Samantha on the Woman Question, Marietta Holley, Part XXVI

Marietta Holley

Marietta Holley was a humorist that sold more books than Mark Twain and was more popular than him during his time.  She was from upstate New York, wrote about women's rights, and has been largely forgotten ever since many of the rights she fought for were won.  You can read more about her on Northnet.  This book will have 35 parts.

Old Mom Nater had been listenin' clost, her sky-blue eyes shinin' with joy to see her own sect present such a noble appearance in the parade.  But when these insults and indignities wuz brung up to her mind agin and she realized afresh how wimmen couldn't git no more rights accorded to her than a dog or a hen, and worse.  For a hen or a dog wouldn't be taxed to raise money for turkle soup and shampain to nourish the law-makers whilst they made the laws agin 'em—Mom Nater's eyes clouded over with indignation and resentment, and she boo-hooed right out a-cryin'.  Helpless tears, of no more account than other females have shed, and will, as they set on their hard benches with idiots, lunaticks, and criminals.

Of course she wiped up her tears pretty soon, not willin' to lose any of the wimmen's bright speeches.  But when her tear-drops fell fast, Josiah sez to me, "You'll see them wimmen run like hikers now, wimmen always thought more of shiffon and fol-de-rols than they did of principle."

But I sez, "Wait and see," (we wuz under a awnin' and protected).

But the young and pretty speaker who wore a light silk dress and exquisite bunnet, kep' right on talkin' jest as calmly as if she didn't know her pretty dress wuz bein' spilte and her bunnet gittin' wet as sop, and I sez to Josiah:

"When wimmen are so in earnest, and want anything so much they can stand soakin' in their best dresses, and let their Sunday bunnets be spilte on their heads, not noticin' 'em seemin'ly, but keep right on pleadin' for right and justice, they are in a fair way of gittin' what they are after."

He looked kinder meachin' but didn't dispute me.

The speeches wuz beautiful and convincin', and pretty soon old Mom Nater stopped cryin' to hear 'em, and she and I both listened full of joy and happiness to see with what eloquence and justice our sect wuz pleadin' our cause.  Their arguments wuz so reasonable and convincin' that I said to myself, I don't see how anybody can help bein' converted to this righteous cause, the liftin' up of wimmen from her uncomfortable crouchin' poster with criminals and idiots, up to the place she should occupy by the side of other good citizens of the United States, with all the legal and moral rights that go with that noble title.

And right whilst I wuz thinkin' this, sunthin' wuz happenin' that proved I wuz right in my eppisodin', and somebody awful sot agin it wuz bein' converted then and there (but of this more anon and bom-bye).  We stayed till we heard the last word of the last speech, I happy and proud in sperit, Lorinda partly converted, she couldn't help it, though she wouldn't own up to it at that juncter.  And Josiah lookin' real deprested, the thought of representin' me wuz worryin' him I knew, for I hearn him say (soty vosy), "Represent wimmen or not, I hain't goin' to set up all night with no old woman, and lift her round, nor dry nuss no twins."

And thinkin' his sperit wuz pierced to a sufficient depth by his apprehension, so reason could be planted and take root, and he wouldn't be so anxious in the future to represent a woman, I told him what Diantha said and we all went home in good sperits.  The sun shone clear, the rain had washed the face of the Earth till it shone, and everything looked gay and joyous.

When we got to Lorinda's we see a auto standin' in front of the door full of flowery branches in front and the pink posies lookin' no more bright and rosy than the faces of the two young folks settin' there.  It wuz Polly and Royal.

It seemed that when he and Maud got back from the country (and they didn't stay long, Royal wuz so restless and oneasy) Maud insisted on his takin' her to the suffrage meetin' jest to make fun on't, so I spoze.  She thought she had rubbed out Polly's image and made a impression herself on Royal's heart that only needed stompin' in a little deeper, and she thought ridicule would be the stomper she needed.

But when they got to the meetin' and he see Polly settin' like a lily amongst flowers, and read in her lovely face the earnest desire to lift the burden from the heavy laden, comfort the sorrowful, right the wrong, and do what she could in her day and generation—

I spoze his eyes could only see her sweet face.  But he couldn't help his ears from hearin' the reasonable, eloquent words of earnest and womanly wimmen, so full of good sense and truth and justice that no reasonable person could dispute 'em, and when he contrasted all this with the sneerin' face, the sarcastic egotistic prattle of Maud, the veil dropped from his eyes, and he see with the New Vision.

Image courtesy of Julie Jordan Scott.


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10 comments

Profile photo of FlossyFlossy
November 19th, 2012  11:25 AM

It took me a while to figure out who Mom Nater was.


Profile photo of photog17photog17
November 19th, 2012  12:29 PM

Too bad many women politicians echoed their male counterparts’ behaviors.


Profile photo of MyNameIsMeMyNameIsMe
November 19th, 2012  10:45 PM

Are all book clubs like this?