Baltimore Evening Sun (5 May 1913): 6.
Astonishing news in the moral Sunpaper of this morning:
Baltimore county was as dry yesterday as the Sahara Desert.
With all due reverence, Pish! If Back River is in Baltimore county, then Baltimore county is very damp. At Hollywood, true enough, weiss beer was the strongest juice on tap, but not far away the waiters were offering four different brands of adult beer, and thousands were taking it aboard. It was sold in the open, and to sentimental music. There was no more disorder than at a Chautauqua. A German told me that his pocket had been picked, and I saw a number of eminent demi-mondaines in the crowd, but otherwise it was perfectly orderly. The girls expelled from Rogers avenue and Watson street are now at large, and the poor folk who go to the summer parks will have to put up with them. Such are the benign fruits and usufructs of moral endeavor.
At Hollywood the weiss beer attracted few drinkers, but the dancing floor was crowded. All dances at Hollywood are conducted with the utmost propriety, and a strong-armed professor sees that there is no licentiousness. The favorite dance of the moment is the Harold Rug, named in honor of the Hon. Harold Scarborough, the moral editor of the supermoral Towson Union-News. The Davis Dip, so popular last year, is now out of fashion. So is the Grand Jury Glide.
The United Railways, as usual, made a mess of handling the crowd. After 10 o’clock, when the movement homeward began, the little Back River cars were run at intervals of from four to ten minutes. Once there was a wait between cars of 12 minutes. Naturally enough, every car was overcrowded, and scores hung upon the footboards and bumpers. The more opulent sports were carried home by automobiles at $1 a head. But the crowd was good-humored and I saw no drunkenness and no disorder.
The Venerable Wegg, Bishop of Havre de Grace in partibus infidelium, throws off his false whiskers in today’s Letter Column and stands before an enraptured populace as the Rev. Dr. John I. Yellott, an authentic man of God. And the Rev. Dr. John I. Yellott celebrates his debut by making two false charges and a mendacious insinuation, viz.:
- (a) That I used to carry on the Free Lance anonymously, and later over simple initials.
- (b) That I once dealt unfairly with my learned friend, the Rev. Dr. John Roach Straton.
- (c) That letters sent to The Evening Sun against me are sometimes curtailed or suppressed.
If Dr. Yellott will show me one Free Lance Column not bearing my plain signature, I shall be glad to give him a set of Bulwer-Lytton’s works. If he will get a signed complaint of unfair treatment from Dr. Straton, I will kiss him in public. If he will prove that any letter against me has ever been suppressed or dephlogisticated by The Evening Sun, I will cut my throat. In a word, all three allegations are impertinent, slanderous and wholly without merit, and what is more, Dr. Yellott is well aware of it.
So much for his dialectic method. As for his charge that I occasionally knock off the zinc halo of a militant moralist, I admit it without qualification. And when he says that I sometimes do it with a certain violence, I agree again. But when he says that these moralists are “estimable private citizens, seeking no controversy, but quietly going about their business,” he says something so preposterous that I am tempted to hand the answering of it over to the office boy.
Moralists, I respectfully submit, are not shrinking violets. They do not go “quietly about their business.” They are not avoiders of controversy. On the contrary, their eager seeking of controversy is one of their salient characters, and their gross abuse of opponents is another. The Lord’s Day Alliance and the Anti-Saloon League devote themselves almost exclusively to excoriation. Their one permanent theme is the villainy of their antagonists. And the vice crusade, for all its pious pretenses, puts nine-tenths of its faith in the policeman’s club. Its patron saints are Anthony Comstock and Tomas de Torquemada. Its central doctrine is that all men who question the efficacy of its moral bile beans—for example, Brand Whitlock and Havelock Ellis–are heretics, atheists, voluptuaries and scoundrels.
It is to the correction of such delusions of infallibility and perfection that I address myself. My method is that of the crusaders themselves. That is to say, I combat reviling with counter-reviling. I bathe the archangels in their own vinegar. Not a gentlemanly method, I confess freely—but nevertheless, my exercise of it has certain excuses and mitigations. I do not make my attack upon the harmless recreations of poor folks. I do not argue that every man who takes a drink is a sot. I do not go huting miserable prostitutes with whips and cobblestones.
This is my answer to the Rev. Dr. John I. Yellott whose good will I return with interest. It distresses me exceedingly to see a gifted young ecclesiastic yielding to the moral peruna habit. Let the good doctor come down from his Belair pillar and see things for himself. I will take him to Back River. I will show him kaifs. I will introduce him in the Red Light district. And then I will let him judge between moralists and their butts for himself.
Harassed by strikes in his cigar factories at Pinar del Rio, Cuba, Col. Jacobus Hook has lately started a stogy foundry at Wheeling, W. Va., and in a few weeks expects to be turning out 10,000 a day. The first shipment reached him yesterday, and he distributed 68 boxes among connoisseurs in the City Hall. The new stogies show the fashionable hipless model and run to a length of eight inches. They are composed of a subtle and fragrant blend of Vuelta Abajo, Latakia, Little Dutch, Zimmer Spanish and Perique, and are certified to be 97.3 proof by the U. S. gaugers. Chemical tests show that they are unusually rich in proteids, protozoa and phosphorus. The Hon. Daniel J. Loden is trying to smouch 20 boxes for use at the Concord Club’s coming turkey trot.—Adv.
Boil your drinking water! Help the boozehounds to save Besotted Baltimore! Beware the dictagraph!
Read the article entitled “In the Interpreter’s House” in the American Magazine for May. It is a penetrating, destructive criticism of the moral quackery which now rages in all our large cities, and nowhere more violently than in Baltimore. It is a complete answer to vice crusading, prohibition, Lord’s Day Alliancing and all other such preposterous inventions of the winged and haloed Munyons.–Free Adv.