The daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.
It was deemed disgraceful even in that country and in those days for a woman to show herself at all in a hall of revelry and carousal. Then to perform such a dance in such a place for the entertainment of the revellers was regarded as a most debasing and shameful act. The dance was indecent, and only those who had lost all sense of modesty and womanly propriety would so debase themselves. That a mother should send her own daughter into such a scene to perform such a part, seems almost incredible. The act reveals the kind of home life and the ideas of womanly purity that prevailed in the court of Herod; also the strength of Herodians’s passion for revenge upon John. She would even send her own daughter to play this shameful part, in order to accomplish her purpose.
While this picture is before them, young girls should learn hat they cannot be too careful of their behaviour and bearing in public. A young woman’s reputation is a precious jewel, which she should prize above all wealth or pleasure. If she lose it, neither wealth nor pleasure will be of much avail to her afterward. Her name once sullied, never can be altogether white again.
Sometimes young girls think their parents unreasonable in the restraints which they put upon them with regard to appearance or conduct in public; but some day they will see how wise and loving is such restraint. It may very fairly be questioned whether young ladies can take part in certain fashionable dances of to-day, and not pass beyond the bounds of pure womanly delicacy and propriety. At least, heart-purity is so holy a thing, and so easily tarnished, and the harm when done is so irreparable, that one had better deny one’s self many a fascinating pleasure rather than risk the loss of anything so precious.