Sara Jeannette Duncan/Lily Lewis Archive

Mistress Margery's Decadent (Washington Post, August 2 1885)

Duncan writes about Margery Brouse, a woman put to death during the Salem witch trials (partially for “preferring her own company”--spending time with women, which Duncan points out satirically). She talks about how only now, two hundred years later, members of the Brouse family get together in remembrance for her; Duncan ponders how a family can put aside their misdeeds of supporting her death penalty years earlier and come together. She talks about how Margery was not really a martyr or a hero; her family has no reason to celebrate her, as she merely suffered to to their and their community’s convictions. She wonders if the Brouse family may call attention to the fact that there is a “witch” in their family tree to seem eccentric and interesting. She then begins to respond to a recent column in a Glasgow newspaper, which calls for realistic Native American artifacts to be shown in an upcoming “exhibit”. Duncan writes against this argument, stating that the British have become too obsessed with Native American culture and that nothing will fan the flames of this obsession. She suggests (perhaps satirically) that exhibits should focus more on mundane facets of American life, like street names or differing slang. She talks about how the next “World’s Exposition” will be in Athens and apologizes to the Greeks for bringing such ridiculous and barbaric displays to their nation, invoking their intellectual past.


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