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Hermione and Her Little Group of Serious Thinkers by Don Marquis

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But if his aura was blue, and her aura was yellow,
then, of course, they would quarrel. That's
what makes so much domestic unhappiness.

But he said something that gave me the most
frightfully insecure feeling.

He said the aura CHANGES its color as the soul progresses.

Two people may be in harmony today, and both
have pink auras, and in a year hers may be green
and his golden.

What desperate chances a woman takes when
she marries, doesn't she?

I sometimes think life must have been a much
more comfortable thing before the world got to
be so terribly advanced.

But, of course, it is our duty to sacrifice personal
comfort for the future of the race and the
betterment of the world.

As I was looking at the bread line the thought
came to me that the chief difference between this
advanced age and other ages was in the fact that
people today are willing to take a serious interest
in such things.

People are willing to sacrifice themselves today,
you know.

It is food for optimism, don't you think?

Not that I was really so uncomfortable in the
auto, you know. I had on my new mink coat.


We've been going in for Astrological
Research lately -- our Little Group of
Modern Thinkers, you know -- and we've
picked our own personal stars.

Only it seems such a shame, doesn't it, that one
isn't allowed to CHANGE stars? Keeping the same
star all your life is rather monotonous, don't you

Though, of course, if one changed and got some-
one else's star things might be frightfully
complicated, mightn't they?

But it would make a charming little story,
wouldn't it, for a girl to change stars, you know,
and find that her new star belonged to some quite
nice young man, and, of course, after that, their
destinies would be one.

I get some of the most ORIGINAL plots for stories!

Fothergil Finch has often said to me that that
is one difference between genius and talent. When
you have genius, you know, things like that just
come to you; but if you only have talent you must
work and WORK for them.

"If I only hd your spontaneity, Hermione!"
Fothergil often says.

And really, it's never been any trouble for me at
all to dash off an idea, though of course they
would have to be touched up by the editors a little
before they could be printed.

Fothergil said the other night I should try poetry.

"Why, Fothy," I said, "if I lived a hundred years
I never could make two lines rhyme with each

But he said Rhyme was out of fashion anyhow,
and -- would you believe it? -- while we were talking
I got an idea for a poem and just dashed it off
then and there -- a vers libre poem you know, and it

What becomes of
People when they die?
I used to ask when I was a little child,
And now even since
I am grown up I am not sure that I know!

"Fothy," I said, "It was so easy -- that makes me
afraid it isn't really good!"

"Ah," he said, "that modesty PROVES you are a
genius! Heavens, what would I not give to
have you spontaneity, your modesty, your spontaneity --"

But I interrupted him. Another idea had come
to me -- just like that, and -- would you believe it?
I dashed off another one, right then and there! It

I see the rain fall.
It is no effort for the rain to fall.
Why is it no effort?
Because it falls spontaneously!
O Spontaneity! Spontaneity!
Rain is genius,
Genius is rain!
Fall, fall, rain!

Fothy is going to get them printed -- he knows a
lot of vers libre publishers -- if Papa will only put
up the money. And one nice thing about poor dear
Papa is that he always will put it up.

So that night I wrote twenty or thirty more
of them, and they were ALL good -- ALL works of
genius -- they ALL came to me just like the first ones!

The last one came to me just as I was going to
bed. I looked out of the window and saw the moon
and ran and got a pencil and wrote:

I see the moon out of the window.
I wonder what it thinks of me?
Wouldn't the moon and I both be surprised
If we found that neither of us
Though anything at all about the other?

The book's going to be vellum, you know, and
that sort of thing. I'm going to have a gown just
like the cover and give a fete when it comes out.

The worst thing about being literary, though, is
that it makes one feel so RESPONSIBLE for the gift,
if you know what I mean, doesn't it?


plants are almost as sensitive as human beings --
they have feelings and susceptibilities,
you know, and all that sort of thing.

Isn't it wonderful how the Hindus find these
things out?

Soul speaking to soul, I suppose.

But I have scarcely been able to eat comfortably
since I read it.

Every time I sit down to a salad it makes me
feel quite like a cannibal!

And to think, I was just on the point of becoming
a vegetarian, too!

I suppose to be on the safe side one should eat
nothing but minerals.

But, of course, advanced thinkers will have to
take the matter up seriously and discover a way
out -- some day we will live on aromas and
electricity, no doubt.

Don't you think the world is getting kinder?
A hundred years ago, for instance, no one would
have cared whether plants suffer pain or not -- people
wouldn't have given it a second though, you know.

And now, though, they will have to keep on
eating them until something else is invented, they
will do it with a shudder and won't enjoy them near
so much. The world is losing much of its cruelty
and thoughtlessness. Upward! Onward! Is the

Do you like my new coat? Unborn lamb skin,
you know. Isn't it lovely?


THIS war is going to have a tremendous in-
fluence on Art -- vitalize it, you know, and
make it REAL, and all that sort of thing.
In fact, it's doing it already. We took up the war
last night -- our Little Group of Serious Thinkers,
you know -- in quite a serious way and considered
it thoroughly in all its aspects and we decided
that it would put more SOUL into Art.

And into life, too, you know.

Already you can see it on every hand how much
serious purpose it is putting into lives that were
merely trivial before. Even poor, dear Mamma --
and really, it would be hard to imagine a more
trivial person than Mamma! -- is knitting socks.

