Comparison to English Barmaids

From Miscellaneous Writings by

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25    Since my residence in Concord, N. H., I have read
         the daily paper, and had become an admirer of Edgar
         L. Wakeman’s terse, graphic, and poetic style in his
         “Wanderings,” richly flavored with the true ideas of
         humanity and equality. In an issue of January 17, how-

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1      ever, were certain references to American women which
         deserve and elicit brief comment.

         Mr. Wakeman writes from London, that a noted Eng-
         lish leader, whom he quotes without naming, avers that
5      the “cursed barmaid system” in England is evolved by
         the same power which in America leads women “along
         a gamut of isms and ists, from female suffrage, past a
         score of reforms, to Christian Science.” This anony-
         mous talker further declares, that the central cause of
10    this “same original evil” is “a female passion for some
         manner of notoriety.”

         Is Mr. Wakeman awake, and caught napping? While
         praising the Scotchman’s national pride and affection,
         has our American correspondent lost these sentiments
15    from his own breast? Has he forgotten how to honor
         his native land and defend the dignity of her daughters
         with his ready pen and pathos?

         The flaunting and floundering statements of the great
         unknown for whose ability and popularity Mr. Wakeman
20    strongly vouches, should not only be queried, but flatly
         contradicted, as both untrue and uncivil. English senti-
         ment is not wholly represented by one man. Nor is the
         world ignorant of the fact that high and pure ethical
         tones do resound from Albion’s shores. The most ad-
25    vanced ideas are inscribed on tablets of such an organi-
         zation as the Victoria Institute, or Philosophical Society
         of Great Britain, an institution which names itself after
         her who is unquestionably the best queen on earth; who
         for a half century has with such dignity, clemency, and
30    virtue worn the English crown and borne the English

         Now, I am a Christian Scientist,—the Founder of

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1      this system of religion,—widely known; and, by special
         invitation, have allowed myself to be elected an associate
         life-member of the Victoria Institute, which numbers
         among its constituents and managers—not barmaids,
5      but bishops—profound philosophers, brilliant scholars.

         Was it ignorance of American society and history,
         together with unfamiliarity with the work and career
         of American women, which led the unknown author
         cited by Mr. Wakeman to overflow in shallow sarcasm,
10    and place the barmaids of English alehouses and rail-
         ways in the same category with noble women who min-
         ister in the sick-room, give their time and strength to
         binding up the wounds of the broken-hearted, and live
         on the plan of heaven?

15    This writer classes Christian Science with theosophy
         and spiritualism; whereas, they are by no means iden-
         tical—nor even similar. Christian Science, antagonis-
         tic to intemperance, as to all immorality, is by no means
         associated therewith. Do manly Britons patronize tap-
20    rooms and lazar-houses, and thus note or foster a fem-
         inine ambition which, in this unknown gentleman’s
         language, “poises and poses, higgles and wriggles” it-
         self into publicity? Why fall into such patronage, unless
         from their affinity for the worst forms of vice?

25    And the barmaids! Do they enter this line of occu-
         pation from a desire for notoriety and a wish to promote
         female suffrage? or are they incited thereto by their
         own poverty and the bad appetites of men? What man-
         ner of man is this unknown individual who utters bar-
30    maid and Christian Scientist in the same breath? If he
         but knew whereof he speaks, his shame would not lose
         its blush!

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1      Taking into account the short time that has elapsed
         since the discovery of Christian Science, one readily sees
         that this Science has distanced all other religious and
         pathological systems for physical and moral reforma-
5      tion. In the direction of temperance it has achieved far
         more than has been accomplished by legally coercive
         measures,—and because this Science bases its work on
         ethical conditions and mentally destroys the appetite for
         alcoholic drinks.

10    Smart journalism is allowable, nay, it is commend-
         able; but the public cannot swallow reports of American
         affairs from a surly censor ventilating his lofty scorn of
         the sects, or societies, of a nation that perhaps he has
         never visited.

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Love is the liberator.