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TO KISS OR NOT
TO KISS \u25a0\u25a0". A' FTER year* of sporadic crusading \u25a0'."•/ \ a nonklsslng organization has been .'.£~\ started in Cincinnati. 0., that . . • Is meeting with surprising buo ee«s. In that city, according to the president of the society, more than 1,000 znfcn, women and children have pledged themselves to- abstain from the prac tice, and the membership roll is stead ily on the Increase. Supporters of the movement are so ambitious as to pro phesy that within a year or two they .will have members in every city In the union. • The leaders of the anti-kissers are going about their work in a hard hearted, cold blooded, but extremely •loquent manner, and In the face of the ridicule that naturally follows their •Sorts, are steadily gaining headway. \u25a0 A word or two descriptive of the \u25a0woman at the head of the crusaders day 6erve to make one understand the Seriousness with which the takers of the peculiar pledge are prosecuting their missionary work. .. Her name is Mrs. John Rechtin. She :fs. a rather attractive looking, dark haired, brown eyed little woman of •.bout 25 years, who long before mar ried was diametrically opposed to pro miscuous kissing. She began to preach her doctrine to her husband, won him .to • her way of, thinking, and then started on her friends, with such suc <ees that the "World's health organiza tion" was founded, and she was enthu siastically rleeted its first president. Mrs. Rechtin believes a kiss to be the greatest disease spreader and germ car rier in existence, and her pet theory is that when the people of the world are •,11 made to think so, too, a general Im provement in public health and morals Will be inevitable. . Just now the anti-kiss leader is de voting her attention to the conversion of the fair sex, particularly the young women of Cincinnati, who are about to hecome Ibrides. Here is the pledge that the enthusiast causes to be sent to •very bride to be with the petition that . It be signed before the eve of her wed ding: "In order to encourage good health »nd lessen the spread of consumption X desire to join the World's health or \u25a0 canization and hereby pledge myself to \u25a0discourage the custom of kissing on • the lips whenever it is in nly power. I' • If the recipient of the petition signs f>nd returns- the pledajp she is furnished With an attractive button inscribed with \u25a0 the words "I won't kij?s." . "The custom of kissing: v. bride on. Her wedding day fs-a most dangerous one," said Mrs. Rechtln during an in terview recently. "To stamp . out, this evil at once would be to accomplish the Impossible, but we have made the start and are much "encouraged. \u25a0 "Seventy-five prospective brides have _ Joined the organization this month. On their wedding day they will wear the button of the society." The antl-kisslng leaders have mapped out a long campaign, and when^ it ends kissing will be a lost art, they hope. Soon they will try to make members of public speakers and^Blngers— of every body "whose success in life depends on healthy vocal cords." In August fathers and mothers will be ur,ged not to kiss their babies. In September teachers will implore their pupils to abjure kissing. October the less kissing the less haz ardous the work of street cleaners and laundresses; so the organization will seek members on the highways and in the laundries. In November women belonging -to church clubs, card, clubs and .literary clubs will be asked to join and to^wear : their badges at club meetings. . - "And in December, with its Christmas weddings, we. shall . turn our attention, to lovers," said the president.'- . " 'My life for just one kiss' sounds thrilling in romance and poetry. But disillusion is found in- the hospitals, whence lovers ' follow each other to the grave in a few short months." > ." ; "To kiss or not to kiss?" is a question that bids fair to be discussed before long throughout the country.* Mrs. llechtin's society is now known In all. of the principal cities, and arrange- . ments are being made for > the,." estab- . lishment of hundreds of branch 1 offices. A In . Xew York, Philadelphia and other cities or the east .the nonkiss idea: has ; not met with the favor with which- it - has been greeted by the people .of Cm-; cinnati. Here area few opinions- ex pressed by eastern clubwomen of promi nence. . \u25a0 ;\u25a0„ . v: v ,'~ \u25a0•.\u25a0-;.*•'. \u25a0 • Mrs. Philip Van Valckenburgh, who ' has been married three times, ' says: ' "I don't think life would be worth liv ing without kisses. They are as old as the world. I'm perfectly sure Eve knew about kissing before she listened to the , serpent. Of course, • I don't believe -in \ promiscuous kissing, which cheapens the value of the kiss; but it is s'Hly to talk about discouraging all kissing." Miss Alberta Hill, suffragist — I was brought up in Japan, where they don't : ' Crusade Which Seeks to Banisli Com- |;Tlie j Saji^rOT^cq^u3idaji@S' Ho such things. So. of course. T suppose I don't know anything about it. But, whenever I am told not to do any thing. I always want to go straight and \u25a0 do it. So if a society is organized to prevent people from kissing— (a pause and; then a stammer) — well — II — X— think all the other girls, who weren t brought up in Japan, will want to see why kisslng's so bad. Mrs. Belle de Rivera, president of tne New York city federation — I think the agitation is extremely silly and in very poor taste. Every one knows a great deal of harm may be done by the pro miscuous kissing of children. The fact is so well understood it seem* silly to try to organize it. I, feel certain New York clubwomen will riot Join in any such foolish, sensational. agitation. Mrs. William Cummings Story— Frankly. I never gave the question a serious thought, but (diplomatically) it must have a certain amount of Im portance or the Cincinnati women would not have deemed it worthy of their serious attention. Mrs. Harrtette J_. Wood — I think the practice of kissing Is altogether too ex tensive. The habit of certain society .women of saluting each other with a kiss every time they casually meet is -extremely silly. A handshake Is In much better taste. But a mother ; eb'ould kiss her children whenever she \u25a0 chooses. . unless she is a victim of disease. Her kisses are tha result of a v lovely, natural impulse of affection, and the -children can receive nothing but good from them. As to forbidding young men and women to kiss — well. I think they ara old enough to look out ' for themselves. And even If the prac tice fs an evil, every evil has its com pensations, you know. Dr. Eugenia Hancock— There are dis eases'terrible in their effect that are transmitted with the- utmost ease by kissing. And all ouryounj? people are equally in danger. Yet kissing Is a .natural, .wholesome thing In its origin, and sentimental considerations -would make its banishment impossible. It Is the very.flavor of all poetry and sons \u25a0 \u25a0 \u25a0 \u25a0.--\u25a0. -. fend romance. • But it . shoald be prop erly safeguarded. It woul.J not be such 4 a bad i.Tea If all young people had to . produce health Certificates before kiss ing, or any other forms of courtship are Indulged in. Mrs. Winifred H. Cooler, national secretary of the Allied Clubs of Domes tic Science — "It seems to me such things \u25a0as domestic service an * good roads and pure food and adequate schools- are much more Important than to kiss or not to kiss/ " •Mrs. Ida Husted Harper — "If women could vote they wouldn't be worrying their heads about being kissed." "When it is in my potter." runs the anti-kisslng pledge. When the full moon's rays vainly seek to penetrate the honeysuckles that shadow the dark est corner of the piazza; when the dear est* fellow in the world Is seated next to her there; when gently he puts hia arm around her waist and leans toward her — [ ,-' \u25a0 . • Is it .in her power then "to discour age the custom of kissing on the lips"? Ah; the danger of it. Did she only know it, all around her the malevolent bacilli of tuberculosis are laughing *°r Vicious joy.