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LlVLNG TlRST LADIErS o/*fie LAND "
Most Venerable of the M istresses o f the White House is the Widow of President Garfield, Who Re? cently Celebrated Her Eightieth Birthday O YOU know that there are still liv? ing no fewer than five women who have enjoyed the honor; of the White House, four of them in their time bearing the title, popularly eon)erred, of First Lady nj the Land, the fifth becoming the zcife of a president after his retirement from his high office''' The fates that seem to watch over women and preserve them to longer life than is granted to their husbands have performed that gracious office more generously to the wives of presidents than to those of any other Americans, Only tzio presidents survive, and one is the present executive. A part from Mr. and Mrs. Taft, the proportion of wives sur? viving White House years is as four to one of husbands, even though the vitality, of Colonel Roosevelt may be appraised as equal to that of any four other men who have held the presidential office. The sorrow that attends all such partings at the grave has left its mark on the majority of these women, whose husbands' rise to dis? tinction so strikingly exalted them to the greatest height our social body affords, and one at littst lias lived her long years in the somber shadow of the dire tragedy which has invariably come to the American people as a national misfortune, in which all share the mourning of the victim's immediate family. But they, like other widows less con? spicuous in the public eye, have proved how beautifully, how gently and sweetly they can bear their sorrow. They show how no emi? nence, however imposing, can change the essential nature of the American wife and mother from that admirable type of matronly strength and dignity which has been the object of humanity's reverence since the simple annals of the Old Testament depicted the family as the source and center of all that is good and pure in a people's character. SHE who passed through the most cruel ordeal among ail these ladles of the White House lives Still, an old, old woman, her fourscore years a crown of lovely age, her nature only made more gentle, more lovable by the bitter anguish of the time, when at tht very beginning of a career which might have been fruitful of splendid achievement her hus? band was shot down by an assassin. Mr:- Lucretia Garfield was a farmer's daughter, born at Hiram. Portage county, in Ohio, In 1&32. Hers was a romance such as so many thousands of Ameri? can girls know; it would be accounted no romance at all by the average writer of fiction But If he were b great writer he could not fall to descry In Its sim? ple, homely course the elements of the finest, most appealing love story, Just because It Is bo typical of our national existence. She ar.d Mr. Garfield wore students at Hiram when they met, and It was a true boy and girl attachment, the first love that came to the hearts of both. Hut their marriage was deferred, us many another has been deferred, until they felt they must meet fortune together and conquer It by their united efforts. She became his wifo when sho was 2C years old. in Hudson, O. As time passed and political preferment found Mr. Garfield one of those most fitted for favor, his wife proved one of those women who are qualified to share any station their husbands can attain. She possassed that soul of good breeding which draws Its Inspiration from a nature at once strong and syrnpathotlc, and Washington, capital of a mighty nation, found In hor tie qualities which have been ,.-tributes of so many other women who at the time of their wedding llt'le dreamed of consorting with those who rule one of the powerful peoples of the world. Mr. Garfleld's nomination and electlcn as preeid.-r.t was, in"his own eyes and in tho?e of his family, among those little-expected events which i r ange the whole current of life. He had his ambitions arjd his hopes, but there was not In his mind or his disposition that confidence of high honors which makcj some men re? ceive distinguished office with the feeling that it j. their Inevitable due. He boasted no star and. indeed, vaunted no mission. He was rather the modest states? man In politics who believed In tight and duty and could not fail to make on all who know him the impress of a good man. wise and kind. The relations between Mr. Garfiekl and his wife were those which so markedly united Mr. and Mrs. McKinley, a lovcrllke tenderness which never dimin? ished and was lees observed In the oaee of Garfleld only because the wife, in normal health, required less obvious attention than did Mrs. McKinley, the Invalid. She was deeply attached to Washington, not merely because of the agreeable social atmosphere and the posMlon she enjoyed, but rather because It was the city filled with memories that responded to tho pride she felt in her husband's honors. His death, after the long days of torturing anxiety, left her with resources so modest that tho $3S0.r|00 fund for herself and her children, rnlscd by popular subscription, fur? nished an income genuinely needed If. enabled her to make Washington her winter home, and she spent spring and summer nt her old residence In Mentor, the 6uburb of Cleveland which holds the other, more Intimate memories of her later married life. When the more ncuto pangs of sorrow abated Into some feeling of resignation Mrs. tJarneld found her niche In a world that had looked too black to be lived In immediately after her husband s death. She had her children to give her heart