Baltimore Evening Sun (29 November 1912): 6.


Immoral question of the contumacious Sunpaper:

Is Governor Goldsborough ready to indorse the theory that large contributions to campaign funds determine the fitness of a man for the United States Senate?

The betting odds in the Eutaw street poker rooms:

100 to 1 that he is.

The merry whooping of the platitudinarians:

By Dr. Havelock Ellis.

So gross is the ignorance of would-be moral legislators--or, some may think, so skillful their duplicity--that the methods by which they profess to fight against immorality are the surest methods for enabling immorality not merely to exist–which it would in any case--but to flourish. A vigorous eampaign is initiated against immorality. On the surface it is successful. Morality triumphs. But, it may be, in the end we are reminded of the saying of M. Desmaisons in one of Remy de Gourmont’s witty and profound Dialogues des Amateurs:

Quand in morale triomphe il se passe des choses tres vilaines.

Terracottacaput, n, a venerator of the super-Mahon, a brickhead.

Hearing what young Bill done when the hat was passed. the Concord Club is in favor of him.--Adv.

And still the Vice Crusaders lay on! In today’s Letter Column you will find the essay of one who asks me many embarrassing questions--and then neglects to sign his name. Most of these questions, fortunately enough, are purely rhetorical, but two of them are worth setting down and answering, viz.

  1. I want you to tell us in the most explicit, unmistakable and undisguised terms just exactly where you propose to have the segregated districts.
  2. Why has our Rash Kaight of Segregation ceased to write so copiously on the subject these last few days? Have the vice crusaders shattered his lance, or has his hand lost its cunning?

In answer to Question No. 1: I am in favor of leaving the principal segregated districts where and as they are. In all of them, I believe, the disorderly houses antedate the so-called respectable neighbors. It seems to me that the man best fitted, by temperament and habit, to live next door to a disorderly house is that man who has voluntarily moved there. He has chosen for himself: let him enjoy his choice. The man who does not live next door to a disorderly house has also chosen for himself: let him, too, enjoy his choice.

In answer to Question No. 2: Whenever the Vice Crusaders come forward with a new argument, I try to meet it. But certainly you don’t expect me to keep on answering old arguments forever! So far 10 or 12 separate and distinct Vice Crusaders have taken part in this discussion, and yet only three of them--Dr. O. Edward Janney, the Hon. Max Carton and the Hon. Charles J. Bonaparte--have contributed anything of interest or value to the discussion. The rest have merely echoed and paraphrased these leaders. Am I supposed to waste space eternally upon such second-raters? I think not. If I did so, I should have space for nothing else, and so the Hon. Phillips Lee Goldsborough, the Hon. the super-Mahon, the Hon. Daniel Joseph Loden and other great statesmen would lose that daily advice which is so valuable to them, and the State of Maryland would go to the devil.

Meanwhile, I offer my apologies to the sensitive for carrying on this controversy as copiously as I have, and my thanks to all guardians of the public stupor for refraining from interfering with it. It presents a subject that is decidedly not nice, and so there must have been a strong temptation upon many alert souls to protest against that crime against niceness. I confess my frank surprise that no ardent young clergyman, eager for refined publicity, has denounced me for deliberate indecency; that no pious old maid, male or female, has stopped the Evening Sunpaper and launched a curse. Time was when the thing would have been done promptly in Baltimore, but even Baltimore, it appears, do move.

The social evil, it is universally admitted, is not a nice topic. So recently as a year ago the purists of the Postoffice Department were barring the report of the Chicago Vice Commission from the mails. But if the problem is ever to be solved, even in small part, it must be discussed, and as a preliminary to intelligent discussion the facts underlying it must be ascertained and published. The present vice crusade, whatever its defects otherwise, at least has that one merit: it is making the people of Baltimore give thought to an important problem; it is putting frankness in the place of indirection; it is ridding the town of some of its old and evil prudery. If the vice crusaders accomplish nothing else, they will deserve thanks for that change, for of all the curses ever laid upon civilization prudery is probably the worst.

Poor old Harry is sorely neglected these days. All of the Hot Towel’s tallowing artillery is concentrated upon the Hon. William P. Jackson, that sagacious and lavish statesman. From dawn to dark yesterday he was lathered and bombarded with goose grease, and early this morning the cannonading began again. Several military attaches from the embassies at Washington are on the Towel battlements today, watching and admiring the accurate practice of the gunners. Out of every 100 lard-bombs fired, fully 25 reach the Jacksonian gills. And meanwhile the hon. gent is copiously drenched with witch hazel, cottonseed oil, shellac and liquid vaseline.

So far as them ex-sheriffs is concerned, the Court of Appeals can take all the time it wants.--Adv.

A work that is interesting from end to end of its 1,600 pages:

“Mark Twain: a Biography,” by Albert Bigelow Paine. (Harpers.)

The Hon. Frank Harris, of London, to a New York reporter:

I must say that Mark Twain was the poorest specimen of a man of letters that I know anything about.

What pains some men go to to make asses of themselves!

Querceocaput, n, an old-fashioned City Councilman, an oakhead.