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PAGE 3

Woman’s Wickedness
by [?]

You cannot reform society from the bottom; you must begin at the top.

Man, physically considered, is merely an animal, and the law of his life is identical with that of the brute creation. Continence in man or woman is a violation of nature’s edicts, a sacrifice made by the individual to the necessities of civilization.

Like the beast of the field, man formerly took unto himself a mate, and with his rude strength defended her from the advances of other males. Such, reduced to the last analysis, is the basis of marriage, of female chastity and family honor. Rape and adultery were prohibited under pains and penalties, and behind the sword of the criminal law grew up the moral code. As wealth increased man multiplied his wives and added concubines; but woman was taught that while polygamy was pleasing to the gods polyandry was the reverse–that while the husband was privileged to seek sexual pleasure in a foreign bed, the wife who looked with desiring eyes upon other than her rightful lord merited the scorn of earth and provoked the wrath of Heaven.

For long ages woman was but the creature of man’s caprice, the drudge or ornament of his home, mistress of neither her body nor her mind. But as the world advanced and matter was made more subject unto mind–as divine Reason wrested the scepter from brute Force–woman began to assume her proper place in the world’s economy. She is stepping forth into the garish light of freedom, is realizing for the first time in the history of the human race that she is a moral entity–that even she, and not another, is the arbiter of her fate. And, as ever before, new-found freedom is manifesting itself in criminal folly– liberty has become a synonym for license.

The “progressive” woman–the woman who is not only well “up-to-date,” but skirmishing with the future–is asking her brother: “If thou, why not I? If man is forgiven a score of mistresses must woman, blessed with like reason and cursed with kindred passions, be damned for one lover?” And while the question grates upon her ear, the answer comes not trippingly to the tongue. I do not mean that all women who imagine themselves progressive are eager to assume the same easy morals that from time immemorial have characterized the sterner sex; but this line of argument, peculiar to their class, while not likely to make men better, is well calculated to make foolish women worse. The sooner they realize that he-Dians are as scarce in the country as brains in the head of a chrysanthemum dude; that such sexual purity as the world is to be blessed withal must be furnished by the softer sex, the better for all concerned. That they will eventually cease their altogether useless clamor that bearded men become as modest as blushing maids, and agree with the poet that “Whatever is, is right,” the lessons of history bid us hope. When the French people threw of the yoke of the royalist and aristocrat they likewise loudly clamored for equality, fraternity and other apparently reasonable but utterly impossible things, until the bitter school of experience taught them better. The progressive women have not yet set up la Belle Guillotine–in Washington or elsewhere–for the decapitation of male incorrigibles; which significant fact confirms our old faith that the ladies rather like a man who would not deliberately overdo the part of Joseph.

But the female “reformer,” with her social board of equalization theories, is but a small factor in that mighty force which is filling the land with unfaithful wives and the potter’s field with degraded prostitutes.

When the people of a nation are almost universally poor, sexual purity is the general rule. Simple living and severe toil keep in check the passions and make it possible to mold the mind with moral precepts. But when a nation becomes divided into the very rich and the extremely poor; when wilful Waste and woeful Want go hand in hand; when luxury renders abnormal the passions of the one; and cupidity, born of envy, blunts the moral perceptions of the other, then indeed is that nation delivered over to the world, the flesh and the devil. When all alike are poor, contentment reigns. The son grows up a useful, self-reliant man, the daughter an industrious, virtuous woman. From this class comes nearly every benefactor of mankind. It has ever been the great repository of morality, the balance- wheel of society, the brain and brawn of the majestic world. Divided into millionaires and mendicants, the poor man’s son becomes feverish to make a showy fortune by fair means or by foul, while his daughter looks with envious eye upon m’lady, follows her fashions and too often apes her morals. The real life is supplanted by the artificial, and people are judged, not by what they are, but by what they have. The “true-love match” becomes but a reminiscence–the blind god’s bow is manipulated by brutish Mammon. Men and women make “marriages of convenience,” consult their fortunes rather than their affections–seek first a lawful companion with a well-filled purse, and then a congenial paramour.