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The Story of a Pioneer
The Great Cause


There is a theory that every seven years each human being undergoes a complete physical reconstruction, with corresponding changes in his mental and spiritual make-up.  Possibly it was due to this reconstruction that, at the end of seven years on Cape Cod, my soul sent forth a sudden call to arms.  I was, it reminded me, taking life too easily; I was in danger of settling into an agreeable routine. The work of my two churches made little drain on my superabundant vitality, and not even the winning of a medical degree and the increasing demands of my activities on the lecture platform wholly eased my conscience.  I was happy, for I loved my people and they seemed to love me.  It would have been pleasant to go on almost indefinitely, living the life of a country minister and telling myself that what I could give to my flock made such a life worth while. But all the time, deep in my heart, I realized the needs of the outside world, and heard its prayer for workers.  My theological and medical courses in Boston, with the experiences that accompanied them, had greatly widened my horizon.  Moreover, at my invitation, many of the noble women of the day were coming to East Dennis to lecture, bringing with them the stirring atmosphere of the conflicts they were waging.  One of the first of these was my friend Mary A. Livermore; and after her came Julia Ward Howe, Anna Garlin Spencer, Lucy Stone, Mary F. Eastman, and many others, each charged with inspiration for my people and with a special message for me, which she sent forth unknowingly and which I alone heard.  They were fighting great battles, these women--for suffrage, for temperance, for social purity--and in every word they uttered I heard a rallying-cry.  So it was that, in 1885, I suddenly pulled myself up to a radical decision and sent my resignation to the trustees of the two churches whose pastor I had been since 1878.

The action caused a demonstration of regret which made it hard to keep to my resolution and leave these men and women whose friendship was among the dearest of my possessions.  But when we had all talked things over, many of them saw the situation as I did.  No doubt there were those, too, who felt that a change of ministry would be good for the churches.  During the weeks that followed my resignation I received many odd tributes, and of these one of the most amusing came from a young girl in the parish, who broke into loud protests when she heard that I was going away.  To comfort her I predicted that she would now have a man minister--doubtless a very nice man.  But the young person continued to sniffle disconsolately. ``I don't want a man,'' she wailed.  ``I don't like to see men in pulpits.  They look so awkward.''  Her grief culminated in a final outburst.  ``They're all arms and legs!'' she sobbed.

When my resignation was finally accepted, and the time of my departure drew near, the men of the community spent much of their leisure in discussing it and me.  The social center of East Dennis was a certain grocery, to which almost every man in town regularly wended his way, and from which all the gossip of the town emanated.  Here the men sat for hours, tilted back in their chairs, whittling the rungs until they nearly cut the chairs from under them, and telling one another all they knew or had heard about their fellow-townsmen.  Then, after each session, they would return home and repeat the gossip to their wives.  I used to say that I would give a dollar to any woman in East Dennis who could quote a bit of gossip which did not come from the men at that grocery.  Even my old friend Captain Doane, fine and high-minded citizen though he was, was not above enjoying the mild diversion of these social gatherings, and on one occasion at least he furnished the best part of the entertainment.

The departing minister was, it seemed, the topic of the day's discussion, and, to tease Captain Doane one young man who knew the strength of his friendship for me suddenly began to speak, then pursed up his lips and looked eloquently mysterious.  As he had expected, Captain Doane immediately pounced on him.

``What's the matter with you?'' demanded the old man.  ``Hev you got anything agin Miss Shaw?''

The young man sighed and murmured that if he wished he could repeat a charge never before made against a Cape Cod minister, but--and he shut his lips more obviously.  The other men, who were in the plot, grinned, and this added the last touch to Captain Doane's indignation.  He sprang to his feet.  One of his peculiarities was a constant misuse of words, and now, in his excitement, he outdid himself.

``You've made an incineration against Miss Shaw,'' he shouted.  ``Do you hear--AN INCINERATION!  Take it back or take a lickin'!''

The young man decided that the joke had gone far enough, so he answered, mildly:  ``Well, it is said that all the women in town are in love with Miss Shaw.  Has that been charged against any other minister here?''

The men roared with laughter, and Captain Doane sat down, looking sheepish.

``All I got to say is this,'' he muttered:  ``That gal has been in this community for seven years, and she 'ain't done a thing during the hull seven years that any one kin lay a finger on!''

The men shouted again at this back-handed tribute, and the old fellow left the grocery in a huff.

