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The Menace of the Blue Peril

What would happen if the blue laws now being agitated,

were to pass?
How could they benefit the people of the United States ?
What are their disadvantages ?

To answer these questions we need only to consider what occurred during the blue-law regime of the early American colonies.

You will find that answer in this article

By FRANK WINSLOW

W

have heard of the yellow peril, the that gladness is sinful, while the Almighty, in red peril, and perils of other descrip- his kindness, delights to see sorrow. The

tions and colors; but it is only recently Puritans, therefore, were careful to make the that we have become aware of the most deadly day of worship one of mournfulness, and they menace of all-the blue peril. For we are succeeded to an extent that might bave made threatened with a recurrence of those blue laws the most optimistic gloomy. As Brooks which afflicted the early settlers of New Eng- Adams well remarks in his work on “The Emanland, and apparently served no good purpose cipation of Massachusetts,” “The sad counteexcept to provide amusement for future genera- nance, the Biblical speech, the sombre garb ... tions. Most of us are inclined to think vaguely and above all the unfailing deference paid to of the blue laws as of the black plague or other themselves, were the marks of sanctification by scourges of the past; we are inclined to assume which the elders knew the saints on earth.” that they have died a natural death, and that fortunately we live in a more enlightened age; INCE they conceived of their Sabbath as but like a man who awakens from peaceful slumber to find his house convulsed by an lieved in having plenty of it; consequently, earthquake, we are aroused abruptly to dis- they made it begin at sunset on Saturday cover that our security is only imaginary, and evening, and, thereafter, all were forbidden to that we are confronted with an era of blueness “walk uncivilly in the streets or fields," "to be rivaling that of Puritan days.

in any house of public entertainment,” or “to What would happen if the blue laws were to sport or otherwise misspend their precious pass? What changes would they make in our time.” lives? What would be the benefits, if any? This prohibition was aimed especially at the What the disadvantages? To answer these

young;

can imagine youths and questions, we need only consider what occurred maidens being apprehended for the ignominious in the early American colonies.

crime of walking on a Sunday, much as they

might now be arrested for drunkenness or disITH blue laws there should be no half- orderly conduct. This, however, was only one

way measures, That seemed to be the of the milder restrictions of the Sabbath day. opinion of the Puritan fathers. Accordingly, Not only were people precluded from all disthey set about dili

graceful occupagently to make the

tions, such as enjoyblueness thorough;

ing themselves, but THE MASTERY OF TIME they passed laws

they were compelled against every color By Rose Trumbull

by law to join in the except blue; they

public task of atstrove with skill and THOU To-morrow whom I feared,

tending church. A foeman menacing my way, energy to abolish all

Absence was made trace of joy from I grapple thee, I pluck thy beard,

punishable by a fine life, apparently actAnd brand thee as my slave, To-day.

or imprisonment; ing on the theory

but evidently not

and we

W

O

THE

And so

cases

even this requirement was efficacious, for a more typical example is that of the sea captain detective system to apprehend offenders came who returned on a Sunday after a three-year into effect, and Massachusetts, in 1671, passed cruise, and finding his wife awaiting him at their a law ordering the town selectmen to appoint doorstep, forgot himself to the extent of publicly one inspector to every ten families, with the kissing her. But he escaped rather easily, conpower to arrest and imprison the Sabbath sidering the grossness of his offense. He rebreakers.

ceived two hours in the stocks "for his lewd and

unseemly behavior." One wonders what the VOR the purpose of holding the culprits, Puritans conceived of as proper conduct under

cages were to be erected in the market the circumstances. Probably the sea captain places. Not even the children escaped the would have been obeying the law had he severity of these laws, for the parents and gov- greeted his wife by gazing at her mournfully, ernors of children over seven years old were and saying, “How do you do, Mary! This is admonished in case their charges showed disre- the Sabbath Day, and I will not be so unholy as spect to the Sabbath; and for repeated offenses, to kiss you. But wait till to-morrow, and then the penalties were fines and whipping. Not a I will do it.” very happy place for the young, when boys and The blue laws were not confined to enactgirls of seven had to

ments regarding the assume the gravity of

Sabbath. The Purigray-beards! But this

tans were not so narrow HE next time you are in was only another in

as to limit blueness to a stance of Puritan controuble, or feel discouraged

single day. and think you are sistency. For whatever

a failure,

they discovered many may be said against the just try the experiment of af

methods of spreading blue laws, it must be firming vigorously, persistent

it throughout the week. admitted that their ly, that all that is real must

Some of these methods blueness was thorough.

