modern prince might a
gatling-gun; but it seems to have slowly dawned upon the
royal ignorami that the Lord is usually on the side of the
heaviest battalions--a fact which Napoleon emphasized.
The practice of fencing in a nation with a few wild-eyed
prophets, or sending a single soldier forth with a hair-trigger
hoodoo and the jawbone of a defunct jackass to drive great
armies into the earth, gradually fell into disuse--curses and
blessings became a drug in the market.

About this time the Jewish priesthood began to take kindly
to the doctrine of future rewards and punishments.  This
theological thesis--promulgated before the age of
Abraham--had influenced to some extent the religious
thought of the entire eastern hemisphere.  That the Jews
were among the last to admit the immortality of the soul
was doubtless due to the fact that, because of their long
enslavement, they did not emerge from semi-savagery so
soon as did the other divisions of the great semitic family.
Furthermore, for a long period after their emancipation the
Jews seem to have received the rewards of their peculiar
virtues here on earth and were little inclined to defer their
happiness to the hereafter--were amply able to punish their
enemies and had no occasion to delegate that pleasant
duty to a Superior Power.  Finally, however, the
fortunes of war began to go against them.  They
were no longer able to make on earth a heaven for
themselves and a hell for other people.  Instead of
despoiling others they discovered an occasional hiatus in
their own smoke-house.  Instead of burning the cities of
their inoffensive neighbors their own began to blaze.  The
priests and prophets insisted that these evils befell them
because they had neglected their Deity; but the more
devout they became--the more fat kids, fine meal and first
fruits they referred to the Levite larder as "offerings to the
Lord"--the more deplorable became their condition.  The
people began to drift to the more reasonable religion of
their neighbors and even the wisest of their kings could not
be held to the faith of their fathers.  The Jewish priesthood
gradually adopted the old Parsi doctrine of Heaven and
Hell--a doctrine unrecognized by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
and having no place in the theology of Moses.

The Jews eventually discovered that robbery was wrong
and assassination a crime--that the practice of ripping open
pregnant women and putting prisoners of war under
harrows of iron was displeasing to the Lord.  It was a
forcible illustration of the ancient axiom that it makes a
great difference whose ox is gored.  Instead of founding a
mighty nation as predicted by their prophets, the Jews were
conquered, scattered, enslaved.

Palestine was filled with foreigners; had become a religious
Babel, a theological chaos.  The time was ripe for a
religious revolution such as had been inaugurated in India
six centuries before.  It was accomplished and, as might
have been expected, the result was a curious composition;
a religious olla-podrida in which the profound wisdom of
Zoroaster and the childish superstition of western
barbarians, grand morality and monumental absurdity elbow
each other like specters in a delirium--in which is heard
both "the still small voice" of Omnipotent God and
the megalophanous bray of Balaam's Ass.

Jehovah, the national God of the Jews, supplanted Jove
and Baal, Ashtaroth and Oromasdes, and with their thrones
took many of their attributes.  The doctrine of future
rewards and punishments became the cornerstone of the
new theology, while further concessions were made to
ethnic creeds in various stages of decay by the adoption of
the Trinity, Incarnation and Resurrection.  The Jewish
prophets were accepted by the composite cult--which Christ
may have originated, but certainly did not develop--but their
every utterance was given a new interpretation of which the
Hebrew hierarchy had never dreamed.  The great kingdom
which they had predicted was to be spiritual instead of
temporal; the Jerusalem predestined to become the capitol
of a powerful prince, to whom all nations should
acknowledge allegiance--and pay tribute--was not the
leprosy-eaten old town among the Judean hills, but a city
not made with hands, existing eternal in the heavens.
Christianity does not contain a single original idea.  It
borrowed liberally on every hand, but chiefly of Parseeism
in which faith, as taught by Zoroaster--Aristotle says six
thousand years before Plato--may be found its most
important features.  It owes absolutely nothing to Judaism
but the name of its God and an idle string of misinterpreted
prophecies--is, from first to last, essentially a "Gentile"
faith.  There never was a religion instituted upon the earth
that the priesthood failed to transform into arrant folly, to
debase until it finally fell into disrepute.  Such was the fate
of that established by Zoroaster, and upon the ruins of the
grandest theology this world has known, Siddartha
Gautama erected the Buddhist credo, which is really a
revolt to first principles--a search for happiness here on
earth, the attainment of Nirvana.  So, too, the
priesthood has corrupted the teachings of Christ until the
logical mind revolts from the jumble of self-evident
absurdities, rejects Revelations as a nursery tale and seeks
by the dim light of science to find the cause of all
Existence.