Later I was told of the ``incineration'' and his eloquent defense of me, and I thanked him for it.  But I added: ``I hear you said I haven't done a thing in seven years that any one can lay a finger on?''

"I said it,'' declared the Captain, ``and I'll stand by it.''

"Haven't I done any good?'' I asked.

"Sartin you have,'' he assured me, heartily. "Lots of good.''

"Well,'' I said, "can't you put your finger on that?''

The Captain looked startled.  "Why--why-- Sister Shaw,'' he stammered, "you know I didn't mean THAT! What I meant,'' he repeated, slowly and solemnly, "was that the hull time you been here you ain't done nothin' anybody could put a finger on!''

Captain Doane apparently shared my girl parishioner's prejudice against men in the pulpit, for long afterward, on one of my visits to Cape Cod, he admitted that he now went to church very rarely.

"When I heard you preach,'' he explained, ``I gen'ally followed you through and I knowed where you was a-comin' out.  But these young fellers that come from the theological school--why, Sister Shaw, the Lord Himself don't know where they're comin' out!''

For a moment he pondered.  Then he uttered a valedictory which I have always been glad to recall as his last message, for I never saw him again.

"When you fust come to us,'' he said, "you had a lot of crooked places, an' we had a lot of crooked places; and we kind of run into each other, all of us.  But before you left, Sister Shaw, why, all the crooked places was wore off and everything was as smooth as silk.''

"Yes,'' I agreed, "and that was the time to leave --when everything was running smoothly.''

All is changed on Cape Cod since those days, thirty years ago.  The old families have died or moved away, and those who replaced them were of a different type.  I am happy in having known and loved the Cape as it was, and in having gathered there a store of delightful memories.  In later strenuous years it has rested me merely to think of the place, and long afterward I showed my continued love of it by building a home there, which I still possess. But I had little time to rest in this or in my Moylan home, of which I shall write later, for now I was back in Boston, living my new life, and each crowded hour brought me more to do.

We were entering upon a deeply significant period. For the first time women were going into industrial competition with men, and already men were intensely resenting their presence.  Around me I saw women overworked and underpaid, doing men's work at half men's wages, not because their work was inferior, but because they were women.  Again, too, I studied the obtrusive problems of the poor and of the women of the streets; and, looking at the whole social situation from every angle, I could find but one solution for women--the removal of the stigma of disfranchisement.  As man's equal before the law, woman could demand her rights, asking favors from no one.  With all my heart I joined in the crusade of the men and women who were fighting for her. 

My real work had begun. Naturally, at this period, I frequently met the members of Boston's most inspiring group--the Emersons and John Greenleaf Whittier, James Freeman Clark, Reverend Minot Savage, Bronson Alcott and his daughter Louisa, Wendell Phillips, William Lloyd Garrison, Stephen Foster, Theodore Weld, and the rest.  Of them all, my favorite was Whittier.  He had been present at my graduation from the theological school, and now he often attended our suffrage meetings.  He was already an old man, nearing the end of his life; and I recall him as singularly tall and thin, almost gaunt, bending forward as he talked, and wearing an expression of great serenity and benignity.  I once told Susan B. Anthony that if I needed help in a crowd of strangers that included her, I would immediately turn to her, knowing from her face that, whatever I had done, she would understand and assist me.  I could have offered the same tribute to Whittier.  At our meetings he was like a vesper-bell chiming above a battle-field.  Garrison always became excited during our discussions, and the others frequently did; but Whittier, in whose big heart the love of his fellow-man burned as unquenchably as in any heart there, always preserved his exquisite tranquillity.

Once, I remember, Stephen Foster insisted on having the word "tyranny'' put into a resolution, stating that women were deprived of suffrage by the TYRANNY of men.  Mr. Garrison objected, and the debate that followed was the most exciting I have ever heard.  The combatants actually had to adjourn before they could calm down sufficiently to go on with their meeting.  Knowing the stimulating atmosphere to which he had grown accustomed, I was not surprised to have Theodore Weld explain to me; long afterward, why he no longer attended suffrage meetings.

"Oh,'' he said, "why should I go?  There hasn't been any one mobbed in twenty years!''