She is going to send them to the Poles. She
wanted to send them to the Belgians.

But I said to her, "Positively, Mamma, you are
ALWAYS behind the times. Don't you know the
Belgians are going out and the Poles are coming in?"

And, you know, it's been months since really
Smart People have knit for the Belgians. The Poles
are QUITE the thing now.

It's strange how great movements keep going on
and on from mountain peak to mountain peak of
usefulness like that, isn't it? -- changing their
direction now and then as evolution itself does,
but always progressing, progressing!

That is one wonderful thing about evolution -- it
ALWAYS progresses.

When one thinks it over, one grows more and
more conscious that the human race owes a great
deal to Evolution, doesn't one?

WHAT could we have done without it?

It's as somebody said about something else one
time -- if we hadn't had it, you know, it would have
been necessary to invent it, though for the life of
me, I can't remember who it was or what he said
about it. Although likely it was Madame de Stael.
We took her up once and it developed that she had
said a most surprising number of things like that
things, you know, that would be quite quotable if
you could only remember them.

Isn't memory a wonderful facility, though?

I've always intended to go in for developing mine
systematically and scientifically.

But I've never done it because I always forget
whether I should order the book-shop people to
send home a work on numismatics or a work on
mnemonics. One of them is about money, you
know, and the other is about memory. And once
when I was shopping and thought I had it right it
turned out -- the book did, when I got it home -- to
be all about air and things. Pneumatics, you know!
Wasn't it perfectly ridiculous?

But, of course, one learns by one's mistakes.

Have you seen dear Nijinsky?

We were discussing him last evening -- our little
group, you know -- and decided that while he has
more Personality than Mordkin he has less
Temperament, if you get what I mean.

One of the girls said last evening, "Mordkin is
more exotic, but Nijinsky is more esoteric."

And another said, "One of them shows intellect
obviously mingled with spirit, but the other shows
spirit occultly mingled with intellect."

Fothergil Finch said, "They are alike in their
differences, but subtly differentiated in their
likenesses, n'est-cd pas?"

Fothy has a simply delightful faculty of summing
a thing up in a sentence like that, but it makes him
very vain if you show you think so; so I put him
in his place and closed the discussion with one remark:

"It is all," I said, "it is ALL a question of Interpretation."

And, quite seriously, when you come to think
about it, it usually is, isn't it?


Last night I met Hermione,
And eagerly she said to me:
"Thoughts from the ambient everywhere
Electrify our worldly air."

"My soul," I said, "grabs off such hints
As butter, whether pats or prints,
Receives and holds all unaware
Small strands of drifting, golden hair.
But have YOU thought, O Maiden fair,
O, have you thought profoundly of
The psychic consciousness in crows?
Or why the Malay when in love
Wears rubber earrings on his toes?"

The lady shook her lovely head --
'Twas coiffed divinely -- and she said:
"Have you reflected on the part
Primeval instinct plays in Art?
It's simply wonderful the way
Old things grow new from day to day!"

"That's true," I said, "I often ape
The Ape to get my Art in shape --
And with the Simian going strong,
Behold, another Rennysawng!"

"Perhaps," she said, "across the verge
Of darkness, from the Cosmic Urge,
The Light is speeding in bright waves,
E'en now to show the way to slaves!"

"The thought," I said, "is cheerful -- but
These Swamis WILL chew betel-nut!"

"Alas!" she said, "alas! too true!
But oh! it's wonderful of you
To sympathize and understand --"
(She gestured with a jeweled hand) --
"The joy of being understood!"

"Our talk," I said, "has done me good."


WE'VE been taking up Metabolism lately --
our Little Group of Serious Thinkers, you
know -- and it's wonderful; just simply

I really don't know how I got along for so many
years without it -- it opens up such new vistas,
doesn't it?

I can never think in the same way again about
even the most trivial things since I have learned
all about Protoplasm and -- and -- well, all these
marvelous scientific things, you know.

Isn't Science DELIGHTFUL!

There's the Cosmos, for instance. It had always
been there, you know. But nobody knew much
about it until Scientists took it up in a serious way.

And now I, for one, feel that I couldn't do
without it!

Although, of course, one feels one's responsibilities
toward it too, and that is apt to be rather
trying at times unless one has a truly earnest nature
and is prepared to make sacrifices.

If the Cosmos is to be improved, what is there
that can improve it except Evolution?

And unless we who are serious thinkers give
Evolution a mark to reach, how can we be sure that
Evolution will Evolve in the right direction?

I have worried myself half to death at times
over the Superman!

You know I feel personally responsible, to a
certain extent, about what he will be like when he
gets here. If he isn't what he should be, you know,
it will be the fault of those of us who are the
leaders in thought today -- it will be because we
haven't started him right, you know.
Mamma -- poor dear Mamma is SO unadvanced,
you know! -- has an idea that when the Superman
does get here he won't be at all the sort of person
that one would care to receive socially.

"Hermione," she said to me only the other day,
"no Superman shall EVER come into MY house!"

She heard some of my friends, you know, talking
about the Superman and Eugenics, and she has
an idea that he will be horribly improper.

"I consider that the Superman would be a DANGEROUS
influence in the life of a young woman," said Mamma.