be good, for God made all that Even more flagrant is, and whatever doesn't seem

were adopted from

England; some were are recorded. to be good is not like its Cre

original with the coloDaniel Wait Howe, in ator, can not be real. Persist

nists. In many cases, in this affirmation. You will his volume on "The

they represented nothPuritan Republic,” debe surprised to see how unfor

ing more than the clares that such was

tunate suggestions and adverse
conditions will melt away.

general spirit of the the respect for the

time. For example, Sabbath that "some

their methods for the ministers seem to have

punishment of crime had doubts as to whether it was lawful to be were dyed with blueness to the core, yet we can born on that day.” One very conscientious clearly see in them the English influence. The minister, the author recounts, refused to death penalty was exceedingly popular in the baptize children “which were so irreverent as to colonies, as in the mother country; it was probe born on the Sabbath. However, this con- nounced for idolatry, witchcraft, blasphemy, scientious objector was a bachelor. Had he adultery, stealing, and other offenses, including not been, he might have suffered the fate of a the return of Quakers and Jesuits after banishfellow parson with similar scruples, who "was ment. For burglary—the first and second effectually cured by having twins born to his offense—the penalty was the cutting off of the wife on the Sabbath.” Perhaps there were offender's ears; for vagabond Quakers and those who regarded it as wicked to die on the rogues the chastisement was branding; for Sabbath, and who believed that a suitable defamation of the magistrates, or profanation punishment for such an offense was a few of the Lord's Day, whipping was the punishmillion ages of torture. If there were any such, ment; and for the crime of lying, the reprimand their record, unfortunately, has been lost; but varied from fines to whipping. But what was such views are entirely consistent with the particularly infamous was the treatment of the Puritan spirit.

“witches,” of which thousands—sometimes the It is recorded by the eminent historian men- ordinary citizens, sometimes harmless though tioned above, Brooks Adams, that a Puritan demented persons-were put to death in the cat was once so blasphemous as to catch a rat name of justice. on a Sunday, and, on the following day, his In accordance with the spirit of blueness, the master solemnly put him to death! Perhaps a Puritans showed little more tolerance towards

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any other

persons of other sects than they did toward leap and sport on the Sabbath as on any other criminals. This will be apparent from a day-it was terrible to think of the Hereafter of Connecticut law providing that no Quaker or torture that awaited them! And, on the dissenter should be allowed a vote; that no food Sabbath, even the sun would go about his or lodging should be afforded a Quaker, Adam- regular business-it was lucky the sun was not ite, or other heretic; and that if a person turned a living thing, for then surely its soul would heretic, he should be banished, and not suffered suffer the penalty! And while all the outside to return on penalty of death.

world—birds, beasts, flowers, trees, and sun

would be rejoicing, the Puritans would sit UCH the same spirit was manifested in within for hour on hour on stiff wooden benches

the laws of Virginia and other colonies. listening to interminable sermons on divine An act of 1660, showed its judicial tolerance by damnation. beginning, “Whereas there is an unreasonable To be thorough, we should have to pass & and turbulent sort of people, commonly called law such as the following: Quakers.” The act not only forbade Quakers I. The Sabbath shall commence at sundown to arrive, but provided that those already on Saturday evening, and after that time no present were to be imprisoned till they left, and railroad train shall run, no vessel shall continue that no person was to have anything to do with under way at sea, no telegraph, telephone, or

