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Making People Happy   By: (1877-1937)

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Author of A WOMAN'S WAY

Frontispiece by HARRISON FISHER





Published September






The bride hammered the table desperately with her gavel. In vain! The room was in pandemonium.

The lithe and curving form of the girl for she was only twenty, although already a wife was tense now as she stood there in her own drawing room, stoutly battling to bring order out of chaos. Usually the creamy pallor of her cheeks was only most daintily touched with rose: at this moment the crimson of excitement burned fiercely. Usually her eyes of amber were soft and tender: now they were glowing with an indignation that was half wrath.

Still the bride beat a tattoo of outraged authority with the gavel, wholly without avail. The confusion that reigned in the charming drawing room of Cicily Hamilton did but grow momently the more confounded. The Civitas Club was in full operation, and would brook no restraint. Each of the twelve women, who were ranged in chairs facing the presiding officer, was talking loudly and swiftly and incessantly. None paid the slightest heed to the frantic appeal of the gavel.... Then, at last, the harassed bride reached the limit of endurance. She threw the gavel from her angrily, and cried out shrilly above the massed clamor of the other voices:

"If you don't stop," she declared vehemently, "I'll never speak to one of you again!"

That wail of protest was not without its effect. There came a chorus of ejaculations; but the monologues had been efficiently interrupted, and the attention of the garrulous twelve was finally given to the presiding officer. For a moment, silence fell. It was broken by Ruth Howard, a girl with large, soulful brown eyes and a manner of rapt earnestness, who uttered her plaint in a tone of exceeding bitterness:

"And we came together in love!"

At that, Cicily Hamilton forgot her petulance over the tumult, and smiled with the sweetness that was characteristic of her.

"Really, you know," she confessed, almost contritely, "I don't like to lecture you in my own house; but we came together for a serious purpose, and you are just as rude as if you'd merely come to tea."

One of the women in the front row of chairs uttered a crisp cry of approval. This was Mrs. Flynn, a visiting militant suffragette from England. Her aggressive manner and the eager expression of her narrow face with the gleaming black eyes declared that this woman of forty was by nature a fighter who delighted in the fray.

"Yes; Mrs. Hamilton is right," was her caustic comment. "We are forgetting our great work the emancipation of woman!"

Cicily beamed approval on the speaker; but she inverted the other's phrase:

"Yes," she agreed, "our great work the subjugation of man!"

The statement was not, however, allowed to go unchallenged. Helen Johnson, who was well along in the twenties at least, and still a spinster, prided herself on her powers of conquest, despite the fact that she had no husband to show for it. So, now, she spoke with an air of languid superiority:

"Oh, we've already accomplished the subjugation of man," she drawled, and smiled complacently.

"Some of us have," Cicily retorted; and the accent on the first word pointed the allusion.

"Oh, hush, dear!" The chiding whisper came from Mrs. Delancy, a gray haired woman of sixty five, somewhat inclined to stoutness and having a handsome, kindly face. She was the aunt of Cicily, and had reared the motherless girl in her New York home. Now, on a visit to her niece, the bride of a year, she found herself inevitably involved in the somewhat turbulent session of the Civitas Club, with which as yet she enjoyed no great amount of sympathy. Her position in the chair nearest the presiding officer gave her opportunity to voice the rebuke without being overheard by anyone save the militant Mrs... Continue reading book >>

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