THE GOLDEN AGE
Tract No. 3
"Victoria C. Woodhull, A Biographical Sketch"
by Theodore Tilton
(based on notes compiled by Colonel James Harvey Blood)
Published at the Office of The Golden Age, 9 Spruce St., New York, 1871.
MR. TILTON'S ACCOUNT OF MRS. WOODHULL
"He that uttereth a slander is a fool."
--SOLOMON: Prov. X. 18.
I shall swiftly sketch the life of Victoria Claflin Woodhull; a young woman whose career had been as singular as any heroine's in a romance; whose ability is of a rare and whose character of the rarest type; whose personal sufferings are of themselves a whole drama pathos; whose name (through the malice of some and the ignorance of others) has caught a shadow in strange contrast with the whiteness of her life; whose position as a representative of her sex in the greatest reform of modern times renders her an object of peculiar interest to her fellow-citizens; and whose character (inasmuch as I know her well) I can portray without color or tinge from any other partiality save that I hold her in uncommon respect.
In Homer, Ohio, in a small cottage, white-painted and high-peaked, with a porch running round it and a flower garden in front, this daughter, the seventh of ten children of Roxanna and Buckman Claflin, was born September 23d, 1838. As this was the year when Queen Victoria was crowned, the new-born babe, though clad neither in purple nor fine linen, but comfortably swaddled in respectable poverty, was immediately christened (though without chrism) as the Queen's namesake; her parents little dreaming that their daughter would one day aspire to a higher seat than the English throne. The Queen, with that early matronly predilection which her subsequent life did so much to illustrate, foresaw that many glad mothers, who were to bring babes into the world during that coronation year, would name that after the chief lady of the earth; and accordingly she ordained a gift to all her little namesakes of Anno Domini 1838. As Victoria Claflin was one of these, she has lately been urged to make a trip to Windsor Castle, to see the illustrious giver of these gifts, and to receive the special souvenir which the Queen's bounty is supposed to hold still in store for the Ohio babe that uttered its first cry as if to say "Long live the Queen!" Mrs. Woodhull, who is now a candidate for the Presidency of the United States, should defer this visit till after her election, when she will have a beautiful opportunity to invite her elder sister in sovereignty--the mother of our mother country--to visit her fairest daughter, the Republic of the West.
It is pitiful to be a child without a childhood. Such was she. Not a sunbeam gilded the morning of her life. Her girlish career was a continuous bitterness--an unbroken heart-break. She was worked like a slave--whipped like a convict. Her father was impartial in his cruelty to all his children; her mother, with a fickleness of spirit that renders her one of the most erratic of mortals, sometimes abetted him in his scourgings, and at other times shielded the little ones from his blows. In a barrel of rain-water he kept a number of braided green withes made of willow or walnut twigs, and with these stinging weapons, never with an ordinary whip, he would cut the quivery flesh of the children till their tears and blood melted him into mercy. Sometimes he took a handsaw or a stick of firewood as the instrument of his savagery. Coming home after the children were in bed, on learning of some offence which they had committed, he has been known to waken them out of sleep, and to whip them till morning. In consequence of these brutalities, one of the sons, in his thirteenth year, burst away from home, went to sea, and still bears in a shattered constitution the damning memorial of his father's wrath. "I have no remembrance of a father's kiss," says Victoria. Her mother has on occasions tormented and harried her children until they would be thrown into spasms, whereat she would hysterically laugh, clap her hands, and look as fiercely delighted as a cat in playing with a mouse. At other times, her tenderness toward her offspring would appear almost angelic. She would fondle them, weep over them, lift her arms and thank God for such children, caress them with ecstatic joy, and then smite them as if seeking to destroy at a blow both body and soul. This eccentric old lady, compounded in equal parts of heaven and hell, will pray till her eyes are full of tears, and in the same hour curse till her lips are white with foam. The father exhibits a more tranquil bitterness, with fewer spasms. These parental peculiarities were lately made witnesses against their possessors in a court of justice.
If I must account for what seems unaccountable, I may say that with these parents, these traits are not only constitutional but have been further developed by circumstances. The mother, who has never in her life learned to read, was during her maidenhood the petted heiress of one of the richest German families of Pennsylvania, and was brought up not to serve but to be served, until in her ignorance and vanity she fancied all things her own, and all people her ministers. The father, partly bred to the law and partly to real-estate speculations, early in life acquired affluence, but during Victoria's third year suddenly lost all that he had gained, and sat down like a beggar in the dust of despair. The mother, from her youth, had been a religious monomaniac--a spiritualist before the name of spiritualism was coined, and before the Rochester knockings had noised themselves into the public ear. She saw visions and dreamed dreams. During the half year preceding Victoria's birth, the mother became powerfully excited by a religious revival, and went through the process known as "sanctification." She would rise in prayer-meetings and pour forth passionate hallelujahs that sometimes electrified the worshippers. The father, colder in temperament, yet equally inclined to the supernatural, was her partner in these excitements. When the stroke of poverty felled them to the earth, these exaltations were quenched in grief. The father, in the opinion of some, became partially crazed; he would take long and rapid walks, sometimes of twenty miles, and come home with bleeding feet and haggard face. The mother, never wholly sane, would huddle her children together as a hen her chickens, and wringing her hands above them, would pray by the hour that God would protect her little brood. Intense melancholy--a misanthropic gloom thick as a sea-fog--seized jointly upon both their minds, and at intervals ever since has blighted them with its mildew. It is said that a fountain cannot send forth at the same time sweet waters and bitter, and yet affection and enmity will proceed from this couple almost at the same moment. At times, they are full of craftiness, low cunning, and malevolence; at other times, they beam with sunshine, sweetness, and sincerity. I have seen many strange people, but the strangest of all are the two parents whose commingled essence constitutes the spiritual principle of the heroine of this tale.
Just here, if any one asks, "How is it that such parents should not have reproduced their eccentricities in their children?" I answer, "This is exactly what they have done." The whole brood are of the same feather--except Victoria and Tennie. What language shall describe them? Such another family-circle of cats and kits, with soft fur and sharp claws, purring at one moment and fighting the next, never before filled one house with their clamors since Babel began. They love and hate--they do good and evil--they bless and smite each other. They are a sisterhood of furies, tempered with love's melancholy. Here and there one will drop on her knees and invoke God's vengeance on the rest. But for years there has been one common sentiment sweetly pervading the breasts of a majority towards a minority of the offspring, namely, a determination that that Victoria and Tennie should earn all the money for the support of the numerous remainder of the Claflin tribe--wives, husbands, children, servants, and all. Being daughters of the horse-leech, they cry "give." It is the common law of the Claflin clan that the idle many shall eat up the substance of the thrifty few. Victoria is a green leaf, and her legion of relatives are caterpillars who devour her. Their sin is that they return no thanks after meat; they curse the hand that feeds them. They are what my friend Mr. Greeley calls "a bad crowd." I am a little rough in saying this, I admit; but I have a rude prejudice in favor of the plain truth.