Quaker. Other laws made it a finable wireless message shall be sent or taken, no offense to attend a meeting of Quakers, or to street cars shall operate, or stores or places of entertain any member of that sect; and one amusement shall be open, no electric or gas statute specified that if a Quaker were unable to lights shall be permitted, and any one caught pay a fine imposed on him, it was to be collected twiddling his thumbs, winking, or otherwise from other Quakers or Separatists. This is impiously disporting himself, shall be given ten much as if we were to have a law to-day pro- years at hard labor; and for the second offense, viding that if a Presbyterian could not pay a death shall be the penalty. fine, it should be collected from

II. Any one caught sneezing on the Sabbath Presbyterian or Methodist.

shall be sent to the penitentiary for not less One might mention other Puritan enact- than a year nor longer than life. ments, such as the censorship of the press by a III. Laughter shall be strictly forbidden, committee of clergymen, the statutory limita- and any one guilty of a breach of decorum to the tion of wages, the prohibition of short sleeves, extent of smiling, shall be burned at the stake and the ordinance requiring long garments,

as a witch. which, in 1653, resulted in the trial of a man for IV. In order that the benefits of this law wearing boots. But enough has already been may be as great as possible, it shall be applied said to indicate the general nature of the Blue alike to every day in the week. Laws. It should be apparent that they had two outstanding characteristics: first,

AVING duly abolished the United States already pointed out, that they were consistent;

Constitution, we may adopt this law second, that they were laws against human and settle down to an era of blueness that would nature. If there is anything that is natural, the bring envy to the soul of even the bluest of the Puritans seemed to believe, that thing is wrong- Puritan Fathers. ful; the only rightfu thing is what is un- The Fatalistic creeds of the East would surely natural; therefore what is unnatural is natural. find a lodging among us, and to help a man And so they set about with thoroughgoing zeal whose leg was broken or who had lost his eyeto abolish everything spontaneous and normal. sight, would be blasphemy, since whatever ill

Children liked to play on the Sabbath-let befell a man would be considered a punishment them be whipped for it! Young people desired inflicted by the Almighty; and for men to to amuse themselves—let them be put in the interfere would be presumption amounting to stocks! Quakers and other heretics wished to profanation. And so we might have a law have opinions-let them be banished or put to forbidding a man to do a service to any other death! Man was a creature made for misery

In other words, we might become so and sorrow-it was sacrilegious not to strive for good that goodness would cease to exist. one's full share of that sorrow and misery! The next measure, obviously, would be a law Outside the robins would sing in the spring- proclaiming that since everything in this life is time-poor things, they did not know any for the sake of the life hereafter, anything done better!--their souls were probably doomed to in order to gain pleasure or to avoid misery eternal torment! In the fields the bares would should receive the death penalty.

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Part II of the Gripping Serial of Romance and Achievement

The Business Butterfly

Proud Prudence Parker, Employed as Private Secretary, Suddenly Finds that Art and Business Do not Mix

By PETER GRAY

ILLUSTRATED BY JOANNA SHORTMEIER

WHAT HAPPENED IN PART I PRUDENCE PARKER, at the age of twenty- man, she is given the position. In order to try her

one years, finds herself facing the necessity of out, Vandergrift leaves her alone the first afterearning her own living after a life of luxury. Left noon to see how she can manage his affairs. His alone by the death of her uncle, Enoch Tomlinson, daughter, Margaret, telephones a message for him with whom she had made her home, Prudence to meet her in order that he may see an original leaves the New England town of Cambridge, Corot which she is very anxious to obtain regardwhere she had been born and raised in the most less of the fabulous amount asked for it. Rememexclusive circles, and comes to New York City. bering the false originals by which her uncle had With a capital of $1500, all that was left of her been defrauded of a fortune, Prudence telephones former wealth, she takes up a commercial course. the agent to bring it to the office. Under protest Putting behind her the memory of her past social he finally consents. Prue recognizes it as one of life, she enters into her practical business career the worthless paintings owned by her uncle. with zeal and determination. Her first position is Vandergrift resents her interference in such affairs secretary to Richard Babson Vandergrist, million- and summarily discharges her. She refuses to leave aire. In spite of the fact that he advertised for a until the authenticity of the picture is assured.