to, and as they ranged afield in working out their destinies she devoted her? self to charity and those holpful acts of kindness which have endeared her to all who know her. HALOED BY WIDOWHOOD Her features In earlier years, while they were strong and wholesome, would scarcely have been termed handsome. But as her widowhood has length? ened a rare and exquisite beauty has dawned In her face, as though her ordeal had crowned her with a consecration to all In life which can be accounted gentle and kind and true. The observance of her eightieth birthday recently emphasised the affection in which she is held as something personal to her and distinct from the sympathy felt for the widow of a murdered president. It Is such an affectionate regard, but with the ele? ment of tragic pity absent that attaches to Mrs. Cleve? land. Her life In the White House, inaugurated amid rose colors of romance which for years tinged maiden thoughts with charmed admiration throughout the United States, was dignified by the imposing figure made by her husband at home and abroad. His Immense forccfulne.es centered upon him an unusual attention, and Mrs. Cleveland's girlish loveliness was a 6pell to make the old and stately apartments more than merely homelike; they became almost romantic. The steady Increase In popular regard and respect, toward the last approaching reverence, which fol? lowed Mr. Cleveland into his retirement at Princeton. Invested his wife long after White House honors were forgotten with a dignity before the American people that surpassed that attributed to her at the height of InCercst in her distinction as a bride. Yet she was at no trmo any more pretentious or ambitious a woman than the typical American wife and mother; her wlfohood and motherhood, simply and sensibly borne, sufTioed to hold a universal respect, as sincere and profound as that given her dis? tinguished husband. Her children played in Princeton's streets wearing clothes as modestly durable as those of any neighbor In very moderate circumstances; she herself remained just the sensible housewife to outward seeming, although her husband and his Intimates appreciated her rare gifts of mind. Her active spirit kept her in close touch with local affairs, and she was a factor to he considered in all movements which bade fair to Im? prove conditions of living, whether they were those of the prosperous or tlie poor. Mr. Cleveland's death left her and her children in circumstances of real comfort, although of no very large, wealth It was significant of the devotion rho had shown his declining years thai when she bad given due attention t? the affairs which always arise 0:1 the death of a household's head she made the first trip abroad she has enjoyed since her marriage, and she took with her all four children, her daughters Esther and Marion and boys Richard and Francis. And even that bit of recreation was more for the aako of her children than herself, for it was In the Interest or their education. Her return, tike her departure, was marked by the consistent avoidance of notoriety which she has displayed ever since notoriety rejoiced at finding such a shining mark to talk about. With Mrs. Cleveland, as with Mrs. Garfield?as. In fact, with virtually every other woman who has ranked as first lady of the land?there hag always been noticeable precisely the unassuming modesty which should servo as the best ovldenco of fitness to wear the title. In a society organised such as this, however widely the lesser lights may seek to depart from the original standards. Mrs. Harrison, widow of Benjamin Harrison, has been tho lady of the White House In practice, but never was In fact. Yet she survives as the widow of a president of the United States and has been true to the type of White House ladles personified In Mrs. Garfield and Mrs. Cleveland. Hers was another romance of the home In Wash? ington around which cluster so many memories that range from love to war. She. was Mrs. Mary Idmmick. the favored niece of the Mrs. Harrison who was. In reality, the White House chetelnlnc. She was one of the Harrison family, so Intimately a part of It that she made her home with her aunt even before General Harrison'' election to the presidency. When Iiis incumbency became a certainty, the Har? risons congratulated themselves on the good fortune which had attached to them an aide in thclT social campaigns who was so handsome and so highly accom IT TS the Fourth of July?this year, last year, next year, any year. A hundred million patriots and near-patriots, horn of May? flower stock or horn of Magyar hunger for American opportunities, recall the familiar pic? ture of 136 years ago. A weak, almost helpless people, hemmed be? tween the oak-ribbed power of Britain on the sea and tbe whetted scalping knives of the savages on their lfind. Patient, meek, long suffering, starved and oppressed until Christian humility can hear no more, the handful of patriots rise in their might. In thunder tones the voice of freedom calls. Daring nil?nil hanging together lest nil hang separately, in the words of one of their providential leaders? they hurl defiance in their oppressor's teeth; starve, freeze, perish of wounds and privation; yet never falter, never quail, until at last their hateful foe, giant among the giant nations of the earth, draws back in horror nnd dread of their sublime prowess and abjectly acknowledges the justice of their holy cause. That's the vision Fourth of July conjures up, phrased in strictly appropriate style, isn't it? Well, the real truth is u sad story. But, sad as it