Baltimore Evening Sun (30 August 1913): 6.
What has become, by the way, of Geheimrat Prof. Dr. John Turner, Jr., medizinalrat to H. R. H. Dashing Harry? One misses that lovely piping, that bovotherapeutic burbling! And where is dear old Doe McMains, the genial osteopath, with his New Thought statistics and his transcendental bacteriology? And what of Sweet Williams, the Christin Science cornetist and bill-sticker? And the Hon. Charles H. Dickey, pope of boomers? And the Honi Public Man Biggs, with his peppery Letters to the Editor? And that forgotten School Commissioner—what the deuce was his name?—who thought that the experience wouldn’t do him no harm? And where, oh where, are the lady fictioneers of the Maryland Anti-Vivisection Society?
A DAILY THOUGHT. Fools, even when they hear the truth, are like deaf men; of them the proverb holds true: being present, they are absent.—Heraclitus.
The fear of woman suffrage, now so evident in certain Democratic statesmen, is largely a fear of suffragettes. As well denounce all dogs because some of them feed on human calves. The suffragettes are a wild lot, drunk with perunas, poisoned with balderdash, filled with savage hatred of the elusive male. But women in general do not run to any such excesses. The one thing that distinguishes them, in truth, is their sharp common sense. They have quick and accurate minds. In the long run they always distinguish the true from the false, the possible from the merely desirable, the thing as it is from the thing as it might or ought to be. They are literalists, realists. They prefer the imminent advantage to all the sweet, pink promises of day after tomorrow.
It is commonly assumed that women are much more romantic than men, but this is very far from the case. The majority of adult women, in fact, have no more romance in them than so many mud-turtles. Even their emotions are sagacious: they think of their hats, their back hair, the impression they are making, at the most tumultuous moments. In the matter of marriage, perhaps the most exciting matter within their present ken, they seldom let their hearts run away with their heads. Nine men out of ten lose something by marriage—in ease, in freedom, in current money. But nine women out of ten gain something. Marriage is a victory to a woman; it is always a defeat to a man. No intelligent man ever wanted to be married. Facing the altar, he is sheepish, apologetic, ill at ease. He knows that he has been bested, that he has yielded to emotion, that all his fine defiances have gone to smash, and what is more, he knows that all other men know it. Hence his pale, clammy blushes. They are not summoned up for effect, like the tears of the bride’s mother. They are as real as the razor-cuts on his tremulous gills.
Don’t fancy, beloved, that I here attempt a cheaply cynical libel upon women, the fruit of a profound ignorance, augmented by spurned addresses. Not at all, though I confess that I have been as badly used by heartless women as the next fellow, and perhaps even worse. What I am trying to do is to praise women, to commend them for their intelligence, to laud them for keeping a firm grip upon their emotions. I have the very highest veneration for them; I value their judgment above that of men; I envy them their keenness and calm. If the civilization of the individual is to be measured by the degree of his self-control, by the extent of his resistance to childish impulses and sentimentalities, then women are vastly more civilized than men. They have their faults, true enough. They are a bit cruel, a bit vindictive, a bit given to play-acting. But they are very seldom mushy and blubbering fools.
Thus I preach woman suffrage. If democracy is sound in principle, then we can’t have too much of it. Personally, I don’t think it is—but that is precisely why I advocate the extension of the suffrage. Hitherto, all such extensions have been downward: we have been letting in lower and lower castes of men, until now even the lowest has passed the door. Why not an advance in the opposite direction? Why not let in a higher caste for a change?—to wit, the caste of women, wise, prudent, clear-headed. Why not try to improve our political buffoonery with a few sharp blasts of feminine common sense? Why not get away from government by whoops and red-fire and make a trial of government by intelligence?
Don’t let the snorting of the suffragettes confuse the issue. The suffragettes are not representative women; they are wholly exceptional and abnormal women. They are women with all the follies and stupidities of men—women given to masculine rages and emotions, mannish, credulous, romantic and preposterous. The generality of women are against them, perhaps by 100 to 1. In no civilized country have they ever mustered more than a corporal’s guard. In no country with woman suffrage have they permanently influenced legislation. They no more represent feminine thought and feeling than the Hon. William H. Anderson represents Christianity. Like him, in truth, they are an extravagant and scandalous burlesque upon the very thing they pretend to stand for.
When the time comes for us men to give women the vote, let us not do it because the suffragettes yell for it: the suffragettes are not women. Nor because women demand it: no such demand is heard. Let us do it in the manner of petitioners asking favors: let us beg the girls to join us and help us. We consult our mothers and wives in all the graver matters of business, ambition and amour. We know how valuable their advice is, how clearly they see things that are dark to us. Why not consult them also about the capital matter of government? Why not give them the means of saving us from our masculine numskulleries, our idiotic enthusiasms, our nonsensical and ruinous sentimentalities?
Casting my eye westward at the very moment of going to press, I find the Hon. Charles J. Bonaparte at his old and favorite sport of teaching the elements of morals to the Judges of the Supreme Bench. On Monday, if I survive another Baltimore Sunday, I shall offer prudent objections to certain of the hon. gentleman’s doctrines. Meanwhile, I note with sorrow that he has nothing whatever to say about the scandal now enshrouding the Society for the Suppression of Vice. He is a responsible officer of that society; in truth, he is one of the five gentleman who have run it as a private club. On what ground does he defend and justify the astounding imbecility visible in its recent management? On what ground does he presume to teach judges their duties when he has made such a sorry mess of his own?