Victoria's school-days comprised, all told, less than three years--stretching with broken intervals between her eighth and eleventh. The aptest learner of her class, she was the pet alike of scholars and teacher. Called "The Little Queen" (not only from her name but her demeanor) she bore herself with mimic royalty, like one born to command. Fresh and beautiful, her countenance being famed throughout the neighborhood for its striking spirituality, modest, yet energetic, and restive from the over-fullness of an inward energy such as quickened the young blood of Joan of Arc, she was a child of genius, toil, and grief. The little old head on the little young shoulders was often bent over her school-book at the midnight hour. Outside of the school-room, she was a household drudge, serving others so long as they were awake, and serving herself only when they slept. Had she been born black, or been chained to a cart-wheel in Alabama, she could not have been a more enslaved slave. During these school years, child as she was, she was the many-burdened maid-of-all-work in the large family of a married sister; she made fires, she washed and ironed, she baked bread, she cut wood, she spaded a vegetable garden, she went on errands, she tended infants, she did everything. "Victoria! Victoria!" was the call in the morning before the cock-crowing; when, bouncing out of bed, the "little steam engine," as she was styled, began her buzzing activities for the day. Light and fleet of step, she ran like a deer. She was everybody's favorite--loved, petted, and by some marveled at as a semi-supernatural being. Only in her own home (not a sweet but bitter home) was she treated with the cruelty that still becloud the memory of her early days.
I must now let out a secret. She acquired her studies, performed her work, and lived her life by the help (as she believes) of heavenly spirits. From her childhood till now (having reached her thirty-third year) her anticipation of the other world has been more vivid than her realization of this. She has entertained angels, and not unawares. These gracious guests have been her constant companions. They abide with her night and day. They dictate her life with daily revelation; and like St. Paul, she is "not disobedient to the heavenly vision." She goes and comes at their behest. Her enterprises are not the coinage of her own brain, but of their divine invention. Her writings and speeches are the products, not only of their indwelling in her soul, but of their absolute control of her brain and tongue. Like a good Greek of the olden time, she does nothing without consulting her oracles. Never, as she avers, have they deceived her, nor ever will she neglect their decrees. One-third of human life is passed in sleep; and in her case, a goodly fragment of this third is spent in trance. Seldom a day goes by but she enters into this fairy-land, or rather into this spirit-realm. In pleasant weather, she has a habit of sitting on the roof of her stately mansion on Murray Hill, and there communing hour by hour with the spirits. She is a religious devotee--her simple theology being an absorbing faith in God and the angels.
Moreover, I may as well mention here as later, that every characteristic utterance which she gives to the world is dictated under spirit influence, and most often in a totally unconscious state. The words that fall from her lips are gathered by the swift pen of her husband, and published almost verbatim as she gets and gives them. To take an illustration, after her recent nomination to the Presidency by "The Victoria League," she sent to that committee a letter of superior dignity and moral weight. It was a composition which she had dictated while so outwardly oblivious to the dictation, that when she ended and awoke, she had no memory at all of what she had done. The product of that strange and weird mood was a beautiful piece of English, not unworthy of Macaulay; and to prove what I say, I adduce the following eloquent passage, which (I repeat) was published without change as it fell from her unconscious lips.
"I ought not to pass unnoticed," she says, "your courteous and graceful allusion to what you deem the favoring omen of my name. It is true that a Victoria rules the great rival nation opposite to us on the other shore of the Atlantic, and it might grace the amity just sealed between the two nations, and be a new security of peace, if a twin sisterhood of Victorias were to preside over the two nations. It is true, also, that in its mere etymology the name signifies Victory! and the victory for the right is what we are bent on securing. It is again true, also, that to some minds there is a consonant harmony between the idea and the word, so that its euphonious utterance seems to their imaginations to be itself a genius of success. However this may be, I have sometimes imagined that there is perhaps something providential and prophetic in the fact that my parents were prompted to confer on me a name which forbids the very thought of failure; and, as the great Napoleon believed the star of his destiny, you will at least excuse me, and charge it to the credulity of the woman, if I believe also in fatality of triumph as somehow inhering in my name."
In quoting this passage, I wish to add that its author is a person of no special literary training; indeed, so averse to the pen that, of her own will, she rarely dips it into ink, except to sign her business autograph; nor would she ever write at all except for those spirit-promptings which she dare not disobey; and she could not possibly have produced the above peroration except by some strange intellectual quickening--some over-brooding moral help. This (as she says) she derives from the spirit world. One of her tests is, "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills whence cometh my help--my help cometh from the Lord who made Heaven and Earth." She reminds me of the old engraving of St. Gregory dictating his homilies under the outspread wing of the Holy Dove.
It has been so from her childhood. So that her school studies were, literally, a daily miracle. She would glance at a page, and know it by heart. The tough little mysteries which bother the bewildered brains of country-school dullards were always to her as vivid as the sunshine. And when sent on long and weary errands, she believes that she has been lifted over the ground by her angelic helpers--"lest she should dash her feet against a stone." When she had too heavy a basket to carry, an unseen hand would sometimes carry it for her. Digging in the garden as if her back would break, occasionally a strange restfulness would refresh her, and she knew that the spirits were toiling in her stead. All this may seem an illusion to everybody else, but will never be other than a reality to her.
Let me cite some details of these spiritual phenomena, curious in themselves, and illustrating the forces that impel her career. "My spiritual vision," she says, "dates back as early as my third year." In Victoria's birth place, a young woman named Rachel Scribner, about twenty-five years of age, who had been Victoria's nurse, suddenly died. On the day of her death, Victoria was picked up by her departing spirit, and borne off into the spirit-world. To this day Mrs. Woodhull describes vividly her childish sensations as she felt herself gliding through the air--like St. Catharine winged away by the angels. Her mother testifies that while this scene was enacting to the child's inner consciousness, her little body lay as if dead for three hours.
