What is the proudest hour of a woman's life, asks a curious one of a bevy of women.
There is silence for a moment, then one speaks:
"The proudest hour of my life was when I graduated with the hours of my class, and won a scholarship at college.
"Nothing else ever gave me such a feeling of satisfaction as that; because I was a poor girl, with my own way to make in the world: and that meant much to me. All that has come since then has been more or less mixed with trouble and difficulty, and disillusionment; but that was an hour of pure, unalloyed joy and pride."
"The proudest hour of my life was when I paid all the old debts left by my father, who died before he could settle the affairs of a dishonest partner. My father was not in fault; yet there was a shadow over his name through the unfortunate association.
"I lifted that shadow; and it was my proudest hour."
A third speaks:
"My proudest hour was when the nurse told me I was the mother of a son. I had three daughters: all lovely girls, and welcome to both parents; yet, like every primitive woman I wanted to be the mother of a son. That was my proudest hour."
The fourth is a human butterfly; born to money and position; and her proudest hour is in accordance with her life:
"I fear I have never done anything which gave me great pride," she says, "but fate has done some things for me which were gratifying to my nature. I never remember to have felt more satisfaction than when I was presented at court and saw many admiring glances turned upon me. There were people in my own land who had tried to make me feel that their position in society was higher than mine. This honor I received from royalty settled that matter forever in my mind. I was really very proud of my success."
The fifth is an artist: wife of a noble American, and mother of fair children she speaks:
"My proudest hour was when my picture received the highest praise of any in the exhibition. Then, indeed, I knew I was making good with the talent God gave me."
"When I succeeded in conquering my rebellious worldly heart and gave myself unreservedly to God by becoming a member of the Salvation Army, I experienced my proudest hour."
And last spoke the seventh:
"I married for love and went away among strangers. I knew I had chosen wisely; I knew I had found my one true mate of all the world. No matter what any one said or thought, I was blest beyond my wildest imaginings by being chosen by this man for his life companion. And my proudest hour came when a prominent man, respected by the whole community, and looked upon as an oracle, said to me:
"You have been most fortunate to be chosen by your husband as a wife. He is one of the finest fellows on earth. No one knows him better than I do. I congratulate you. There was a mist suspiciously like tears in the eyes of this man. And that was my proudest hour. Nothing the world can offer me will ever be quite like that; for to a woman who truly loves a man there is no heavenly harmony so sweet as the sound of his praises from others; and I am sure hell could offer no anguish worse than hearing him criticized, and knowing it was deserved."
The American Weekly of the San Francisco Examiner 9 Aug 1911: 11.
Link to an image of the original newspaper clipping provided courtesy of George Leslie.