The new cult was not regarded kindly by the old
priesthoods, and the methods adopted for its suppression
were almost as rigorous as those it in turn employed some
centuries later for the discouragement of other
"blasphemers" and "heretics"; hence it is not surprising
that the old Hebrew doctrine that whom the Lord loves he
makes mighty, gives wealth in plenty and concubines
galore, power over his enemies and privilege to despoil his
neighbors, should have been early transformed into
"Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth."  The doctrine of
temporal rewards and punishments revived somewhat as
Christianity became powerful, but has remained a
subordinate feature.  As not a sparrow falls to the earth
without a special permit from the Almighty, it follows, as a
natural sequence, that every brutal crime is gracefully
permitted--if not ordained--by that dear Lord whose
protection we daily pray, and whose apostles we support.
If we inquire why this is so we are cautioned not to commit
blasphemy--some worthy brother of Balaam's Ass bids us
beware the Angel of the Lord.

. . .

The claim of the ancient priesthoods to support was based
on the presumption that they promoted the national welfare
of the people by keeping the national deity in good humor.
Whenever he contracted a case of the sulks the smell of
fresh blood would usually bring him around all right.
Sometimes the butchery of a few innocent birds and beasts
would do the business; but it not infrequently became
necessary to commit a number of homicides to get
him actually gay.  When even the sweet incense of
blazing cities and roasting babes failed to restore his hilarity
the prophets sounded the alarm much as the weather
bureau gives warning of approaching cyclones and other
atmospheric disturbances.  In case the dire predictions
failed to materialize the Lord had listened to their
protestations that he was not doing the proper thing and
"repented him"--the Immutable had changed his mind!  The
prophets were supposed to make a man prosperous as a
Tammany politician by blessing, or poor as a Houston
Post editorial by laying a curse upon him.  As civilization
advanced the people able to pay "the rewards of
divination" became too intelligent to be taken in by the
transparent tricks of Brother Balaam, hence the new
priesthood devoted itself chiefly to the spiritual welfare of
the people--made a specialty of the hereafter business.  For
obvious reasons, it is the safer enterprise.

Man was now told to believe thus-and-so and he would be
blessed eternally, but if he believed not he would be cursed
everlastingly.  The rewards promised by the early
priesthoods had, by centuries of evolution, developed from
good crops and fat cattle, fruitful vines and successful
villainy, into mansions in Heaven; the punishments from a
protracted drought or descent of the Assyrians, a bad case
of buck ague or boils into a Hell of fire where the souls of
aged unbelievers and unbaptized babes forever burn.  This
was the old argumentum ad hominem in a new Mother
Hubbard; but the masses were still ignorant, and those who
could not be bribed with the fruits of Heaven were bluffed
with the fires of Hell.  The old priesthoods were crushed
and kings became the sworn defenders of the new faith,
even propagated it with the sword--dispensed saving grace
with gallows' ropes and with the bludgeon drove heaven-
inspired precepts into the heads of unbelievers.
Wisdom could not withstand such logic--the
philosopher yielded to the unanswerable argument of the
Inquisition.  As no one could disprove the comforting
doctrine of eternal damnation, and there is a strong vein of
superstition in even the best of men, the ignorant populace
cowered in terror most pitiful at the feet of a presumptuous
priesthood.  And to this good day men who have managed
in some mysterious manner to dodge the madhouse,
believe that priests or preachers are the special deputies of
the Deity, that a criticism of the clergy is an insult to the
Almighty--that if you dare dissent from the foolish opinions
of some wooden-headed dominus anent the Divine Plan
you might as well "curse God and die."