The Ralph Waldo Emersons occasionally attended our meetings, and Mr. Emerson, at first opposed to woman suffrage, became a convert to it during the last years of his life--a fact his son and daughter omitted to mention in his biography.  After his death I gave two suffrage lectures in Concord, and each time Mrs. Emerson paid for the hall.  At these lectures Louisa M. Alcott graced the assembly with her splendid, wholesome presence, and on both occasions she was surrounded by a group of boys.  She frankly cared much more for boys than for girls, and boys inevitably gravitated to her whenever she entered a place where they were.  When women were given school suffrage in Massachusetts, Miss Alcott was the first woman to vote in Concord, and she went to the polls accompanied by a group of her boys, all ardently ``for the Cause.''  My general impression of her was that of a fresh breeze blowing over wide moors.  She was as different as possible from exquisite little Mrs. Emerson, who, in her daintiness and quiet charm, suggested an old New England garden.

Of Abby May and Edna Cheney I retain a general impression of ``bagginess''--of loose jackets over loose waistbands, of escaping locks of hair, of bodies seemingly one size from the neck down.  Both women were utterly indifferent to the details of their appearance, but they were splendid workers and leading spirits in the New England Woman's Club. It was said to be the trouble between Abby May and Kate Gannett Wells, both of whom stood for the presidency of the club, that led to the beginning of the anti-suffrage movement in Boston.  Abby May was elected president, and all the suffragists voted for her.  Subsequently Kate Gannett Wells began her anti-suffrage campaign.  Mrs. Wells was the first anti-suffragist I ever knew in this country. Before her there had been Mrs. Dahlgren, wife of Admiral Dahlgren, and Mrs. William Tecumseh Sherman.  On one occasion Elizabeth Cady Stanton challenged Mrs. Dahlgren to a debate on woman suffrage, and in the light of later events Mrs. Dahlgren's reply is amusing.  She declined the challenge, explaining that for anti-suffragists to appear upon a public platform would be a direct violation of the principle for which they stood--which was the protection of female modesty!  Recalling this, and the present hectic activity of the anti-suffragists, one must feel that they have either abandoned their principle or widened their views.

For Julia Ward Howe I had an immense admiration; but, though from first to last I saw much of her, I never felt that I really knew her.  She was a woman of the widest culture, interested in every progressive movement.  With all her big heart she tried to be a democrat, but she was an aristocrat to the very core of her, and, despite her wonderful work for others, she lived in a splendid isolation.  Once when I called on her I found her resting her mind by reading Greek, and she laughingly admitted that she was using a Latin pony, adding that she was growing ``rusty.''  She seemed a little embarrassed by being caught with the pony, but she must have been reassured by my cheerful confession that if _I_ tried to read either Latin or Greek I should need an English pony.

Of Frances E. Willard, who frequently came to Boston, I saw a great deal, and we soon became closely associated in our work.  Early in our friendship, and at Miss Willard's suggestion, we made a compact that once a week each of us would point out to the other her most serious faults, and thereby help her to remedy them; but we were both too sane to do anything of the kind, and the project soon died a natural death.  The nearest I ever came to carrying it out was in warning Miss Willard that she was constantly defying all the laws of personal hygiene.  She never rested, rarely seemed to sleep, and had to be reminded at the table that she was there for the purpose of eating food.  She was always absorbed in some great interest, and oblivious to anything else, I never knew a woman who could grip an audience and carry it with her as she could. She was intensely emotional, and swayed others by their emotions rather than by logic; yet she was the least conscious of her physical existence of any one I ever knew, with the exception of Susan B. Anthony. Like ``Aunt Susan,'' Miss Willard paid no heed to cold or heat or hunger, to privation or fatigue.  In their relations to such trifles both women were disembodied spirits.

Another woman doing wonderful work at this time was Mrs. Quincy Shaw, who had recently started her day nurseries for the care of tenement children whose mothers labored by the day.  These nurseries were new in Boston, as was the kindergarten system she also established.  I saw the effect of her work in the lives of the people, and it strengthened my growing conviction that little could be done for the poor in a spiritual or educational way until they were given a certain amount of physical comfort, and until more time was devoted to the problem of prevention. Indeed, the more I studied economic issues, the more strongly I felt that the position of most philanthropists is that of men who stand at the bottom of a precipice gathering up and trying to heal those who fall into it, instead of guarding the top and preventing them from going over.

Of course I had to earn my living; but, though I had taken my medical degree only a few months before leaving Cape Cod, I had no intention of practising medicine.  I had merely wished to add a certain amount of medical knowledge to my mental equipment.  The Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association, of which Lucy Stone was president, had frequently employed me as a lecturer during the last two years of my pastorate.  Now it offered me a salary of one hundred dollars a month as a lecturer and organizer.  Though I may not have seemed so in these reminiscences, in which I have written as freely of my small victories as of my struggles and failures, I was a modest young person.  The amount seemed too large, and I told Mrs. Stone as much, after which I humbly fixed my salary at fifty dollars a month.  At the end of a year of work I felt that I had ``made good''; then I asked for and received the one hundred dollars a month originally offered me.