P

RUDENCE PARKER'S first battle of painting at a low price, seemed a rank prewits with a leader of big business was a sumption. If this very canvas had been sold

dismal failure. Her stiffened-backbone by her uncle's lawyers on the ground-either decision that she would not leave Richard Van- honestly or otherwise—that it was not an dergrift's office until she knew the history of the original, she had no proof of the fact. If Enoch Corot, which she believed had either been a Tomlinson's collection had been sold for a mere counterfeit or else a genuine masterpiece, sold to pittance, that did not interest Richard Vanderher own disadvantage, had only resulted in her grift. If he was able to buy at a ridiculously discomfiture and humiliation.

low price and Prudence had been cheated out of As she stood, with flashing eyes, on the a small fortune, he regarded that as her illthreshold of her employer's office, declining to luck and Vandergrift’s gain. Yet somehow she accept his dismissal, Charles Salmon Chase, an suspected Taranoff, and her flashing eyes conexpert on old masters, entered and bowed to veyed just that impression to the art dealer. Vandergrift and his daughter, Margaret.

However, unable to justify herself, she “Let me see this little treasure, Miss Vander- slipped quietly from the room and departed. grift," he said, and then he adjusted his glasses As she was leaving the big office building she and, backing away, gave the canvas careful almost collided with an apologetic, good-looking scrutiny. "Vandergrift," he said after a few mo- youth, who seemed to be keenly aware that she ments,“how much are you going to give for this?" was exceedingly smart and attractive. With

"Mr. Taranoff asks fifty thousand," Vander- astonishment, he observed the traces of tears in grift replied. “What would you advise?" her eyes and the evident nervousness of her

Buy it!" announced Chase without hesitation. “It's real-and it's a bargain."

“Can't I be of some help?” he asked soliciThere seemed nothing for Prudence to do. tously. “You seem to be in trouble.” In the face of the expert's opinion, her attempt "No," she said, despite her desire to talk over to prevent her employer obtaining a valuable the matter with someone.

manner.

the tiny hall-room to share her confidences.

“I have written you before,” wrote Aline, “but I have had no answer. Your sudden disappearance and

your strange silence have disturbed me, as it has all of us who really love you. Surely you must have received my letters, since they have not been returned to me, and I very carefully wrote my home address on each envelope.”

Then there had been other understanding letters! Prudence realized now that she had destroyed them in her desire to break with the past, and that was why Aline Bradford had written this final appeal. How different was the tone of this missive from the supercilious ones of other women, who, through idle curi

“I beg your pardon," said the youth; and, without another word, he disappeared into the offices of Richard Babson Vandergrift.

In the elevator, Prudence tried to control herself. With a daub of her handkerchief to her ieddened eyes, she stepped into the marblelined lobby. In one corner, in an alcove, was the telegraph office. There she paused to send a telegram to Lanning Lanning, Boston: It read

Corot pronounced spurious when uncle's estate was settled just sold in New York for fifty thousand. Have we been deceived ?

Then Prudence Parker boarded a jammed subway-train and, while gripping a strap, attempted to scan the help-wanted advertisements for another place. But the long column offered nothing inviting.

In the tiny place which served as her a partment, Prudence spied a dainty envelope bearing the postmark of the Boston Back Bay station. For weeks she had made it a practice to throw all of her forwarded mail into the wastebasket, opened. She detested the curious, prying tone of the earlier letters she had received, and felt that she wished to divorce herself from the life she had led prior to the decease of her impoverished uncle. But, under the circumstances, this sealed voice from the past intrigued her curiosity. She opened the letter. As she read, her face brightened. Here was the first really human document that had come to her since the collapse of Enoch Tomlinson's fortune and her own decision to go out and earn her own living.

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un

THE

\HE note was from

Aline Bradford. It seemed like a ray of sunshine in the darkness.

Strener There was

a heartfelt sympathy expressed in the familiar writing, a genuine longing to be helpful and friendly which made Prudence picture the lovely Aline and wish she were in

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