In my chapters on Miss Anthony I
bridged the twenty years between 1886 and 1906, omitting many of
the stirring suffrage events of that long period, in my desire
to concentrate on those which most vitally concerned her. I
must now retrace my steps along the widening suffrage stream and
describe, consecutively at least, and as fully as these
incomplete reminiscences will permit, other incidents that
occurred on its banks. Of these the most important was the union
in 1889 of the two great suffrage societies--the American
Association, of which Lucy Stone was the president, and the
National Association, headed by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth
Cady Stanton. At a convention held in Washington these
societies were merged as The National American Woman Suffrage
Association--the name our association still bears-- and Mrs.
Stanton was elected president. She was then nearly eighty and
past active work, but she made a wonderful presiding officer at
our subsequent meetings, and she was as picturesque as she was
Miss Anthony, who had an immense
admiration for her and a great personal pride in her, always
escorted her to the capital, and, having worked her utmost to
make the meeting a success, invariably gave Mrs. Stanton credit
for all that was accomplished. She often said that Mrs. Stanton
was the brains of the new association, while she herself was
merely its hands and feet; but in truth the two women worked
marvelously together, for Mrs. Stanton was a master of words and
could write and speak to perfection of the things Susan B.
Anthony saw and felt but could not herself express. Usually
Miss Anthony went to Mrs. Stanton's house and took charge of it
while she stimulated the venerable president to the writing of
her annual address. Then, at the subsequent convention, she
would listen to the report with as much delight and pleasure as
if each word of it had been new to her. Even after Mrs.
Stanton's resignation from the presidency--at the end, I think,
of three years--and Miss Anthony's election as her successor,
"Aunt Susan'' still went to her old friend whenever an
important resolution was to be written, and Mrs. Stanton loyally
drafted it for her.
Mrs. Stanton was the most brilliant
conversationalist I have ever known; and the best talk I have
heard anywhere was that to which I used to listen in the home of
Mrs. Eliza Wright Osborne, in Auburn, New York, when Mrs.
Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Emily Howland, Elizabeth Smith
Miller, Ida Husted Harper, Miss Mills, and I were gathered there
for our occasional week-end visits. Mrs. Osborne inherited her
suffrage sympathies, for she was the daughter of Martha Wright,
who, with Mrs. Stanton and Lucretia Mott, called the first
suffrage convention in Seneca Falls, New York. I must add in
passing that her son, Thomas Mott Osborne, who is doing such
admirable work in prison reform at Sing Sing, has shown himself
worthy of the gifted and high-minded mother who gave him to the
Most of the conversation in Mrs.
Osborne's home was contributed by Mrs. Stanton and Miss Anthony,
while the rest of us sat, as it were, at their feet. Many human
and feminine touches brightened the lofty discussions that were
constantly going on, and the varied characteristics of our
leaders cropped up in amusing fashion. Mrs. Stanton, for
example, was rarely accurate in giving figures or dates, while
Miss Anthony was always very exact in such matters. She
frequently corrected Mrs. Stanton's statements, and Mrs. Stanton
usually took the interruption in the best possible spirit,
promptly admitting that "Aunt Susan'' knew best. On one
occasion I recall, however, she held fast to her opinion that
she was right as to the month in which a certain incident had
"No, Susan,'' she insisted,
"you're wrong for once. I remember perfectly when that
happened, for it was at the time I was beginning to wean
Aunt Susan, though somewhat
staggered by the force of this testimony, still maintained that
Mrs. Stanton must be mistaken, whereupon the latter repeated, in
exasperation, "I tell you it happened when I was weaning
Harriet.'' And she added, scornfully, "What event have you got
to reckon from?''
Miss Anthony meekly subsided.
Mrs. Stanton had wonderful blue
eyes, which held to the end of her life an expression of eternal
youth. During our conventions she usually took a little nap in
the afternoon, and when she awoke her blue eyes always had an
expression of pleased and innocent surprise, as if she were
gazing on the world for the first time--the round, unwinking,
interested look a baby's eyes have when something attractive is
held up before them.
Let me give in a paragraph, before I
swing off into the bypaths that always allure me, the
consecutive suffrage events of the past quarter of a century.
Having done this, I can dwell on each as casually as I choose,
for it is possible to describe only a few incidents here and
there; and I shall not be departing from the story of my life,
for my life had become merged in the suffrage cause.