Once this old ethnic cult in a new dress became well
established--and the source of considerable revenue to the
latter day Levites--its most glaring absurdities were able to
withstand for a time even the invention of the printing press
and the general dissemination of knowledge; for "that
monster custom, of habits devil," is very potent in shaping
the minds of men and retarding human progress.  Thus we
find, in this so-called enlightened age, millions of men
defending the rights of certain scorbutic families of
indifferent minds and muddy morals, to sway the
sovereign's scepter.  Mental colossi--men who tower up like
Titans in the world of intellect--are proud to acknowledge
themselves the "dutiful subjects" of some brainless fop or
beery old female who chanced to be born in a royal bed
while their betters were ushered in as the brats of beggars.
So, too, we find men possessing clear judicial minds
defending with all the fervor of fifteenth century fanatics, not
the Christian faith per se, but some special interpretation
thereof; not the philosophy of religion, but the
inconsequential theorems of some sacerdotal "reformer"
who has added to the world's discord by founding a
new "faith."  These various religious divisions have become
little more than rival commercial establishments, each
peddling its own peculiar brand of saving grace--warranted
the only genuine--and dealing damnation round on all
dissenters.

Dogmatism begat Doubt, and men began to study the
Bible, not to search out its wisdom and its truth, but its folly
and its falsehood.  They represent the recoil from one
extreme to the other--from blind belief to unreasoning
skepticism, from intellectual slavery to liberty degenerated
into license.  Instead of judging the Bible by God they judge
God by the Bible, and finding by this ridiculous formula that
he is little better than a brutal maniac, they reject him
altogether and try to account for the creature without the
Creator, to explain an effect without an efficient cause.  If
we could but muzzle the dogmatists Infidelity would quickly
die.

. . .

The essentials of the Christian religion do not depend upon
the inerrancy of the Scriptures.  They do not depend upon
direct Revelation or the Miracle, the Incarnation or the
Resurrection of Jesus from the tomb of Joseph of
Arimathea.  In fact, these very "Evidences" adduced in
behalf of the "True Faith," produce all the Doubt with which
it is called to contend.  Let us grant that Moses was not
called to Sinai's flaming crest to receive laws promulgated
centuries before Joseph was carried a captive into Egypt;
that the Bible is but the history of a barbarous people--a
compendium of their poetry, religion and philosophy; that
the Incarnation and Resurrection are but myths borrowed
from decaying ethnic cults, and what have we lost?  Simply
indefensible non-essentials--the tawdry garment with which
Ignorance has bedecked her poor idea of the Infinite.  What
matters it whether we call our Creator Jehovah or
Jupiter, Brahma or Buddha?  Who knoweth the name by
which the Seraphim address him?  Why should we care
whether Christ came into the world with or without the
intervention of an earthly father?  Are we not all sons of the
Most High God--"bright sparkles of the Infinite?"  Suppose
that the story of the Incarnation (older than Jerusalem itself)
be literally true--that the Almighty was the immediate father
of Mary's child:  Is not the birth of each and all of us as
much a mystery, as great a "miracle," as though we
sprang full-grown from the brow of Olympian Jove?  Is it
necessary that the Creator should violate his own laws to
convince us that he does exist?  Is it more wonderful that
the sun should stand still upon Gibeon and the moon in the
Valley of Ajalon than that the great world should spin
forever, bringing the night and the morning, the seed-time
and the harvest?  Is not a "miracle"--an interruption of
nature's harmony--rather calculated to make a man of
logical mind suspect that he is the sport of chance than
believe himself the especial care of an Omniscient Power
that "Ordereth all things well?"  When this great globe
hangs motionless in space and the rotting dead arise in
their cerements; when great multitudes are fed with a few
small fishes and virgins are found with child, then, and not
till then, will I relinquish faith in an intelligent Architect
and acknowledge lawless Force the only Deity.

Man is but a microbe lost in immensity.  He peers about
him and, by the uncertain light of his small intelligence,
reads here a word, there a line in the great Book of Nature,
and putting together these scattered fragments, makes a
"Faith" which he defends with fanatical fervor.  Dare to call
in question its most inconsequential thesis and you are
branded as an heretic; deny it in toto and you are
denounced as an enemy of the Almighty!  The curses
of Brother Balaam no longer kill the body, but they are
expected to play sad havoc with the soul!  When the priest
of Baal was en route to Moab's capital for cursing
purposes an angel tried to withhold him, and even his burro
rebuked him, but neither angels nor asses are exempt from
the law of evolution.  Now when a priest or preacher lets
slip a curse at those who presume to question the supernal
wisdom of his creed, the angels are supposed to flap their
wings until Heaven is filled with flying feathers, while every
blatant jackass who takes his spiritual fodder at that
particular rick unbraids his ears and brays approvingly.





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