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He thereby caused the celestial author- ence of that knowledge. ities much embarrassment.
This observation is not original with This embarrassment arose out of the the writer - nor did it originate with theological problem of how it might be France. It is an ancient, although some possible to remit the sins of a race which times imperfectly recognized truth. had never yet sinned-never, in fact, as To tell the truth, sex and sex allure is yet been capable of sinning.
the most over advertised commodity on A sort of convention of the saints was earth. called, and France's report of the alleged Sex, love, marriage, et cetera, have doings of that heavenly assemblage, with been press-agented by every poet from its bickerings, its suggestions, arguments Homer and Omar to Amy Lowell and and counter-arguments, is not altogether Witter Bynner--that is, of course, if it is unlike an Examiner reporter's write-up admitted that all four are poets — by of a stormy session of the Board of Su every dramatist from Euripides and pervisors, with Andy Gallagher and “Jem Shakespeare to George Cohan and David met" in full swing.
Belasco — with the same provisionary The problem was finally solved by the condition, of course. suggestion of one of the saints-I forget Sculptors, painters, novelists, musiwhich one that the penguins be turned cians, newspaper reporters—in short, all into men and given a chance to accumu- the world's literature and all the world's late a few sins (in order that said heav- art, good, bad and indifferent, have deenly authorities might have a chance of voted their efforts to the creation of an fulfilling their contract to remit the pen- illusion and emphasis which, to tell the guins' iniquities).
truth, the subject doesn't merit. This was accordingly done, and for Such people as Ellen Key and Haveonce the Prince of Darkness fell in with lock Ellis, who pretend to strip away the heavenly designs — by undertaking the veil, don't do anything of the sort. They promotion of sin among the penguins. have merely found a new way of singing
When the penguins were turned into the song and telling the story. They men, they, of course, lost their feathers, draw the curtain well enough, but only and went about clad rather airily, con- to discover to us an artificial stage setsidering the probable climate of their ting—perhaps new and original in design island, which France places near the and plan, but unreality, nevertheless. pole.
And of all the press-agents of sex, the Up to the time that Satan got busy, the priests and the purists, the preachers female human penguin meant just as and moralists have been the most effimuch to the male human penguin, as she cient. had meant when they were both mere If sin and sinful women, for instance, birds—just that much and no more. were only just one-half as alluring and
Such a state of affairs did not suit Sa charming in reality as the oldtime suntanic purposes.
day school teacher used to make out, His very first activity on the island, how much more joyful a place this old according to France, was to catch a poor world would be! But the wild, wild wonaked unsophisticated — and awkward — men are so sadly tame after all! female penguin and teach her the art of One of the most baffling and confusing dress,—that is to say, of covering her things in life is not only that love and form in a manner to call attention to marriage, but that sin, "sweet sin," itself, and enhance (or create) its charms. as experiences, never come up to any.
The point of all which is that the origin thing like the reputation given them. and everlasting source of all unhealthy Not only is the bliss and joy that is sex mysticism and over-emphasis is in claimed, missing from the actuality, but clothes. That lasciviousness and over the very deep agony and torment of lust is based more upon a lack of knowl. which the poets sing, exist mainly in edge and appreciation of the beauties of their songs. the human form than it is upon the pres. The queer thing is that although pracWoodside Nymph Visiting the Mirrored River at Noontide.
-Emma B. Freeman. tically the whole of every generation heats and colds of the earth's unfriendly finds this out before they die, it never surface, there are few of us who are so gets through the thick heads of the next beautiful that we would not welcome at succeeding generation. You'd think times, at least, the comfort and protecthey'd guess sometime—but they don't. tion of some clever modist's or tailor's
Of course it is a good thing they don't lie. I can imagine there were times when conceding that the human race is worthy Diana herself would have enjoyed of perpetuation.
"slumping down" under the protecting But there is a point, and here is the folds of some old worn "knock-about" crux of the discussion, where all this mantle, safe from the strain of being razzle-dazzle about sex subjects ceases to beautiful. For even were we all blessed be desirable of a matter of race utility, with the beauty of Venus and Apollo and becomes the source of anti-social there would come times when we'd tire evils that threaten the very life of the of posing. race. It is hard for the most subtle mor. And the wildest-eyed advocate of alist to place and define this point in eugenics would not undertake to promise words, but instinct and common sense us, even if all his theories were adopted, recognize the "limit."
that we could ever build up so perfect In creating this age-old glamor, the a race that a little occasional aid from dressmakers, modistes, and corsettieres, an expert costumer would not be welhave been merely the tools and accom comed. plices of the priests and the poets, but Turn back and read Mark Twain, when they have been such a help! They have Mark becomes frank and tells the carried the light into regions where the truth about the miserable, ignorant, bominfluence of neither priest nor poet ex. bastic, artificial and hypocritical '60's isted, and they have helped wonderfully and '70's—those days when a woman's to tie up the tradition and literature of slippers were supposed to be mystethe subject to every day actuality. Their riously suspended from her hips, to fall talent for making a drape of cloth tell just at the edge of her crinoline. That a clever lie has covered what a multi she might have legs was unimaginable, tude of sins of society against the health and along with the denial of the existand beauty of the race! They have ence of these very useful limbs, went the clothed generation after generation of de denial of a number of other truths. Wofectives that the illusion might not die, men were imagined, or said, in those and if their clothing tended to make each days to be a number of things which wogeneration more defective, they grew men are not, never have been and never still more skillful in covering the faults will be. Men, likewise, claimed certain they helped to create, — and finally how qualities and attributes, which men never often they succeeded perverting taste un possessed and quite probably never had til these very defects could be empha. any real desire to possess. Upon such sized for the same purpose,—that is just wrong hypotheses calculations were sure as points of beauty had once been empha- to go astray. So the generation abounded sized.
in all sorts of wasteful, grotesque, unWitness the recent rage for the “de- just and stupid customs. butante slouch," whereby a rickety, It is not at all impossible that the anaemic female with a spine curved like Greeks reached such perfect heights of the letter C was supposed to create pleas. civilization simply because every Greek urable sensations in the breast of the knew exactly just how a perfectly tired business man, when the Venus de healthy, strong and excellent human Milo could she become perfect flesh be- body ought to be formed. And knowing fore his eyes, would have left him un- this, he took an absolutely impersonal atmoved.
titude toward the beauty of such a form. It is gladly admitted that dressmakers This knowledge seems to be a sort of are necessary. Besides the need of pro- talisman, or a sort of corrective standtecting our ridiculous bodies from the ard for thought, whereby any nation may