Of the preliminary suffrage
campaigns in Kansas, made in company with "Aunt Susan,'' I have
already written, and it remains only to say that during the
second Kansas campaign yellow was adopted as the suffrage
color. In 1890, '92, and '93 we again worked in Kansas and in
South Dakota, with such indefatigable and brilliant speakers as
Mrs. Catt (to whose efforts also were largely due the winning of
Colorado in '93), Mrs. Laura Johns of Kansas, Mrs. Julia Nelson,
Henry B. Blackwell, Dr. Helen V. Putnam of Dakota, Mrs. Emma
Smith DeVoe, Rev. Olympia Browne of Wisconsin, and Dr. Mary
Seymour Howell of New York. In '94, '95, and '96 special
efforts were devoted to Idaho, Utah, California, and Washington,
and from then on our campaigns were waged steadily in the
The Colorado victory gave us two
full suffrage states, for in 1869 the Territory of Wyoming had
enfranchised women under very interesting conditions, not now
generally remembered. The achievement was due to the influence
of one woman, Esther Morris, a pioneer who was as good a
neighbor as she was a suffragist. In those early days, in homes
far from physicians and surgeons, the women cared for one
another in sickness, and Esther Morris, as it happened, once
took full and skilful charge of a neighbor during the difficult
birth of the latter's child. She had done the same thing for
many other women, but this woman's husband was especially
grateful. He was also a member of the Legislature, and he told
Mrs. Morris that if there was any measure she wished put through
for the women of the territory he would be glad to introduce it.
She immediately took him at his word by asking him to introduce
a bill enfranchising women, and he promptly did so.
The Legislature was Democratic, and
it pounced upon the measure as a huge joke. With the amiable
purpose of embarrassing the Governor of the territory, who was a
Republican and had been appointed by the President, the members
passed the bill and put it up to him to veto. To their combined
horror and amazement, the young Governor did nothing of the
kind. He had come, as it happened, from Salem, Ohio, one of the
first towns in the United States in which a suffrage convention
was held. There, as a boy, he had heard Susan B. Anthony make a
speech, and he had carried into the years the impression it made
upon him. He signed that bill; and, as the Legislature could
not get a two-thirds vote to kill it, the disgusted members had
to make the best of the matter. The following year a Democrat
introduced a bill to repeal the measure, but already public
sentiment had changed and he was laughed down. After that no
further effort was ever made to take the ballot away from the
women of Wyoming.
When the territory applied for
statehood, it was feared that the woman-suffrage clause in the
constitution might injure its chance of admission, and the women
sent this telegram to Joseph M. Carey: "Drop us if you must.
We can trust the men of Wyoming to enfranchise us after our
territory becomes a state.''
Mr. Carey discussed this telegram
with the other men who were urging upon Congress the admission
of their territory, and the following reply went back: "We may
stay out of the Union a hundred years, but we will come in with
There is great inspiration in those
two messages--and a great lesson, as well. In 1894 we conducted
a campaign in New York, when an effort was made to secure a
clause to enfranchise women in the new state constitution; and
for the first time in the history of the woman-suffrage movement
many of the influential women in the state and city of New York
took an active part in the work. Miss Anthony was, as always,
our leader and greatest inspiration. Mrs. John Brooks Greenleaf
was state president, and Miss Mary Anthony was the most active
worker in the Rochester headquarters. Mrs. Lily Devereaux Blake
had charge of the campaign in New York City, and Mrs. Marianna
Chapman looked after the Brooklyn section, while a most
stimulating sign of the times was the organization of a
committee of New York women of wealth and social influence, who
established their headquarters at Sherry's. Among these were
Mrs. Josephine Shaw Lowell, Mrs. Joseph H. Choate, Dr. Mary
Putnam Jacobi, Mrs. J. Warren Goddard, and Mrs. Robert Abbe.
Miss Anthony, then in her seventy-fifth year, spoke in every
county of the state sixty in all. I spoke in forty, and Mrs.
Catt, as always, made a superb record. Miss Harriet May Mills,
a graduate of Cornell, and Miss Mary G. Hay, did admirable
organization work in the dif- ferent counties. Our
disappointment over the result was greatly soothed by the fact
that only two years later both Idaho and Utah swung into line as
full suffrage states, though California, in which we had labored
with equal zeal, waited fifteen years longer.