During my second year Miss Cora Scott Pond and I organized and carried through in Boston a great suffrage bazaar, clearing six thousand dollars for the association--a large amount in those days. Elated by my share in this success, I asked that my salary should be increased to one hundred and twenty-five dollars a month--but this was not done. Instead, I received a valuable lesson.  It was freely admitted that my work was worth one hundred and twenty-five dollars, but I was told that one hundred was the limit which could be paid, and I was reminded that this was a good salary for a woman.

The time seemed to have come to make a practical stand in defense of my principles, and I did so by resigning and arranging an independent lecture tour. The first month after my resignation I earned three hundred dollars.  Later I frequently earned more than that, and very rarely less.  Eventually I lectured under the direction of the Slaton Lecture Bureau of Chicago, and later still for the Redpath Bureau of Boston.  My experience with the Redpath people was especially gratifying.  Mrs. Livermore, who was their only woman lecturer, was growing old and anxious to resign her work.  She saw in me a possible successor, and asked them to take me on their list.  They promptly refused, explaining that I must ``make a reputation'' before they could even consider me.  A year later they wrote me, making a very good offer, which I accepted.  It may be worth while to mention here that through my lecture-work at this period I earned all the money I have ever saved.  I lectured night after night, week after week, month after month, in ``Chautauquas'' in the summer, all over the country in the winter, earning a large income and putting aside at that time the small surplus I still hold in preparation for the ``rainy day'' every working-woman inwardly fears.

I gave the public at least a fair equivalent for what it gave me, for I put into my lectures all my vitality, and I rarely missed an engagement, though again and again I risked my life to keep one.  My special subjects, of course, were the two I had most at heart-suffrage and temperance.  For Frances Willard, then President of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, had persuaded me to head the Franchise Department of that organization, succeeding Ziralda Wallace, the mother of Gen. Lew Wallace; and Miss Susan B. Anthony, who was beginning to study me closely, soon swung me into active work with her, of which, later, I shall have much to say.  But before taking up a subject as absorbing to me as my friendship for and association with the most wonderful woman I have ever known, it may be interesting to record a few of my pioneer experiences in the lecture-field.

In those days--thirty years ago--the lecture bureaus were wholly regardless of the comfort of their lecturers.  They arranged a schedule of engagements with exactly one idea in mind--to get the lecturer from one lecture-point to the next, utterly regardless of whether she had time between for rest or food or sleep.  So it happened that all-night journeys in freight-cars, engines, and cabooses were casual com- monplaces, while thirty and forty mile drives across the country in blizzards and bitter cold were equally inevitable.  Usually these things did not trouble me.  They were high adventures which I enjoyed at the time and afterward loved to recall.  But there was an occasional hiatus in my optimism.

One night, for example, after lecturing in a town in Ohio, it was necessary to drive eight miles across country to a tiny railroad station at which a train, passing about two o'clock in the morning, was to be flagged for me.  When we reached the station it was closed, but my driver deposited me on the platform and drove away, leaving me alone.  The night was cold and very dark.  All day I had been feeling ill and in the evening had suffered so much pain that I had finished my lecture with great difficulty.  Now toward midnight, in this desolate spot, miles from any house, I grew alarmingly worse.  I am not easily frightened, but that time I was sure I was going to die.  Off in the darkness, very far away, as it seemed, I saw a faint light, and with infinite effort I dragged myself toward it.  To walk, even to stand, was impossible; I crawled along the railroad track, collapsing, resting, going on again, whipping my will power to the task of keeping my brain clear, until after a nightmare that seemed to last through centuries I lay across the door of the switch-tower in which the light was burning.  The switchman stationed there heard the cry I was able to utter, and came to my assistance.  He carried me up to his signal-room and laid me on the floor by the stove; he had nothing to give me except warmth and shelter; but these were now all I asked.  I sank into a comatose condition shot through with pain.  Toward two o'clock in the morning he waked me and told me my train was coming, asking if I felt able to take it.  I decided to make the effort.  He dared not leave his post to help me, but he signaled to the train, and I began my progress back to the station.

