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Hermione and Her Little Group of Serious Thinkers by Don Marquis

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PROEM Introducing Some of Hermione's Friends

Sincerity in the Home


Aren't the Russians Wonderful?

How Suffering Purifies One!

Understanding and One's Own Home

Thoughts of Heredity and Things

The Swami Brandranath

Fothergil Finch, the Poet of Revolt

How the Swami Happened to Have Seven Wives

The Romantic Old Days

Hermione's Boswell Explains

Symbols and Dew-Hopping

The Song of the Snore

Ballads of Understanding

Hermione on Fashions and War

Urges and Dogs

Moods and Poppies


Soul Mates

Hermione Takes up Literature

The World Is Getting Better

War and Art

A Spiritual Dialogue

Will the Best People Receive the Superman Socially?

The Parasite Woman Must Go!

The House Beautiful

Mamma Is So Mid-Victorian

Voke Easely and His New Art

Hermione on Superficiality

Isis, the Astrologist

The Simple Home Festivals

Citronella and Stegomyia

Hermione's Salon Opens (Verse)

The Perfume Factory

On Being Other-Worldly

Parents, and Their Influence

Fothergil Finch Tell of His Revolt Against Organized Society

The Exotic and the Unemployed

Souls and Toes

Kultur and Things

The Spirit of Christmas

Poor Dear Mamma and Fothergil Finch

Prison Reform and Poise

An Example of Psychic Power

Some Beautiful Thoughts

The Bourgeois Element and Background

Taking Up the Liquor Problem

The Japanese are Wonderful, If You Get What I Mean

She Refuses to Give UP the Cosmos

The Cave Man

The Little Group Gives a Pagan Masque


Blouses, Bulgars, and Buttermilk

Twilight Sleep


Stimulating Influences


Hermione on Psychical Research

Envoy Hermione the Deathless



(Introducing some of Hermione's Friends)

I visited one night, of late,
Thoughts Underworld, the Brainstorm Slum,
The land of Futile Piffledom;
A salon weird where congregate
Freak, Nut and Bug and Psychic Bum.

There, there, they sit and cerebrate:
The fervid Pote who never potes,
Great Artists, Male or She, that Talk
But scorn the Pigment and the chalk,
And Cubist sculptors wild as Goats,
Theosophists and Swamis, too,
Musicians mad as Hatters be--
(E'en puzzled Hatters, two or three!)
Tame anarchists, a dreary crew,
Squib Socialists too damp to sosh,
Fake Hobohemians steeped in suds,
Glib females in Artistic Duds
With Captive Husbands cowed and gauche.

I saw some Soul Mates side by side
Who said their cute young Souls were pink;
I saw a Genius on the Brink
(Or so he said) of suicide.
I saw a Playwright who had tried
But couldn't make the Public think;
I saw a novelist who cried,
Reading his own Stuff, in his drink;
I saw a vapid egg-eyed Gink
Who said eight times: "Art is my bride!"

A queen in sandals slammed the Pans
And screamed a Chinese chant at us,
the while a Hippopotamus
Shook tables, book-shelves and divans
With vast Terpsichorean fuss . . .
Some Oriental kind of muss . . . .

A rat-faced Idiot Boy who slimes
White paper o'er with metric crimes--
He is a kind of Burbling Blear
Who warbles Sex Slush sad to hear
And mocks God in his stolen rhymes
and wears a ruby in one ear--
Murder to me: "My Golden Soul
Drinks Song from out a Crystal Bowl. . . .
Drinks Love and Song . . . my Golden Soul!"
I let him live. There were no bricks.

Or even now that Golden Soul
were treading water in the Styx.

A Pallid Skirt -- Anemic Wisp,
As bloodless as a stick of chalk --
Got busy with this line of talk:
"The Sinner is Misunderstood!
How can the Spirit enter in,
Be blended with, the Truly Good
Unless through Sympathy with Sin?"

"Phryne," I murmured, sad and low,
"I pass the Buck--I do not know!"

Upon a mantel sat a Bust. . . .
Some Hindu god, pug-faced and squat;
A visage to inspire disgust. . . .
Lord Bilk, the Deity of Rot. . . .
Nay, surely, 'twas the great god Bunk,
For when I wunk at it, it wunk!

I heard . . . I heard it proved that night
That Fire is Cold, and Black is White,
That Junk is Art, and Art is Junk,
That Virtue's wrong, and Vice is right,
That Death is Life, and Life is Death,
That Breath is Rocks, and Rocks are Breath:--

The Cheap and easy paradox
The Food springs, hoping that it shocks. . . .

Brain-sick I stumbled to the street
And drooled onto a kindly Cop:
"Since moons have feathers on their feet,
Why is your headgear perched on top?
And if you scorn the Commonplace,
Why wear a Nose upon your Face?
And since Pythagoras is mute
on Sex Hygiene and Cosmic Law,
Is your Blonde Beast as Bland a Brute,
As Blind a Brute, as Bernard Shaw?
No doubt, when drilling through the parks,
With Ibsen's Ghost and Old Doc Marx,
You've often seen two Golden Souls
Drink Suds and Sobs from Crystal Bowls?"

"I ain't," he says, "I ain't, Old Kid,
And I would pinch 'em if I did!"

"Thank God," I said, "for this, at least:
The world, in spots, is well policed!"


SINCERITY should be the keynote of a life,
don't you think?

Sincerity -- beauty -- use -- these are my

I heard such an interesting talk on sincerity the
other evening. I belong to a Little Group of Serious
Thinkers who are taking up sincerity in all its
phases this week.

We discussed Sincerity in the Home.

So many people's homes, you know, do not
represent anything personal.

The SINCERE home should be full of purpose and
personality -- decorations, rugs, ornaments, hangings
and all, you know.

The home shows the soul.

So I'm doing over our house from top to bottom,
putting personality into it.

I've a room I call the Ancestor's Room.

You know, when one has ancestors, one's ancestral
traditions keep one up to the mark, somehow.
You know what I mean -- blood will tell, and all that.
Ancestors help one to be sincere.

So I've finished my Ancestors' Room with all
sorts of things to remind me of the dear dead-and-gone
people I get my traditions from.

Heirlooms and portraits and things, you know.

Of course, all our own family heirlooms were
destroyed in a fire years ago.

