Baltimore Evening Sun (25 December 1913): 6.
Who in all this town is such a liar that he will stand up in meeting, and put his hand on his heart, and deny that he is glad that Christmas is darn near over?–Adv.
A DAILY THOUGHT. A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers.–The Hon. Lycurgus Botts.
Now that the Community Christmas Tree has served its highly dubious purpose and the Evening News has finished cadging money for its pauper sandwich-men, why not declare a Treuga Dei in sentimental charity, to run, say, for four months? You all know, I dare say, what function was served by the Treuga Dei, or Truce of God, in the Middle Ages--how it gave a breathing space to war-racked towns and nations and so enabled them to get their wind. War was the constant occupation of hundreds of thousands of men in those turbulent times, just as the squeezing of crocodile tears is the constant occupation of quasi-men today. They fought year in and year out, regardless of grievances or justifications, and now and then they reduced a whole region to such ruin and misery that the Pope had to step in with his Treuga Dei. By the terms of this truce all hostilities were forbidden, on pain of excommunication, for some definite term–sometimes for no longer than from Saturday to Monday, but more often for six months. Thus the peasants got a chance to plant and harvest a crop, and starvation was held off.
Baltimore needs just such a Truce of God in tear-squeezing. For half a dozen years past the competition for the sentimental dollar has been getting more and more sharp and shameless, until now it engages the energies of a whole regiment of wiskinskis, and uses up hundreds of columns of space in the newspapers. It is my theory that the people of Baltimore have had an overdose of this bosh, that they would welcome a short hiatus, a recuperative interregnum. Therefore, I move and second that the estimable Sunpaper, in its capacity of Grand Marshal of the Sob Squad, declare a Treuga Dei of four months, to the end that the said people may shut off their tears, wash their faces, powder their noses and devote thmselves unobstructedly to their lawful trades and vices.
I put the term at four months and no longer, for the reason that plans are already under way for the opening of the summer blubbering season on May 1, and it would be a pity to waste the material so far collected. The Sunpaper, for example, has acrcumulated a collection of 50 truly revolting pictures of infants in the last stages of tetanus, anthrax and cerebro-spinal meningitis, and beginning May 1 one of them will be dished up every day. No doubt you remember the gems of last summer’s series–infants resembling spiders, scorpions, soft crabs. Such appetizing stuff will be served again during the coming summer, and while the Sunpaper is gay with it, the Infant Fresh-Air collectors of the News will be halting and pestering passersby on the streets.
Such is sentimental charity–a disheartening impediment to that real charity which relieves without slobbering, and an intolerable nuisance to all intelligent folks. But the newspapers find it profitable and it is enormously attractive to all sorts of fakes and pushers, and sp we must stand for it. There remains, however, the possibility of an occasional surcease, a let up now and then–in brief, a Treuga Dei. Let us celebrate Christmas by declaring it. Give us a chance, gents, to get our wind again, and to dry our eyes, and to blow our noses, and to wring the molasses out of our hair!
From “Mohammed and Mohammedanism,” by the Rev. R. Bosworth Smith, M. A. (page 135) :
There is nothing * * * new in what I have described as the central truth of Islam. * * * Certain forms of Christianity have asserted it as strongly as did Mohammed. This principle has been the strength of Calvinism and of Puritanism. * * *
In a score of other ways the same parallellism is noted by the reader of the Rev. Dr. Smith’s pages. Puritanism, indeed, is always far nearer to Mohammedanism than to Christianity. The Puritan believes, precisely like the Moslem, that it is sinful to ingest ethyl alcohol, but meritorious to ingest (and sell) caffeine, and that the believer stores up credit in Paradise by going on pious pilgrimages (e. g., to Mecca, Washington or Columbus, Ohio), and that it is an act of the highest virtue to inflict pain upon a sinner, and that a moral end always justifes an immoral means.
When I speak of Mohammedanism, of course, I allude to its most extreme and intransigent sect, the so-called Wahhabeeist. The more heterodox Mohammedan sects--to which, by the way, all the more civilized Mohammedans belong--are rather inclined to relax the austerities of their faith, but the Wahhabeeists stick to the letter of the Koran. So sticking, they are particularly suspicious of the female of the species, whose habits and character are depicted very unfavorably in their entertaining book. The same view of women is held by the Puritans, as is shown by their theory that the virtue of every working girl is for sale, and that the only way to prevent a unanimous auction is to fill the world with spies, snouters and fat women wearing police badges.
Not only have all ceased to work, but they appear to have ceased to exist. Neither the movements of industry are heard, nor the accents of joy, nor even the confused murmur which arises from the midst of a great city. Chains are hung across the streets in the neighborhood of the churches; the half-closed shutters of the houses scarcely admit a ray of sun into the dwellings of the citizens. Now and then you perceive a solitary individual, who glides silently along the deserted streets and lanes.
This was written two or three generations ago. Since them civilization has made gradual progress in the United States, and most of our cities have abandoned the more absurd austerities of Puritanism. But in Baltimore the Blue Laws of 1723 are still in force and, what is more, some of them are actually enforced.
An anti-vivisectionist is one who gags at a guinea pig and swallows a baby. Old, to be sure--but still sound and hearty, still full of subtle sagacity, still a gem of truth.
A million dollars in negotiable securities for any evidence, not palpably forged, that the extension of the suffrage to women would necessarily mean the adoption of the anti-man program of the suffragettes. v. Mencken. Wirklicher Geheimer Ober Hof-Schreiber.