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Washington Society

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Two parasites are indigenous to the life of even a republican capital - a passion for precedence and the vice of toadyism. You could not 8tay a month in Washington without being astonished at the obsequious lif'ting of the hat, the involuntary cringing of the person of the man who wants place to the man who holds power. You would be astonished to discover how soon that man forgets the day, near in the rear, when power was not bis, but the people's who conferred it upon him, and who in timo will take t from him. It is so easy for poor human nature tofeel itself born to the purple, if once it clutches the scepter. Even the swift. niutations of ever-ehanging ofiicc cannot make the present magnate lcel different for the moment. Thus, with a smoU exception of scientific, professional and learned men, mankind in Washington is divided into two classes - the men who hold office and the men who want office. In its feminine official world, precedence is the corner-t-tone of its immutable etiquette. In all other cities, the stranger, if a " proper person," is kindly called upon and welcomed. In Washington she must tie on her bonnet at once, and proceed with her card to the ladies who stand above her on the official ladder. No matter who her grandfather was, or if her name bo stuffed with ancestral relies from the "Mayflower ;" the blood of the Knickerbockers tiiay turn to phlegm in their veins; the lovely bruiu of PocaĆ­rontas mas tinge her cheek ; the pride of the Randolphs dilate her plumage ; all the same she must take her card, and proceed to call.on " Mrs. Secretary," who had no ancestors, but runs rampant in her vernacular. Otherwise, the lady with a pedigree can nevor enter the " cabinet circle." By etiquette, the wife of the President never calis upon any one ; though I observo Mrs. Hayes sometimos of' evenings quietly finds her way to the houses of her fnends. The families of Senators always cali first on the families of the Judges of the Suprcmc Court ; both make the first cali on the nieiiibers of the families of the diplomatic corps ; while the wives of representativos must pay the first cali on all aoove them (officially, ) up to the wife of the President. The only social precedence the member's wife can claim is that every "new member's wil'e " must cali first upon her. An eatabliahed etiquette is necessary to society o a capital. I have hcard a Senator'g wife - a wouian of commanding presence, with a head and nose that would not do discredit to the xupreme bench, with eyes of a falcon and air of' a queen - discuss by the hour the rules of social precedence, the why and why not that 6hould keep her from calling first on Mrs. Judge So-and-So. Lord Bacon said, "How can a man be great who breaketh his roind upon too small matters?" And when I muse on the sizo of the matters woman has chiefly broken her mind upon, away back to the time when Eve plucked the apple, but failed with it to pluck knowlcdge, I cease to marvel at the "littleness" which Margaret Fuller bemoaned as woman's besetting sin. I hail the enlarged resources, the nobler training, which is hers to-day, chiefly because of their power to lift her from the bondage of little things, and the dwarfing minuteness of a too microscopic visiĆ³n.