MRS. GRUNDY. By Viroqua Daniels. Her will is law. She holds despotic sway. Her wont has been to show the narrow way Wherein must tread the world, the bright, the brave, From infancy to dotard's gloomy grave. "Obey! Obey!" with sternness she commands The high, the low, in great or little lands. She folds us all within her ample gown. A forward act is met with angry frown. The lisping babes are taught her local speech; Her gait to walk; her blessings to beseech. They laugh or cry, as Mistress says they may,— In everything the little tots obey. The youth know naught save Mrs. Grundy's whims. They play her games. They sing her holy hymns. They question not; accept both truth and fiction, (The OLD is right, within her jurisdiction!). Maid, matron, man unto her meekly bow. She with contempt or ridicule may cow. They dare not speak, or dress, or love, or hate, At variance with the program on her slate. Her subtle smile, e'en men to thinkers grown, Are loath to lose; before its charm they're prone. With great ado, they publicly conform— Vain, cowards, vain; revolt MUST raise a storm! The "indiscreet," when hidden from her sight, Attempt to live as they consider "right." Lo! Walls have ears! The loyal everywhere The searchlight turn, and loudly shout, "Beware!" In tyranny the Mistress is supreme. "Obedience," that is her endless theme. Al countries o'er, in city, town and glen, Her aid is sought by bosses over men. Of Greed, her brain is cunningly devised. From Ignorance, her bulky body's sized. When at her ease, she acts as judge and jury. But she's the Mob when 'roused to fighting fury. Dame Grundy is, by far, the fiercest foe To ev'ry kind of progress, that we know. So Freedom is, to her, a poison thing. Who heralds it, he must her death knell ring.
A GREETING. By Alexander Berkman.
I am happy, inexpressibly happy to be in your midst again, after an absence of fourteen long years, passed amid the horrors and darkness of my Pennsylvania nightmare. * * * Methinks the days of miracles are not past. They say that nineteen hundred years ago a man was raised from the dead after having been buried for three days. They call it a great miracle. But I think the resurrection from the peaceful slumber of a three days' grave is not nearly so miraculous as the actual coming back to life from a living death of fourteen years duration;—'tis the twentieth century resurrection, not based on ignorant credulity, nor assisted by any Oriental jugglery. No travelers ever return, the poets say, from the Land of Shades beyond the river Styx—and may be it is a good thing for them that they don't—but you can see that there is an occasional exception even to that rule, for I have just returned from a hell, the like of which, for human brutality and fiendish barbarity, is not to be found even in the fire-and-brimstone creeds of our loving Christians.
It was a moment of supreme joy when I felt the heavy chains, that had bound me so long, give way with the final clang of the iron doors behind me and I suddenly found myself transported, as it were, from the dreary night of my prison-existence into the warm sunshine of the living day; and then, as I breathed the free air of the beautiful May morning—my first breath of freedom in fourteen years—it seemed to me as if a beautiful nature had waved her magic wand and marshalled her most alluring charms to welcome me into the world again; the sun, bathed in a sea of sapphire, seemed to shed his golden-winged caresses upon me; beautiful birds were intoning a sweet paean of joyful welcome; green-clad trees on the banks of the Allegheny were stretching out to me a hundred emerald arms, and every little blade of grass seemed to lift its head and nod to me, and all Nature whispered sweetly "Welcome Home!" It was Nature's beautiful Springtime, the reawakening of Life, and Joy, and Hope, and the spirit of Springtime dwelt in my heart....