Baltimore Evening Sun (7 March 1914): 6.


Uplifter eat uplifter! The owners of the “educational” moving-picture show, “The Inside of the White Slave Traffic,” have been found guilty of “giving an immoral exhibition” in New York. This film wsa enthusiastically indorsed by the New York suffragettes and by the mysterious “Sociological Fund of the Medical Review of Reviews,” which also promoted “Damaged Goods.” Comstock versus “sex hygiene!”

A DAILY THOUGHT. Some of the biggest rooms in Hell will be crowded full of church members.—The Rev. Billy Sunday, D. D.

Meanwhile, it is interesting to speculate as to what the Rev. Dr. Sunday will have to say about the Hon. William H. Anderson’s immoral offer to the E flat clergy. And as to the leg show in the American Issue. And as to my revised and annotated list of clerical press-agents, now in preparation. And as to the historic bout between the Hon. Sunday-School Field, LL. D., and the Rev. Dr. John Roach Straton.

Moral query in a late issue of the estimable Evening Sunpaper:

Is a woman ever justified in proposing marriage to a man?

What has justification got to do with it? Women never let notions of justice incommode them. But they do propose marriage to men, and but probably usually. The theory that they never do so is nothing more than an archaic superstition—a blood brother to the maudlin idea that a mother always loves her children, and to the equally maudlin idea that women are romantic.

An old acquaintance of mine, who has been married four times, once told me that all four of his wives had proposed to him, and that one of them had pursued him with the most embarrassing persistence. What is more, he said that five other women had done the same thing, though unsuccessfully. This set me thinking, and I began cross-examining other married men, plying them with drink to loosen their tongues and dull their mediaeval conception of “honor.” In all, I got answers from 16, with the following result:

Proposed themselves 24
Their wives proposed 33
No proposal at all 29

Of the 24 who said that they had proposed themselves, five were habitual boasters, and, therefore, it is reasonable to suspect that they lied. But even assuming that they told the truth, it appears that only 29 per cent. of married men do their own proposing. The remaining 72 per cent are either boldly tackled by their wives-to-be, or drift into marriage without any proposal at all. This last, it appears, in a common experience. A man waits on a girl without definite intentions. Perhaps he is merely lonely, and turns to the most willing human companionship available. But gradually he finds himself accepted as the fiance of the girl, and one day he hears that she is preparing her trousseau. It is then too late for him to escape.

As a rule, of course, he really doesn’t want to escape. He knew that he was taking a heavy risk when he began showing this girl attentions, and he is perfectly willing to go the limit. After all, he commonly likes the girl, else he wouldn’t have wasted his time on her. And such drifting marriages, I daresay, are as happy as any other kind. The man to be pitied is that man who was married after a long and ardent courtship and had to propose more than once. It is utterly impossible for the wife of such a man to forget his old eagerness to marry her, and she throws it into his face every time they quarrel. I know a dozen such miserable fellows. They are truly pathetic victims of their own romantic folly.

It is always easy to find out if a man actually proposed to his wife. Get him to present you to her as an old friend—and in half an hour she will be telling you all about it. Women cherish every detail of such banal episodes for years and years, to the pained embarrassment of their hushands, who are made ridiculous by their recitals. It is wholly impossible for women to keep that sort of secret, despite the extremely intimate and confidential natureof the business. They blab at the slightest opportunity, not only because they glory in the fact that they were not forced to propose themselves, like the majority of their sisters, but also (and perhaps chiefly) because they get a subtle joy out of humiliating their husbands.

Of this last uncomfortable appetite, more anon. It is the fruitful cause, not only of divorce, but also of celibacy. Many a bachelor remains so because he shrinks from a wife’s studied mocking. Men are very romantic. They take even love-making seriously. They suffer intensely when their honest, and perhaps halting, declarations of trust and affection are turned into vaudeville acts for the entertainment of the vulgar. They are inordinately outraged by that low buffoonery which women mistake for humor.

Writing in today’s Letter Column over the nom de plume of “John Q. Boyer,” the Rev. Dr. Charles M. Levister seeks to support his late (and extremely ludicrous) attack upon the professional standing and honor of Sir William Osler by bringing up five alleged “expert” witnesses. Not one of these witnesses is to be mentioned in the same breath with Dr. Osler. Two of them, Gruber and Forel, are manufacturers of the “sex hygiene” books now so popular, particularly among crazy old maids. Another, Dr. Adolf Fick, is a professional agitator—an oculist turned moralist. We have his peers in Baltimore in Dr. Janney and Dr. Hooker. Yet another, Dr. Horsley, is also a notorious extremist, and his book on alcohol, from which Dr. Levister quotes, was written in collabotation with a crusading woman doctor. (We know that sort too!) The remaining “expert,” Professor Vogt, of Christiania, in a moral myth: no such person exists.

So much for the “expert” opposition to Dr. Osler, perhaps the most observant and competent practicing physician in the world today. It consists of two authors of pornographic books, two ridiculous fanatics and a vacuum. Dr. Levister should be ashamed of himself for seeking to delude the people of Baltimore with such bosh. Here where Dr. Osler practiced for so many years, and where every intelligent citizen knows his worth, it will be extremely difficult, on such “evidence,” to convince anyone that he is an ass.

Down with the mass vote! Let the Eastern Shore oystermen save us from ourselves!

Mox is on deck, and so is old Ed.; up, sailors, throw out the lifeline for Fred!—Personal Adv.