I never clearly remembered how I got there; but I arrived and was helped into a car by a brakeman. About four o'clock in the morning I had to change again, but this time I was left at the station of a town, and was there met by a man whose wife had offered me hospitality.  He drove me to their home, and I was cared for.  What I had, it developed, was a severe case of ptomaine poisoning, and I soon recovered; but even after all these years I do not like to recall that night.

To be ``snowed in'' was a frequent experience. Once, in Minnesota, I was one of a dozen travelers who were driven in an omnibus from a country hotel to the nearest railroad station, about two miles away. It was snowing hard, and the driver left us on the station platform and departed.  Time passed, but the train we were waiting for did not come.  A true Western blizzard, growing wilder every moment, had set in, and we finally realized that the train was not coming, and that, moreover, it was now impossible to get back to the hotel.  The only thing we could do was to spend the night in the railroad station. I was the only woman in the group, and my fellow-passengers were cattlemen who whiled away the hours by smoking, telling stories, and exchanging pocket flasks.  The station had a telegraph operator who occupied a tiny box by himself, and he finally invited me to share the privacy of his microscopic quarters.  I entered them very gratefully, and he laid a board on the floor, covered it with an over-coat made of buffalo-skins, and cheerfully invited me to go to bed.  I went, and slept peacefully until morning.  Then we all returned to the hotel, the men going ahead and shoveling a path.

Again, one Sunday, I was snowbound in a train near Faribault, and this time also I was the only woman among a number of cattlemen.  They were an odoriferous lot, who smoked diligently and played cards without ceasing, but in deference to my presence they swore only mildly and under their breath. At last they wearied of their game, and one of them rose and came to me.

``I heard you lecture the other night,'' he said, awkwardly, ``and I've bin tellin' the fellers about it. We'd like to have a lecture now.''

Their card-playing had seemed to me a sinful thing (I was stricter in my views then than I am to-day), and I was glad to create a diversion.  I agreed to give them a lecture, and they went through the train, which consisted of two day coaches, and brought in the remaining passengers.  A few of them could sing, and we began with a Moody and Sankey hymn or two and the appealing ditty, ``Where is my wandering boy to-night?'' in which they all joined with special zest.  Then I delivered the lecture, and they listened attentively.  When I had finished they seemed to think that some slight return was in order, so they proceeded to make a bed for me.  They took the bottoms out of two seats, arranged them crosswise, and one man folded his overcoat into a pillow.  Inspired by this, two others immediately donated their fur overcoats for upper and lower coverings.  When the bed was ready they waved me toward it with a most hospitable air, and I crept in between the overcoats and slumbered sweetly until I was aroused the next morning by the welcome music of a snow-plow which had been sent from St. Paul to our rescue.

To drive fifty or sixty miles in a day to meet a lecture engagement was a frequent experience.  I have been driven across the prairies in June when they were like a mammoth flower-bed, and in January when they seemed one huge snow-covered grave--my grave, I thought, at times.  Once during a thirty-mile drive, when the thermometer was twenty degrees below zero, I suddenly realized that my face was freezing.  I opened my satchel, took out the tissue-paper that protected my best gown, and put the paper over my face as a veil, tucking it inside of my bonnet.  When I reached my destination the tissue was a perfect mask, frozen stiff, and I had to be lifted from the sleigh.  I was due on the lecture platform in half an hour, so I drank a huge bowl of boiling ginger tea and appeared on time. That night I went to bed expecting an attack of pneumonia as a result of the exposure, but I awoke next morning in superb condition.  I possess what is called ``an iron constitution,'' and in those days I needed it.

That same winter, in Kansas, I was chased by wolves, and though I had been more or less intimately associated with wolves in my pioneer life in the Michigan woods, I found the occasion extremely unpleasant.  During the long winters of my girlhood wolves had frequently slunk around our log cabin, and at times in the lumber-camps we had even heard them prowling on the roofs.  But those were very different creatures from the two huge, starving, tireless animals that hour after hour loped behind the cutter in which I sat with another woman, who, throughout the whole experience, never lost her head nor her control of our frantic horses.  They were mad with terror, for, try as they would, they could not outrun the grim things that trailed us, seemingly not trying to gain on us, but keeping always at the same distance, with a patience that was horrible.  From time to time I turned to look at them, and the picture they made as they came on and on is one I shall never forget.  They were so near that I could see their eyes and slavering jaws, and they were as noiseless as things in a dream.  At last, little by little, they began to gain on us, and they were almost within striking distance of the whip, which was our only weapon, when we reached the welcome outskirts of a town and they fell back.