Two of her sisters, who had died in childhood, were constantly present with her. She would talk to them as a girl tattles to her dolls. They were her most fascinating playmates, and she never cared for any others while she had their invisible society.
In her tenth year, one day while sitting by the side of a cradle rocking a sick babe to sleep, she says that two angels came, and gently pushing her away, began to fan the child with their white hands, until its face grew fresh and rosy. Her mother then suddenly entered the chamber, and beheld in amazement the little nurse lying in a trance on the floor, her face turned upward toward the ceiling, and the pining babe apparently in the bloom of health.
The chief among her spiritual visitants, and one who has been a majestic guardian to her from the earliest years of her remembrance, she describes as a matured man of stately figure, clad in a Greek tunic, solemn and graceful in his aspect, strong in his influence, and altogether dominant over her life. For many years, notwithstanding an almost daily visit to her vision, he withheld his name, nor would her most importunate questionings induce him to utter it. But he always promised that in due time he would reveal his identity. Meanwhile he prophesied to her that she would rise to great distinction; that she would emerge from her poverty and live in a stately house; that she would win great wealth in a city which he pictured as crowded with ships; that she would publish and conduct a journal; and that finally, to crown her career, she would become the ruler of her people. At length, after patiently waiting on this spirit-guide for twenty years, one day in 1868, during a temporary sojourn in Pittsburgh, and while she was sitting at a marble table, he suddenly appeared to her, and wrote on the table in English letters the name "Demosthenes." At first the writing was indistinct, but grew to such a luster that the brightness filled the room. The apparition, familiar as it had been before, now affrighted her to trembling. The stately and commanding spirit told her to journey to New York, where she would find at No. 17 Great Jones street a house in readiness for her, equipped in all things to her use and taste. She unhesitatingly obeyed, although she never before had heard of Great Jones street, nor until that revelatory moment had entertained an intention of taking such a residence. On entering the house, it fulfilled in reality the picture which she saw of it in her vision--the self-same hall, stairways, rooms, and furniture. Entering with some bewilderment into the library, she reached out her hand by chance, and without knowing what she did, took up a book which, on idly looking at its title, she saw (to her blood-chilling astonishment) to be "The Orations of Demosthenes." From that time onward, the Greek statesman has been even more palpably than in her earlier years her prophetic monitor, mapping out the life which she must follow, as a chart for a ship sailing the sea. She believes him to her familiar spirit--the author of her public policy, and the inspirer of her published words. Without intruding my own opinion as to the authenticity of this inspiration, I have often thought that if Demosthenes could arise and speak English, he could hardly excel the fierce light and heat of some of the sentences which I have heard from this singular woman in her glowing hours.
I now turn back to her first marriage. The bride (pitiful to tell) was in her fourteenth year, the bridegroom in his twenty-eighth. It was a fellowship of misery--and her parents, who abetted it, ought to have prevented it. The Haytians (sic) speak of escaping out of the river by leaping into the sea. From the endurable cruelty of her parents, she fled to the unendurable cruelty of her husband. She had been from her twelfth to her fourteenth year a double victim, first to chills and fever, and then to rheumatism, which had jointly played equal havoc with her beauty and health, until she was brought within a step of "the iron door." Dr. Canning Woodhull, a gay rake, but whose habits were kept hid from her under the general respectability of his family connections (his father being an eminent judge, and his uncle the mayor of New York), was professionally summoned to visit the child, and being a trained physician arrested her decline. Something about her artless manners and vivacious mind captivated his fancy. Coming as a prince, he found her as Cinderella--a child of the ashes. Before she entirely recovered, and while looking haggard and sad, one day he stopped her in the street, and said, "My little chick, I want you to go with me to the pic-nic."--referring to a projected Fourth of July excursion then at hand. The promise of a little pleasure acted like a charm on the house-worn and sorrow-stricken child. She obtained her mother's assent to her going, but her father coupled it with the condition that she should first earn money enough to buy herself a pair of shoes. So the little fourteen-year-old drudge became for the nonce an apple-merchant, and with characteristic business energy sold her apples and bought her shoes. She went to the pic-nic with Dr. Woodhull, like a ticket-of-leave juvenile-delinquent on a furlough. On coming home from the festival, the brilliant fop who, tired of the demi-monde ladies whom he could purchase for his pleasure, and inspired with a sudden and romantic interest in this artless maid, said to her, "My little puss, tell your father and mother that I want you for a wife." The startled girl quivered with anger at this announcement, and with timorous speed fled to her mother and repeated the tale, feeling as if some injury was threatened her, and some danger impended. But the parents, as if not unwilling to be rid of a daughter whose sorrow was ripening her into a woman before her time, were delighted at the unexpected offer. They thought it a grand match. They helped the young man's suit, and augmented their persecutions of the child. Ignorant, innocent, and simple, the girl's chief thought of the proffered marriage was an escape from the parental yoke. Four months later she accepted the change--flying from the ills she had to others that she knew not of. Her captor, once possessed of his treasure, ceased to value it. On the third night after taking his child-wife to his lodgings, he broke her heart by remaining away all night at a house of ill-repute. Then for the first time she learned, to her dismay, that he was habitually unchaste, and given to long fits of intoxication. She was stung to the quick. The shock awoke all her womanhood. She grew ten years older in a single day. A tumult of thoughts swept like a whirlwind through her mind, ending at last in one predominant purpose, namely, to reclaim her husband. She set herself religiously to this pious task--calling on God and the spirits to help her in it.
Six weeks after her marriage (during which time her husband was mostly with his cups and his mistresses), she discovered a letter addressed to him in a lady's elegant penmanship saying, "Did you marry that child because she too was en famille?" This was an additional thunderbolt. The fact was that her husband, on the day of his marriage, had sent away into the country a mistress who a few months later gave birth to a child.
Squandering his money like a prodigal, he suddenly put his wife into the humblest quarters, where, left mostly to herself, she dwelt in bitterness of spirit, aggravated from time to time by learning of his ordering baskets of champagne and drinking himself drunk in the company of harlots.
Sometimes, with uncommon courage, through rain and sleet, half clad and shivering, she would track him to his dens, and by the energy of her spirit compel him to return. At other times, all night long she would watch at the window, waiting for his footsteps, until she heard them languidly shuffling along the pavement with the staggering reel of a drunken man, in the shameless hours of the morning.
During all this time, she passionately prayed Heaven to give her the heart of her husband, but Heaven, decreeing otherwise, withheld it from her, and for her good.
