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Philip Dru: Administrator

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<SPAN name="XLV"></SPAN> <h1 align="center" style="margin-top: 2em;font-variant: small-caps">Chapter XLV</h1> <h2 align="center" style="margin-top: 2em;font-variant: small-caps">Burial Reform</h2> <p>At about this time the wife of one of the Cabinet officers died, and Administrator Dru attended the funeral. There was an unusually large gathering, but it was plain that most of those who came did so from morbid curiosity. The poignant grief of the bereaved husband and children wrung the heartstrings of their many sympathetic friends. The lowering of the coffin, the fall of the dirt upon its cover, and the sobs of those around the grave, was typical of such occasions.</p> <p>Dru was deeply impressed and shocked, and he thought to use his influence towards a reformation of such a cruel and unnecessary form of burial. When the opportunity presented itself, he directed attention to the objections to this method of disposing of the dead, and he suggested the formation in every community of societies whose purpose should be to use their influence towards making interments private, and towards the substitution of cremation for the unsanitary custom of burial in cemeteries. These societies were urged to point out the almost prohibitive expense the present method entailed upon the poor and those of moderate means. The buying of the lot and casket, the cost of the funeral itself, and the discarding of useful clothing in order to robe in black, were alike unnecessary. Some less dismal insignia of grief should be adopted, he said, that need not include the entire garb. Grief, he pointed out, and respect for the dead, were in no way better evidenced by such barbarous customs.</p> <p>Rumor had it that scandal&#8217;s cruel tongue was responsible for this good woman&#8217;s death. She was one of the many victims that go to unhappy graves in order that the monstrous appetite for gossip may be appeased. If there be punishment after death, surely, the creator and disseminator of scandal will come to know the anger and contempt of a righteous God. The good and the bad are all of a kind to them. Their putrid minds see something vile in every action, and they leave the drippings of their evil tongues wherever they go. Some scandalmongers are merely stupid and vulgar, while others have a biting wit that cause them to be feared and hated. Rumors they repeat as facts, and to speculations they add what corroborative evidence is needed. The dropping of the eyelids, the smirk that is so full of insinuation is used to advantage where it is more effective than the downright lie. The burglar and the highwayman go frankly abroad to gather in the substance of others, and they stand ready to forfeit both life and liberty while in pursuit of nefarious gain. Yet it is a noble profession compared with that of the scandalmonger, and the murderer himself is hardly a more objectionable member of society than the character assassin.</p>
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