"Mamma," I told her, you are FRIGHTFULLY behind
the times! There isn't a doubt in the world that
when the Superman does come he will be taken
up by the Best People. Anarchists and Socialists
go everywhere now, and dress just like other people,
and ;you can hardly tell them, and it will be
the same way with the Superman."

What Mamma lacks is contact. Contact with --
with -- well, she lacks Contact, if you get what I

So many of the elder generation DO lack Contact,
don't you think?

Although, of course, it would be very hard to
have Contact and Background at the same time.

And if one must choose between Contact and
Background, the choice is apt to be puzzling at

Although, of course, it is useless to reason too
much on things like that. Intuition often succeeds
where reason fails, especially if one is at all Psychic.

Well, I must go. I must hurry to my costumer's.

I'm have a special costume made, you know.
We've been taking up Spiritualism again -- our little
group, you know. And I'm going to give a Spirit
Fete, and of course it will take a great deal of
dressing and arranging and decoration.

Papa says it will be a Ghost Dance, but he is so
terribly frivolous and irreverent at times.

Don't you just simply LOATHE frivolity?


THE Parasite Woman must go!

Our Little Group of Serious Thinkers
took up the Parasite Woman last night in
quite a thorough way. One of the most interesting
women you ever listened to gave us a little talk
about the Parasite Woman, you know.

And we decided that the Parasite Woman has
NOTHING to Contribute to the Next Generation.

Oh, these Parasite Women! It just simply makes
my blood boil to her about them! I don't know
when I have been so indignant!

With the world so full of work to be done for
the Cause -- for ALL the Causes, you know -- they
just sit around selfishly at home all wrapped up
in their own families, or children, if they're married,
and do nothing at all for the Evolution of
the Ego and the Development of the Race, and the
Conscious Guidance of the Next Generation, or
anything like that.

Thank goodness I could never be a Parasite Woman!

And, yet, I PITY them, too.

I'm thinking quite seriously of starting a little
Mission of my own for the purpose of appealing
to and reforming the Parasite Women among my

Of course it will take organization, and that
means I will have money to start it and
keep it going.

But Papa will give me the money all right. That
is one thing about poor, dear Papa -- he doesn't
understand the new movements at all, but he WILL
give me money. And he never asks what I do
with it.

Now and then, of course, he scolds me a little -- he
told me the other day that I cost him nearly as much
as a war. But I can always jolly him, you know,
when he gets that way. Men are so easily managed
and flattered.

I suppose my Mission will take quite a LOT of
money, too. But it is my DUTY, and I am willing to
make ANY sacrifice -- we modern thinkers are used
to making sacrifices for our Cause!

And it is worth a lot of sacrifice to make the
Parasite Woman over into an Awakened and
Enlightened Member of Society, independent of the
Man-Made System that has shackled her for so long.

What is nobler than Emancipation?

Of course, I'll have to have a Secretary, And
to get one especially training in organizing the
Mission will cost quite a bit, probably.

But Papa will never miss it.

And I think I'll have a MAN for a Secretary.
One that is quite presentable socially, you
know. For the Secretary will have to attend to a
lot of the details. I will give some teas and
entertainments and things, just to get the Parasite
Women I know interested.

And there's nothing like the right sort of a man
to get women to cooperate in some Cause that aims
for Woman's Liberty.

And I suppose, really, TWO Secretaries would be
better. And they will have to be men who can
dance the new dances well, too. That counts a
lot nowadays in getting girls to come to places.

I feel that I have Found my Work! One's work
lies at one's hand, if one could but see it, always.
And mine is to Save the Parasite Women I know
from Themselves and their Frivolity.

I will coax the first cheque out of Papa this very
evening! It may take some management and
jollying, but--well, Papa is EASY!


WE'RE taking up the House Beautiful -- our
Little Group of Serious Thinkers, you
know -- for we've decided that Environment
has more effect on personality than Heredity.

Interior decoration is the greatest of the arts --
don't you think? -- because it furnishes the proper
setting for the spirit.

The loveliest woman gave us a talk on interior
decoration the other night -- she wears these slinky,
Greek things, you know, with straw sandals, when
the weather permits -- and I engaged her to do the
house over.

But right away a problem presented itself --
whether to have the house done to fit my personality
or whether to have the house done to fit the thing
I want my personality to evolve into, and trust the
environment to help in the evolution.

Modern thought complicates LIFE immensely,
doesn't it?

But I always feel that it is my duty to give the
best in myself to these problems.

Someone must help Evolution evolve. Someone
must be unselfish enough to give the cosmos new
marks to come up to.

And who but the serious thinkers are willing to
sacrifice themselves?

Well, we finally decided to do every room in
the house differently -- each one to fit a mood, you

There's one room now I call "Aspiration," where
I go for my little spiritual examinations.

And the next room beyond that is "Resolve."

And then there's a room I call "Brotherly Love,"
where I go to think out how to help the masses.

For of course I haven't lost my interest in
sociological problems.

In fact I'm having some new dresses made --
simple, quiet looking things, you know -- for the
express purpose of visiting the very poor in and
asking them questions about themselves.

Though I must admit that since helping the war
sufferers came into fashion friendly visiting has
rather gone out.


WE'VE been taking ;up Hedonism lately --
our Little Group of Modern Thinkers,
you know -- and it's wonderful, just

Though Mamma -- poor dear Mamma is so
hopelessly old fashioned; -- has entirely the
wrong idea about it.