In fifteen months after her marriage, while living in a little low frame-house in Chicago, in the dead of winter, with icicles clinging to her bedpost, and attended only by her half-drunken husband, she brought forth in almost mortal agony her first-born child. In her ensuing helplessness, she became an object of pity to a next-door neighbor who, with a kindness which the sufferer's unhomelike home did not afford, brought her day by day some nourishing dish. This same ministering hand would then wrap the babe in a blanket, and take it to a happier mother in the near neighborhood who was at the same time nursing a new-born son. In this way Victoria and her child--themselves both children--were cared for with mingled gentleness and neglect.
At the end of six days, the little invalid attempted to rise and put her sick-room in order, when she was taken with delirium, during which her mother visited her just in time to save her life.
On her recovery, and after a visit to her father's house, she returned to her own to be horror-struck at discovering that her bed had been occupied the night before by her husband in company with a wanton of the streets, and that the room was littered with the remains of their drunken feast.
Once, after a month's desertion by him, until she had no money and little to eat, she learned that he was keeping a mistress at a fashionable boarding-house, under the title of wife. The true wife, still wrestling with God for the renegade, sallied forth into the wintry street, clad in a calico dress without undergarments, and shod only with India-rubbers without shoes or stockings, entered the house, confronted the household as they sat at table, told her story to the confusion of the paramour and his mistress, and drew tears from all the company till, by a common movement, the listeners compelled the harlot to pack her trunk and flee the city, and shamed the husband into creeping like a spaniel back into the kennel which his wife still cherished as her home.
To add to her misery, she discovered that her child, begotten in drunkenness, and born in squalor, was a half idiot; predestined to be a hopeless imbecile for life; endowed with just enough intelligence to exhibit the light of reason in dim eclipse:--a sad and pitiful spectacle in his mother's house to-day, where he roams from room to room, muttering noises more sepulchral than human; a daily agony to the woman who bore him, hoping more of her burden; and heightening the pathos of the perpetual scene by the uncommon sweetness of his temper which, by winning every one's love, doubles every one's pity.
Journeying to California as a region where she might inspire her husband to begin a new life freed from old associations, she there found herself and her little family strangers in a strange city--beggars in a land of plenty. Change of sky is not change of mind. Dr. Woodhull took his habits, his wife took her necessities, and both took their misery, from East to West. In San Francisco, the girlish woman, with unrelaxed energy, and as part of that life-long heroism which will one day have its monument, set herself to supporting the man by whom she ought to have been supported. A morning journal had an advertisement--"A cigar girl wanted." The wife, with her face of sweet sixteen, presented herself as the first candidate, and was accepted on the spot. The proprietor was a stalwart Californian--one of those men who catch from a new country something of the liberality which the sailor brings from the sea. She served for one day behind his counter--blushing, modest, and sensitive, her ears tingling at every rude remark by every uncouth customer--and at nightfall her employer, who had noticed the blood coming and going in her cheeks, said to her, "My little lady, you are not the clerk I want; I must have somebody who can rough it; you are too fine." Inquiring into her case, he was surprised to find her married and a mother. At first he discredited this information, but there was no denying the truth of her story. He accompanied her to her husband, and as the two men discovered themselves to each other as brother free-masons, he gave his fair clerk of a day a twenty-dollar gold piece, and dismissed her with his blessing. And I hope this has been revisited on his own heard.
Resorting to her needle, she carried from house to house this only weapon which many women possess wherewith to fight the battle of life. She chanced to come upon Anna Cogswell, the actress, who wanted a sempstress to make her a theatrical wardrobe. The winsome dressmaker was engaged at once. But her earnings at this new calling did not keep pace with her expenses. "It is no use," said she to her dramatic friend; I am running behindhand. I must do something better." "Then," replied the actress, "you too must be an actress." And, nothing loth (sic) to undertake anything new and difficult, Victoria, who never before had dreamed of such a possibility, was engaged as a lesser light to the Cogswell star. For a first appearance, she was cast in the part of the "Country Cousin" in "New York by Gaslight." The text was given to her in the morning, she learned and rehearsed it during the day, and made a fair hit in it at night. For six weeks thereafter, she earned fifty-two dollars a week as an actress.
"Never leave the stage," said some of her fellow-performers, all of whom admired her simplicity and spirituality. "But I do not care for the stage," she said, "and I shall leave it at the first opportunity. I am meant for some other fate. But what it is, I know not.
It came--as all things have came to her--through the agency of spirits. One night while on the boards, clad in a pink silk dress and slippers, acting in the ballroom scene in the "Corsican Brothers," suddenly a spirit-voice addressed her, saying "Victoria, come home!" Thrown instantly into clairvoyant condition, she saw a vision of her young sister Tennie, then a mere child--standing by her mother, and both calling the absent one to return. Her mother and Tennie were then in Columbus, Ohio She saw Tennie distinctly enough to notice that she wore a striped French calico frock. "Victoria come home!" said the little messenger, beckoning with her childish forefinger. The apparition would not be denied. Victoria, thrilled and chilled by the vision and voice, burst away at a bound behind the scenes, and without waiting to change her dress, ran, clad with all her dramatic adornments, through a foggy rain by to her hotel, and packing up her few things that night, betook herself with her husband and child next morning to the steamer bound from New York. On the voyage she was thrown into such vivid spiritual states, that she produced a profound excitement among the passengers. On reaching her mother's home, she came upon Tennie dressed in the same dress as in the vision; and on inquiring the meaning of the message, "Victoria, come home!" was told that at the time it was uttered, her mother had said to Tennie, "My dear, send the spirits after Victoria to bring her home"; and moreover the French calico dress had appeared to her spirit-sight at the very first moment its wearer had put it on.
This homeward trip, and its consequences, marked a new phase in her career--a turning point in her life.
