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
CONFESSIONS OF A WIFE
THE PRIDE OF HERITAGE CANNOT BE BROKEN
"Alma and 1 were very nicely fixed
over in Washington within a week of
the inauguration," said Paula, "and
I found myself happier than I had
been any time since my dear father
and mother left me alone.
"Sometimes, Margie, I think we
Vmericans do not take enough inter
est in our wonderful capital city. I
shall always think of it with the.
greatest pleasure, as I spent a very
appy time there.
"More than any other American
city, Washington is a place of caste
and class, and the chasm between
the different grades of government
employes is as great and deep and as
hard to bridge as that between an
ambassador and . the humblest at
tache of the legation.
"The old families in Washington
have an idea that they are anointed
of God as the keepers of society with
a capital S. Even the president and
the members of his cabinet must
have something besides the high po
sition they have been elected to fill
for a short time to endear them to
the members of the old families, who
trace their lineage back to the illus
trious makers of American.history.
"Very few presidents have meas
ured up to the standards of these ar
biters of Washington society. The
man of grdatest soul and most hu
man characteristics that ever sat in
the chair of the highest executive,
the first martyred president, was not
considered the social equal of the old
Georgetown and , Washington fam
ilies. "It was a descendant of one of
these families who, in commenting
on the coming marriage of another
.5 esident, to a friend at an -exciu-sne
afternoon bridge party, said:
Oh, Mrs. , I hear you are liv
ing in the same apartment house
v ith the mother of the lady the pres
ident is gqing to marry.'
" 'Yea,' answered the questioner's
friend, more or less laconically, 'I
have met her a few times.' v .
" 'Aren't you glad you never
snubbed her?' was the exclamation
of another present
"Presidents and presidents' wives
are only transitory episodes "in the
lives of the old residents of Washing- "
ton, and the peculiar part of it is that
sometimes you will find a woman be
longing to one of these families of
decayed fortunes in the employ of
the government and she has all the
pride of birth of the lady Clara Vere
de Vere and her contempt of the
family of the wild western congress
man or the purs-proud senator is as
great as was that of the lady of Ten
nyson's imagination who scorned the
country lout. '
"I have been in many places in
this country, Margie," continued
Paula, "in the years in which I
earned my living and I have never
been in one American town or city
where money had so little to do with
society caste as Washington.
"I am telling you all this, my dear
Margie, because I want-you to under- .
stand something of the different
strata of society with which I came
in contact in my next position.
"Shortly after the inauguration I
became secretary to a congressman.
This position, like everything else ,
that has ever happened to me, came
to me out of a clear sky, for when I
went to Washington I had no more
idea of tecoming secretary to a con
gressman than I had of becoming
wife of the richest bachelor in the
"I had no. idea of the responsibil
ities of the position, but I have come
to the conclusion that is true of most
of the men and, women who become
"Of course, some men bring with
them from their home towns their
old secretaries, but the new ones are
usually hired on the ground of