"Hermione," she said to me the other evening,
after the little talk, "WHAT did the lecturer call

"He's a Hedonist," I said.

"Indeed!" she said, "and what sort of modern
impropriety is Hedonism? Is it something about
Sex, or is it something about Psychics?"

I simply couldn't speak.

I just gave her a look and walked out of the
room. It is absolutely useless to attempt to explain
anything to Mamma.

She is so Mid-Victorian!

And Mid-Victorianism has quite gone out, you
know. Really. The loveliest man gave us a talk
on the Mid-Victorian recently, and when he was
done there wasn't a one of us that didn't go and
hide our Tennysons and Ruskins.

Although I always WILL like "Come into the Garden, Maud."

But he did it with such HUMOR, you know. Isn't
a sense of humor a perfectly WONDERFUL thing?

A sense of humor is a sense of proportion, you
know -- he brought that out so cleverly, the
anti-Mid-Victorian man did.

Though so many people who have a sense of
humor are so -- so, well so QUEER about it, if you
get what I mean. That is, if you know they have
one, of course you're naturally watching for them
to say humorous things; and they're forever saying
the sort of things that puzzle you, because you have
never heard those things before in just that way,
and if you DO laugh they're so apt to act as if you
were laughing in the WRONG place!

And one doesn't dare NOT to laugh, does one?
It's really quite unfair and unkind sometimes!
Don't you think so?

We took up a volume on The Analysis of Humor
one winter -- our Little Group of Serious Thinkers,
you know -- and read it completely through, and
before the winter was over it got so there wasn't
a one of us that dared NOT to laugh at anything
any other one said and -- well, it got rather ghastly
before spring. Because even if someone wanted to
know if a person needed an umbrella someone else
would laugh.

Well, I must be going now. I have a committee
meeting at three this afternoon. We're going in
for this one-day Women's Strike, you know -- our
little group is.


FOR my acquaintance with Voke Easeley -- --

(Hermione's reporter, and not Hermione
herself, is speaking now.) -- --

For my acquaintance with Voke Easeley and his
new art, I am indebted to Fothergil Finch.

Fothergil is a kind of genius hound. He scurries
sleuthing around the town ever on the scent of
something queer and caviar. He is well trained and
never kills what he catches himself; he takes it to
Hermione; and after Hermione has tired of it I
am at liberty to do what I please with it.

The most remarkable thing about Voke Easeley
at a casual glance is his Adam's apple. It is not
only the largest Adam's apple I have ever seen, and
the hardest looking one, and the most active one,
but it is also the most intelligent looking one. Voke
Easeley's face expresses very little. His eyes are
small and full and green. His mouth, while large,
misses significance. His nose, indeed, is big; but
it is mild; it is a tame nose; one feels no more
character in it than in a false nose. His chin
and forehead retreat ingloriously from the battle
of life.

But all the personality which his eyes should
show, all the force which should dwell in his
nose, all the temperamental qualities that should
reveal themselves in his mouth and chin, all the
genius which should illumine his brow -- these dwell
within his Adam's apple. The man has run entirely
to that feature; his moods, his emotions, his
thoughts, his passions, his appetites, his beliefs, his
doubts, his hopes, his fears, his resolves, his
despairs, his defeats, his exaltations -- all, all make
themselves known subtly in the eccentric motions
of that unusual Adam's apple.

When I saw him first in action I did not at once
get it. He stood stiffly erect in the center of
Hermione's drawing-room, surrounded by the serious
thinkers, with his head thrown back and his Adam's
apple thrust forward, and gave vent to a series of
strange noises. Beside him stood a very slender
lady, all dressed in apple green, with a long green
wand in her hand, and on the end of the wand
was an artificial apple blossom. This she waved
jerkily in front of Voke Easeley's eyes, and his
Adam's apple moved as the wand moved, and from
his mouth came the wild sounds in response to it.

Soon I realized that she was conducting him as
if he were an orchestra.

But still I did not get it. For it was not words,
it was nothing so articulate as speech, that Voke
Easeley uttered. Nor was it, to my ear, song. And
yet, as I listened, I began to see that a wild rhythm
pervaded the utterance; the Adam;'s apple leapt,
danced, swung round, twinkled, bounded, slid and
leapt again in time with a certain rough barbaric
measure; the sounds themselves were all discords,
but discords with a purpose; discords that took each
other by the hand and kicked and stamped their
brutal way together toward some objective point.

I led Fothergil into a corner.

"What is it?" I whispered. It is always well, at
one of Hermione's soul fights, to get your cue
before the conversation officially starts. If you don't
know what is going to be talked about before the
talk starts the chances are that you never will know
from the talk itself.

"A New Art!" said Fothergil. And then he led
me into the hall and explained.

What Gertrude Stein has done for prose, what
the wilder vers libre bards are doing for poetry,
what cubists and futurists are doing for painting
and sculpture, that Voke Easeley is doing for
vocal music.

