Meanwhile, in our State, things are about as bad as they can be. The women are drawn for juries, the same as ever, but (except in Whittletown, where they have a separate room,) no respectable woman goes, and the fines come heavy on some of us. The demoralization among our help is so bad, that we are going to try Co-operative Housekeeping. If that don't succeed, I shall get brother Samuel, who lives in California, to send me two Chinamen, one for cook and chamber-boy, and one as nurse for Melissa. I console myself with thinking that the end of it all must be good, since the principle is right: but, dear me! I had no idea that I should be called upon to go through such tribulation.
Now the reason I write--and I suppose I must hurry to the end, or you will be out of all patience--is to beg, and insist, and implore my sisters in other States to lose no more time, but at once to coax, or melt, or threaten the men into accepting their claims. We are now so isolated in our rights that we are obliged to bear more than our proper share of the burden. When the States around us shall be so far advanced, there will be a chance for new stateswomen to spring up, and fill Mrs. Whiston's place, and we shall then, I firmly believe, devise a plan to cleanse the great Augean stable of politics by turning into it the river of female honesty and intelligence and morality. But they must do this, somehow or other, without letting the river be tainted by the heaps of pestilent offal it must sweep away. As Lord Bacon says (in that play falsely attributed to Shakespeare)--"Ay, there's the rub!"
If you were to ask me, NOW, what effect the right of suffrage, office, and all the duties of men has had upon the morals of the women of our State, I should be puzzled what to say. It is something like this--if you put a chemical purifying agent into a bucket of muddy water, the water gets clearer, to be sure, but the chemical substance takes up some of the impurity. Perhaps that's rather too strong a comparison; but if you say that men are worse than women, as most people do, then of course we improve them by closer political intercourse, and lose a little ourselves in the process. I leave you to decide the relative loss and gain. To tell you the truth, this is a feature of the question which I would rather not discuss; and I see, by the reports of the recent Conventions, that all the champions of our sex feel the same way.
Well, since I must come to an end somewhere, let it be here. To quote Lord Bacon again, take my "round, unvarnished tale," and perhaps the world will yet acknowledge that some good has been done by Yours truly, JANE STRONGITHARM.
to THE WIFE OF MY YOUTH who still abides with me
The Jebel es Zubleh is a mountain fifty miles and more in length, and so narrow that its tracery on the map gives it a likeness to a caterpillar crawling from the south to the north. Standing on its red-and-white cliffs, and looking off under the path of the rising sun, one sees only the Desert of Arabia, where the east winds, so hateful to vinegrowers of Jericho, have kept their playgrounds since the beginning. Its feet are well covered by sands tossed from the Euphrates, there to lie, for the mountain is a wall to the pasture-lands of Moab and Ammon on the west--lands which else had been of the desert a part.
The Arab has impressed his language upon everything south and east of Judea, so, in his tongue, the old Jebel is the parent of numberless wadies which, intersecting the Roman road--now a dim suggestion of what once it was, a dusty path for Syrian pilgrims to and from Mecca--run their furrows, deepening as they go, to pass the torrents of the rainy season into the Jordan, or their last receptacle, the Dead Sea. Out of one of these wadies--or, more particularly, out of that one which rises at the extreme end of the Jebel, and, extending east of north, becomes at length the bed of the Jabbok River--a traveller passed, going to the table-lands of the desert. To this person the attention of the reader is first besought.
Judged by his appearance, he was quite forty-five years old. His beard, once of the deepest black, flowing broadly over his breast, was streaked with white. His face was brown as a parched coffee-berry, and so hidden by a red kufiyeh (as the kerchief of the head is at this day called by the children of the desert) as to be but in part visible. Now and then he raised his eyes, and they were large and dark. He was clad in the flowing garments so universal in the East; but their style may not be described more particularly, for he sat under a miniature tent, and rode a great white dromedary.