So I had to go to the antique shops for the portraits
and furniture and chairs and snuff boxes and
swords and fire irons and things.

I bought the loveliest old spinet -- truly, a fine!

I can sit down to it and image I am my own
grandmother's grandmother, you know.

And it's wonderful to sit among those old heir-
looms and feel the sense of my ancestors'
personalities throbbing and pulsing all about me!

I feel, when I sit at the spinet, that my personality
is truly represented by my surroundings at last.

I feel that I have at last achieved sincerity in the
midst of my traditions.

And there's a picture of the loveliest old lady . . .
old fashioned costume, you know, and all that . . .
and the hair dressed in a very peculiar way. . . .

Mamma says its a MADE-UP picture -- not really
an antique at all -- but I can just feel the personality
vibrating from it.

I got it at a bargain, too.

I call her -- the picture, you know -- after an
ancestress of mine who came to this country in the
old Colonial days.

With William the Conqueror, you know -- or
maybe it was William Penn. But it couldn't have
been William Penn, could it? For she went to New
Jersey -- Orange, N.J. Was it William of Orange?
More than likely . . .

Anyhow, I call the picture after her -- Lady Clarissa,
I call it. She married a commoner, as so
many of the early settlers of this country did.

When I sit at the spinet and look at Lady Clarissa
I often wonder what people do without family

And its such a comfort to know I'm in a room
that really represents my personality.


Have you thought much about Vibrations?

We're taking them up this week -- a Little
Group of Advanced Thinkers I belong
to, you know -- and they're wonderfully worth
while -- WONDERFULLY so!

That's what I always ask myself -- is a thing
WORTH WHILE? Or isn't it?

Vibrations are the key to everything. Atoms
used to be, but Atoms have quite gone out.

The thing that makes the new dances so wonder-
fully beneficial, you know, is that they give you

To an untrained mind, of course, Vibrations
would be dangerous.

But I always feel that the right sort of mind will
get good out of everything, and the wrong sort will
get harm.

The most interesting woman talked to us the
other night -- to our little group, you know -- on one-
piece bathing suits and the Greek spirit.

Don't you just done on the Greeks?

They have some of the most MODERN ideas -- it
seems we get a lot of our advanced thought from
them, if you get what I mean.

They were so UNRESTRICTED, too. One has only
to look at their friezes and vases and things to
realize that.

And the one-piece bathing suit, so the woman
said, was an unconscious modern effort to get back
to the Greek spirit.

She had a husband with her. He does lecture
or anything, you know.

But she isn't so very Greek-looking herself, al-
though her spirit is so Greek, so she has this Greek-
looking husband to wear the sandals and the tunics
and the togas and things.

She calls him Achilles.

It's quite proper, you know -- Achilles stays be-
hind a screen until she wants to illustrate a
point, and then he comes out with a lyre or a lute
or something, and just stands there and LOOKS Greek. And
then he goes back behind the screen and changes
into the next garment she needs.

Of course, there are lots of men couldn't stand
it as well as Achilles. But when you come to that,
there are lots of men who don't look so very well
in bathing suits, either.

And, of course, our American men don't have
the temperament to carry off a thing like that.

Of course, if we all turned Greek it would be
quite a shock at first to see everybody come
into a dining-room or a drawing-room looking like
Achilles does.

Not that temperament makes so much difference
as it did a few years ago, you know -- temperament
and personality are going out and individuality is
coming in.

Have you thought much about automatic writing?

It's being taken up again, you know.

Not the vulgar, old-fashioned kind of
spiritualism -- that was so ordinary, wasn't it?

The new ghosts are different. More -- more --
well, more REFINED, somehow, you know. Like the
new dances as compared with that horrid turkey trot.

One should always ask one's self: "Does this
have a refining influence on me; and through me on
the world?"

For, after all, there is a duty one owes to society
in general.

Have you seen the new sunshades?


Aren't the Russians marvelous people!

We're been taking up Diaghileff in a serious
way -- our little group, you know -- and
really, he's wonderful!

Who else but Diaghileff could give those lovely
Russians things the proper accent?

And accent -- if you know what I mean -- accent
is everything!

Accent! Accent! What would art be without

Accent is coming in -- if you get what I mean --
and what they call "punch" is going out. I always
thought it was a frightfully vulgar sort of thing,
anyhow -- punch!

The thing I love about the Russians is their

You know there's an old saying that if you find
a Russian you catch a Tartar . . . or something
like that.

I'm sure that is wrong. . . . I get so MIXED on
quotations. But I always know where I can find
them, if you know what I mean.

But the Russian verve isn't Oriental, is it?

Don't you just dote on verve?

That's what makes Bakst so fascinating, don't
you think? -- his verve

Though they do say that the Russian operas
don't analyze as well as the German or Italian
ones -- if you get what I mean.

Though for that matter, who analyzes them?

One may not know how to analyze an operate, and
yet one may know what one likes!

I suppose there will be a frightful lot of imitations
of Russian music and ballet now. Don't you
just hate imitators?

One finds it everywhere -- imitation! It's the sincerest
flattery, they say. But that doesn't excuse it,
do you think?

There's a girl -- one of my friends, she says she
is -- who is trying to imitate me. My expressions,
you know, and the way I walk and talk,
and all that sort of thing.

She gets some of my superficial mannerisms . . .
but she can't quite do my things as if they were her
own, you know . . . there is where the accent
comes in again!


Oh, to go through fire and come out purified!
Suffering is wonderful, isn't it? Simply WONDERFUL!

The loveliest man talked to us the other night --
to our Little Group of Serious Thinkers, you know
-- about social ideals and suffering.

The reason so many attempts to improve things
fail, you know, is because the people who try them
out haven't suffered personally.

He had the loveliest eyes, this man.

He made me thin. I said to myself, "After all,
have I suffered? Have I been purified by fire?"

And I decided that I had -- that is spiritually,
you know.

The suffering -- the spiritual suffering -- that I
undergo through being misunderstood is something FRIGHTFUL!

Mamma discourages every Cause I take up. So does Papa.

I get no sympathy in my devotion to my ideals.
Only opposition!

And from a child I have had such a high-strung,
sensitive nervous organization that opposition of
any sort has made me ill.

There are some temperaments like that.

