Power Of The Press

October 28, 1896
Penelope Sumter

I started pacing the floor in Edith’s room after she finished reading our advanced edition of Brown’s in-house news circulation. I have known of the Paper’s existence since I first came to Primrose, in fact it is something of a running joke that the super secret underground paper ends up in the hands of everyone from staff to students to Primrose Girls. An idea was forming in my head and then suddenly it all clicked together. With a brilliant smile I turned to face the others snapping my fingers in an imitation of my father.

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

They all gave me their undivided attention from their. It was disturbing to be stared at so intently by three women. So disturbing, I nearly forgot was I was about to suggest. Devious thoughts are my repertoire but mostly my plots are against other young ladies I deem to be competition not the men I am hoping to one day swindle into marrying me.

“Were you going to share your idea or was it just an announcement?” Sarah asked.

Apparently, they have not heard of patience in Colorado for the girl has none. Down south we know all things come in their own time and rushing never does nothing but raise a sweat above your brow. That is definitely not becoming on a lady.

“I was merely collecting my thoughts before speaking. It is considered wise in some circles to think before you speak, not that I would expect you to know.” I said.

“That’s enough, Penelope. If you have something to say, say it otherwise I’d say we better get this to the sheriff before it starts circulating everywhere and we’ve got mobs hunting us down with thoughts of burning us at the stake.” Edith said.

“Don’t be ridiculous nobody will take this seriously.” Elizabeth said.

“The written word has a way of legitimizing even the most buffoonish of ideas.” Sarah said.

“That’s is precisely my point.” I said.

All three of them glared at me and shouted, “What point!”

“We should start our own circulation.” I said.

“That’s illegal.” Edith said.

“Only if we get caught.” Sarah replied.

“Where would get printing equipment?” Elizabeth asked.

“It was just a thought.” I said, shrugging.

“What would we write about?” Edith asked.

“Issues that matter to us.” Sarah said.

“The election.” Elizabeth said.

“Marriage.” I offered.

All three groaned at me. You would think not a one of them had even the humblest aspirations to find a man and raise a family of their own. I do not disagree with them in that women should have many of the rights of men, but I still believe it is our duty to one day become mothers and have sons and daughters. There is no greater way to change this world than to raise a new generation without the shackles with which we have been raised.

“Finances, science, birth control.” Edith offered.

I rolled my eyes at the last.

“It is a good idea, but one that needs direction and planning.” Sarah said.

“There is still this threat.” Elizabeth said, holding up the Paper.

“Is it a threat?” Sarah asked.

“What are you thinking?” Edith asked.

“It would be seen as an irresponsible article even by the male authorities at Brown. Should it go into circulation those authorities might find they could no longer safely ignore the existence of the Paper.” Sarah said.

“You think it was a joke of some sort?” Elizabeth asked.

“No, I think it was bait.” Sarah replied.

I nodded as it made sense to me.

“They were hoping we’d go running to the sheriff which would start an all out investigation to find and shut down the secret press. The students would blame us. We’d do more damage to our reputations than they could ever do with an article.” I said.

Sarah nodded at me.

“We need to find the press and I think I know how.” Elizabeth said.

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