"He is painting sound portraits with his larynx
now," said Fothergil. "And the beautiful part of
it is that he is absolutely tone deaf! He doesn't
know a thing about music. He tried for years to
learn and couldn't. The only way he knows when
you strike a chord on the piano is because he doesn't
like chords near as well as he does discords. He
has gone right back to the dog, the wolf, the cave
man, the tiger, the bear, the wind, the rock slide,
the thunder and the earthquake for his language.
He interprets life in the terms of natural sounds,
which are discords nearly always; but he has added
brains to them and made them all the moods of
the human soul!"

"And the lady in green?"

"That is his wife -- he can do nothing without
her. There is the most complete psychic accord
between them. It is beautiful! Beautiful!"

When we returned the lady in green was

"The next selection is a Voke Easeley impression
of the Soul of Wagner gazing at the sunrise from
the peak of the Jungfrau."

The wand waved; the Adam's Apple leapt, and
they were off. What followed cannot be indicated
typographically. But if a cat were a sawmill, and
a dog were a gigantic cart full of tin cans bouncing
through a stone-paved street, and that dog and
that cat hated each other and were telling each
other so, it would sound much like it.

It was well received. Except by Ravenswood Wimble.
He always has to have his little critical fling.

"The peak of the Jungfrau!" he grumbled.
"Jungfrau indeed! It was Mont Blanc! It was very
wonderfully and subtly Mont Blanc! But the
Jungfrau -- never!"

"Hermione," I said, "what do you think of the
New Art?"

"It's wonderful!" she breathed, "just simply
wonderful! So esoteric, and yet so simple! But
there is one thing I am going to speak to Mrs. Voke
Easely about -- one improvement I am going to
suggest. His ears, you know -- don't you think they
are too large? Or too red, at least, for their size?
They catch the eye too much -- they take away from
the effect. Before he sings here again I will have
Mrs. Easeley bob them off a little."


AREN'T you just crazy about the Moral Uplift?

It's coming into every department of life
now and one just simply HAS to keep up with it in
order to talk intelligently these days.

Not that one can talk too freely about it in mixed
company, you know.

There are getting to be the awfullest lot of moral
subjects that one can't talk about generally, aren't

Eugenics and sex hygiene and all these plays and
books with a moral purpose, you know.

Of course lots of people DO talk about them
generally. I did myself for quite a while. And then
another girl and I got some books and studied up
what the things we had been talking of really were
and it shocked us horribly!

Mamma has been trying to get me to give up the
moral uplift entirely, but you've just simply GOT to
talk it or be out of date.

Of course the whole thing depends upon whether
you are a serious thinker -- if you're sincere, REALLY
sincere, you can take up anything and get good out of it.

The loveliest man talked to us last night -- to our
Little Group of Advanced Thinkers, you know.

He said the curse of the age and the country was
superficiality. People aren't thorough, you know.

I've noticed that myself and I agree with him.
If one is going to take things up and show a serious
interest in them one must not limit one's self to a
few phases.

One must be broad. One must be thorough.
One must cover the whole field of thought.

Our little group this winter has been trying to
do that. So far we've take up Bergson, socialism,
psychology, Rabindranath Tagore, the meaning of
welfare work, culinary science, the new movements
in art -- and ever so many more things I can't re-
member now.

For the rest of Lent we're going to take up the
Cosmic Consciousness.

One of the girls thought it would be a nice sort
of thing to take up during Lent -- a quiet kind of
thing, you know; not like feminism or chemistry.

Have you seen any of the new parti-colored boots

Isn't it an absurd idea?

And yet, you know -- if it made for Beauty!

That is what one must always say to one's self
must one not? I mean: Does it make for Beauty?

That's the reason I left the Suffrage Party, you
know. They wanted me to wear one of those hor-
rid yellow sashes. And my complexion can't stand
yellow. So I quit the Suffrage Party right there.


WE'RE taking up astrology quiet seriously --
our Little Group of Serious Thinkers, you
know -- and we've hired the loveliest lady
astrologer to cast our horoscopes and give
us a talk and get us started right.

She wrote a letter to me--the most perfectly
fascinating letter -- and I told her to call, and we
looked her over. She wore a beautiful sky-blue
gown with gold stars on it -- one of those Greek
ones, you know, like poor, dear Isadora Duncan
wore -- and a gold star in the middle of her

It makes her look like a unicorn, that star,"
Ravenswood Wimble said. But then nobody ever
pleases Ravenswood Wimble completely. He is
so -- if you get me.

"If a unicorn, then a celestial unicorn," Fothy
Finch said. Fothy is too dear for anything; he is
always hunting for the good in people, like Apollo,
or Euripides -- which was it? -- when they gave him
the basket full of wheat and chaff, and he separated
them. Or maybe it was Diogenes.

She has six sisters, and they are all astrologers,
and they call them the Pleiades.

Although Voke Easeley, in his horrid slangy way,
said: "Pleiades? She's a Bear!"

Don't you just utterly loathe slang?

Bit I was going to tell you about the lovely letter
she wrote -- that's what attracted me to her at the

"Have you never asked yourself," it began
"'Why was I born?'"

Fancy knowing that about one! If there is one
question I have asked myself thousands and
thousands of times it is, "Why was I born?"

And then the letter went on to talk about
horoscopes and the Inevitable.

"We may not overcome the inevitable," it said,
"but it is ours to see that the Inevitable does not
overcome us."

Oh, the Inevitable! The Inevitable!