Once when I was quite small and Mamma
threatened to spank me, I had convulsions.

And nothing but opposition, opposition,
opposition now!

Only we advanced thinkers know what it is to
suffer! To go through fire for our ideals!

And what is physical suffering by the side of
spiritual suffering?

I so often think of that when I am engaged in
sociological work. Only the other night -- it was
raining and chilly, you know -- some of us went
down in the auto to one of the missions and looked
at the sufferers who were being cared for.

And the thought came to me all of a sudden:
"Yes, physical suffering may be relieved -- but what
is there to relieve spiritual suffering like mine?"

Though, of course, it improves one.

I think it is beginning to show in my eyes.

I looked at them for nearly two hours in the
mirror last evening, trying to be quite certain.

And, you know, there's a kind of look in them
that's never been there until recently. A kind of
a -- a ----

Well, it's an INTANGIBLE look, if you get what I mean.

Not exactly the HUNGRY look, more of a YEARNING look!

Thank heaven, though, I can control it -- one
should always be captain of one's soul, shouldn't

I hide it at times. Because one must hide one's
suffering from the world, mustn't one?

But at other times I let it show.

And, really, with practice, I think I am going
to manage it so that I can turn it off and on -- if
you get what I mean -- almost at will.

Because, you know, in certain costumes that look
will be QUITE unbecoming.

Quite out of Harmony. And Inner Beauty only
comes through Inner Harmony, doesn't it?

Harmony! Harmony! Oh, to be in accord with
the Infinite!

Nearly every night before I go to bed I ask myself,
"have I vibrated in tune with the Infinite today,
or have I failed?"


It's TERRIBLE when one can't get understanding
in one's own family!

Papa has very little real sympathy for my
advanced ideas. And as for Mamma!

Sometimes I think I shall WRITE!

Express myself, my real Ego, in Song.

Not rhymes, of course. If I worked a year I
couldn't make two lines rhyme.

But rhyme is going out, anyhow.

Vers Libre is all the rage now.

We took it up not long ago -- our Little Group
of Serious Thinkers, you know -- and I feel
confident it is My Medium of Expression.

It is so untrammeled, isn't it?

And one should be untrammeled, both in Art and
Life, shouldn't one?

Often I ask myself, at the close of day: "Have I
been untrammeled today? Or have I FAILED?

If I could put my real Ego -- and how wonderful
the Ego is, isn't it? -- into vers libre, even Papa
might understand me.

I have always yearned to be understood!

I have drawn back from matrimony again and
again because I thought: "Will he understand me?
Will he see my real Ego? Or will he not?"

Only the other evening I was talking to the loveliest
man, who has been misunderstood by his wife.

He is a sculptor. A cubist sculptor. But he
looks quite respectable -- really, some very good
people receive him.

And he has the most wonderful eyes -- sympathetic,
you know, and psychic -- but oh! so pure, too!

He dotes on purity. He told me that.

His wife does not understand him. She does
not see his real Ego.

He said to me: "I can read you like an open
book. You are yearning. You are yearning for
real understanding. No one has EVER understood you.
Is that not so? Is that not your secret?

Alas! It was. I could not deny it.

I said to him: "But is real understanding EVER attainable?"

He sighed and said: "Alas! The Unattainable!"

I knew why he sighed--there is so much of it --
the Unattainable!

"What one attains," I said, "is often so intangible --
do you not find it so?"

"Alas!" he said, "the Intangible!"

And I felt, somehow -- in a queer psychic way
that is elusive, you know -- strengthened and
sweetened spiritually by our sad little talk.

Our real Egos had been in communion. That's
what he said.

He has nine very commonplace children, and his
wife is very difficult socially.

She insists on filling some sort of commercial
position, although he says her place is in the home.

So they have grown apart. People don't invite
her places. Only him.

Oh! to be understood!


Isn't Heredity wonderful, though!

We've been going into it rather deeply --
My little Group of Serious, you know.

And, really, when you get into it, it's quite complicated.
All about Homozygotes and Heterozygotes, you know.

The Homozygotes are -- well, you might call
them the aristocrats, you know; thoroughbreds.

And the Heterozygotes are the hybrids.

Only, of course, they don't need to be goats at

Not but what they COULD be goats, you know, just
as easily as horses or cows or human beings.

But whether goats or humans, don't you think
the great lesson of Heredity is that Blood will Tell?

Really the farther I go into Philosophy and
Science and such things the more clearly I see what a
fund of truth there is in the old simple proverbs!

People used to find out great truths by Instinct,
you know; and now they use Research -- vaccinate
guinea pigs, you know, and all that sort of thing.

Instinct! Isn't Instinct wonderful!

And Intuition, too!

You know, I have the most remarkable intuition
at times! Have I ever told you that I'm fright-
fully psychic?

Mr. Finch, the poet -- you know Fothergil Finch,
don't you? -- he writes vers libre and poetry both
-- Mr. Finch said to me the other evening, "You
are EXTREMELY psychic!"

"How did you know it?" I asked him.

"Ah!" he said, "how DOES one know these things?"

And how true that is, when you come to think
it over! How DOES one know?

He has the great magnetic eyes! I could feel
them drawing my thoughts from me as we talked.

"You have a secret," he said.

"Yes," I said. And to myself I added, "Alas!"

"Your secret is," he said, "that there is a
difference between you and the other girls."

It was positively uncanny! I'VE felt that for
years! But no one else had ever suspected it before.

"Mr. Finch," I said, "I must have TOLD you that --
or else it was just a wild guess. You COULDN'T have
gotten it psychically. HOW did you know it?"

"One knows these things," he said -- a trifle sadly,
I thought. "They come to one -- out of the

Silences; one knows not how. It is better not to
ask how! It is better not to question! It is better
to accept! Do you not feel it so?

Sometimes I think that Fothergil Finch is the
only man who has ever understood me.

You see, I am Dual in my personality.

There is the real Ego, and there is the Alter Ego.

And, besides these, I have so many moods which
do not come from either one of my Egos! They
come from my Subliminal Consciousness!

Isn't the Subliminal Consciousness wonderful;

We're going to take it up in a serious way some
evening next week, and thresh it out thoroughly.

But I must run along. I have an engagement
with my dressmaker at two o'clock. You know,
I've really found one who can make my gowns
interpret my inner spirit.