Among these campaigns, and
overlapping them, were our annual conventions--each of which I
attended from 1888 on--and the national and international
councils, to a number of which, also, I have given preliminary
mention. When Susan B. Anthony died in 1906, four American
states had granted suffrage to woman. At the time I
of the American women's work for suffrage may be briefly
FULL SUFFRAGE FOR WOMEN
State Year Won Electoral Votes
Wyoming 1869 3
Colorado 1893 6
Idaho 1896 4
Utah 1896 4
Washington 1910 7
California 1911 13
Arizona 1912 3
Kansas 1912 10
Oregon 1912 5
Alaska 1913 --
Nevada 1914 3
Montana 1914 4
PRESIDENTIAL AND MUNICIPAL SUFFRAGE
State Year Won Electoral Votes
To tabulate the wonderful work done
by the conventions and councils is not possible, but a
consecutive list of the meetings would run like this:
First National Convention,
Washington, D.C., 1887.
First International Council of Women, Washington, D.C., 1888.
National Suffrage Convention, Washington, D.C., 1889.
National Suffrage Convention, Washington, D.C., 1890.
National Suffrage Convention, Washington, D.C., 1891.
National Suffrage Convention, Washington, D.C., 1892.
National Suffrage Convention, Washington, D.C., 1893.
International Council, Chicago, 1893.
National Suffrage Convention, Washington, D.C., 1894.
National Suffrage Convention, Atlanta, Ga., 1895.
National Suffrage Convention, Washington, D.C., 1896.
National Suffrage Convention, Des Moines, Iowa, 1897.
National Suffrage Convention, Washington, D.C., 1898.
National Suffrage Convention, Grand Rapids, Mich., 1899.
International Council, London, England, 1899.
National Suffrage Convention, Washington, D.C., 1900.
National Suffrage Convention, Minneapolis, Minn., 1901.
National Suffrage Convention, Washington, D.C., 1902.
National Suffrage Convention, New Orleans, La., 1903.
National Suffrage Convention, Washington, D.C., 1904.
International Council of Women, Berlin, Germany, 1904.
Formation of Intern'l Suffrage Alliance, Berlin, Germany, 1904.
National Suffrage Convention, Portland, Oregon, 1905.
National Suffrage Convention, Baltimore, Md., 1906.
International Suffrage Alliance, Copenhagen, Denmark, 1906.
National Suffrage Convention, Chicago, III., 1907.
International Suffrage Alliance, Amsterdam, Holland, 1908.
National Suffrage Convention, Buffalo, N. Y., 1908.
New York Headquarters established, 1909.
National Suffrage Convention, Seattle, Wash., 1909.
International Suffrage Alliance, London, England, 1909.
National Suffrage Convention, Washington, D.C., 1910.
International Council, Genoa, Italy, 1911.
National Suffrage Convention, Louisville, Ky., 1911.
International Suffrage Alliance, Stockholm, Sweden, 1911.
National Suffrage Convention, Philadelphia, Pa., 1912.
International Council, The Hague, Holland, 1913
National Suffrage Convention, Washington, D.C.; 1913.
International Suffrage Alliance, Budapest, Hungary, 1913.
National Suffrage Convention, Nashville, Tenn., 1914.
International Council, Rome, Italy, 1914.
The winning of the suffrage states,
the work in the states not yet won, the conventions, gatherings,
and international councils in which women of every nation have
come together, have all combined to make this quarter of a
century the most brilliant period for women in the history of
the world. I have set forth the record baldly and without
comment, because the bare facts are far more eloquent than
words. It must not be forgotten, too, that these great
achievements of the progressive women of to-day have been
accomplished against the opposition of a large number of their
own sex--who, while they are out in the world's arena fighting
against progress for their sisters, still shatter the ear-drum
with their incongruous war-cry, "Woman's place is in the
Of our South Dakota campaign in 1890
there remains only one incident which should have a place here:
We were attending the Republican state nominating convention at
Mitchell--Miss Anthony, Mrs. Catt, other leaders, and
myself--having been told that it would be at once the largest
and the most interesting gathering ever held in the state as it
proved to be. All the leading politicians of the state were
there, and in the wake of the white men had come tribes of
Indians with their camp outfits, their wives and their
children--the groups forming a picturesque circle of tents and
tepees around the town. It was a great occasion for them, an
Indian powwow, for by the law all Indians who had lands in
severalty were to be permitted to vote the following year. They
were present, therefore, to study the ways of the white man, and
an edifying exhibition of these was promptly offered them. The
crowd was so great that it was only through the courtesy of
Major Pickler, a member of Congress and a devoted believer in
suffrage, that Miss Anthony, Mrs. Catt, and the rest of us were
able to secure passes to the convention, and when we reached the
hall we were escorted to the last row of seats on the crowded
platform. As the space between us and the speakers was filled
by rows upon rows of men, as well as by the band and their
instruments, we could see very little that took place. Some of
our friends pointed out this condition to the local committee
and asked that we be given seats on the floor, but received the
reply that there was "absolutely no room on the floor except
for delegates and distinguished visitors.''
