Samantha on the Woman Question, Marietta Holley, Part XXXIII

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.

"Well," said Josiah, with a dark, forebodin' look on his linement, "we shall see."

"Yes," sez I, with a real radiant look into the future. "We shall see, Josiah."

But he didn't have no idea of the beautiful prophetic vision I beheld with the eyes of my sperit.  Good men and good women, each fillin' their different spears in life, but banded together for the overthrow of evil, the uplift of the race.

It was only a few days after we got home from New York that Josiah come into the house dretful excited.  He'd had a invitation to attend a meetin' of the Creation Searchin' Society.

"Why," sez I, "did they invite you?  You are not a member?"

"No," sez he, "but they want me to help 'em be indignant.  It is a indignation meetin'."

"Indignant about what?" I sez.

"Fur be it from me, Samantha, to muddle up your head and hurt your feelin's by tellin' you what it's fur." And he went out quick and shet the door.  But I got a splendid dinner and afterwards he told me of his own accord.

I am not a member, of course, for the president, Philander Daggett, said it would lower the prestige of the society in the eyes of the world to have even one female member.  This meetin' wuz called last week for the purpose of bein' indignant over the militant doin's of the English Suffragettes.  Josiah and several others in Jonesville wuz invited to be present at this meetin' as sort of honorary members, as they wuz competent to be jest as indignant as any other male men over the tribulations of their sect.

Josiah said so much about the meetin', and his Honorary Indignation, that he got me curious, and wantin' to go myself, to see how it wuz carried on.  But I didn't have no hopes on't till Philander Daggett's new young wife come to visit me and I told her how much I wanted to go, and she bein' real good-natered said she would make Philander let me in.

He objected, of course, but she is pretty and young, and his nater bein' kinder softened and sweetened by the honey of the honeymoon, she got round him.  And he said that if we would set up in a corner of the gallery behind the melodeon, and keep our veils on, he would let her and me in.  But we must keep it secret as the grave, for he would lose all the influence he had with the other members and be turned out of the Presidential chair if it wuz knowed that he had lifted wimmen up to such a hite, and gin 'em such a opportunity to feel as if they wuz equal to men.

Well, we went early and Josiah left me to Philander's and went on to do some errents.  He thought I wuz to spend the evenin' with her in becomin' seclusion, a-knittin' on his blue and white socks, as a woman should.  But after visitin' a spell, jest after it got duskish, we went out the back door and went cross lots, and got there ensconced in the dark corner without anybody seein' us and before the meetin' begun.

Philander opened the meetin' by readin' the moments of the last meetin', which wuz one of sympathy with the police of Washington for their noble efforts to break up the Woman's Parade, and after their almost Herculaneum labor to teach wimmen her proper place, and all the help they got from the hoodlum and slum elements, they had failed in a measure, and the wimmen, though stunned, insulted, spit on, struck, broken boneded, maimed, and tore to pieces, had succeeded in their disgustin' onwomanly undertakin'.

But it wuz motioned and carried that a vote of thanks be sent 'em and recorded in the moments that the Creation Searchers had no blame but only sympathy and admiration for the hard worked Policemen for they had done all they could to protect wimmen's delicacy and retirin' modesty, and put her in her place, and no man in Washington or Jonesville could do more.  He read these moments, in a real tender sympathizin' voice, and I spoze the members sympathized with him, or I judged so from their linements as I went forward, still as a mouse, and peeked down on 'em.

He then stopped a minute and took a drink of water; I spoze his sympathetic emotions had het him up, and kinder dried his mouth, some.  And then he went on to state that this meetin' wuz called to show to the world, abroad and nigh by, the burnin' indignation this body felt, as a society, at the turrible sufferin's and insults bein' heaped onto their male brethren in England by the indecent and disgraceful doin's of the militant Suffragettes, and to devise, if possible, some way to help their male brethren acrost the sea. "For," sez he, "pizen will spread.  How do we know how soon them very wimmen who had to be spit on and struck and tore to pieces in Washington to try to make 'em keep their place, the sacred and tender place they have always held enthroned as angels in a man's heart—"

Image courtesy of Julie Jordan Scott.


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