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Newspaper Page Text
BILLIE BURKE SAYS THAT INNOCENCE IS.M)T5
A VIRTUE, BUT A STATE OF MIND
I heard a number of women talk
ing the other day of "Hindle Wakes,"
that wonderful Englishplay which
has caused so much discussion in this
Said one woman: "I would not
have Julia see this play for the world.
I am so glad that I saw it first, so I
can keep her from, coming."
I cannot understand why any girl
who is old enough to go out in society
and is of marriageable age should not
see "Hindle Wakes." It is a great play
and tells a most moving story.
Foreigners claim that the domina
tion of art and society by the young
girl in this country is a great draw
back to the highest culture. The peo
ple of older countries seem to forget
that America is so young .herself that
she is apt to give an .undue promi-,.
nence to the enthusiasms and opin
ions of youth.
Howeverwe are steadily outgrow
ing this immaturity and, as a natural
consequence, are approaching proper
values .in the art of "living.
For many years our literature arid
our drama have been written .wholly
with reference -to the young girl.
When one spoke of a play the first
Question .asked by some anxious
would be: "Is it the kind, of a play
to which you. would" take' your inno
cent daughter?" Our dramatists had
this question hurled at them from all
corners. Consequently, their greatest
.efforts seem to have been the glossing
over or skirting around the real prob
lems of life, the knowledge of which
.would affect the innocence of the
Any question can be discussed in
a drama, provided it be done prop
erly. When a woman has learned that
it is manner, not matter, which, is
vulgar, she will have progressed ma
terially toward the higher plane.
A few years ago, at a lecture given
before e congregation of 3 'prornj-
nent Methodist church, a woman
frjend of mine was called upon to tell
the story of "The Hypocrites," the
wonderfully clever play of Arthur f
Henry Jones which was so popular ata
the time. It will be remembered that
the drama was built around the hypo-,
critical conduct of a number of per-,
sons when the sin which they had.
condemned roundly in others was
brought home to themselves. The.
crucial incident was the betrayal of
a. young girl by the .son of an En
glish baronet, and the whole society-!
of the county including the-bishop,""
the family doctor, the 'solicitor, the
parents, friends and relatives of the
boy proceed to palliate his offense
while excoriating the victim.
The story was simply' told and the
underlying theme of the drama,
which, was not the breaking of the
seventh commandment so much as
the shattering of the ninth, was
brought out as' carefully as possible.
However, only the matter, of the be
trayal seemed to affect many of the
"hearers, and when one benign gen
tleman in a white cnok'er' arose and
asked, in a manner which betokened
the awful seriousness of the question,
"Would you take . your innocent
daughter to see a play of this kind
upon the stage?" the lecturer could
see upon the faces of more than half
the audience that he was voicing the
inquiryin their minds and answered:
"If I had daughters I should be
most particular that they should see
this play. Just why a young girl
should be kept innocent is hard to
understand. Innocence is not a vir
tue; it is only a state oLmind. rnno-
cence means a lack of knowledge. vln
old English parlance, 'an innocent'
was a synonym for idiot. ,
"When a' girl is old enough to. 50;
to the theater, she is old enough tol
begin to know about those laws both?
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