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"Christ or Diana?" bj; Edwin Long, /?. .A.
"The Englishwoman Who Devotes Her Life to Nursing a Crippled Soldier Is Inspired by the Same Spirit as the Early Christian Maiden Who Chose Martyrdom Under the Roman Tyrants for the Sake of Her Faith." English Maidens Flocking to Join the Rev. Mr. Houghton's "League for Marrying Broken Heroes99 in the Same Spirit of Self immolation That Women Have Shown From Time Immemorial Marriage of Private Charles Sherwood, of the Canadian Contingent, Who Had Been Wounded in the Head. FROM th* (lawn of human history tho woman has sacrificed herself for tho sake of her nation or humanity at large. In much the same pirit that animated tho maidens of an; :<-:u dreer.- <-r far' or Babylonia, the Kn::Iishv. .man of to-day is Babylonia l-:upl? - . w man ..f t ? lav is : ae fill tragodle .var The Uev. ? II<>ug ton, r?*ctor of Bristol, Kngland, has ori'ani/'-l a "League for tho Marrying of Broken Heroes." '1 ? is an or ganization ? ??;:? |? >? i ? ! unmarried women who pledge themselves to marry soldiers crippled in the war and to devote t.ie r liven to caring for them The league ;*?- proved jin immense success Ninety-eight t . i.-and spin-tern. it is said, have already joined it. Many scores of marriages bet wen crippled -i diers and n:?*:nhers of ;iie league have been ?olobrated. There is every expectation that ? \?-ial hundred t >mand will Join; in fact, a very large proportion of tho spinsters of the Lulled Kingdom. In an appeal t Lxuli-hwomon to Join the league these arguments are used: "No one doubts "hat Lngii hwoinen are as willing to give their lives and their happiness for their country a r. Kngli nnien. I'.tr how are the women to h >v. iv They cannot light on the battlefield. Religion and nature teach uu that ihelr most precious qualities are Hliown In passive service, in patient self-sacrifice and in loving care for those who have suffered in the battles of life "What nobler expression of these highest, womanly qualities could he found than in car ing for the crippled British soldiers of the war, men who have sacrificed their own health and their bodies in order that liberty, justice, truth and morality might not bo crushed under the Iron heel of military despotism. "Think of the fate of the man who a few wooks ago was filled with health, enthusiasm and yeaihful spirits and now finds himself condemned to a life of helplessness, perhaps blinded, aimply because he obeyed the highest all of patriotism and humanity. The ordeal that lies ahead of such a man during a lonely life is cruel enough to make him doubt the existence of divine justice. "The only way in which such a man's life can be brightened is by a happy marriage. To make the hero feel that he has not sacrificed his health in vain, to make him realize that ju-tiie, after all, does rule the world is the duty and the privilege of the patriotic Eng lishwoman. She who thus saves a hero from gloom and despiar is herself as truly a heroino as the man who has given his life or his health on the battlefield." The tetter continues at great, length to urge this duty upon Englishwomen, frequently ris ing to considerable eloquence, but at the same time using an abundance of ingenious argu ments. Are women afraid that the burden of living with a crippled man* will prove greater than h u m a n pa tience and good-will can bear? But. nays the letter, in a n y marriages of this kind in Prance have already proved hap pier than ordinary in a r r i a g e s. In Franco, where the number of wounded i.s much greater than in F.ngland. many soldiers crippled dtir ing the early weeks of the war have en Joyed upward of a year of married lifo with wives who mar ried them In order to take care of them, i hose unions are re port fii to have been remarkably h a p p y. It in explained that the moral motives which lead persons to c o n t r a e t such marriages are so high that they are. to a great extent, a guarantee of future happiness. Ilev. Mr. Hough ton's plan of opera tion is this: Ho secures the name of a woman willing to Bucriiice, immolate or devote herself, together with particulars as to her age, appearance and general capacities. Tlnjn he selects a crippled soldier, whose in juries appear to call tor the type of partner in question. A soldier who has been crippled so that he cannot walk, needs a strong wife who can carry htm or push him about in a roller chair. A soldier whose health has been wrecked by asphyxiating gas