Elia Peattie, an Uncommon Woman


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(By Elia W. Peattie.)

Bruce and Moneta Meikle send 30 cents for the Field monument, making a total of $2.25 received—and Miss Moneta sends the following pretty letter:

"Omaha, Dec. 1.—Dear Mrs. Peattie: I read of Eugene Field's death, and My brother Bruce and I thought we would like to send some money for his monument.

"I don't know what we little girls will do if we don't have some one to write some poems for us. You write such good prose I think you could write some poetry as well if you would try.

"We haven't any new Christmas poem, and I think if you could write one we would be very glad.

"From a little girl who loves Eugene Field's poems.


Dear Moneta, my "poetry" is so very bad that all the publishers send it back to me, and when I read it to my little children they writhe impatiently on their chairs, or fall asleep. It seems unfair to most of us that poets should be born, doesn't it, and that all the rest of us can only feel poetry in our souls, but cannot put words together so as to make others feel it? If you put Chinese blocks together right they become pagodas, or people, or junks. If you put words together right, they become poetry. But how to do it, dear Moneta—how to do it! Maybe you will some day be able to find out and let the rest of us know.

Mary Abbott, writing in the Times-Herald of Chicago, gives to the Pentateuch of the "Woman's Bible," which is unfortunately now from the press, the most unqualified condemnation. She calls it childish, absurd and pettish, as indeed, this paper prophesied it would be, when the first sheets were submitted to astonish woman kind. Mrs. Abbott says:

"A series of jokes intended seriously and therefore only the more amusing, appears to form the new "Woman's Bible." It is a pity. Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton's great, good and glorious life should not be capped by an effort which is principally unconscious humor.

"The result of the book will be to set women against their champions. It is an undignified display of temper against the early Hebrews, and the whole race of men, and, indeed, a shy at women for their inertia through thousands of years. Too bad the book ever came out, even so far."

Women who have the advancement of their sex really at heart might feel more vexed than they do about this ignorant, egotistical and senile publication, if it were not for the fact that the world in general will say so very little about it. One does not so much blame Mrs. Stanton, who is really in her dotage, and who ought to let us remember her past, and to sit for photographs of herself—for she looks like a beneficent judge—but one does blame the women in their prime, who elated at the privilege of being associated with Mrs. Stanton, have been betrayed by their own vanity into a ridiculous position.

Thus is the cause of woman's highest development made a jest every little while by those who are most friendly to the movement. It is invariably done by women whose brains can hold but one idea. I don't know whether this remark applies to Mrs. Stanton or not, for I never had the honor of knowing her, but I have a suspicion that it does. Anyway, her friends should have prevented her from dimming the luster of undeniable achievements by exposing her ignorance.

Omaha World-Herald, 6 December 1895, 8

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