Moral standards debated

The peace celebrations at Owaka: Children, returned soldiers and members of friendly societies at the railway station. - Otago Witness, 30.7.1919
The peace celebrations at Owaka: Children, returned soldiers and members of friendly societies at the railway station. - Otago Witness, 30.7.1919
Mr Justice Darling was responsible a few weeks ago for the arresting statement, made at the Old Bailey, that the war had had a very deteriorating effect upon women.

A point had now been reached, he said, when it could be seen, in a walk along the street, ''that women differed by the width of heaven from what their mothers were.''

There has, in fact, according to The Times, been a general relaxation in public morals. On the other hand, there are authorities who declare that the four years of struggle have improved the nation's conception of life and elevated all classes of the population.

Lady Muir-Mackenzie, interviewed on the subject of Mr Justice Darling's remarks, expressed herself in terms of strong indignation.

''There is too much of this highly-coloured criticism of women,'' she declared.

''Almost every day some man takes upon himself to condemn women in sweeping statements. I think it is about time men put their own house in order.''

Lady Muir-Mackenzie said she had seen no signs of a national lowering of the moral sense. Dr Ethel Bentham, also interviewed, denied that any loosening of the moral sense was confined to women.

''I do know,'' she stated, ''that there is a far greater instability in both men and women than there was. I have a good many opportunities of judging these things, and I have met this lack of balance. But I do not think there has been any serious hauling down of moral standards. It simply amounts to this - if women want to kick over the traces, they have more opportunities now than they used to have: their conduct is more open. That is all.''

Minister's wake-up call

''There are a number of things wrong with this congregation,'' remarked Mr R. S. Black, at the annual meeting of the Roslyn Presbyterian Church last night.

''The first thing is smug complacency. We are too well-off and self-satisfied.''

He went on to ask that the ladies of the congregation at their afternoon teas should give up gossiping about their neighbours and start talking about the church.

He hoped his remarks would ''get under the skin,'' for he had heard of things said about himself that had astonished him. Mr Black somewhat took the edge off his critical remarks, however, by explaining that he was merely anxious to waken the meeting up a little.

''I hope I am not boring you,'' he said, ''but I want you to talk about me when you go home, and have something to talk about.''

Popotunoa peace assembly

On the afternoon of the 23rd inst. the residents of Popotunoa assembled in the school grounds. An interesting event during the afternoon was the planting of an oak tree which was grown from an acorn many years ago.

Proceedings were opened by Mr A. B. Stewart (chairman of the School Committee). Races and sports were indulged in, toys and lollies being dispensed among the children, and as a memento of the occasion each child was presented with a silver medal.

Gabriel's pioneer dies

Mr George Gordon Byron died at Kaiapoi on Wednesday week. In the early 'sixties Mr Byron joined in the rush to Gabriel's Gully, and with his mates pegged out a claim next to that of Gabriel's, whose claim subsequently proved the richest on the field, theirs proving a failure.

Monroe's Gully was next tried, and here Mr Byron did well.

- ODT, 31.7.1919


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