How often I have thought of the Inevitable with

And it has never occurred to me before that one
could take it and use it as one pleased. But it seems
one can if one knows about it beforehand. It is
like Destiny that way. If one is ignorant of one's
Destiny, it comes upon one with a surprise. But
if one knows beforehand what one's Destiny is to
be, one can make onself the master of it. That is
where the horoscope comes in handy, you know.

After dipping into Astrology I will never again
be afraid of the Inevitable.

As the Letter says: "Every woman with her
horoscope before her, and her Soul back of her,
should be able to solve any problem and meet any
situation that may occur in her life."

Ravenswood Wimble wanted to know, when he
met the lady -- did I tell you that her professional
name is Isis? -- what would happen if her Soul was
before her and her horoscope back of her. But Isis
just simply froze him with a look.

Don't you think that levity is horrid in the midst
of vital affairs like that?

But I suppose every little group has someone in
it that thinks he or she has to be quippy and
facetious at times.

Not but what I have a sense of humor myself.

I think a sense of humor is the saving grace, if
you get what I mean.

But no one should try to use it unless he is
perfectly sure that everyone understands he is being

We are going to take up the sense of humor --
our Little Group of Thinkers, you know -- in a
serious way soon.

But the Swami doesn't like Isis. Poor, dear
Swami! She is a charlatan, he says. And she
doesn't like him. "My dear," she said to me, "are
you SURE he really goes into the Silences? Or does
he just PRETEND to?"

Isn't it awful about geniuses that way -- how jealous
they ARE of each other? Especially psychics!
We had two mediums the same evening a year or
two ago who actually quarreled over which one of
them a certain spirit control belonged to.


DON'T you just love the simple old festivals,
like Thanksgiving Day and Christmas?

That's is one thing that Papa and Mamma
and I agree about. And this year we had a very
simple sort of Thanksgiving Day.

Of course, it's rather a bore if you have to invite
a lot of relations.

But one must always sacrifice something to gain
the worth-while things, mustn't one?

And what is more worth while than simplicity?

Simplicity! Simplicity! Isn't it truly WONDERFUL!

Nearly every night before I go to bed I ask myself:
"have I been simple and genuine today? Or have

Papa always has two maiden aunts to Thanks-
giving dinner. Dear old souls, I suppose, but
frumps, you know.

And Fothergil Finch was there, too. I asked
poor dear Fothy, because otherwise he would have
had to eat in some restaurant.

I tried to be agreeable to Papa's aunts -- of
course. I suppose they are my great-aunts, but I
never felt REALLY related to them -- but how could he
know how terribly unadvanced they are?

Fothy's only real interests center about Art, you
know. And if he had talked of Art it would have
been better.

But, as he told me later, he thought he should
try to meet my people on their own ground and
talk of something practical.

Something with a direct bearing on life, you know.

So he asked Aunt Evelyn what she thought of
Trial Marriages.

She didn't know exactly what he meant at first,
but Aunt Fanny whispered something to her and
she turned white and said, "Mercy!"

Poor dear Fothy saw he must be on the wrong
track, so he changed the subject and began to tell
Aunt Fanny the plot of a new problem play. One
of the sex ones, you know.

"Heavens," said Aunt Fanny, and began to tremble.

And they drew their chairs nearer together and
each one took a bottle of smelling salts out of a
little black bag, and they sat and trembled and
smelled their salts and stared at him perfectly

This embarrassed Fothy, but he though his mistake
had been in talking about anything artistic,
like a play, so he changed the subject again. He
told me afterward that he felt if he could get onto
a really PRACTICAL subject all would go well.

So he asked Aunt Evelyn what she thought about Genetics.

"What are they?" asked Aunt Evelyn, her teeth chattering.

"Why, Eugenics," said Fothy. And then he had
to explain all about Eugenics.

They sat perfectly still and stared at him, and he
felt sure he had them interested at last, and he
talked on and on about Eugenics and the Future
Race, you know, and that led him back to Trial
Marriages, and then he go onto the Twilight Sleep.

And, as he said himself afterward, what could
be more practical?

But, you know, commonplace people never
appreciate the efforts that serious thinkers make for
them, and Aunt Evelyn refused to come to the
table at all when dinner was announced. She said
she had lost her appetite and felt faint.

But Aunt Emmy came. She asked the blessing.
Papa always has her do that on Thanksgiving Day
and Christmas and New Year's. And she made a
regular prayer out of it -- prayed for Fothy, you
know, right before him; and prayed for me too. It
was awful.

And afterward poor dear Fothy said he wished
he had talked about Art.

"It's safe," I said; "then people can't get
offended, for nobody knows what you mean at all."

"Oh," said Fothy, "nobody does?" And he went
away quite melancholy and injured.


WE were talking about famous love affairs
the other evening, and Fothergil Finch
said he was thinking of writing a ballad
about Citronella and Stegomyia.

And, of course, everybody pretended they knew
who Citronella and Stegomyia were. Mrs. Voke
Easeley -- You've heard about Voke Easeley and his
New Art, Haven't you? -- Mrs. Voke Easeley said:

"But don't you think those old Italian love affairs
have been done to death?"

"Italian?" said Fothy, raising his eyebrows at
Mrs. Voke Easeley.

You know, really, there wasn't a one of them
knew who Citronella and Stegomyia were; but they
were all pretending, and they saw Mrs. Voke Easeley
was in bad. And she saw it, too, and tried to
save herself.

