12 July 1902





 Any Bright Young Woman, With Nothing to Occupy Her Mind, Is Likely to Imagine That She is Dreadfully Abused - Mary Is in Chicago Now Dodging the Newspapermen

 "Poor little Mary MacLane" is in Chicago. The banter and not entirely niild ridicule to which she has been subjected since her arrival there, the evident "stringing" and impertinent curiosity of the representatives of the press, and the cheerless circumstances of her dismal greeting at the station by strangers - the same ogres of the nimble pencil - these things would have been enough to have, indeed, aroused any other woman to the superlative degree of self-pity.

 But it is not for these things that Butte's remarkable authoress pities herself - nor does it appear that it is for anything else that is real and tangible.

 Why Mary's Life is Empty.

 She cries out because her life is empty, and she appears never to have tried to fill it. The pitiable mental condition that was hers when she wrote her book is such a one as comes to any bright, restless mind that has nothing with which to be occupied. Morbid thoughts and broodings over fancies misfortunes and limitations are calculated to make one miserable, and it is this quality of misery that the erratic - and erotic - young authoress depicts so vividly. It appeals, by its strong portrayal, to the readers of the book, for anything which drastically touches upon emotions and moods which, at one time or another, every human being feels in great or small degree, inevitably catches the attention. When some one else defines and expresses a thought or feeling which has unconsciously been our own, we call it intuition and give that person credit for cleverness, which is his due. But a portrayal of morbidness and defiance of all existing conditions as a constant and continued mental state, is a false one.

 Mary MacLatie's book is false to her. When she felt morbid she wrote, just as do the spring poets that vex the weary soul of the editor. In her bright and natural moods she did not feet the things she wrote, and no doubt she spent but a small number of hours out of her 24 in her broodings and with her degenerating pen.

 What Mary May Yet Do

 It is a degenerating pen, for that which incites morbid minds to more misery and promotes the organization of suicide clubs, is degenerating. Had the "good Anglo-Saxon" of Miss Mary MacLane been used in a kinder vein and her intuition and power to portray human feelings been employed for the soothing and balming of such miseries as she describes, her contribution to literature would have been much more worthy the true Mary MacLane.

 But it would not have been such a "success."

 Whether she knew this or not, can only be conjectured. The writer thinks she did not. Her railings against society indicates a feminine bitterness on account of the non-possession of the fineness and fripperies which she affects to despise.

 She speaks contemptuously in Chicago of the Butte society ladies who drink "fancily fixed cocktails." It was she who, when entertained at a society function given in compliment to her in this city, demanded that the hostess prepare for her one of these same fancily mixed. And when it was brought, she employed the rudeness and lack of breeding which she mistakes for daring defiance of things which ought not to be - she tossed away the mixture and told her hostess it was not suited to her taste, demanding another that should be made "fit to drink."

 She Will Outgrow It.

 Mary MacLane is a bad, envious child. That is, when she raves against her environment, which, taken all in all, is well enough for any reasonable person. When she is the real Mary MacLane, she is a gentle, lovable girl. This is the testimony of her friends. Ten years hence, perhaps only five, she will blush to think of her presumption. She will be ashamed of her childish egotism.

 Ella Wheeler Wilcox had such a mind at 19, or thereabout. She wrote bad poetry, filled with just such drivel against conditions and reveling in exagerrated and pyrotechnic virtuosity, pointing herself out as a fearful and wonderful person with fearful and wonderful feelings.

 She is wiser now. She does not do it. She has come to the tardy conclusion that existing conditions, though theu do not always ring true, are for the best. She is resigned. She knows that she is not more remarkable than any other women of bright mind and analytical temperament might be did she choose to sacrifice her womanliness in an unbecoming and useless tirade, which fails to gratify the vanity that prompts it because the variety of fame it attains is odious.

 Combats Windmills, Does Mary

 Mary MacLane has been fighting windmills. For this one may well say: "Poor little Mary MacLane." She is bright enough to outgrow her Quixotic sentiments and some day she may employ her splendid energies in a better way. If her natural stubborness does not prompt her to persist in her useless and ridiculous eccentricity, she may yet write a book that Butte may be unqualifiedly proud of.

 Personally, all sympathy is due her in her new ventures. She is an inexperienced young girl in a large city, daily being exposed to public ridicule, and her most private affairs intruded upon by representatives of the press and the curiosity those who know her through her ridiculous fame.

 Many Butte women women could write just such as "The Story of Mary MacLane," and write it better. And it is not that they do not dare. They have judgment and value their talents more highly than to exert them to such a useless end.

 Mary MacLane thinks she is the only Butte woman who could have written or its equal in vituperation. She is the only woman who has done it. She is not yet sorry. Ten years hence she will be.

bio index
maclane index
domain index