Our persistent friends then
suggested that at least a front seat should be given to Miss
Anthony, who certainly came under the head of a "distinguished
visitor''; but this was not done--probably because a large
number of the best seats were filled by Russian laborers wearing
badges inscribed "Against Woman Suffrage and Susan B.
Anthony.'' We remained, perforce, in our rear seats, finding
such interest as we could in the back view of hundreds of heads.
Just before the convention was called to order it was announced
that a delegation of influential Indians was waiting outside,
and a motion to invite the red men into the hall was made and
carried with great enthusiasm. A committee of leading citizens
was appointed to act as escort, and these gentlemen filed out,
returning a few moments later with a party of Indian warriors in
full war regalia, even to their gay blankets, their feathered
head-dresses, and their paint. When they appeared the band
struck up a stirring march of welcome, and the entire audience
cheered while the Indians, flanked by the admiring committee,
stalked solemnly down the aisle and were given seats of honor
directly in front of the platform.
All we could see of them were the
brilliant feathers of their war-bonnets, but we got the full
effect of their reception in the music and the cheers. I dared
not look at Miss Anthony during this remarkable scene, and she,
craning her venerable neck to get a glimpse of the incident from
her obscure corner, made no comment to me; but I knew what she
was thinking. The following year these Indians would have
votes. Courtesy, therefore, must be shown them. But the women
did not matter, the politicians reasoned, for even if they were
enfranchised they would never support the element represented at
that convention. It was not surprising that, notwithstanding
our hard work, we did not win the state, though all the
conditions had seemed most favorable; for the state was new, the
men and women were working side by side in the fields, and there
was discontent in the ranks of the political parties.
After the election, when we analyzed
the vote county by county, we discovered that in every county
whose residents were principally Americans the amendment was
carried, whereas in all counties populated largely by foreigners
it was lost. In certain counties--those inhabited by Russian
Jews-- the vote was almost solidly against us, and this
notwithstanding the fact that the wives of these Russian voters
were doing a man's work on their farms in addition to the usual
women's work in their homes. The fact that our Cause could be
defeated by ignorant laborers newly come to our country was a
humiliating one to accept; and we realized more forcibly than
ever before the difficulty of the task we had assumed--a task
far beyond any ever undertaken by a body of men in the history
of democratic government throughout the world. We not only had
to bring American men back to a belief in the fundamental
principles of republican government, but we had also to educate
ignorant immigrants, as well as our own Indians, whose degree of
civilization was indicated by their war-paint and the flaunting
feathers of their head-dresses.
The Kansas campaign, which Miss
Anthony, Mrs. Catt, Mrs. Johns, and I conducted in 1894, held a
special interest, due to the Populist movement. There were so
many problems before the people-- prohibition, free silver, and
the Populist propaganda --that we found ourselves involved in
the bitterest campaign ever fought out in the state. Our
desire, of course, was to get the indorsement of the different
political parties and religious bodies, We succeeded in
obtaining that of three out of four of the Methodist Episcopal
conferences--the Congregational, the Epworth League, and the
Christian Endeavor League--as well as that of the State
Teachers' Association, the Woman's Christian Temperance Union,
and various other religious and philanthropic societies. To
obtain the indorsement of the political parties was much more
difficult, and we were facing conditions in which partial
success was worse than complete failure. It had long been an
unwritten law before it became a written law in our National
Association that we must not take partisan action or line up
with any one political party. It was highly important,
therefore, that either all parties should support us or that
none should. The Populist convention was held in Topeka before
either the Democratic or Republican convention, and after two
days of vigorous fighting, led by Mrs. Anna Diggs and other
prominent Populist women, a suffrage plank was added to the
platform. The Populist party invited me, as a minister, to open
the convention with prayer. This was an innovation, and served
as a wedge for the admission of women representatives of the
Suffrage Association to address the convention. We all did so,
Miss Anthony speaking first, Mrs. Catt second, and I last; after
which, for the first time in history, the Doxology was sung at a
political convention. At the Democratic convention we made the
same appeal, and were refused. Instead of indorsing us, the
Democrats put an anti-suffrage plank in their platform--but
this, as the party had little standing in Kansas, probably did
us more good than harm. Trouble came thick and fast, however,
when the Republicans, the dominant party in the state, held
their convention; and a mighty struggle began over the admission
of a suffrage plank. There was a Woman's Republican Club in
Kansas, which held its convention in Topeka at the same time the
Republicans were holding theirs. There was also a Mrs. Judith
Ellen Foster, who, by stirring up opposition in this Republican
Club against the insertion of a suffrage plank, caused a serious
split in the convention. Miss Anthony, Mrs. Catt, and I, of
course, urged the Republican women to stand by their sex, and to
give their support to the Republicans only on condition that the
latter added suffrage to their platform. At no time, and in no
field of work, have I ever seen a more bitter conflict in
progress than that which raged for two days during this
Republican women's convention. Liquor-dealers, joint-keepers,
"boot-leggers,'' and all the lawless element of Kansas swung
into line at a special convention held under the auspices of the
Liquor League of Kansas City, and cast their united weight
against suffrage by threatening to deny their votes to any
candidate or political party favoring our Cause. The Republican
women's convention finally adjourned with nothing accomplished
except the passing of a resolution mildly requesting the
Republican party to indorse woman suffrage. The result was, of
course, that it was not indorsed by the Republican convention,
and that it was defeated at the following election.
