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Newspaper Page Text
GOSSIP IS A DEADLY SIN WHICH CAUSES MUCH HAVOC IN HUMAN
LIVES JANE WHITAKER DISCUSSES IT
BY JANE WHITAKER
Did you ever see a very beautiful garden ruined by weeds? First there
was just one weed that crept up so cautiously that no one noticed it and its
flower was so like the color of other flowers, perhaps a yellow like the mari
gold or a blue like the verbenas, or perhaps it didn't have any flower, but
just green leaves that blended with the green of J)ther leaves.
No one noticed it and no one pulled it up and so it spread and spread
and soon the other flowers were choked and in the end there weren't any
other flowqrs just weeds.
That is the way with gossip. It starts with just a whisper, or maybe
never a spoken word, but merely a shrug of the shoulders or a lifted eye
brow. No one notices it as a weed in a garden of flowers, and so it creeps,
cautiously in, until, when it is noticed, the flowers are choked and the weecf
has grown so strong that it cannot be destroyed.
If you have lived in boarding houses, or worked in offices, or belonged
to clubs, you have had an oppbrtunity to watch the destruction of gossip.
In a boarding house it thrives most. Perhaps a little girl of 17 or 18 has.
come to the city from a country town because the city lured her with its
She is unsophisticated, she is generous, she is lavish with her frietid
ship and she is. wholly ignorant of the ethics of "Mrs. Grundy," who, after
all, is only an evil-minded old lady
who thinks everything wrong that is
nob surrounded with pretense.
The little country girl Is popular
by the very simplicity of her ways.
She makes many friends, she even
unconsciously absorbs some of the
friends of other girls, and perljaps it
is then that the first seed of gossip is
No one bothers telling her she
mustn't stay out so very late at night,
even though a perfectly nice young
man took her to the theater ani
afterward to a perfectly nice restau
rant to eat, but the next day the gos
sips add it to the first seed sown, and
there are two weeds in the garden.
No one bothers telling her that she
must not show her friendliness to
ward a certain boy as openly as she
does, but another weed is planted in
No one tells her she mustn't let the
boy she likes stand and talk to her
on the stairs when he is on his way
to his room, but the gossips plant ah
The little country girl doesn't no
tice that the weeds are choking the
flowers in her garden for a very long
while. Even when sister-women and1
brother-men treat her disrespectfully
she tries pitifully to re-establish a,
friendship and broods over the re
huffs. And then gradually the frjendly
light dies out of her" eyes, though
they may still glisten with tears. The,
sweet curve of her lips turns to a
droop and sometimes a sneer. She
isolates herself, she who is so pas
sionately fond of friends; she doesn't
talk to the boy on the stairs any
more, and she doesn't stay out late
at night, or if she does she does it
with a knowledge now that it is dis
approved of and she doesn't care.
She has been introduced to "Mrs.'
Grundy," but introduced to her
through a channel that has embit
tered her and there are very many;
chances that the flowers will never"
grow in that garden again, but only
weeds will overrun it.
We all gossip. It isn't limited t
women, .though because they have'
more hours of idleness they are more
guilty. Bqt I have heard men re-,
peat the most vicious gossip. I havel
heard men repeat gossip that was