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Marriage And Misery
by [?]

BY ETHELYN LESLIE HUSTON.

Charles Goodwin, editor Salt Lake Tribune, puts into the mouth of a figurative John Bull, who is lecturing his children, the following sentence:

“Why, ours is an old family. One of our ancestors was knighted by Henry VII for stealing cattle from the Scotch some time in the fifteenth century. I am tracing up the lineage, and I believe we are all barons. I expect to get the title confirmed, and then each one of you boys must sell himself to a beautiful American girl for from 75,000 to 250,000 pounds. Under the rose, it will help the stock damnably, for your mother was a barmaid. Things are working all right, my lads. Our conquest of the United States still goes on.”

Apropos of a snub given the Prince of Wales by an American girl, Lillian Russell–even our much-married Lillian–raises her voice in protest at international marriages, and incidentally American snobbery.

What is marriage? as we see it. The veneered vulgarity of the international marriage goes on merrily notwithstanding public opinion freely expressed. We bury the individuality and personality of our daughters and give them as so much chatel to the physically and financially anaemic nobility across the water, to infuse into its diseased and impoverished veins pure blood and into its depleted exchequer pure gold. And this we call marriage. The weak-minded chattel and fatuous mother should be promptly chloroformed without benefit of clergy. But they are instead solemnly consecrated by their clergy, their church and their Fifth Avenue Christ.

And yet, to go back to first principles, is it not that the time are out of joint, and the America herself is responsible for her daughters’ shame? America has blinded her eyes with avarice and glutted her brain with greed. She has starved her intellect and gorged her ambition. She has bartered her birthright of nobility and sold her soul to crawling sycophants. She has prostituted her sceptre of power to trusts for tinsel and cowers under the lash of corporations because they bind her brow with a cap of bells that tinkle an empty song of “Freedom.” In the mad rush for gain, America has forgotten its greatness, and in their blind struggle for gold Americans forget what is grand. We have sold our freedom to Britain, we have sold our pride, our individuality, our independence, our self-respect, our power, our dignity and our daughters.

The gods have given us brains to make of our country a brawny one, and we have used our talent to corrupt what was once equality into the unequal factions of power and poverty. The gods have given us genius to soften the crudities of the early century and to brighten our homes and our lives, and instead the inventions and the creations but serve to gild the mansions of the monopolist and to gird the iron more tightly on the wrist of the toiler. We are avaricious, we are vulgar, and we are base. We have lost the dignity of Nature that gave to a fragile lily a royalty before which Solomon’s grandeur paled. We have piled stone and brick where the forest oak towered, and voice our strident city cries where the imperious roar of the forest king once startled the echoes. We have turned the oil and filth of our refineries into the streams that once crept purling and laughing through the wild-flowers and grasses, and the black smoke of our factories has silenced the plaintive note of the thrush and strangled the wondrous song of the nightingale. Our grandeur is ostentation and our dignity a dead-letter. The greatness that once longed for new worlds to conquer has degenerated into yellow-fingered grasping for ginger-bread display. The powerful figure of the pioneer could swing its mighty as into the forest root, but in the rythm of labor there was time to pause and rest and listen where “soft music ripples along shore, as the lake breathes.” In the stillness Nature’s god speaks, and in the patient face of the woman, shading her eyes where she watches him from the cabin door, is sweeter and nobler dreaming than ever finds resting place in the sharpened and querulous features of our modern rushed society woman.