It was at the time of these
campaigns that I was elected Vice-President of the National
Association and Lecturer at Large, and the latter office brought
in its train a glittering variety of experiences. On one
occasion an episode occurred which "Aunt Susan'' never
afterward wearied of describing. There was a wreck somewhere on
the road on which I was to travel to meet a lecture engagement,
and the trains going my way were not running. Looking up the
track, however, I saw a train coming from the opposite
direction. I at once grasped my hand-luggage and started for
"Wait! Wait!'' cried Miss
Anthony. "That train's going the wrong way!''
"At least it's going SOMEWHERE!'' I
replied, tersely, as the train stopped, and I climbed the steps.
Looking back when the train had started again, I saw "Aunt
Susan'' standing in the same spot on the platform and staring
after it with incredulous eyes; but I was right, for I
discovered that by going up into another state I could get a
train which would take me to my destination in time for the
lecture that night. It was a fine illustration of my pet theory
that if one intends to get somewhere it is better to start, even
in the wrong direction, than to stand still.
Again and again in our work we had
occasion to marvel over men's lack of understanding of the views
of women, even of those nearest and dearest to them; and we had
an especially striking illustration of this at one of our
hearings in Washington. A certain distinguished gentleman (we
will call him Mr. H----) was chairman of the Judiciary, and
after we had said what we wished to say, he remarked: "Your
arguments are logical. Your cause is just. The trouble is that
women don't want suffrage. My wife doesn't want it. I don't
know a single woman who does want it.''
As it happened for this unfortunate
gentleman, his wife was present at the hearing and sitting
beside Miss Anthony. She listened to his words with surprise,
and then whispered to "Aunt Susan'': "How CAN he say that?
_I_ want suffrage, and I've told him so a hundred times in the
last twenty years.''
"Tell him again NOW,'' urged Miss
Anthony. "Here's your chance to impress it on his memory.''
"Here!'' gasped the wife. "Oh, I
"Then may I tell him?''
"Why--yes! He can think what he
pleases, but he has no right to publicly misrepresent me.'' The
assent, hesitatingly begun, finished on a sudden note of
firmness. Miss Anthony stood up. "It may interest Mr. H----,''
she said, "to know that his wife DOES wish to vote, and that
for twenty years she has wished to vote, and has often told him
so, though he has evidently forgotten it. She is here beside
me, and has just made this explanation.''
Mr. H---- stammered and hesitated,
and finally decided to laugh. But there was no mirth in the
sound he made, and I am afraid his wife had a bad quarter of an
hour when they met a little later in the privacy of their home.
