Baltimore Evening Sun (28 February 1913): 6.


Astounding remark of an eminent Baltimore suffragette:

If “General” Jones called us chicken-hearted * * * I don’t blame her a bit. I think we were chicken-hearted.

Shades of Tomas de Torquemada, of George Lord Jeffreys, of Lucretia Borgia! Are these the same sanguinary damsels who made such appalling plans, two short months ago, for the cold-blooded mutilation of sinners? Are these the same who lately condemned Advocate O’Dunne to the stake? Are these the same who yey bellow, at 25 cents a line, for the gore of Dr. Stoncipher? Tigers when it comes to slaughtering the abhorrent male! Chickens when it comes to wetting their own feet!

The Webb bill, lately passed by Congress, has already bestirred the moralists of Kansas. The following bill (H. B. 701), introduced by the Hon. Mr. Zutavern, is now before the State Legislature:

Be it Enacted, By the Legislature of the State of Kansas, That any person buying any liquor of any kind or to be found in possession of the same shall be found guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by fine not less than $100 nor more than $500, or by imprisonment not less than 30 days nor more than 90 days.

In brief, the grand moral movement for the jailing of all drinkers, however moderate their drinking, is now under way. When the Webb bill was before Congress, its supporters pledged their word that no such purpose was behind it. All it sought to do, they argued, was to prevent the shipment of liquor to blind tigers in dry States. No such State, they explained, had a law forbidding a private citizen to keep liquor in his house for his own use, and no such law was in contemplation anywhere. But moral Kansas now goes to the bat. If the Zutavern bill is passed any Kansan who so far outrages public morality as to take a nip on a cold morning or a bottle of beer before going to bed may be sent to jail for 90 days.

Whether or not it will be passed, I don’t know, but in some dry State or other, I haven’t the slightest doubt, a bill of the same general tenor will go through. And then, for the first time in centuries, we shall behold the law going into a citizen’s home, and defining what he shall drink and what he shall not drink. His house will be his castle no longer. He will be at the mercy of any fanatic who chooses to accuse him, of any enemy who wishes to make trouble for him, of any blackmailer who hopes to badger a few dollars out of him. He will become a criminal under the law for doing something that is no more criminal in fact than the act of reading a book.

Maryland, of course, is still a long way from such preposterous and abominable invasions of a citizen’s common right to peace and protection--but are we not headed in that direction? What is the ultimate aim of the Pharisees who now bellow moral Perunas from every stump? Don’t heed what they tell you: try to figure out what they really dream of, plan for, want. Ask yourself what sort of government would satisfy them. Once given a fair start, where would they stop? Do they really yearn to make the world better, or do they merely yearn to browbeat, bully, harass and punish their fellow-men? Is the Christianity they talk about so unctuously a genuine Christianity, or merely a debased form of Mohammedanism?

The Little Theatre Company of Chicago, an organization devoted to the performance of plays that the commercial managers fear and flee, is now roaming the East. On March 10 it will stop off in Boston for two or three performances, and a few days later it will be in New York. Is there enough interest in the intimate drama in Baltimore to warrant inviting it here? Does any gentleman in the house think we could drum up a respectable audience for it?

The Little Theatre Company doesn’t ask for a big crowd. Its theatre in Chicago, in the Fline Arts Building, seats but 93 persons, and it is supported by 300 subscribers, who contribute but $10 a year apiece. In addition, each subscriber pays 50 cents for each ticket he uses. Nonsubscribers are admitted, if there is any room left, at $1 a head. Four performances are given each week--on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights and Thursday afternoons. On other days the little auditorium is a tearoom for subscribers and their friends, and the director, Maurice Browne, gives occasional lectures.

This Little Theatre is one of the signs of that intelligent artistic aspiration which is so marked in Chicago, despite the packing-houses and the Hinky Dinks. Chicago was one of the first American cities to have a permanent orchestra, and one of the first to establish a public art gallery. It has been more hospitable to serious dramatic effort for many years than any other town, not even excepting Boston. It was seeing and enjoying the Ibsen social dramas at a time when the moralists of New York were still denouncing them as obscene and calling on the police to prohibit them. It has produced a literature which shows more of genuine American color than anything ever produced in the East.

But to return to the Little Theatre Company. It is presenting a series of excellent plays, chiefly in one act--plays that the commercial theatres never offer. Among them are Yeats’ “The Shadowy Waters,” Strindberg’s “The Stronger” (a little masterpiece), Maeterlinck’s “The Blind” and Wilfrid Wilson Gibson’s “Womenkind.” Is there enough interest in such things in Baltimore to warrant inviting the company here? Will any advocate of intelligence in the theatre take it upon himself to organize a committee?

Boil your drinking water! Whoop for Harry Martyr! Send your pennies to the boomers!

Uncle Jake Hook.

Uncle your grandma! Jake is the friskiest, liveliest, heartiest colt in all the pasture. In actual age he is no longer a chicken: he will be 45 on his next birthday. But if animal spirits count for anything, he has yet to see 35. He can go to seven banquets in one evaning–and show up at 7.30 next morning, fresh and frivolous. He is still good for six speeches a day, each of three hours. He is Ponce de Leon II, the ever-young. He will be carrying on in this town in 1960, a thing of beauty still.

Rising to a question of personal privilege, I desire to state that I have no defense to make to the allegations contained in the letter signed “A Mourner,” in today’s Letter Column. I am not up for trial, but for sentence. What is more, I warn the court frankly that I would do it again.