I HEARD such a lovely lecture the other night
on the Cosmos.

A Little Group of Advanced Women that I
belong to are specializing this winter on the Cosmos.

We took it up, you know, because the other topics
we were studying included it so frequently. And
it's wonderful, really WONDERFUL!

Of course, an untrained mind will grapple with
it in vain. One's interest must be serious and sincere.
One must devote time to it.,

Otherwise one will get more harm than good
out of it, you know.

It's like the Russian dances that way.

They are so primal, those dances! And all those
primal things are dangerous, don't you think?
Unless one has poise!

It's odd, too, that some of the most primal
people have the most poise, isn't it?

The Swami Brandranath was like that. I've told
you bout the Swami Brandramath, haven't I?

He wore such lovely robes! You can't buy silk
like that in this country.

And he had such a PURE look in this eyes. So
many of these magnetic people lack that pure look,
you know.

He used to give talks to a Little Group of Serious
Thinkers I belong to.

He taught us to go into the Silences -- only we
never quite learned, for some of the girls would
giggle. There are always people like that. The
dear Swami! -- he was so patient! It was
Occidental levity, he said, and we couldn't help it.

That is one of the main differences between the
Orient and the Occident, you know.

How wonderful they are, the Orientals. And
just think of India, with all its yogis and bazaars
and mahatmas and howdahs and rajahs and things!

He was a Brahmin, the Swami was. A Brahmin
and a Burman are the same thing, you know.

It's a caste, like belonging to one of our best

The Swami explained about the marks of caste,
and so forth, to us.

And then one of the girls asked him if he was

The idea!


Isn't it odd how some of the most radical and
advanced and virile of the leaders in the New
Art and the New Thought don't look it at all?

There's Fothergil Finch, for instance. Nobody
could be more virile than Fothy is in his Soul.
Fothy's Inner Ego, if you get what I mean, is a
Giant in Revolt all the time.

And yet to look at Fothy you wouldn't think he
was a Modern Cave Man. Not that he looks like
a weakling, you know. Butwell, if you get what
I mean -- you'd think Fothy might write about
violets instead of thunderbolts.

Dear Papa is ENTIRELY mistaken about him.

Only yesterday dear papa said to me, "Hermione,
if you don't keep that damned little vers libre run
away from here I'll put him to work, and he'll die
of it."

But you couldn't expect Papa to appreciate Fothy.
Papa is SO reactionary and conservative.

And Fothy's life is one long, grim, desperate
struggle against Conventionality, and Social
Injustice, and Smugness, and the Established Order, and
Complacence. He is forever being a martyr to the
New and True in Art and Life.

Last night he read me his latest poem -- one of his
greatest, he says -- in which he tries to tell just what
his Real Self is. It goes:

Look at me!
Behold, I am founding a New Movement!
Observe me. . . . I am in Revolt!
I revolt!
Now persecute me, persecute me, damn you,
persecute me, curse you, persecute me!
Respectabilities that you are,
Persecute me!
You ask me, do you, what am I in revolt against?
Against you, fool, dolt, idiot, against you, against
Against Heavy, Hell and punctuation . . . against
Life, Death, rhyme and rhythm . . .
Persecute me, now, persecute me, curse you,
persecute me!
Slave that you are . . . what do Marriage,
Tooth-brushes, Nail-files, the Decalogue,
Handkerchiefs, Newton's Law of Gravity, Capital,
Barbers, Property, Publishers, Courts, Rhyming
Dictionaries, Clothes, Dollars, mean to Me?

I am a Giant, I am a Titan, I am a Hercules of
Liberty, I am Prometheus, I am the Jess Willard
of the New Cerebral Pugilism, I am the Mod-
ern Cave Man, I am the Comrade of the Cosmic
Urge, I have kicked off the Boots of Superstition,
and I run wild along the Milky Way
without ingrowing toenails,
I am I!
Curse you, what are You?
You are only You!
Nothing more!
Bah! . . . persecute me, now persecute me!

Fothy always gets excited and trembles and
chokes when he reads his own poetry, and while
he was reading it Papa came into the room and
disgraced himself by asking if there was
any MONEY in that kind of poetry, and Fothy
was so agitated that he fairly screamed when he

"Money . . . money . . . curse money! Money
is one of the things I am in revolt against. . . .

Money is death and damnation to the free spirit!"

Papa said he was sorry to hear that; he said one
of his companies needed an ad writer, and he didn't
have any objection to hiring a free spirit with a
punch, but he couldn't consider getting anyone to
write ads that hated money, for there was a salary
attached to the job.

And Fothy said: "You are trying to bribe me!
Capitalism is casting its net over me! You are trying
to make me a serf: trying to silence a Free
Voice! But I will resist! I will not be enslaved!
I will not write ads. I will not have a job.

And then Papa said he was glad to hear Fothy's
sentiments. He had been afraid, he said, that Fothy
had matrimonial designs about me. And the
man who married HIS daughter would probably have
to stand for possessing a good deal of wealth, too,
for he had always intended doing something very
handsome for his son-in-law. So if Fothy didn't
want money, he wouldn't want me, for an enormous
amount of it would go to me.

Papa, you know, thinks he can be awfully sarcastic.

So many Earth Persons pride themselves on their
sarcasm, don't you think?

And Papa is an Earth Person entirely. I've got
his horoscope. He isn't AT ALL spiritual.

But you can image that the whole scene was
FRIGHTFULLY embarrassing to me -- I will NEVER forgive Papa!

And I haven't made up my mind AT ALL about
Fothy. But what I do know is this: once I get my
mind made up, I WILL NOT stand for opposition form
ANY source.

One must be an Individualist, or perish!


Isn't it terrible about that elephant at the Zoo
-- Oh, you know! -- it's like Gunga Din, only,
of course, it isn't Gunga Din at all.

Anyhow, he's CHAINED FOR LIFE! I suppose some-
one gave him tobacco for a joke and it made him
cross. I've heard of those cases, haven't you?

An elephant is such a -- such a -- well, NOBLE beast,
isn't he?

It's transmigration of souls makes them that way,

Oh is it a Rajah?

Anyhow, it sits on top of an elephant.

We took up transmigration of souls one time --
our little Group of Serious Thinkers, you know --
and it's wonderful; simply WONDERFUL!