Among other duties that fell to my
lot at this period were numerous suffrage debates with prominent
opponents of the Cause. I have already referred to the debate
in Kansas with Senator Ingalls. Equaling this in importance was
a bout with Dr. Buckley, the distinguished Methodist debater,
which had been arranged for us at Chautauqua by Bishop Vincent
of the Methodist Church. The bishop was not a believer in
suffrage, nor was he one of my admirers. I had once aroused his
ire by replying to a sermon he had delivered on "God's Women,''
and by proving, to my own satisfaction at least, that the women
he thought were God's women had done very little, whereas the
work of the world had been done by those he believed were not
"God's Women.'' There was considerable interest, therefore, in
the Buckley-Shaw debate he had arranged; we all knew he expected
Dr. Buckley to wipe out that old score, and I was determined to
make it as difficult as possible for the distinguished gentleman
to do so. We held the debate on two succeeding days, I speaking
one afternoon and Dr. Buckley replying the following day. On
the evening before I spoke, however, Dr. Buckley made an
indiscreet remark, which, blown about Chautauqua on the light
breeze of gossip, was generally regarded as both unchivalrous
As the hall in which we were to
speak was enormous, he declared that one of two things would
certainly happen. Either I would scream in order to be heard by
my great audience, or I would be unable to make myself heard at
all. If I screamed it would be a powerful argument against
women as public speakers; if I could not be heard, it would be
an even better argument. In either case, he summed up, I was
doomed to failure. Following out this theory, he posted men in
the extreme rear of the great hall on the day of my lecture, to
report to him whether my words reached them, while he himself
graciously occupied a front seat. Bishop Vincent's antagonistic
feeling was so strong, however, that though, as the presiding
officer of the occasion, he introduced me to the audience, he
did not wait to hear my speech, but immediately left the hall--
and this little slight added to the public's interest in the
debate. It was felt that the two gentlemen were not quite
"playing fair,'' and the champions of the Cause were especially
enthusiastic in their efforts to make up for these failures in
courtesy. My friends turned out in force to hear the lecture,
and on the breast of every one of them flamed the yellow bow
that stood for suffrage, giving to the vast hall something of
the effect of a field of yellow tulips in full bloom.
When Dr. Buckley rose to reply the
next day these friends were again awaiting him with an equally
jocund display of the suffrage color, and this did not add to
his serenity. During his remarks he made the serious mistake of
losing his temper; and, unfortunately for him, he directed his
wrath toward a very old man who had thoughtlessly applauded by
pounding on the floor with his cane when Dr. Buckley quoted a
point I had made. The doctor leaned forward and shook his fist
at him. "Think she's right, do you?'' he asked.
"Yes,'' admitted the venerable
citizen, briskly, though a little startled by the manner of the
"Old man,'' shouted Dr. Buckley,
"I'll make you take that back if you've got a grain of sense in
The insult cost him his audience.
When he realized this he lost all his self-possession, and, as
the Buffalo Courier put it the next day, "went up and down the
platform raving like a Billingsgate fishwife.'' He lost the
debate, and the supply of yellow ribbon left in the surrounding
counties was purchased that night to be used in the suffrage
celebration that followed. My friends still refer to the
occasion as "the day we wiped up the earth with Dr. Buckley'';
but I do not deserve the implied tribute, for Dr. Buckley would
have lost his case without a word from me. What really gave me
some satisfaction, however, was the respective degree of
freshness with which he and I emerged from our combat. After my
speech Miss Anthony and I were given a reception, and stood for
hours shaking hands with hundreds of men and women. Later in the
evening we had a dinner and another reception, which, lasting,
as they did, until midnight, kept us from our repose. Dr.
Buckley, poor gentle- man, had to be taken to his hotel
immediately after his speech, given a hot bath, rubbed down, and
put tenderly to bed; and not even the sympathetic heart of Susan
B. Anthony yearned over him when she heard of his exhaustion.
It was also at Chautauqua, by the
way, though a number of years earlier, that I had my much
misquoted encounter with the minister who deplored the fashion I
followed in those days of wearing my hair short. This young
man, who was rather a pompous person, saw fit to take me to task
at a table where a number of us were dining together. "Miss
Shaw,'' he said, abruptly, "I have been asked very often why
you wear your hair short, and I have not been able to explain.
Of course''-- this kindly--'' I know there is some good reason.
I ventured to advance the theory that you have been ill and that
your hair has fallen out. Is that it?''
"No,'' I told him. "There is a
reason, as you suggest. But it is not that one.''
"Then why--'' he insisted.
"I am rather sensitive about it,''
"I don't know that I care to
discuss the subject.'
The young minister looked pained.
"But among friends--'' he protested.
"True,'' I conceded. "Well, then,
among friends, I will admit frankly that it is a birthmark. I
was born with short hair.''
That was the last time my short hair
was criticized in my presence, but the young minister was right
in his disapproval and I was wrong, as I subsequently realized.
A few years later I let my hair grow long, for I had learned
that no woman in public life can afford to make herself
conspicuous by any eccentricity of dress or appearance. If she
does so she suffers for it herself, which may not disturb her,
and to a greater or less degree she injures the cause she
represents, which should disturb her very much.