"Of course," she said, "Citronella and Stegomyia
weren't Italian lovers THEMSELVES. But so many of
the old Italian poets have written about them that
I always think of them as glowing stars in that
wonderful, wonderful galaxy of Italian romance!"

Fothy can be very mean when he wants to. So he said:

"I don't read Italian, Mrs. Easeley. I have been
forced to get all my information about Citronella
and Stegomyia from English writers. Maybe you
would be good enough to tell me what Italian poet
it is who has turned out the most recent version of
Citronella and Stegomyia?"

Mrs. Voke Easeley answered without a moment's
hesitation: "Why, D'Annunzio, of course."

That made everybody waver again. And Aurelia
Dart said -- she's that girl with the beautiful arms,
you know, who plays the harp and always has a
man or two to carry it about wherever she goes --
somebody else's husband, if she can manage it --
Aurelia said:

"D'Annunzio, of course! Passages of it have
been set to music."

"Won't you play some of it?" asked Fothy, very

"It has never been arranged for the harp," said
Aurelia. "But if Mrs. Easely can remember some
of the lines, and will be good enough to repeat them,
I will improvise for it."

That put it up to Mrs. Easeley again, you know.
She hates Aurelia, and Aurelia knows it. Voke
Easeley carried Aurelia's harp around almost all
last winter. And the only way Mrs. Easeley could
break Voke of it was to bring their little girl along
the one that has convulsions so easily, you know.
And then when Voke was getting Aurelia's harp
ready for her the little girl would have a convulsion,
and Mrs. Easeley would turn her over to Voke,
and Voke would have to take the little girl home,
and Mrs. Easeley would stay and say what a family
man and what a devoted husband Voke was, for an

Well, Mrs. Easeley wasn't stumped at all. She
got up and repeated something. I took up Italian
poetry one winter, and we made a special study of
D'Annunzio; but I didn't remember what Mrs.
Easeley recited. But Aurelia harped to it.
Improvising is one of the best things she does.

And everybody said how lovely it was and how
much soul there was in it, and, "Poor Stegomyia!
Poor Citronella!"

The Swami said it reminded him of some passages
in Tagore that hadn't been translated into
English yet.

Voke Easeley said: "The plaint of Citronella is
full of a passion of dream that only the Italian
poets have found the language for."

Fothy winked at me and I made an excuse and
slipped into the library and looked them up -- and,
well, would you believe it! -- they weren't lovers at
all! And I might have known it from the first, for
I always use citronella for mosquitoes in the country.

They were still pretending when I got back, all
of them, and Aurelia was saying: "Citronella differs
psychologically from Juliet -- she is more like
poor, dear Francesca in her feeling of the cosmic
inevitability of tragedy. But stegomyia had a strain
of Hamlet in him."

"Yes, a strain of Hamlet," said Voke Easeley.
"A strain of Hamlet in his nature, Aurelia -- and
more than a strain of Tristram!"

"It is a thing that Maeterlinck should have written,
in his earlier manner," said Mrs. Voke Easeley.

"The story has its Irish counterpart, too," said
Leila Brown, who rather specializes, you know, on
all those lovely Lady Gregory things. "I have always
wondered why Yeats or Synge hasn't used it."

"The essential story is older than Ireland," said
the Swami. "It is older than Buddha. There are
three versions of it in Sanskrit, and the young men
sing it to this day in Benares."

Affectation! Affectation! Oh, how I abhor

It was perfectly HORRID of Fothy just the same.

ANYONE might have been fooled.

I might have been myself, if I were not too
intellectually honest, and Fothy hadn't tipped me
the wink.



Perchance last night you felt the world careen,
Leap in its orbit like a punished pup
Which hath a hornet on his burning bean?
Last night, last night -- historic yestere'en! --
Hermione's Salon was opened up!


Without, the night was cold. But Thought, within,
Roared through the rooms as red and hot as Sin.
Without, the night was calm; within, the surge
And snap of Thought kept up a crackling din
As if in sport the well-known Cosmic Urge
with Psychic Slapsticks whacked the dome and Shin
Of Swami, Serious Thinker, Ghost and Goat.
From soup to nuts, from Nut to Super Freak,
From clams to coffee, all the Clans were there.
The groggy Soul Mate groping for its Twin,
The burgling free verse Blear, the Hobo Pote,

Clairvoyant, Cubist bug and Burlapped Greek,
Souse Socialists and queens with bright green hair,
Ginks leading barbered Art Dogs trimmed and Sleek,
The Greenwich Stable Dwellers, Mule and Mare,
Pal Anarchs, tamed and wrapped in evening duds,
Philosophers who go wherever suds
Flow free, musicians hunting after eats,
And sandaled dames who hang from either ear
Strange lumps -- "art jools" -- the size of pickled beets,
Writers that write not, hunting Atmosphere,
Painters and sculptors that ne'er paint nor sculp,
Reformers taking notes on Brainstorm Slum,
Cave Men in Windsor Ties, all gauche and glum,
With strong iron jaws that crush their food to Pulp,
And bright Boy Cynics playing paradox,
And th' inevitable She that knitteth Belgian socks --
A score of little groups ! -- all bees that hum
About the futile blooms of Piffledom.