That was when the Swami Brandranath used to
talk to us. The dear Swami! Such eyes -- so pure
and yet so magnetic! -- I have never seen in a human

The eye is the window of the soul, you know.

He's in jail now, the poor, dear Swami. But he
wasn't really a bigamist at all. You see, he had
seven spiritual planes. All of us do, only most of
us don't know it. But he could get from one plane
to another quite easily.

Of course, he couldn't remember what he'd done
on one plane while he was on the next one above
or below it. And that's the way he happened to
have seven wives -- one for each spiritual plane.

Only the Court took a sordid view of it. It seems
there was something about life insurance mixed
up with it, too.

The Occidentals are so apt to miss the spiritual
sweetness of the Oriental, don't you think?

We are -- all but the Leaders of Thought, and a
little group, here and there -- so commonplace.

Don't you LOATHE the commonplace?

Not loathe, really, of course -- because the harmonious
mind does not let itself be disturbed.

The harmonious mind realizes that dirt is only
useful matter in the wrong place, as Tennyson sings
so sweetly somewhere.

Tennyson has quite gone out, of course. He is
so -- so, well, if you get what I mean -- so mid-
Victorian, somehow.

It seems he WAS mid-Victorian all the time, but
it's only recently that it's been found out on him.

Though I always will think of "come Into the
Garden, Maud," as one of the world's sweetest
little epics.

I'm very independent that way, in spite of the
critics. After all, criticism comes down to a question
of individual taste, doesn't it? That is, in the
final analysis.

Independence! That is what this age needs.
Nearly every night before I got to bed I say to myself:
"Have I been independent today? Or have I FAILED?"

I believe in those little spiritual examinations,
don't you?

It helps one to keep in tune with the Infinite, you

The Infinite! How much it comprises! And
how little we really understand it!

We're going to take it up, the Infinite, in a serious
way soon -- our Little Group of Advanced
Thinkers, you know.


It must have been terribly difficult getting around
in the days before automobiles were invented,
or railroads or anything like that.

Though, of course, it was wonderfully romantic,

The old coaching days, particularly, when everybody
blew on horns as they drove from town to
town, and there were highwaymen and cavaliers
with swords and all those people, you know, riding
by the coaches.

Don't you just DOTE on romance? I do!

But, of course, there's no place for it in our hurried
modern life, and I suppose we shouldn't regret it.

But now and then I sigh over it. Like dropping
a tear, you know, in a dear old chest perfumed with
lavender and old roses.

I always say that one can be advanced and in
the van of modern progress, and still drop a tear,
you know.

Do you think that all this study of sex hygiene
means the death of romance?

It's a serious thought, isn't it?

But what I always say is: "Which of these
things will do the most GOOD in the world?"

Especially good to the POOR!

You know how frightfully interested I am in the poor.

I make that my test. I always say to myself:
"Which will do the most good to the great masses?"

I take such a serious interest in the MASSES!

We should think twice before we take romance out
of their lives and replace it with science of any kind.

For, after all, you know, they represent the Future.

We should all think of the Future.

That's what makes the Feminist Movement such
a WONDERFUL thing -- it is moving right straight ahead
toward the Future!

I'm thinking of being a Suffragist again. I was
once, you know, but I resigned.

The sashes and banners are such a frightful shade
of yellow, you know. So I quit.

Beauty, after all, is the chief thing. What, after
all, do all our reforms come to, if the world is not
to be made more beautiful because of them?

And I simply CANNOT wear yellow.


Believe me, 'tis not with elation
I dwell on Hermione's madness;
The result of my rapt contemplation
Is sadness, a terrible sadness!

I weep when I note how she drivels;
I sigh o'er her fake philanthropies;
I am pained when I see how she frivols,
Like a kitten, with serious topics.

It is grief that her mental condition
Inspires, not laughter or scorning;
If she has any use, 'til her Mission
To stand as a Horrible Warning.

I am moral, essentially moral;
I am grave, and hate everything trashy,
And that is the reason I quarrel
With intellects flighty and flashy.

I yearn for the truth, I am earnest;
I yearn to face facts without blinking,

Of all of my years, quite the yearnest
Is my yearn to be thorough in thinking.

That's why I'm severe with this darling,
Nor pardon nor whitewash nor gloss her, --
The linnet -- the parrot -- the starling!
I weep over her and expose her.


Last week the Loveliest man lectured to us --
to our Little Group of Serious Thinkers,
you know -- on the Ultimate Symbolism. In
art and life both, you know.

It was simply wonderful -- WONDERFUL!

Art, you know, used to be full of symbolism.

But now, it seems, symbolism has dropped out
of Art, and Nature has taken it up.

Odd, isn't it? But really not surprising when
you come to think about it.

For, you know, Nature is always trying to keep
up with advanced ideas -- evolving and evolving
toward the Superman.

And the Superwoman, too.

I think it is the duty of us who are advanced
thinkers to give Nature a worthy idea to evolve
toward, don't you?

To set Nature a mark to come up to, you know.

For what is the use of evolution if it doesn't
evolve forward instead of backward?

And the Best People, I think, should feel a sense
of social responsibility and give evolution a model.

Each should be a Symbol -- that's what I always
ask myself each night now: "Have I been a Symbol
today? Or have I failed to be a symbol?"

Down at the beach last week I nearly drowned --
you don't mean to say you haven't heard of it? It
was frightful.

I'd always heard that, when a person sinks, his
whole past life passes before him in review.

But it didn't with me. What I said as I went
down was: "Have I been a Symbol? Or have I

And the life guard who got me out -- he was simply
the most gorgeous man! -- burned bronze, you
know, and with shoulders like a Greek god! -- and
with the most wonderful eyes and white teeth -- he
asked me, the guard did, "What, marm?"

It was fearfully disappointing! Sometimes they
are college men, you know, just life-guarding
through the summer. But would any college man
have said, "What, marm?"

And then he went and saved a blonde creature
in the most scandalous bathing suit I ever saw.

He saved one in the most business-like way, too,
as if he were a waiter, you know, passing from one
table to another.

No wonder the social fabric is crumbling when
quite impossible people like life guards permit
themselves to become blase' over such matters!

The lower classes are very discouraging anyhow,
don't you think? -- after all we do for them in the
way of philanthropy and sociology and uplifting
them generally, you know!

