Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1949 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Newspaper Page Text
has called salamander, because of
her capacity to live unscathed amid
the fires of sex which she deliberate
ly kindles in men!
The dictionary defines a "salaman
der" as a mythical being having hu
man form and endowed with the pow
er of living in proximity to fire. But
Owen Johnson says she is no myth,
but a fact His latest novel "The Sal
amander" has made her its heroine.
New York has taken to the sala
mander phrase. Shops show the sala
mander petticoat, and the salamander
pantalette, a bifurcated garment
made of accordeon pleated tulle or
chiffon caught in a rubber band at
the ankle and taking the place of an
The salamander formula of fasci
nation "a flash of neck, a flash of
ankle and a flash of red," is followed
by young girls here more faithfully
than if it were a religious rite!
When I asked Owen Johnson to
talk to me of salamanders the other
day at the Hotel Vanderbilt, he began
the interview with a question of his
"Do you believe in salamander?"
"No!" I answered, "I do not. I
think there are plenty of women of
all ages who are salamanders in the
sense that they play with and upon
the passions of men but I DON'T ac
cept your idea that such women may
escape unscathed. I don't consider
the American salamander a good fire
insurance risk, as you do!
"I believe she is almost burn
ed, not by her own fire, because she
really has an asbestos heart, but by
the flames she kindles in men."
"But I assure you," Owen Johnson
answered, "that the great majority
of salamanders have the quality of
playing with fire without being burn
ed. I'm a man and I know more about
them than you do. From 18 to 25
marks the salamander age at which
many girls are innocent hunters,
cheerful little grafters.
"She lives in an obscure board
ing house and manages to pay her
landlady by secret agreements with
tradesmen who are willing to buy
back from her for less money of
course the baskets of champagne,
the $20 bunches of orchids which are
sent by her admirers.
"Whatever the man's intentions,
the little salamander plays with his
feelings to her own profit. She is sel
dom if ever burned. At 25 she either
.marries or settles down to the serious
pursuit of a career. In any case she
becomes a most conservative member
Mr. Johnson smiled as he finished
this interesting exposition of his
"I think she's interesting, if true
but still I don't believe in her!
"So long as men philander, women
WILL salamander, I suppose, in the
sense that they will exploit their phys
ical charm. But every women who
does so is damaged her soul is singed
even when it is not entirely destroyed
by the red flame of sex."
THE CONFESSIONS OF A WIFE
EXPERIENCE BROADENS ELIENE. CONFESSION 189
(Copyright, 1914, by the Newspaper
"I wish Harry could see you!" I
said impulsively to Eliene this morn
ing as I watched her'in the garden.
She was lying in a hammock and
the twins were on a blanket spread
on the grass beside here. Eliene was
simply beautiful and so girlish and
It was the first time that I had
mentioned Harry to her, although I
had seen two or three foreign letters
addressed to her on the tray where
the letters were left, but as she had
not mentioned his name I did not feel
that I might intrude upon her affairs.