Marching Men HTML version

Margaret Ormsby was a natural product of her age and of American social life in
our times. As an individual she was lovely. Although her father David Ormsby the
plough king had come up to his position and his wealth out of obscurity and
poverty and had known during his early life what it was to stand face to face with
defeat, he had made it his business to see that his daughter had no such
experience. The girl had been sent to Vassar, she had been taught to catch the
fine distinction between clothes that are quietly and beautifully expensive and
clothes that merely look expensive, she knew how to enter a room and how to
leave a room and had also a strong well trained body and an active mind. Added
to these things she had, without the least knowledge of life, a vigorous and rather
high handed confidence in her ability to meet life.
During the years spent in the eastern college Margaret had made up her mind
that whatever happened she was not going to let her life be dull or uninteresting.
Once when a girl friend from Chicago came to the college to visit her the two
went for a day out of doors and sat down upon a hillside to talk things over. "We
women have been fools," Margaret had declared. "If Father and Mother think that
I am going to come home and marry some stick of a man they are mistaken. I
have learned to smoke cigarettes and have had my share of a bottle of wine.
That may not mean anything to you. I do not think it amounts to much either but it
expresses something. It fairly makes me ill when I think of how men have always
patronised women. They want to keep evil things away from us--Bah! I am sick of
that idea and a lot of the other girls here feel the same way. What right have
they? I suppose some day some little whiffit of a business man will set himself up
to take care of me. He had better not. I tell you there is a new kind of women
growing up and I am going to be one of them. I am going to adventure, to taste
life strongly and deeply. Father and Mother might as well make up their minds to
The excited girl had walked up and down before her companion, a mild looking
young woman with blue eyes, and had raised her hands above her head as
though to strike a blow. Her body was like the body of a fine young animal
standing alert to meet an enemy and her eyes reflected the intoxication of her
mood. "I want all of life," she cried; "I want the lust and the strength and the evil
of it. I want to be one of the new women, the saviours of our sex."
Between David Ormsby and his daughter there was an unusual bond. Six foot
three, blue eyed, broad shouldered, his presence had a strength and dignity
which marked him out among men and the daughter sensed his strength. She
was right in that. In his way the man was inspired. Under his eye the trivialities of
plough-making had become the details of a fine art. In the factory he never lost
the air of command which inspires confidence. Foremen running into the office