Of course, I haven't lost my interest in sociology
-- not by any means. I always hold fast the thought
that all the world are brothers.

I'm taking up Dew-hopping next week. It's a
wonderful new nerve cure. Formerly it was quite
the thing to walk barefoot in the dew at dawn.

But at this new place I've discovered they don't
merely walk -- that's going out, quite. They HOP.
Like frogs and toads, you know.

It brings the patients into closer kinship with the
electric currents of the earth, hopping does, the
doctor says. It's WONDERFUL!

He is the loveliest man -- with mystic eyes! -- the
doctor is.


Fothergil Finch, Hermione's friend, the
vers libre poet, dodges through life harried
and hunted by one pursuing Fear.

"Some day," he said to me --

(It is Hermione's Boswell who is speaking in this
sketch, in the first person, and not Hermione, the
incomparable.) --

"Some day," Fothergil finch said to me, the
other night, in a tone of intense, bitter conviction,
"some day It will get me! Some day I will overtake
me. The great Beat, Popularity, which pursues me!
Some day It will clutch me and tear me
and devour my Soul! Some day I will be a
Popular Writer!"

It is my own impression that Fothergil's fears
are exaggerated; but they are very real to him. He
visualizes his own soul as a fugitive climbing higher
and higher, running faster and faster, to escape
this Beast. Perhaps Fothergil secretly hopes that
the speed of his gong will induce combustion, and
he will leap from the topmost hills of Art, flaming,
directly into the heavens, there to burn and shine
immortality, an authentic star. Well, well, we all
have our little plane, our little vanities!

"Fothergil," I said, cheerily, "Popularity has not
overtaken you yet. Cheer up -- perhaps it never

We were in Fothergil's studio in Greenwich Village,
where I had gone to see how his poem on
Moonlight was getting along. He strode to the
window. Fothergil is not tall, and he is slightly
pigeon-toed -- the fleshly toes of Fothergil symbolize
the toes of his ever-fleecing soul -- but he strides.
Female poets undulate. Erotic male poets saunter.
Tramp poets lurch and swagger. Fothergil, being
a vers libre poet, a Prophet of the Virile, a Little
Brother of the Cosmic Urge, is compelled by what
his verse is to stride vigorously across rooms as if
they were vast desert places, in spite of what
his toes are. He strode magnificently, triumphantly,
to the window and flung the shade up and looked
out at the amorphous mist creeping
in across the roofs. The crawling fog must
have suggested his great, gray Dread, for presently
he turned away with a shudder and sank upon a
couch and moaned.

'Ah, Heaven! Popularity! The disgrace of it --
the horror of it! Popularity! Ignominy! When it
catches me -- when it happens ----"

He plucked from his pocket a small phial and held
it up toward the light and gazed upon it desperately
and raptly.

"I am never without this!" he said. "It is my
means of escape. I will not be taken unawares!
I carry it always. At night it is beneath my pillow.
The day it happens -- the moment I feel myself in
the grip of Popularity----"

I caught his hand; in his excitement he was
raising the poison to his lips.

"What I cannot understand, Fothergil," I said,
"is why a Poet of the Virile, a Reincarnation of the
Cave Man -- excuse me, but that is what you are
being this year, is it not ? -- should give way to Fear.
Is it not more in character to meet this Beast and
slay It? Is there not a certain contradiction between
your profession and your practice?"

"More than a contradiction," he said eagerly. "It
is more than contradictory! It is paradoxical!"

I eliminate much that followed. When Fothergil
gets started on the paradox, time passes. He is
never really interested in things until he has dis-
covered the paradoxical quality in them. Sometimes
I think that his enthusiasm over himself is
due to the fact that he discovered early in life that
he himself was a paradox -- and sometimes I think
that discovery is the explanation of his enthusiasm
for the paradox.

"What," said Fothergil, "is the most paradoxical
thing in the world? The Human Snore! It seems
Ugly-yet it is Beautiful! It seems a trivial function
of the body -- and yet it is the Key to the
Soul ----"

"The Key to the Soul?"

"Man sleeps," he said, "and his Conscious Mind
is in abeyance. But his Subconscious Mind is still
awake. It functions. It has its opportunity to utter
itself. The Snore is the Voice of the Soul! And
not only the Soul of the individual but of the Soul
of the race. All the experiences of man, in his
ascent from the mire to his present altitude, are
retained in the Subconscious Mind-his fights, his
struggles, his falls, his recoveries. And his dreams
and nightmares are racial memories of these things.
Snores are the language in which he expresses them.
Interpret the Snore, and you have the psychic history
of the ascent of man from Caliban to Shakespeare!

"And I can interpret it! I have listened to a
million Snores, and learned the language of the
Soul! Night after night, for years, I harked to
the Human Snore -- in summer, hastening from
park bench to beach and back again; in winter,
haunting the missions and lodging houses. Ah,
Heavens! with what devotion, with what passion
of the discoverer, have I not pursued the Human
Snore! I have gone miles to listen to some snore
that was reported to be peculiar; I have denied my
self luxuries, pleasures, and at times even food, in
order to hire reluctant persons to Snore for me!

"And I have written the Epic of the Snore in
vers libre. You shall hear the prelude!"

And this is Fothergil's prelude:

Snore me a song of the soul,
Oh, sleeper, snore!
Whistle me, wheeze me, grunkle and grunt, gurgle
and snort me a Virile stave!
Snore till the Cosmos shakes!
On the wings of a snore I fly backward a billion
years, and grasp the mastodon and I tear him
limb from limb,
And with his thigh hone I heat the dinosaur to
death, for I am Virile!
Snore! Snore! Snore!
Snore, O struggling and troubled and squirming
and suffering and choking and purple-faced
sleeper, snore!
Snore me the sound of the brutal struggle when the
big bull planets bellowed and fought with one
another. in the bloody dawn of time for the
love of little yellow-haired moons,
Snore till Chaos raps with his boot on the walls of
Cosmos and kicks to the landlord!