would feel cheered up by a pretty wife. A blinded soldier, on the other hand, would not care so much about the ap pearance of his wife, but might appreciate a good cook Mr. Ilonghton promises strict secrecy as io the identity of the women prepared to immo late themselves until the arrangements for their marriage are complete, it would, of course, make a woman ridiculous to advertise her as desiring to obtain a husband, no mat ter how badly crippled. On the other hand when she stands at the altar with a husband who is so crippled that she must help to carry him there, or perhaps, blinded so that she must lead him there, everybody realizes what a sacrifice she is making. Many such mar riagc-s are taking place, as all the copies of the English illustrated papers prove. There Is good reason lor the performance of theso mar riages with duo ceremony and full publicity, for the spectacle encourages other womc-n to take the only stop that can save the crippled heroes from despair. The rush of Englishwomen to Join the league has undoubtedly been astonishing. The cyni cal remark that many of them are "old maids," who are seizing an opportunity to secure a hus band which would not have come to them in peaceful times, but there is no reason to doubt that the majoriety of the leaguers are in spired by unselfish patriotism and the womanly instinct of self-sacrifice. In spite of the Rev. Mr. T^ighton's argu ments concerning the happiness of such mar riages there is every reason to believe that in many eases they must prove a real martyr dom lor the woman. The man who finds him self facing years of poverty and helplessness. "The Maiden Tribute to the Minotaur " by Auguste Gendron. "In All Ages Women Have Been Sacrificed to Appease an Angry Divinity or to Save Men From the Consequences of Their Sins, a Principle Illustrated by the Strange Legend of the Minotaur." Copyright, lfllfi, by the Star Company. Great Britain Rights Reservofl. suffering consider ? able pain in many ^ cases and daily grow ing weaker, will prove an unspeak ably depressing com panion. It will he the duty of the wife to strivo continu ally to pave him from despair and to face at tho samo time poverty and overwork. Philosophers and psychologists see In this movement a modern application of tho primitive law by which women have always been sacrificed to atone for the sins of tho race, or to avert tho wrath of the gods. Among tho Hin dus it was custom ary to burn tho widow with her dead husband, in order that she might bo united with him, ac cording to one ex planation, in the next life. So convinced wero the women that this custom was just, that when the IMtish first at tempted U> abolish Wedding of a Wounded English Officer^ Captain Lechinere, Who Hobbled to th? Altar With Two Sticks. It, the widows evarled the law and helped f6 make secret arrangements for burning them selves. This is certainly a remarkable illus* tratlon of how deeply the instinct of self-sao riflco becomes ingrained in the female nature The ancient Babylonians were accustomed to sacrilico young maidens to the Moon-god, la order to obtain abundant rains and crops. Tho girls were left tied to a rock where tho river would rise and drown them by the light of the moon. The ancient carvings indicate that they accepted Ibis terrible f?ite with resig nation, believing that It was natural that they, should give their lives to secure food for their people. The Greek legend tells us that tho Athenians wero accustomed to send an annual tribute of seven maidens and seven youths to bo do voured by tho Cretan Minotaur. While tha customary form of tho legend makes it appear that this trlbuto was enforced by a Crotan King, there Is reason to believe that It really represents a voluntary sacrifice to a primitive divinity. As civilization progressed, female sacrifice tended to acquire a higher and moro moral form. There is a striking picture, called "Christ or Diana?" which shows a Christian maiden of the time of the Emperor Diocletian when persecution raged against tho Christians in the Roman Empire. She is required to join in tho Impious worship of Diana to save her self from being thrown to the wild beasts as a Christian. The beautiful expression of moral exaltation on her face proves that she will un flinchingly chooso to bo lorn to pieces for the sako of her faith. Tho Englishwoman of to-day who willingly ties liorselC for life to a broken and crippled soldier is offering herself as an atoning sacri fice like theao matdena of antiquity.