is, every year is making its verity more evi? dent, as every year makes it more evident that the vision, like the style of its description, belongs to the utterly tin reliable brain and the tire-alarm pen of the tirst American popular historian,'Rev. Mason L. Wcoms, boo!; peddler, tidillcr, faker and the most cheerful old liar who ever came down the pike in dire need of earning a dollar. FOP. a good many years the Intelligent patriots of the Tinted states, guided by some emphatic hints given by honest historians, have nad their doubts about the cruel oppressions of the Brit? ish ami tin? nn-ck forbearance of the patriots. Every little while some American author of inwch standing for moral courage and rold facts, like Owen Wister, would drop overboard Into Iho ocean of conflicting statements and bob up. gasping from the muck of reality he had struck under tin- surface of sublime humility and superhuman oouragc which has adorned all tin- history Americans, ns a whole, ever knew. There was even one secretary of war In the United States who explained that the militia of the revolu? tion Included s,> many deserters that it was a miracle there was any revolution at all. This year the historical facts of that portentous conlltel reached the stage of study l.efo.-e the Ameri? can Philosophical Society, which may he rated among tlie most conservative and dignified sclentlllc bodies in the world. FICTIONS OUTLIVE FACTS Sidney O. Fisher, in an elaborate, study of the actual conditions attending the revolution, found that tho making of myths about it began almost before the revolution did, which is about a thousand years or so ahead of tnythmukiiig in other lands. This shows not only what an enterprising people Americans are. but ulso in what reverence they hold their finest liars. When he got all through ho hadn't the smallest hope to express that his countrymen will ever forsake the flctron and believe the facts. The original lying was done at a time of such necessity. It stood so long tho test of time, it has been ao Ingrained and Inborn In the very convolutions of the American brain, that the millions yet unborn will be prepared to fight harder tu defense of the lying legends than others have fought for the sake of the truth. Vet the reasons for the myths now reverenced were perfectly simple and natural. "Though there was a large loyalist party," explained Mr. Fisher. "In some places a large majority. It was so completely defeated, hunted down, terrorized and driven out of the country, scattered In Canada and various other British possessions, that, to use a vulgarism, they "never opened their heads again.' Only pllshed as Mrs. Harrison s niece. She did prove Inval? uable to her aunt, giving her that exceptional help which only youth, combined with excellent judgment and untiring Industry, can bring to bear. With no trace of self-seeking she enabled Mrs. Harrison to enjoy the relief from social strain that might have been afforded by another self, relief particularly needful In thr case or her aunt, whoso failing health at length ended in fatal Illness Mrs. Dlmmlck then proved an unwearying nurse, and she gave to General Harrison's household, after her aunt s doath. the care which, no one except one so near of kin nnd so well acquainted with family habits I could supply. In 1S96, when Gonoral Harrison was no longer president, she became his wife. One child, a daughter, Elisabeth Harrison, was born to th'jn before the general died The child recelvod one full third In her father's real estate, about $63,000; and the widow a mountain residence owned by her husband, $16,000 In cash, and a lifo Interest In the sum ct $125.000. These, facts were brought out In the legal dispute that was waged by the general's son, Russell Harrison, and his daughter, Mre. Mary McKee. The widow has given herself up to the care of he? child and has been oven leas In the publlo e-ye than Mrs. Cleveland; a simple and peaceful existence, con? tent with the modest competency she and her daughter possess. So. of all -he women who ha\o lived In the Whits House and been hostess at Its great functions, the only two who have the memories and their husbands at the same time ate Mrs. Roosevelt and Mrs. Taft, whose experiences are still In the making. Both these ladles have been charmingly and sincerely true to the best traditions of White House dignity and hospitality. And both, when those who know them best speak of their natures, appear in the role of the wife who is absorbed In the welfare of her husband rather than in the social aspects of Washington life. And that, too. Is in accordance with trie traditions of the White House at Washington. In recent times has any one had the face to collect their evidence and arguments from the original sources and publish them. Tnc successful parly In America ignored them, to make It appear that tho revolution was a great, spontaneous uprising of the whole American people without a faction or disagree? ment among themselves. In England, strangely enough, they were suspected of being half rebels and were treated as somewhat contemptible objects of charity, or. at bes*. m mere provincials. "In the second place." added Mr Fisher, "we were i long a very disunited people. Our writers and able \ men struggled to build up a nation and give dignity and respect to everything, to make no damaging admissions, to let no smallest facl creep out that might be taken advantagi of. I' was too much to expect tnat they should describe the factions ami turmoil of the revolution as they really were; the military absurdity of