Hitherto her clairvoyant faculty had been put to no pecuniary use, but she was now directed by the spirits to repair to Indianapolis, there to announce herself as a medium, and to treat patients for the cure of disease. Taking rooms in the Bates House, and publishing a card in the journals, she found herself able, on saluting her callers, to tell by inspiration their names, their residences, and their maladies. In a few days she became the town's talk. Her marvelous performances in clairvoyance being noised abroad, people flocked to her from a distance. Her rooms were crowded and her purse grew fat. She reaped a golden harvest--including, as its worthiest part, golden opinions from all sorts of people. Her countenance would often glow as with a sacred light, and she became an object of religious awe to many wonder-stricken people whose inward lives she had revealed. Moreover, her unpretentious modesty, and her perpetual disclaimer of any merit or power of her own, and the entire crediting of this to spirit-influence, augmented the interest with which all spectators regarded the amiable prodigy. First at Indianapolis, and afterward at Terre Haute, she wrought some apparently miraculous cures. She straightened the feet of the lame; she opened the ears of the deaf; she detected the robbers of a bank; she brought to light hidden crimes; she solved physiological problems; she unveiled business secrets; she prophesied future events. Knowing the wonders which she wrought, certain citizens disguised themselves and came to her purporting to be strangers from a distant town, but she instantly said, "Oh, no; you all live here." "How can you tell?" they asked. "The spirits say so," she replied.
Benedictions followed her; gifts were lavished upon her; money flowed in a stream toward her. Journeying.from city to city in the practice of her spiritual art, she thereby supported all her relatives far and near. Her income in one year reached nearly a hundred thousand dollars. She received in one day, simply as fees for cures which she had wrought, five thousand dollars. The sum total of the receipts of her practice, and of her investments growing out of it, up to the time of its discontinuance by direction of the spirits in 1869, was $700,000. The age of wonders has not ceased.
During all this period, though outwardly prosperous, she was inwardly wretched. The dismal fact of her son's half-idiocy so preyed upon her mind that, in a heat of morbid feeling, she fell to accusing her innocent self for his misfortunes. The sight of his face rebuked her, until, in brokenness of spirit, she prayed to God for another child--a daughter, to be born with a fair body and a sound mind. Her prayer was granted, but not without many accompaniments of inhumanity. Once during her carriage of her unborn charge, she was kicked by its father in a fit of drunkenness-inflicting a bruise on her body and a greater bruise to her spirit. Profound as her double suffering was, in its lowest depth there was a deeper still. She was plunged into this at the child's birth. This event occurred at No. 53 Bond Street, New York, April 23d, 1861. She and her husband were at the time the only occupants of the house--her trial coming upon her while no nurse, or servant, or other human helper was under the roof. The babe entered the world at four o'clock in the morning, handled by the feverish and unsteady hands of its intoxicated father, who, only half in possession of his professional skill, cut the umbilical cord too near the flesh and tied it so loose that the string came off--laid the babe in its mother's arms--in an hour afterward left them asleep and alone--and then staggered out of the house. Nor did he remember to return. Meanwhile, the mother, on waking, was startled to find that her head on the side next to her babe's body was in a pool of blood--that her hair was soaked and clotted in a little red stream oozing drop by drop from the bowels of the child. In her motherly agony, reaching a broken chair-rung which happened to be lying near, she pounded against the wall to summon help from the next house. At intervals for several hours she continued this pounding, no one answering--until at length one of the neighbors, a resolute woman, who was attracted toward the noise, but unable to get in at the front-door, removed the grating of the basement, and made her way up stairs to the rescue of the mother and her babe. On the third day after, the mother, on sitting propped in her bed and looking out of the window, caught sight of her husband staggering up the steps of a house across the way, mistaking it for his own.
It was this horrible experience that first awoke her mind to the question, "Why should I any longer live with this man?" Hitherto she had entertained an almost superstitious idea of the devotion with which a wife should cling to her husband. She had always been so faithful to him that, in his cups he would mock and jeer at her fidelity, and call her a fool for maintaining it. At length the fool grew wiser, and after eleven years of what, with conventional mockery, was called a marriage--during which time her husband had never spent an evening with her at home, had seldom drawn a sober breath, and had spent on other women, not herself, all the money he had ever earned--she applied in Chicago for a divorce, and obtained it.
Previous to this crisis, there had occurred a remarkable incident which more than ever confirmed her faith in the guardianship of spirits. One day, during a severe illness of her son, she left him to visit her patients, and on her return was startled with the news that the boy had died two hours before. "No," she exclaimed, "I will not permit his death."
And with frantic energy she stripped her bosom naked, caught up his lifeless form, pressed it to her own, and sitting thus, flesh to flesh, glided insensibly into a trance in which she remained seven hours; at the end of which time she awoke, a perspiration started from his clammy skin, and the child that had been thought dead was brought back again to life--and lives to this day in sad half-death. It is here believe that the spirit of Jesus Christ brooded over the lifeless form, and re-wrought the miracle of Lazarus for a sorrowing woman's sake.
Victoria's father and mother, growing still more fanatical with their advancing years, had all along subjected her to a series of singular vexations. And the elder sisters had joined in the mischief-making, outdoing the parents. Sometimes they would burst in upon Mrs. Woodhull's house, and attempt to govern its internal economy; sometimes they would carry off the furniture, or garments, or pictures; sometimes they would crown her with eulogies as the greatest of human beings, and in the same breath defame her as an agent of the devil.
But their great cause of persecution grew out of her younger sister Tennie's career. This young woman developed, while a child in her father's house, a similar power to Victoria's. It was penetrating spiritual insight applied to the cure of disease. But her father and mother, who regarded their daughter in the light of the damsel mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, who "brought her masters much gain by soothsaying," put her before the public as a fortune-teller. By adding to much that was genuine in her mediumship more that was charlatanry, they aroused against this fraudulent business the indignation of the sincere soul of Victoria who, more than most human beings, scorns a lie, and would burn at the stake rather than practice a deceit. She clutched Tennie as by main force and flung her out of this semi-humbug, to the mingled astonishment of her money-greedy family, one and all. At this time Tennie was supporting a dozen or relatives by her ill-gotten gains. Victoria's rescue of her excited the wrath of these parasites--which has continued hot and undying against both to this day. The fond and fierce mother alternately loves and hates the two united defiers of her morbid will; and the father, at times a Mephistopheles, waits till the inspiration of cunning overmasters his parental instinct, and watching for a moment when his ill word to a stranger will blight their business schemes, drops in upon some capitalist whose money is in their hands, lodges an indictment against his own flesh and blood, takes out his handkerchief to hide a few well-feigned tears, clasps his hands with an unfelt agony, hobbles off smiling sardonically at the mischief which he has done, and the next day repents his wickedness with genuine contrition and manlier woe. These parents would cheerfully give their lives as a sacrifice to atone for the many mischiefs which they have cast like burrs at their children; but if all the scars which they and their progeny have inflicted on one another could be magically healed today, they would be scratched open by the same hands and set stinging and tingling anew to-morrow.
