A Stitch in Time
Cabbages and Kings
There's a man on Linnean Street with a bona fide grudge against Radcliffe's morals. He's a janitor, and he can't get his work done because there's always some naked girl standing in her window with the shades up, distracting him. Not content with exhibiting the precision of her indubitably lovely mind, it would seem.
For many years the properly outraged janitor swept his walks and practiced moral restraint whenever possible. But finally he threw in the towel. "I kept my peace long enough, but people got to do something. It's just too much. I mean this is a quiet neighborhood, respectable and all. You can't let a thing like this go on. Disrupts things. Starts fights. Really, last year they had a lot of trouble about this. Guys stand around on porches and stare. Wives get mad. Kids start to wonder. It's not good. Ain't healthy."
The janitor protests, and it is as if the ghosts of Anne Radcliffe, Emerson, and the James brothers collectively lent him eloquence. "These girls here, their parents have money to send them to college then they ought to have it to buy curtains. Here on Linnean Street, parading around so every Tom and Harry passing by can get his fill. They ought to do something about it. Maybe the people who run the place are the ones. How can a guy respect colleges when stuff like this goes on? It's no treat for me, you know. I mean it's a joke."
The man on Linnean Street is not alone in his protest against modern morals. His finely phrased complaints strike at the heart of what is no small problem on the modern American scene. But articulate observers have seldom been more than articulate, and idealists and social reformers meet complete indifference far more often than opposition. The janitor is no exception. His protests are voiced again and again to various passers-by, and met with a smile, a smirk, a subdued laugh.
The girls remain unclad, the windows stay open, the shades are always up. No one seems to care.