Samantha on the Woman Question, Marietta Holley, Part XXXV

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.

"How would it do to tie females up when they got to thinkin' they wuz equal to men, halter 'em, rope 'em, and let 'em see if they wuz?"

But this idee wuz objected to for the same reason Josiah had advanced, as Philander well said, "wimmen had got to go foot loose in order to do the housework and cookin'."

Uncle Sime Bentley, who wuz awful indignant, said, "I motion that men shall take away all the rights that wimmen have now, turn 'em out of the meetin' house, and grange."

But before he'd hardly got the words out of his mouth, seven of the members riz up and as many as five spoke out to once with different exclamations:

"That won't do! we can't do that!  Who'll do all the work!  Who'll git up grange banquets and rummage sales, and paper and paint and put down carpets in the meetin' house, and git up socials and entertainments to help pay the minister's salary, and carry on the Sunday School? and tend to its picnics and suppers, and take care of the children?  We can't do this, much as we'd love to."

One horsey, sporty member, also under the influence of liquor, riz up, and made a feeble motion, "Spozin' we give wimmen liberty enough to work, leave 'em hand and foot loose, and sort o' muzzle 'em so they can't talk."

This seemed to be very favorably received, 'specially by the married members, and the secretary wuz jest about to record it in the moments as a scheme worth tryin', when old Doctor Nugent got up, and sez in a firm, decided way:

"Wimmen cannot be kept from talking without endangerin' her life; as a medical expert I object to this motion."

"How would you put the objection?" sez the secretary.

"On the ground of cruelty to animals," sez the doctor.

A fat Englishman who had took the widder Shelmadine's farm on shares, says, "I 'old with Brother Josiah Hallen's hargument.  As the father of nine young children and thirty cows to milk with my wife's 'elp, I 'old she musn't be kep' from work, but h'I propose if we can't do anything else that a card of sympathy be sent to hold Hengland from the Creation Searchin' Society of America, tellin' 'em 'ow our 'earts bleeds for the men's sufferin' and 'ardships in 'avin' to leave their hoccupations to beat and 'aul round and drive females to jails, and feed 'em with rubber hose through their noses to keep 'em from starvin' to death for what they call their principles."

This motion wuz carried unanimously.

But here an old man, who had jest dropped in and who wuz kinder deef and slow-witted, asked, "What it is about anyway? what do the wimmen ask for when they are pounded and jailed and starved?"

Hank Yerden, whose wife is a Suffragist, and who is mistrusted to have a leanin' that way himself, answered him, "Oh, they wanted the lawmakers to read their petitions asking for the rights of ordinary citizens.  They said as long as their property wuz taxed they had the right of representation.  And as long as the law punished wimmen equally with men, they had a right to help make that law, and as long as men claimed wimmen's place wuz home, they wanted the right to guard that home.  And as long as they brought children into the world they wanted the right to protect 'em.  And when the lawmakers wouldn't hear a word they said, and beat 'em and drove 'em round and jailed 'em, they got mad as hens, and are actin' like furiation and wild cats.  But claim that civil rights wuz never give to any class without warfare."

"Heavens! what doin's!" sez old Zephaniah Beezum, "what is the world comin' to!" "Angle worms will be risin' up next and demandin' to not be trod on." Sez he, "I have studied the subject on every side, and I claim the best way to deal with them militant females is to banish 'em to some barren wilderness, some foreign desert where they can meditate on their crimes, and not bother men."

This idee wuz received favorably by most of the members, but others differed and showed the weak p'ints in it, and it wuz gin up.

Well, at ten P.M., the Creation Searchers gin up after arguin' pro and con, con and pro, that they could not see any way out of the matter, they could not tell what to do with the wimmen without danger and trouble to the male sect.

They looked dretful dejected and onhappy as they come to this conclusion, my pardner looked as if he wuz most ready to bust out cryin'.  And as I looked on his beloved linement I forgot everything else and onbeknown to me I leaned over the railin' and sez:

"Here is sunthin' that no one has seemed to think on at home or abroad.  How would it work to stop the trouble by givin' the wimmen the rights they ask for, the rights of any other citizen?"

I don't spoze there will ever be such another commotion and upheaval in Jonesville till Michael blows his last trump as follered my speech.  Knowin' wimmen wuz kep' from the meetin', some on 'em thought it wuz a voice from another spear.  Them wuz the skairt and horrow struck ones, and them that thought it wuz a earthly woman's voice wuz so mad that they wuz by the side of themselves and carried on fearful.  But when they searched the gallery for wimmen or ghosts, nothin' wuz found, for Philander's wife and I had scooted acrost lots and wuz to home a-knittin' before the men got there.

And I d'no as anybody but Philander to this day knows what, or who it wuz.

And I d'no as my idee will be follered, but I believe it is the best way out on't for men and wimmen both, and would stop the mad doin's of the English Suffragettes, which I don't approve of, no indeed! much as I sympathize with the justice of their cause.


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3 comments

Profile photo of FlossyFlossy
December 4th, 2012  11:19 AM

Screaming secretly is the way to scare the rubes. We should try this now and they will think it is the voice of God.


Profile photo of photog17photog17
December 4th, 2012  1:33 PM

The ending was quite anti-climactic to be honest.


Profile photo of WilltheDillWilltheDill
December 5th, 2012  1:21 AM

The whole time I thought suffrage was going to pass.