There is a maxim that marriages are made in heaven, albeit contradicted by the Scripture which declares that in heaven there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage. But, even against the Scripture, it is safe to say that Victoria's second marriage was made in heaven; that is, it was decreed by the self-same spirits whom she is ever ready to follow, whether they lead her for discipline into the valley of the shadow of death, or for comfort in those ways of pleasantness which are paths of peace. Col. James H. Blood, commander of the 6th Missouri Regiment, who at the close of the war was elected City Auditor of St. Louis, who became President of the Society of Spiritualists in that place, and who had himself been, like Victoria, the legal partner of a morally sundered marriage, called one day on Mrs. Woodhull to consult her as a spiritualistic physician (having never met her before), and was startled to see her pass into a trance, during which she announced, unconsciously to herself, that his future destiny was to be linked with hers in marriage. Thus, to their mutual amazement, but to their subsequent happiness, they were betrothed on the spot by "the powers of the air." The legal ties by which at first they bound themselves to each other was afterward by mutual consent annulled--the necessary form of Illinois law being complied with to this effect. But the marriage stands on its merits, and is to all who witness its harmony known to be a sweet and accordant union of congenial souls.
Col. Blood is a man of philosophic and reflective cast of mind, an enthusiastic student of the higher lore of spiritualism, a recluse from society, and an expectant believer in a stupendous destiny for Victoria. A modesty not uncommon to men of intellect prompts him to sequester his name in the shade rather than to set it glittering in the sun. But he is an indefatigable worker--driving his pen through all hours of the day and half of the night. He is an active editor of Woodhull & Claflin's Weekly, and one of the busy partners in the firm of Woodhull Claflin & Co., Brokers, at 44 Broad Street, New York. His civic views are (to use his favorite designation of them) cosmopolitical; in other words, he is a radical of extreme radicalism--an internationalist of the most uncompromising type--a communist who would rather have died in Paris than be the president of a pretended republic whose first official act has been the judicial murder of the only republicans in France. His spiritualistic habits he describes in a letter to his friend, the writer of this memorial, as follows: "At about eleven or twelve o'clock at night, two or three times a week, and sometimes without nightly interval, Victoria and I hold parliament with the spirits. It is by this kind of study that we both have learned nearly all the valuable knowledge that we possess. Victoria goes into a trance, during which her guardian spirit takes control of her mind, speaking audibly through her lips, propounding various matters for our subsequent investigation and verification, and announcing principles, detached thoughts, hints of systems, and suggestions for affairs. In this way, and in this spiritual night-school, began that process of instruction by which Victoria has risen to her present position as a political economist and politician. During her entranced state, which generally lasts about an hour, but sometimes twice as long, I make copious notes of all she says, and when her speech is unbroken, I write down every word, and publish it without correction or amendment. She and I regard all the other portion of our lives as almost valueless compared with these midnight hours." The preceding extract shows that this fine-grained transcendentalist is a reverent husband to his spiritual wife, and the sympathetic companion of her entranced moods, and their faithful historian to the world.
After her union with Col. Blood, instead of changing her name to his, she followed the example of many actresses, singers, and other professional women whose names have become a business property to their owners, and she still continues to be known as Mrs. Woodhull.
One night about half a year after their marriage, she and her husband were wakened at midnight in Cincinnati by the announcement that a man by the name of Dr. Woodhull had been attacked with delirium tremens at the Burnet House, and in a lucid moment had spoken of the woman from whom he had been divorced, and begged to see her. Col. Blood immediately took a carriage, drove to the hotel, brought the wretched victim home, and jointly with Victoria took care of him with life-saving kindness for six weeks. On his going away they gave him a few hundred dollars of their joint property to make him comfortable in another city. He departed full of gratitude, bearing with him the assurance that he would always be welcome to come and go as a friend of the family. And from that day to this, the poor man, dilapidated in body and emasculated in spirit, has sometimes sojourned under Victoria's roof and sometimes elsewhere, according to his whim or will. In the present ruins of the young gallant of twenty years ago, there is more manhood (albeit an expiring spark like a candle as it socket) than during any of the former years; and to be now turned out of doors by the woman whom he wronged, but who could not wrong him in return, would be an act of inhumanity which it would be impossible for Mrs. Woodhull and Col. Blood either jointly or separately to commit. For this piece of noble conduct--what is commonly called her living with two husbands under one roof-she has received not so much censure on earth as I think she will receive reward in heaven. No other passage of her life more signally illustrates the nobility of her moral judgments, or the supernal courage with which she stands by her convictions. Not all the clamorous tongues in Christendom, though they should simultaneously cry out against her "Fie, for shame!" could persuade her to turn this wretched wreck from her home. And I say she is right; and I will maintain this opinion against the combined Pecksniffs of the whole world.
This act, and the malice of enemies, together with her bold opinions on social questions, have combined to give her reputation a stain. But no slander ever fell on any human soul with greater injustice. A more unsullied woman does not walk the earth. She carries in her very fact the fair legend of a character kept pure by a sacred fire within. She is one of those aspiring devotees who tread the earth merely as a stepping-stone to Heaven, and whose chief ambition is finally to present herself at the supreme tribunal "spotless, and without wrinkle, or blemish, or any such thing." Knowing her as well as I do, I cannot hear an accusation against her without recalling Tennyson's line of King Arthur,
"Is thy white blamelessness accounted blame?"
Fulfilling a previous prophecy, and following a celestial mandate, in 1869 she founded a bank and published a journal. These two events took the town by storm. When the doors of her office in Broad street were first thrown open to the public, several thousand visitors came in a flock on the first day. The "lady brokers," as they were called (a strange confession that brokers are not always gentlemen) were besieged like lionesses in a cage. The daily press interviewed them; the weekly wits satirized them; the comic sheets caricatured them; but like a couple of fresh young dolphins breasting the sea side by side, they showed themselves native to the element, and cleft gracefully every threatening wave that broke over their heads. The breakers could not dash the brokers. Indomitable in their energy, the sisters won the good graces of Commodore Vanderbilt--a fine old gentleman of comfortable means, who of all the lower animals prefers the horse, and of all the higher virtues admires pluck. Both with and without Commodore Vanderbilt's help, Mrs. Woodhull has more than once shown the pluck that has held the rein of the stock market as the Commodore holds his horse. Her journal, as one sees it week by week, is generally a willow-basket full of audacious manuscripts, apparently picked up at random and thrown together pell-mell, stunning the reader with a medley of politics, finance, free-love, and the pantarchy. This sheet, when the divinity that shapes its ends shall begin to add to the rough-hewing a little smooth-shaping; in other words, when its unedited chaos shall come to be moulded by the spirits to that order which is Heaven's first law; this not ordinary but "cardinary" journal, which is edited in one world, and published in another, will become less a confusion to either, and more a power for both.
