Early Edition

October 27, 1896
Edith Bowen

There was a knock on the door. The three girls looked at me as though the interruption were somehow my fault, but I had no more knowledge of who was knocking than they. I almost said as much but then bit my tongue and simply stood up and crossed the short distance to the door. I opened it more abruptly than I had planned.

I stared out into the hallway. There was no one in sight. At my feet were four crushed roses laying atop a folded newspaper. Curious I picked it up and carried it inside, closing the door as I went.

“What is it?” Elizabeth asked for everyone.

“I’m not certain.” I replied.

I sat the collection down on my desk and carefully brushed the roses and their petals off. It was a copy of the Paper, an advanced edition as the date at the top was October 31. My companions were not patient enough to wait for me to announce what I discovered. Instead they surrounded me at the desk and peered over me.

I began to read aloud;

Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to our neighbors of Providence. The recent weeks have been a particular hardship and while I do not support the use of violence to solve disputes I can clearly understand the reasons it became unavoidable to some. These are hard days and hard times.

In the new we read about the value of our money and how one man wishes to devalue it further than it already has been by eliminating the gold standard upon which it is based. He sings songs of discord to rally the labor forces against those who pay their wages and provide the labor for them to do. It is senseless and irresponsible but what more can be expected from a Democrat?

It is perhaps fortunate that they have gone too far now. In their desire to re-invent America as a classless society, they now push forward women. They have realized the futility of gaining popularity for absurd economic plans with men and now they wish to push forward women. The innocence of our wives and daughter will be used against us.

There exist four of them in our sister college all ready. I will not name them for should something untoward happen to any of them I would not wish to be responsible. They are a corruption on all those they encounter. They fight, they curse, they labor, and they believe they are equal to men.

In days past they would be known as witches and their close relation called a covenant. Our modern knowledge tells us there is no such thing, that magic is not real and a woman’s power of a man is nothing more than pheromones. Science is our savior, but does explanation invalidate the classification of women who attempt to benefit from the now explainable techniques of witchcraft? This man thinks not. As the great William Shakespeare wrote, “Would not a rose by any other name smell as sweet?”

I finished reading and sat back in my desk chair. We looked at each other and it was clear we were all feeling the same thing, annoyed. Why would someone write this story and why would they deliver it to us days before it is to be circulated?

“How dare he call us witches.” Penelope said.

“I’m sure it was a substitution for the word he really wanted to use.” Sarah replied.

I laughed, knowing what she meant.

“What word is that?” Elizabeth asked.

“You’ll sleep better not knowing.” I said.

Elizabeth frowned at me. Penelope seemed to be off in her own world though. She started pacing the floor and then suddenly turned to face us as she snapped her fingers.

“I’ve got an idea and ya’ll are going to love it.” Penelope said.

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