Newspaper Page Text
VOL.. 9. No. 23.
LINCOLN, NEB., SATURDAY, MAY 19, 1891.
PRICE FIVE CENTS.
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Those i)ersons who remember tho
sudden disappearance of Judge
Clarkson. of Oinalia, a year or bo ago
will find in "Witherle's Freedom,"
by Cornelia Atwood Pratt, a sketch
in the May number of tho Century,
some more or lees striking points of
resemblance to certain features of the Omaha lawyer's exit. With
orle was a minister. Why he sought "freedom" and how he found
it may bo gathered from tho following extracts from tho story:
"Either you do tho things you want to do in this world, or elso you
don't," said Witherle. "I had never done what I wanted until 1 left
home. I didn't mean to hurt anybody by coming away, and I don't
think I did. I'd rather not be selfish, but life got so dull. I couldn't
stand it. I had to havs a change. I had to come. The things you
have to do, you do. There was a Frenchman once who committed
suicide, and left a note that said, 'Tired of this eternal buttoning
ar.d unbuttoning. I know how he felt. I don't know how other
men manage to live. Perhaps their work means more to them than
mine had como to mean to me. It was just dull, that was all, and I
had to come.
"When I was twenty-one I was in love; tho girl married somebody
else. Before I met my wife she had cared for a man who married
another woman. You Fee how it was. We were going to save tho
pieces together. As a business arrangement this sort of thing is all
right. I havn't a word to say against it. She is a ood woman, and
we got on as well as most people, only life was not ecstasy to either
of us. Can't you see us tied together, sneaking our way along
through existence as if it were some grey desert, and wo crawling on
and on over the sand, always with our faces bent to it, and nothing
showing itself in our way but tho whito bones of the men and
women who had traveled along there before us, grinning skulls
"And my work was only another long desert to be toiled through
with the sphinx at tho end. I wasn't a successful preaeher, and
you know it. I hadn't any grip on men. I couldn't see any use or
any meaning or any joy in it. Tho whole thing choked mo. I
wanted a simpler, more elemental life. I wanted to go up and down
tho earth, and try now forms of living, new ways of doing things,
now people. Life that was what I wanted to feel tho pulse of the
world throb under my touch, to be in tho stir, to bo doing something.
I was always haunted by tho conviction that life was tremendous if
only you once got at it. I couldn't got at it where I was. I was
"And you like it?"
The man's eyes (lamed. "Like it? It's great. It's tho only thing
there is. I'vo been from Maine to California this year. I wintered
in a Michigan lumber camp that was hell. I was a boat hand on
tho Columbia last summer--that was heaven. I worked in a coal
mine two months a scab workman, you understand, and now I am
at this, shoveling coal. I tell you it is lino to get rl of endyeling
your brains for ideas that aren't there, and of pretending to teach
people somothing you don't know, and take to working with your
hands nino hours a day and sleeping like a log all night. I hadn't
slept for months, you know. These people teli mo about themselves.
I'm seeing what life is like. I'm getting down to tho foundations.
I've learned inoro about humanity in tho last six months than I ever
knew in all my life. I believe I've learned more about religion. I'm
getting hold of things. It's liko getting out on tho ojicn sea after
that desert I was talking alout don't you see? And it all tastes 6o
good to mo."
Judge Clarkson may have entertained ideas somewhat similar to
those expressed by Witherle; but in his caso his "freedom" was tho
result of a state of mind brought about by overwork and worry.
His experience after flight was not unlike that of Witherle. lie
was away from homo several months, a portion of which time ho
spent in a lumber yard in an Iowa town as a laborer. Judge Clark
son, it is said, was soon restored to his former condition upon his
Whatever may bo tho cause many men feel at times tho impulso
that caused Witherle and Clarkson to escapo the involved resjonsi
bilities of a iKsition in society. There are so many ties, so much
respectability to bo maintained, so much care for appearances, so
much responsibility, so many conventionalities to be observed, that
sometimes there are moments when the life that we lead seems irk
some, and there is a desire for a new and untrammeled existence, an
existenco in which ono could lead a perfectly free and selfish life,
coming and going, working and playing, as ono is inclined, without
consulting anybody's wishes.
Mr. Bryan's letter may be viewed in many lights. Following closo
upon the announcement of Judge Field's candidacy it may be con
sidered as an unconditional surrender to Lancaster county's repub
lican candidate. It has been an open secret that Bryan did not
want to meet Field again. The democrats of the First district will
probably take the congressman at his word, and though there are
remoto possibilities of a gubernatorial or senatorial boom, the trend
of Nebraska politics seems to foreshadow the retirement of Mr.
Bryan to private life at the expiration of his present term.
Follow tho procession and order your Sunday ice cream and fruit
ices of Sisler. Phone G30, KB south 12 St.
Tho time and place to buy tine stylish footwear is next week at
Le Grande M. Baldwin's, 1129 O St