In 1870, following the English plan of self-nomination, Mrs. Woodhull announced herself as a candidate for the Presidency--mainly for the purpose of drawing public attention to the claims of woman to political equality with man. She accompanied this announcement with a series of papers in the Herald on politics and finance, which have since been collected into a volume entitled "The Principles of Government." She has lately received a more formal nomination to that high office by "The Victoria League," an organization which, being somewhat Jacobinical in its secrecy, is popularly supposed, though not definitely known, to be presided over by Commodore Vanderbilt, who is also similarly imagined to be the golden corner-stone of the business house of Woodhull, Claflin, & Co. Should she be elected to the high seat to which she aspires, (an event concerning which I make no prophecy,) I am at least sure that she would excel any Queen now on any throne in her native faculty to govern others.
One night in December, 1869, while she lay in deep sleep, her Greek guardian came to her, and sitting transfigured on her couch, wrote on a scroll (so that she could not only see the words, but immediately dictated them to her watchful amanuensis) the memorable document now known in history as "The Memorial of Victoria C. Woodhull"--a petition addressed to Congress, claiming under the Fourteenth Amendment the right of women as of other "citizens of the United States" to vote in "the States wherein they reside"--asking moreover, that the State of New York, of which she was a citizen, should be restrained by Federal authority from preventing her exercise of this constitutional right. As up to this time neither she nor her husband had been greatly interested in woman suffrage, he had no sooner written this manifesto from her lips, than he awoke her from the trance, and protested against the communication as nonsense, believing it to be a trick of some evil-disposed spirits. In the morning the document was shown to a number of friends, including one eminent judge, who ridiculed its logic and conclusions. But the lady herself, from whose sleeping and yet unsleeping brain the strange document had sprung like Minerva from the head of Jove, simply answered that her antique instructor, having never misled her before, was guiding her aright then. Nothing doubting, but much wondering, she took the novel demand to Washington, where, after a few days of laughter from the shallow-minded, and of neglect from the indifferent, it suddenly burst upon the Federal Capitol like a storm, and then spanned it like a rainbow. She went before the Judiciary Committee, and delivered an argument in support of her claim to the franchise under the new Amendments, which some who heard it pronounced one of the ablest efforts which they had ever heard on any subject. She caught the listening ears of Senator Carpenter, Gen. Butler, Judge Woodward, George W. Julian, Gen. Ashley, Judge Loughridge, and other able statesmen in Congress, and harnessed these gentlemen as steeds to her chariot. Such was the force of her appeal that the whole city rushed together to hear it, like the Athenians to the market-place when Demosthenes stood in his own and not a borrowed clay. A great audience, one of the finest ever gathered in the capital, assembled to hear her defend her thesis in the first public speech of her life. At the moment of rising, her face was observed to be very pale, and she appeared about to faint. On being afterward questioned as to the cause of her emotion, she replied that, during the first prolonged moment, she remembered an early prediction of her guardian-spirit, until then forgotten, that she would one day speak in public, and that her first discourse would be pronounced in the capital of her country. The sudden fulfillment of this prophecy smote her so violently that for a moment she was stunned into apparent unconsciousness. But she recovered herself, and passed through the ordeal with great success--which is better luck than happened to the real Demosthenes, for Plutarch mentions that his maiden speech was a failure, and that he was laughed at by the people.
Assisted by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Paulina Wright Davis, Isabella Beecher Hooker, Susan B. Anthony, and other staunch and able women whom she swiftly persuaded into accepting this construction of the Constitution, she succeeded, after her petition was denied by a majority of the Judiciary Committee, in obtaining a minority report in its favor, signed jointly by Gen. Benj. F. Butler of Massachusetts and Judge Loughridge of Iowa. To have clutched this report from Gen. Butler--as it were a scalp from the ablest head in the House of Representatives--was a sufficient trophy to entitle the brave lady to an enrolment (sic) in the political history of her country. She means to go to Washington again next winter to knock at the half-opened doors of the Capitol until they shall swing wide enough asunder to admit her enfranchised sex.
I must say something of her personal appearance although it defies portrayal, whether by photograph or pen. Neither tall nor short, stout nor slim, she is of medium stature, lithe and elastic, free and graceful. Her side fact, looked at over her left shoulder, is of perfect aquiline outline, as classic as ever went into a Roman marble, and resembles the masque of Shakespeare taken after death; the same view, looking from the right, is a little broken and irregular; and the front face is broad, with prominent cheek bones, and with some unshapely nasal lines. Her countenance is never twice alike, so variable is its expression and so dependent on her moods. Her soul comes into it and goes out of it, giving her at one time the look of a superior and almost saintly intelligence, and at another leaving her dull, commonplace, and unprepossessing. When under a strong spiritual influence, a strange and mystical light irradiates from her face, reminding the beholder of the Hebrew Law-giver who gave to men what he received from God and whose face during the transfer shone. Tennyson, as with the hand of a gold beater, has beautifully gilded the same expression in his stanza of St. Stephen the Martyr in the article of death:
"And looking upward, full of grace,
He prayed, and from a happy place,
God's glory smote him on the face."
In conversation, until she is somewhat warmed with earnestness, she halts, as if her mind were elsewhere, but the moment she brings all her faculties to her lips for the full utterance of her message, whether it be of persuasion or indignation, and particularly when under spiritual control, she is a very orator for eloquence--pouring forth her sentences like a mountain stream, sweeping away everything that frets its flood.
Her hair which, when left to itself is as long as those tresses of Hortense in which her son Louis Napoleon used to play hide-and-seek, she now mercilessly cuts close like a boy's, from impatience at the daily waste of time in suitably taking care of this prodigal gift of nature.
She can ride a horse like an Indian, and climb a tree like an athlete; she can swim, row a boat, play billiards, and dance; moreover, as the crown of her physical virtues, she can walk all day like an Englishwoman.
