Baltimore Evening Sun (21 June 1911): 6.


A brief chronology of the case against the so-called Beef Trust for violating the Sherman Anti-Trust law:

Nine years—and the trial of Armour and the others to still four months ahead!

Discoursing the other day upon the United Railways Company’s outrageous and illegal effort to abolish smoking on street-car platforms (by the adoption, to wit, of pay-as-you-enter cars), I had the uuhappiness, it appears, to offend a fair reader, and from this fair reader there now comes, upon three sheets of note paper, a bitter protest. I boil it down:

It was not always necessary for a woman to fight for consideration from men. There was a time when courtesy and consideration were masculine attributes in the South. Smoking on street-car platforms compels women entering a car to struggle through a crowd of smokers, white and black. and a fog of smoke. Suppose you had a wife or sweetheart who did not love tobacco. Unluckily, the wounds of others find little sympathy in the masculine heart, and so I suppose you cannot place yourself in the position or your gentle wife.

And so, and so on.

All this, of course, is earnest enough, but is it argument? I doubt it. Isn’t it a fact that a woman entering a street car is commonly able to cross the smoky platform in less than four seconds? Isn’t it a fact, further, that the amount of smoke she inhales in four seconds cannot possibly harm her? Isn’t it a fact, finally, that the conventional feminine antipathy to tobacco smoke is, at bottom, nothing more than a mere convention—that women would be the better if they could be rid of such preposterous pretensions to weakness, fastidiousness and invalidism?

For the woman, or man, who is actually made ill by a whiff of tobacco smoke I have the greatest pity. But such persons, it must be plain, are very rare. In the course of a long and sinful life, indeed, I have never met a single one. Men and women who cannot smoke themselves are common enough, but men and women who are made ill, or even uncomfortable, by four seconds’ contact with diffused and attenuated smoke from the cigars and pipes of others are certainly not common at all. When they are encountered the thing to do with them is to send them to a sanatorium. A street car, it is obvious, is no place for such moribund weaklings.

But though the real thing is rare, the imitation is often encountered. In brief, thousands of women, made soft by debilitating courtesy, have been led to fancy that tobacco smoke poisons them. That pretense is part of the role they play. Having been taught from infancy to regard themselves as delicate and breakable and to expect from all normal folk a gross and ennervating consideration, they end by demanding that consideration as a right. Hence the Lady, with her silly dignity and her sillier affectation of fragility.

Upon the trail of the Lady the suffragettes hang. They will eventually overtake her and knock her out. They will win for their sex the common rights of human beings, and they will bring down upon their sex the common burdens of human beings. It will become lawful for women to vote and it will become necessary for them to be honest. They will have to lay aside their armor of romance, their seven veils of make-believe. And thereby they will gain in self-respect and in the respect of the world.