Turn, choke, twist and struggle, sleeper, and snore
me the song of life in the making,
Sneeze me a universe full of star-dust,
Snore me back to the days when I was a Cave Man,
and with my bare hands slew the walrus, for
I am Virile!
Snore the death-rattle of the walrus, O struggling
sleeper, snore!
Snore me ----

But I was compelled to leave. There is a great
deal of it, Fothergil says. If you know Fothergil
you are aware that when he declaims his Virile
verses he becomes excited; he swells physically;
sometimes he looks quite five feet tall in his moments
of expansion; all this is very bad for him.
More than once the declamation of his poem,
"Myself and the Cosmic Urge," has sent him shaking
to the tea urn.

Before I left I was able to calm him somewhat.
But with calm came reflection. And with reflection
came his great, gray Dread again.

When I left,. Fothergil was looking out of the
window and shuddering, as if the Monster
Popularity might be hiding behind the neighboring
chimneys. One hand clasped the phial caressingly.

But somehow I doubt that Fothergil will ever be
compelled to drink the poison.


"Does not the World's stupidity
At times make Serious Thinkers fret?"
I asked the fair Hermione;
"Sometimes," she said, "and yet . . . and
yet .

We feel we owe the World a debt!"
She waved a slim, bejeweled hand,
She brooded on some vague regret. .
"I hope," she sighed, "you'll UNDERSTAND!"

"Is not your high Philosophy
Too subtle for the Mob to get?"
I asked . . . She pondered seriously;
"Sometimes," she said, "and yet . . . and
yet . . .

She trifled with an amulet
Imported from some Orient land. . . .
"What fish can burst the Cosmic Net? . . .
I HOPE," she sighed, "you'll Understand."

"Art, Science and Psychology,
Causes that rise and shine and set,

Do all these never weary thee?" --
"Sometimes," she said, "and yet . . . and yet .
Would Thought and Life have ever met
Unless" . . . She paused. Her lashes fanned
Her eyes, with tears of ardor wet. . . .
"I hope," she sighed, "YOU'LL Understand!"

"Princess, is Bull the One Best Bet?"-
"Sometimes," she said, "and yet . . . and yet
She mused, and then; in accents bland,
"I hope," she said, "you'll UNDERSTAND!"


ISN'T war frightful, though; simply FRIGHTFUL!

What Sherman said it was, you know.

Though they say there's an economic
condition back of this war, too.

We took up economics not long ago -- our Little
Group of Serious Thinkers, you know -- and gave
an entire evening to it.

It's wonderful; simply WONDERFUL!

Without economics, you know, there couldn't be
any Civilization.

That's a thought that should give one pause,
isn't it?

Although, of course, this war may destroy
civilization entirely.

If I thought it was likely to do that I would join
in the Peace Demonstration at once -- or have they
had it already ? -- the march for peace, you know!
Anyhow, no matter what the personal sacrifice
might be, I would join in. Not that I care to march
in the dust. And black never did become me. But
I suppose there will be some autos. And, well --
one must sacrifice.

For if Civilization dies out, what will become of
us then?

Will we revert to the Primordial?

Will the Cave Man triumph?

The very idea gives me the creeps!

Because, you know, the Cave Man is all right --
and the Primitive, and all that -- as a protest against
Decadence-and in a LITERARY way -- but if ALL men were Cave Men!

Well, you know, the thought is frightful; simply frightful!

You can have a feeling for just ONE Cave Man,
you know, in the midst of Civilization, when a
MILLION Cave Men would ----

But the idea is too terrible for words!

And in this crisis it is Woman who must save the world.

The loveliest woman -- she's quite advanced,
really, and has the most charming toilettes -- told
our Little Group of Serious Thinkers the other
night that this is the time when Woman must rule
the world.

It is the test of the New Woman.

If ANYTHING is saved from the wreck it will be
because of Her.

She can write letters to the papers, you know,
against war and-and all that sort of thing, you know.

And, of course, if the Germans and Russians and
English do all get together and conquer Paris,
I suppose they won't kill the modistes and designers.

Civilization, you know, is not so easily killed
after all. The Romans were conquered, you know,
but all their styles and philosophies and things were
taken up by the Medes and Persians who conquered
them, and have remained unchanged in those
countries ever since.

But in a time like this, it's comforting to have
a Cause to cling to.

No matter what happens, the advanced thinkers
must cling together and make their Cause count.

And if England should conquer France, and put
a king on the throne there again, no doubt there will
be a great revival of fashion, as there was in the
days of Napoleon I. and the Empress Eugenie.

But if all the advanced thinkers in the world
could only get together in one place and THINK Peace
and Harmony -- sit down in circles, you know, and
send Psychic Vibrations across the ocean -- who can
tell but what the war might not end ?

The triumph of mind over matter, you know.

I'm going to propose the idea to our little group
and pass it on to all the other little groups.

I'd be willing to give up an entire evening to it myself.


We had quite a discussion the other evening
-- our Little Group of Serious Thinkers,
you know -- as to whether it was Idealism
or Materialism that had gotten the Germans into
this dreadful war.

Isn't Idealism just simply wonderful!

Fothy Finch said it was neither; he said it was
the Racial Urge.

It's like the Cosmic Urge, you know; except it's
altogether German, Fothy explained.

Every once in a while you hear of a New Urge.
That's one of the things that distinguishes Modern
Thought from the old philosophies, don't you

Although, of course, the Cosmic Urge isn't what
it used to be a year or two ago.

It's become -- er -- well, VULGARIZED, if you know
what I mean. EVERYBODY'S writing and talking
about it now, don't you know.

I think, myself, it's going out soon. And a
leader -- a real pioneer in thought, you know,
would scarcely care to talk about it now without a

I've just about dropped it myself. It's the same
way with everything exclusive. It soon becomes

Really, I hadn't worn my white summer furs
three weeks before I saw so many imitations that
I just simply HAD to lay them aside.

Don't you think people who take up things
like that, after the real leaders have dropped them,
are frightfully lacking in SUBTLETY?

Oh, Subtlety! Subtlety! WHAT would modern
thought be without Subtlety?

Personally, I just simply HATE the Obvious. It's
so -- so -- well, so easily seen through, if you know
what I mean.

Fothy Finch said to me only the other day, "Has
it ever occurred to you, Hermione, that you are NOT
an Obvious sort of Person?"

It is almost UNCANNY the way Fothergil Finch
can read my thoughts sometimes. We are both so
very psychic.