"Difficulties," says Emerson, "exist to be surmounted." This might be the motto of her life. In her lexicon (which is still of youth) there is no such word as fail. Her ambition is stupendous--nothing is too great for her grasp. Prescient of the grandeur of her destiny, she goes forward with a resistless fanaticism to accomplish it. Believing thoroughly in herself (or rather not in herself but in her spirit-aids) she allows no one else to doubt either her or them. In her case the old miracle is enacted anew--the faith which removes mountains. A soul set on edge is a conquering weapon in the battle of life. Such, and of Damascus temper, is hers.
In making an epitome of her views, I may say that in politics she is a downright democrat, scorning to divide her fellow-citizens into upper and lower classes, but ranking them all in one comprehensive equality of right, privilege, and opportunity; concerning finance, which is a favorite topic with her, she holds that gold is not the true standard of money-value, but that the government should abolish the gold-standard, and issue its notes instead, giving to these a fixed and permanent value, and circulating them as the only money; on social questions, her theories are similar to those which have long been taught by John Stuart Mill and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and which are styled by some as free-love doctrines, while others reject this appellation on account of its popular association with the idea of a promiscuous intimacy between the sexes--the essence of her system being that marriage is of the heart and not of the law, that when love ends marriage should end with it, being dissolved by nature, and that no civil statute should outwardly bind two hearts which have been inwardly sundered; and finally, in religion, she is a spiritualist of the most mystical and ethereal type.
In thus speaking of her views, I will add to them another fundamental article of her creed, which an incident will best illustrate. Once a sick woman who had been given up by the physicians, and who had received from a Catholic priest extreme unction in expectation of death, was put into the care of Mrs. Woodhull, who attempted to lure her back to life. This zealous physician, unwilling to be baffled, stood over her patient day and night, neither sleeping nor eating for ten days and nights, at the end of which time she was gladdened not only at witnessing the sick woman's recovery, but at finding that her own body, instead of weariness or exhaustion from the double lack of sleep and food, was more fresh and bright than at the beginning. Her face, during this discipline, grew uncommonly fair and ethereal; her flesh wore a look of transparency; and the ordinary earthiness of mortal nature began to disappear from her physical frame and its place to be supplied with what she fancied were the foretokens of a spiritual body. These phenomena were so vivid to her own consciousness and to the observation of her friends, that she was led to speculate profoundly on the transformation from our mortal to our immortal state, deducing the idea that the time will come when the living human body, instead of ending in death by disease, and dissolution in the grave, will be gradually refined away until it is entirely sloughed off, and the soul only, and not the flesh, remains. It is in this way that she fulfils to her daring hope the prophecy that "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."
Engrossed in business affairs, nevertheless at any moment she would rather die than live--such is her infinite estimate of the other world over this. But she disdains all commonplace parleyings with the spirit-realm such as are had in ordinary spirit-manifestations. On the other hand, she is passionately eager to see the spirits face to face--to summon them at her will and commune with them at her pleasure. Twice (as she unshakenly believes) she has seen a vision of Jesus Christ--honored thus doubly over St. Paul, who saw his Master but once, and then was overcome by the sight. She never goes to any church--save to the solemn temple whose starry arch spans her housetop at night, where she sits like Simeon Stylites on his pillar, a worshipper in the sky. Against the inculcations of her childish education, the spirits have taught her that he whom the church calls the Saviour of the world is not God but man. But her reverence for him is supreme and ecstatic. The Sermon on the Mount fills her eyes with tears. The exulting exclamations of the Psalmist are her familiar outbursts of devotion. For two years, as a talisman against any temptation toward untruthfulness (which, with her, is the unpardonable sin), she wore, stitched into the sleeve of every one of her dresses, the 2d verse of the 120th Psalm, namely, "Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue." Speaking the truth punctiliously, whether in great things or small, she so rigorously exacts the same of others, that a deceit practiced upon her enkindles her soul to a flame of fire; and she has acquired a clairvoyant or intuitive power to detect a lie in the moment of its utterance, and to smite the liar in his act of guilt. She believes that intellectual power has its fountains in spiritual inspiration. And once when I put to her the searching question, "What is the greatest truth that has ever been expressed in words?" she thrilled me with the sudden answer, "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God."
As showing that her early clairvoyant power still abides, I will mention a fresh instance. An eminent judge in Pennsylvania, in whose court-house I had once lectured, called lately to see me at the office of THE GOLDEN AGE. On my inquiring after his family, he told me that a strange event had just happened in it. "Three months ago," said he, "while I was in New York, Mrs. Woodhull said to me, with a rush of feeling, 'Judge, I foresee that you will lose two of your children within six weeks.'" This announcement, he said, wounded him as a tragic sort of trifling with life and death. "But," I asked, "did anything follow the prophecy?" "Yes," he replied, "fulfilment; I lost two children within six weeks." The Judge, who is a Methodist, thinks that Victoria the clairvoyant is like "Anna the prophetess."
Let me say that I know of no person against whom there are more prejudices, nor any one who more quickly disarms them. This strange faculty is the most powerful of her powers. She shoots a word like a sudden sunbeam through the thickest mist of people's doubts and accusations, and clears the sky in a moment. Questioned by some committee or delegation who have come to her with idle tales against her busy life, I have seen her swiftly gather together all the stones which they have cast, put them like the miner's quartz into the furnace, melt them with fierce and fervent heat, bring out of them the purest gold, stamp thereon her image and superscription as if she were sovereign of the realm, and then (as the marvel of it all) receive the sworn allegiance of the whole company on the spot. At one of her public meetings when the chair (as she hoped) would be occupied by Lucretia Mott, this venerable woman had been persuaded to decline this responsibility, but afterward stepped forward on the platform and lovingly kissed the young speaker in presence of the multitude. Her enemies (save those of her own household,) are strangers. To see her is to respect her--to know her is to vindicate her. She has some impetuous headlong faults, but were she without the same traits which produce these she would not possess the mad and magnificent energies which (if she lives) will make her a heroine of history.
In conclusion, amid all the rush of her active life, she believes with Wordsworth that
"The gods approve the depth and not
The tumult of the soul."
So, whether buffeted by criticism or defamed by slander, she carries herself in that religious peace which, through all turbulence, is a "measureless content." When apparently about to be struck down, she gathers unseen strength and goes forward conquering and to conquer, known only as a rash iconoclast, and ranked even with the most uncouth of those noise-makers who are waking a sleepy world before its time, she beats her daily gong of business and reform with notes not musical but strong, yet mellows the outward rudeness of the rhythm by the inward and devout song of one of the sincerest, most reverent, and divinely-gifted of human souls.
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