Some of the memories of those days have to do with personal encounters, brief but poignant.  Once when I was giving a series of Chautauqua lectures, I spoke at the Chautauqua in Pontiac, Illinois. The State Reformatory for Boys was situated in that town, and, after the lecture the superintendent of the Reformatory invited me to visit it and say a few words to the inmates.  I went and spoke for half an hour, carrying away a memory of the place and of the boys which haunted me for months.  A year later, while I was waiting for a train in the station at Shelbyville, a lad about sixteen years old passed me and hesitated, looking as if he knew me. I saw that he wanted to speak and dared not, so I nodded to him.

``You think you know me, don't you?'' I asked, when he came to my side.

"Yes'm, I do know you,'' he told me, eagerly. "You are Miss Shaw, and you talked to us boys at Pontiac last year.  I'm out on parole now, but I 'ain't forgot.  Us boys enjoyed you the best of any show we ever had!''

I was touched by this artless compliment, and anxious to know how I had won it, so I asked, "What did I say that the boys liked?'' 

The lad hesitated.  Then he said, slowly, "Well, you didn't talk as if you thought we were all bad.''

"My boy,'' I told him, ``I don't think you are all bad.  I know better!''

As if I had touched a spring in him, the lad dropped into the seat by my side; then, leaning toward me, he said, impulsively, but almost in a whisper:

"Say, Miss Shaw, SOME OF US BOYS SAYS OUR PRAYERS!''

Rarely have I had a tribute that moved me more than that shy confidence; and often since then, in hours of discouragement or failure, I have reminded myself that at least there must have been something in me once to make a lad of that age so open up his heart.  We had a long and intimate talk, from which grew the abiding interest I feel in boys today.

Naturally I was sometimes inconvenienced by slight misunderstandings between local committees and myself as to the subjects of my lectures, and the most extreme instance of this occurred in a town where I arrived to find myself widely advertised as "Mrs. Anna Shaw, who whistled before Queen Victoria''!  Transfixed, I gaped before the billboards, and by reading their additional lettering discovered the gratifying fact that at least I was not expected to whistle now.  Instead, it appeared, I was to lecture on ``The Missing Link.'' As usual, I had arrived in town only an hour or two before the time fixed for my lecture; there was the briefest interval in which to clear up these painful misunderstandings.  I repeatedly tried to reach the chairman who was to preside at the entertainment, but failed.  At last I went to the hall at the hour appointed, and found the local committee there, graciously waiting to receive me.  Without wasting precious minutes in preliminaries, I asked why they had advertised me as the woman who had ``whistled before Queen Victoria.''

"Why, didn't you whistle before her?'' they exclaimed in grieved surprise.

"I certainly did not,'' I explained.  "Moreover, I was never called `The American Nightingale,' and I have never lectured on `The Missing Link.'  Where DID you get that subject?  It was not on the list I sent you.''

The members of the committee seemed dazed. They withdrew to a corner and consulted in whispers. Then, with clearing brow, the spokesman returned.

"Why,'' he said, cheerfully, "it's simple enough! We mixed you up with a Shaw lady that whistles; and we've been discussing the missing link in our debating society, so our citizens want to hear your views.''

"But I don't know anything about the missing link,'' I protested, "and I can't speak on it.''

"Now, come,'' they begged.  "Why, you'll have to!  We've sold all our tickets for that lecture. The whole town has turned out to hear it.''

Then, as I maintained a depressed silence, one of them had a bright idea. "I'll tell you how to fix it!'' he cried.  "Speak on any subject you please, but bring in something about the missing link every few minutes.  That will satisfy 'em.''

"Very well,'' I agreed, reluctantly.  "Open the meeting with a song.  Get the audience to sing `America' or `The Star-spangled Banner.' That will give me a few minutes to think, and I will see what can be done.''

Led by a very nervous chairman, the big audience began to sing, and under the inspiration of the music the solution of our problem flashed into my mind.

"It is easy,'' I told myself.  "Woman is the missing link in our government.  I'll give them a suffrage speech along that line.''

When the song ended I began my part of the entertainment with a portion of my lecture on "The Fate of Republics,'' tracing their growth and decay, and pointing out that what our republic needed to give it a stable government was the missing link of woman suffrage.  I got along admirably, for every five minutes I mentioned "the missing link,'' and the audience sat content and apparently interested, while the members of the committee burst into bloom on the platform.


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