Mamma said to me last night, "You are seeing a
great deal of Mr. Finch, Hermione. Do you think
it is right to encourage him if you don't intend to
marry him? What ARE your intentions with regard
to Mr. Finch?"

I didn't answer her at all -- poor dear Mamma is
SO old-fashioned!

But I thought to myself ----

Well, would it be so IMPOSSIBLE?

Of course, marriage is a serious thing. One must
look at it from all points of view, if one has a
Social Conscience.

He has a LOVELY way with dogs, Fothy has. They
trust him instinctively -- he is just DEAR with them.
I have some beauties now, you know. They are
getting so they won't let anyone but Fothy bathe them.


We took up the Bhagavad Gita -- our Little
Group of Advanced Thinkers, you know --
in quite a thorough way the other

Isn't the Bhagavad Gita just simply WONDERFUL!

It has nothing at all to do with Bagdad, you
know -- though at first glance it seems quite like
it might, doesn't it?

Of course, they're both Oriental -- aren't you just
simply WILD about Oriental things? But really,
they're QUITE different.

The Bhagavad Gita, you know, is all about
Reincarnation and Karma, and all those lovely old

When I start my Salon I'm going to have a
Bhagavad Gita Evening -- all in costume, you know.

I find that when I dress in harmony with the
Idea I RADIATE so much more effectively, if you
get what I mean.

Fothergil Finch is the same way.

He writes his best vers libre things in a purple

There's an amber-colored pane of glass in his
studio skylight, and he has to sit and wait and wait
and wait until the moonlight falls through that pane
onto his paper, and then it only stays long enough
so he can write a few lines, and he can't go on with
the poem until he comes again.

He brought me one last night -- he wrote it to me
yes, really! -- and he waited and waited for
enough moonlight to do it, and caught a terrible
cold in his head, poor dear Fothy.

It goes like this:

Poppies, poppies, silver poppies in the moonlight,
Silver poppies,
Silver poppies in the moonlight,
Poppies poppies, crimson poppies in the sunset,
Poppies, poppies, poppies!
Black poppies in the midnight,
Three colors of poppies!
One color is silver,
The second color is crimson,
The third color is black,
And if there were a fourth color it would be

Alas! Why is there never a fourth color?

Poppies, poppies, poppies, but no Green Poppy!

I asked the little crippled girl who sells poppies to
Buy bread for the drunken father who beats her,

And she said, "I, too, seek the fourth color!"

I asked the boy who drives the grocer's delivery
wagon, the old apple woman without teeth, the
morgue keeper, the plumber, the janitor, the
red-armed waffle baker in the window of a
restaurant full of marble-topped tables and
pallid-looking girls, the subway guard and the

And they all said,
"Poppies, poppies, poppies,
We have never known but three colors!"
I am a Great Virile Spirit;
I, with my Ego,
I will give the world its Desire!
I, the strong!
I, the daring!
I will create a Green Poppy!

That about being Virile is just like Fothy! He
prides himself on being Virile, you know -- Poor
dear Fothy!

He said until he saw me he had always been satisfied
with silver and red and black poppies, but
as soon as he knew me he felt there MUST be a
Green Poppy somewhere.

It is likely a mood of my soul, you know -- the
Green Poppy is!

Isn't it simply wonderful!


Isn't it just simply terrible the way the Balkans
are bombarding Venice . . . all those beautiful
Doges and things, you know.

I suppose there will be nothing left, just simply
nothing, of the city that Byron wrote about in
in -- what was it? Oh, yes, in "Childe Harold to
the Dark Tower Came."

That's one comforting thing to think of if this
country ever gets into a war, isn't it? I mean that
we haven't any of those lovely old things that can
be bombarded, you know.

I suppose if we ever did get into war someone
like Edison would invent something quick, you
know, and it would be all over in a few hours.

Isn't inventive science wonderful! Just simply

It's so -- so -- well, so DYNAMIC, if you get what I
mean. Isn't it?

Don't you just DOTE on dynamic things?

Dynamic personalities, especially.

I've often thought if I had it to do over again
I'd go in less for psychics and more for dynamics.

But then there are so many things that a modern
thinker must keep up with, aren't there?

And it's easy enough to concentrate one's mind on
one or two things, but I often find it terribly difficult
to concentrate on ten or twelve different things
all at the same time.

And one must if one is to keep up with the very
latest in Thought and Life.

Concentration! Concentration! That is the key
to it all! Nearly every night when I am alone with
my own Ego I go into the Silences for a little period
of Spiritual Self-Examination and I always ask
myself: "Have I Concentrated today? Really
Concentrated? Or have I failed?"

I call these little times my Psychic Inquisitions.

In the hurry of this crowded age one must find
time to get along with one's self, must one not?
Fothy Finch has written a beautiful thing about the
hurry of this crowded age which I wish everyone
could hang over his desk.

Well, I must be going on now. I have a committee
meeting for this afternoon. I can't for the
life of me remember whether it's about suffrage --
Oh, yes, I marched! -- or about some relief fund.


I'm taking up Bergson this week.

Next week I'm going to take up Etruscan
vases and the Montessori system.

Oh, no, I haven't lost my interest in sociology.

Only the other night we went down in the auto
and watch the bread line.

Of course, one can take up TOO MANY things.

It's the spirit in which you take up a thing that

Sometimes I think the spirit in which you take
a thing up counts more than the thing itself -- counts
in its effect on you, you know.

Of course, the way to get the real meaning out
of any thing is to put yourself in a receptive attitude.

In serious things the attitude counts for everything.
One mustn't scoff.

If you look seriously and scientifically you'll'
see there's a great deal more than you suspected
in all this affinity and soul mate craze, for instance.

Not that I care much for the words "soul mate"
and "affinity" particularly; they have been so
VULGARIZED, somehow.

The Best People don't use those terms any more.

Psychic harmony is the new term.

The loveliest man explained all about it to us the
other day. I belong to a Little Group of Thinkers,
who take a serious interest in these things, you

We are trying to find out how to make our
psychic powers count for the betterment of the
world. I am very psychic. Some are now.

This man had the most interesting eyes and the
silkiest beard, and he said his aura was pink.

If he should meet a girl, you know, with an aura
just the shade of pink that his aura is, why then
they would know they were in psychic harmony.

Simple, isn't it? But then all truly great ideas
ARE simple, aren't they?

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