the British general, Howe, let? ting It go by default; the cruelty and persecutions Inflicted on the loyalists, and their large numbers. So they described a revolution that never happened and never could happen, a whoop-and hurrah-boya revolution, all spontaneous, ail united, merciful, noble, perfect; all virtue and grand Ideas on one side, all vice, wickedness, offc.encss and degeneration on iho other." PLAIN AND FANCY FORGERY With which candid preface Mr Fisher reviewed one life of Washington, which furnished a pedestal of divinity for the national hero and left him so much of a demigod and bo Hille of a man that most of htm, the real him. has evaporated until the full-blooded, human, intelligibly great Washington is as much of a mummy as any Pharaoh who ever stank of bitumen. It was written by Jar, d Sparks, president of Harvard College, a perfervld patriot, who. for his country's sake, did a lot of artistic lying and turned his facll? pen to much journeyman's work In plain and fancy forgery. There was a third cause. The patriots In th? revolution were loo busy lighting and hustling tc write any history; they had both hands and ihelr mouths full making it. But. over In England, th? Whig parly, in opposition to the Tories, was. publish? ing analyses of events in America in its Annual Register, from the eloquent pens of orators llk? Burke and Chatham. These gentlemen argued thai the rebels needed only be treated kindly to come run* nlng back to their allegiance, and they pictured their r.s suffering nngela. The basic tr jth, Mr. Fisher pointed out. was that the. colonists belonged to the Irrecon < liable magna Charta breed who would bo tho equalr of the best Britons at home or would be independent rulers of themselves. The Tories, after a while, dl< yield to them everything they could possibly aar except independence; but their necks were stlffcnec ngninst even a cobweb for a yoke from the first gun? shot of their rebellion. The beautiful picture of thelt loyalty and their sufferings, of their moderation anc virtues, of their successes and constancy, as oalnted b> Britain's foremost writers in the Annual Register, no' ..:il> flattered the newly born national pride, but li was for some years the only readily available rccor& ? f revolutionary events to be obtained. So It happencc that the lirst histories of tho revolution were drawn ontlrely from that British source and were infinitely more conducive to American complacence than If they bad been compiled from the genuine records here. The crowning myths, however, were supplied bv the Rev. Mr. Weems, a born genius In superlatives, ui/ utterly conscienceless old fraud as a historian, a dime novelist mislaid by luck in the early nineteenth . entury, who hit the popular hunger for something r. ally satisfying and gug-gug-glorious about the hero isms Of the revolution. As a popular historian. Pn?. cott, Motley and Parkman have proved mere hewers Ol wood and drawers of water beside hi3 Phoebus soar? ings. MAN OF VARIED PARTS Parson '.Vcorns had a church In Virginia, near Mount Vcrhon'. He was a country book agent for Matthew Carey, of Philadelphia. He was a stump speaker whose talents were exercised from a wugun. like an Indian medicine faker. He was a line fiddler, who coulv make the country lads and lasses shake a leg till i In the morning. He had a big family, and ho needed the money. So he wr.de lives of Washington, Frank? lin und Marlon, which Carey published and he sold, tc mutual profit and the etrrnal misguidance of tho wholl American people The life of Washington ran through forty editions. He made, of Washington, the social, genial, card-playing gentleman, a sanctimonious wooden image, u Sunday school lay figure, that vill never escape the fraud of unreality the fiddling parson put upon him. Of the revolution itself he made a homerlc and biblical combat of giants, titans and mammoths arrayed against the unfathomable, corrup? tion and wickedness of a dozen dragons and fiends who called themselves the king and ministry of England. He didn't care a hang about facts; he never did a stroke of research; he simply took the Whigs' Annual Register nnd whooped Its biased records up about 500 degrees and cut loose for heroisms In a stvle mixed up of scripture. Homer, Virgil and the vigorous buck woods of his native land. He was. Mr. Fisher thinks, ihe greatest mythmaker who ever lived, and he has old Homer and gentle Virgil pushed down among th6 lclndergartners. In Parson Weems" histories everything rages and storms, slashes nnd tears. In his battles, tho Amer? icans and the English plunge their bayonets into each other's breasts and "fall forward together, faint, shrieking In death and mingling their smoking blood.' "Why waa this cruel war made?" the parson asks In dealing with Its cause. "Simply because the king wanted money for his hungry relations and his min? isters stakes for gaming tables or diamond necklaces for their mistresses." "It was the most popular, short, easy, practical explanation that could have been devised," Mr. Fisher ciinments. "It reveals nothing of the real Issue at stake; nothing of the question of the supremacy of parliament or the other great principles Involved. Bui it pleased vast numbers of the people; they could grasr It instantly. It appealed to their suspicions of wha' _J,ho effete monarchies across the Atlantic really were " It has'stuck to this day;-.tnd in spite of Mr. Fisher'? concluding appeal to his compatriots to see thet; revolution In Its real dignity and its true human per spectlve, It seems likely to stick forever.