Baltimore Evening Sun (19 December 1911): 6.
Only 1,246 days more! Do not despair! The real joke is on the mortgagee!
Boil your drinking water! Swat the fly! Mallet the cockroaches! Wallop the children! Save your money for the tax man!
The lamentable barbarousness of Baltimore society is shown by the continued discussion, in the public prints, of the question whether a civilized white man, in speaking of his wife to his equals, should refer to her as “Mrs. Jones,” as “Jemima,” or as “my wife.” The Evening Sunpaper, one day last week, printed a column on the subject, presenting the views of various persons of undoubted authority in fashionable society. A study of them views shows that the custom of using “Mrs. Jones” is in excellent repute locally. But whatever its local repute, it still remains vulgar and indefensible, and so every man who knows better should continue to raise his voice against it.
It may be said, however, in defense of the local authorities, that the question before the house was probably presented to them inaccurately—the fault, of course, of the immoral reporter who besought their opinions. That question, as they heard it, seems to have been in this form: “Should a man, in speaking of his wife to his equals, call her ‘Mrs. Jones’ or ‘Jemima’?” Between these two forms, of course, the weight of etiquette may be said to be on the side of the former. “Mrs. Jones” is very bad, but it is not quite so bad as “Jemima.” The latter should be reserved for conversation with relatives and with friends of the utmost intimacy. But by the same token the former should be reserved for conversation with strangers and inferiors.
The fault, as I say, was the immoral reporter’s. He did not present the alternative of “my wife”—the only decent and lawful form in speaking to equals. But the persons consulted, it also appears, did not think of that form themselves—and therefore one may safely elevate the eyebrows and emit a discreet snicker. Can it be that Baltimore society is as provincial as all that? Can it be that such grotesque ceremonialness is rife among us? Can it be that we live in a town of detachable cuffs? I hope not.
Certain bumptious suffragettes send me protests against “my wife” on the ground that it is obnoxiously possessive. I shrink from any argument with suffragettes. My private leaning is toward a carefully restricted suffrage, but with the test purely intellectual and not at all based on sex. Such a test, I believe, not one professional suffragette in 200 could meet. Intelligence presupposes, above all things, a sense of humor—the one thing most obviously lacking in the suffragettic, as in the theological make-up. Therefore, I enter upon no discussion with these estimable ladies. But meanwhile I beg to call attention to the fact that “my mother” is in almost universal use among civilized white men, and that no possessive or other obnoxious meaning has ever become attached to the phrase.
In all this, of course, I may be wrong, and it so, I apologize most humbly. Believe me, gents, I’d rather apologize 400 times a day, on the stage of the Lyric Theatre, in the presence of 8,000 scoffing friends, and in a tone of voice audible at Back River, than face for 10 seconds, clad in the full panoply of a crusader, a vigilance committee of protesting suffragettes. What is more, there is not a single journalist in Baltimore who is not just as much afraid of them as I am.
All them bum newspapers try to do to to set somethin’ on somebody and then try to make a spread on it. Hardly nobody don’t believe them no more.
Pained protest by the Hon. Robert Beacham, acting secretary of the Hon. the Merchants and Manufacturers’ Association:
It seems incredible that Mayor Preston should have just waked up to the fact that sailings are made from here to most of the ports of Europe, and * * * the fact the Merchants and Manufacturers’ Association, through its monthly publication, has been giving nation-wide publicity * * * to these sailings * * *
Another foul injustice to the Hon. Mahoni Amicus! Certainly he committed only a natural error when he assumed that it would be useless to look for such announcements in a comic paper.
The coming Legislature, it is likely, will make the usual distribution of $100,000 among political haelers, hangs-on, pot-washers and bums. Of this sum Baltimore will contribute $78,000—or the equivalent of 2½ cents on the city tax rate. Laugh, suckers, laugh!
A City Councilman is a man paid $1,000 a year for getting jobs for ward heelers. Laugh, suckers, laugh!
Questions respectfully addressed to the learned doctors of virtue of the Lord’s Day Alliance:
1. Do you believe that orchestral concerts on Sunday afternoons, say between the hours of 4 and 7 o’clock, would tend to increase immorality in Baltimore?
2. If so, what are your reasons for so believing?
3. If not, what will be your attitude toward a bill permitting them?
I ask these questions in an honest endeavor to get information. On the one hand the Lord’s Day Alliance seems to be opposed to all forms of Sunday diversion, however innocent, and on the other hand I am told that it really opposes only wanton violations of the day. If any of its members care to explain its policy clearly, I shall be glad to find space for the explanation. My assumption is, of course, that it welcomes free discussion. Existence in our midst on a gloomy Sunday afternoon in winter:
Baltimoreans more or less tight.................................. 10,000
Baltimoreans wishing they were dead........................100,000
The super-Mahon! The super-Mahon! Don’t try to hitch him to a can! Beware! He’ll land you in the pan! The super-Mahon! The super-Mabon!
Meanwhile, the ghost of the Star-Spangled Banner Exposition may be seen wandering in the woods at Homewood on any dark night.
A corncob pipe to anyone who can think of any sillier way to spend $60,000 a year than to give it to the City Council.