Baltimore Evening Sun (21 November 1912): 6.


Talcocaput, n, a Preston job-holder, a waystone-head.

Col. Jacobus Hook, imitating the Sabine ladies, has decided to dry his tears and look pleasant. But the Old Town Merchants had to half kill him to convert him.—Adv.

The endless crooning of the platitudinarians:

By error yesterday I credited the Hon. Mr. Pentz’s noble platitude to the Hon. Anthony Comstock, LL.D., of New York. I take this first opportunity to correct the error and to offer the Hon. Mr. Pentz my apologies.

The Hon. Max Carton, head worker of the Jewish Educational Alliance in East Baltimore, voices all the sentimental objections to the segregation of prostitution in today’s Letter Column. Far be it from me to deny that those arguments are eloquent; as Mr. Carton pictures the situation of his charges, it must arouse the sympathy, indeed, of every thoughtless man. But I say thoughtless and not thoughtful, for a bit of reflection, I believe, is all that is needed to rob the picture of nine-tenths of its pathos.

Why was that ritual bath established on Watson street? Why did all those immigrants move next door to disorderly houses on Lombard street and Eastern avenue? Watson street, I believe, has been given over to vice for at least 35 years. Long before any of the immigrants now living there ever thought of coming to Baltimore, and even before most of them were born, it was a recognized area of segregation. And on Eastern avenue there have been such houses since the days when Baltimore clipper ships crowded Canton Hollow.

Why did these immigrants, with an area of four or five square miles to choose from, move their wives and their children into such streets? Why did they seek such close communion with vice? Why, if their children are contaminated today, don’t they go elsewhere? If those children pick cigarette stumps out of the gutters, is the fault theirs or the community’s? What effect would any imaginable protection have upon the children of parents so stupid, so shiftless and so degraded?

These are questions that Mr. Carton may well answer before he makes any further appeal for sympathy. I daresay that Rabbi Rubenstein, whom he quotes with such scorn, is just as much interested in the welfare of Jewish immigrants as he is, but Dr. Rubenstein knows the difference between a hawk and a handsaw. Specifically, he knows the difference between an immigrant who makes intelligent efforts to help himself, and one who sinks supinely into a wallow and calls upon his betters to haul him out. The former deserves all the aid that we can give him, but the latter, I believe, is best assisted by the policeman’s club. Let us not fall into the sentimental fallacy of assuming that all immigrants are worthy of pity. Some of them are worthy of no pity at all, and the sooner we discover it the better it will be for the decent ones.

As for what has been accomplished on East street (Rogers avenue), partly through Mr. Carton’s efforts, I do not question its superficial value. Rogers avenue is in plain view of a main-traveled road—Gay street, to wit—and so the disorderly houses lining it were a constant offense to sensitive passersby, and perhaps a constant temptation to the young and ignorant. But the fact is not to be overlooked that the suppression of the houses there did not decrease prostitution in Baltimore in the slightest. As Mr Carton says, the majority of the women driven out merely moved to another area of segregation. And the minority, though he doesn’t mention it, went into neighborhoods hitherto unpolluted—for example, Northeast Baltimore and Highlandtown.

What, then, was the net effect at this little crusade? Obviously, its net effect was to reduce the appearance of prostitution without making the least impression on the substance. And that is the one ineradicable objection to emotional crusading. Its methods are not honest, and its effects are nil. In East Baltimore today, the social evil is confined to a few streets, and no sane man need move into those streets if he doesn’t want to. But if suppression is attempted, I venture to predict the no street beween the bridge and Eastern Avenue, north to Madison street and south to Pratt street, will ever be wholly secure.

From the immoral Evening Sunpaper of yesterday:

The School Board, after having abolished * * * promotional examinations because of the complaints of teachers, has determined to revive * * * the system. * * * Tests of efficiency have been established, and on January 1 next only those who meet such tests will be given increases [in salary].

Down went Van Sickle to the bottom of the sea! He must be very wet, for they haven’t found him yet; but they say his ghost comes ’round the wharf before the break of day, dressed in his hobgoblin’s clothes! * * * Oh, the poor schoolmarms!

The Hon. H. P. G. in today’s Letter Column:

[The Hon.] Mr. Mencken has too good taste to really admire this woman [Mlle. Gaby Deslys], and I don’t believe he will go to see her performance.

And this after giving H. P. G. a $2 ticket to the show, and going to see it with him, and sitting beside him, and listening for two hours and a half to the deafening thunder of his applause!

Dr. Donald R. Hooker in the Vice Number of the Maryland Suffrage News:

The fatuousness of the argument is still further emphasized by Mr. Mencken’s contention that segregation does not offer the “romantic glamour” of outlaw vice, and that “the open brothel offers very little temptation to any save very young or very lonely or very drunken men.” As a matter of fact * * * all who are cognizant of facts know full well that the tolerated brothel attains to no mean display of “romantic glamour.”

Very well; I stand corrected. Add very moral men to very young, very lonely and very drunken men.

Happiness is peace after effort, the surmounting of difficulties, the feeling of security and well-being. The only really happy folk are married women and single men.

Certainly it can’t be that Jacobus is afraid of Satan Anderson! Think of the sole survivor of the Massacre of Old Town running from a mere moralist!