A wan Erotic Rotter told me that
The World could not be Saved except through Sin;
A she eugenist, sexless, flabby, fat,
With burst veins winding through unhealthy skin,
With loose, uncertain lips preached Purity;
A Preacher blasphemed just to show he dared;
A dame praised Unconventionality
In words her secretary had prepared;
A bare-legg'd painter garbed in Leopard hide
Quarreled with a Chinese lyre and scared the dogs;
A slithering Dancer slunk from side to side
In weird, ungodly, Oriental togs;
A pale, anemic, frail Divinity
Confided that she thought the great Blond Beast
Himself was Art's own true Affinity;
An Anarch gloomed; "The Mummy at the Feast
Gets all the pleasure from the festive board!"
I know not what they meant; I only wunk
Within myself, and praised the great god Bunk.
A Yogi sought the Silences and snored.


But 'twas Hermione that Got the Hand!
Ah, yes, she talked! Of Purpose, and of Soul,
And how Life's parts are equal to its Whole.
And Thought -- and do the Masses Understand?
She lightly touched on Life and Love and Death,
And Cosmic Consciousness, and on Unrest,
Substance and Shadow, Solid Things and Breath,
The New Art movements her sweet voice caressed,
Philanthropy, Genetics, Social Duty,
The Mother-Teacher claimed a passing smile,
And she made clear we all must worship Beauty
And Concentrate on Things that are Worth While.
"Each night," she said, "each night ere I retire
Into the Depths I peer, and I inquire,
"Have I today some Worth-while Summit scaled?
Or have I failed to climb? Oh, have I failed?
These little talks between the Self and Soul --
Oh, don't you think? -- still help us toward the Goal;
They help us shape the Universal Laws
In sweet accordance with our glorious Cause!"
"Hermione," said I, "they do! They do!"
"Thank you," said she, "I KNEW you'd understand!"
I said to her, the while I pressed her hand,
"All, all, my interest I owe to you!"

And then I left, and following my feet
Soon found that they had led me to the street.


And there I found a burly Garbage Man
Who through bleak winter nights from can to can
Goes on his ashy way, sans rest or pause,
Goes on his way, still faithful to his Cause.

"Tell me," said I, "if now across the verge
Of night should come the kindly Cosmic Urge,
Strong-armed and virile, full of vim and help,
And offer you with thee here cans to help,
Would you accept the Cosmic Urge's aid,
Or would you rise up free and unafraid
And say, 'My restless Personality
Bids me return a negative to thee!'"

"Old scout," says he, "I've never really brought
My intellects to bear on that there though!
I gets no help, I asks no help from none --
But I have noticed, bo, that one by one,
And soon or late, and gradual, day by day,
Most things in life eventual comes my way!
Into the Ashes Can the whole world goes,
Old hats, old papers, toys and styles and clo'es,
Eventual they dump "em down the bay!"


Symbolic Garbage Man! Sans rest or pause,
In steadfast faith work for thy Sacred Cause!
Some time, perhaps, all piles of twisted bunk,
All half-baked faddists, heaps of mental junk,
Unto the waiting Scow we'll cart away
Eventual to dump 'em down the bay!


THE Loveliest man gave us a talk the other
evening -- our Little Group of Serious
Thinkers, you know -- on the Art of the

And what do you think it is to be? You'd never
guess! Never!

The entertainment of the future will be a
Perfume concert!

Every scent, if you get what I mean, corresponds
to some color, and ever color corresponds to some
sound, and every sound corresponds to some

And the truly esthetic person -- the one who is
Sensitized, if you get what I mean -- will hear a
tone on the violin, and see a color, and think
passionately of the One he Loves, all at the same
time, just through smelling a Rose.

Only, of course, it must be the RIGHT KIND of a rose.

Papa -- poor der Papa is so coarse and crude
sometimes in his attempts to be witty -- Papa says it
would be a fine idea to lead the man who talked to
us into a boiled cabbage foundry and then watch
him die of the noise. Papa is not Sensitized; he
doesn't understand that the esthete really WOULD die --
Papa resists the vibrations of the esthetic environment
with which I have striven to surround him,
if you get what I mean.

Oh, to be Sensitized! To be Sensitized! To vibrate
like a reed in the wind! To thrill like a petal
in the sun!

I'm having a study of my aura made. You
know, one's soul gives off certain colors, and if
one's individuality is to be in tune with the Cosmic
All, one must take care that the colors about out
do not jar with one's own Psychic Hue.

And after one has found one's soul color, one can
find the scent to match that color, if you get what I

I am going to have the house re-decorated, with
a sweet subtle blending of perfumes in every room!

I have always been good at matching things,
anyhow -- I perceive affinities at a glance. Psychic
people do.

When I was quite a small child Mamma always
used to take me with her to the shops if there were
ribbons or anything like that to be matched.

I just loved it, even as a baby! And I think
it is the greatest fun yet.

Often I go through half a dozen shops, not because
I want to buy anything, but just to match colors,
you know. It gives me a thrill that nothing else does.

Some of us are like that -- some of us truly Sensitized
Souls -- we function, I mean, quite without
being able to stop it -- I hope you follow me. Isn't
it wonderful to be in touch with the Universe in
that way! Not, of course, that the shop girls who
show you the fabrics and things are always understanding.

The working classes are so often ungrateful to
us advanced thinkers. Sometimes I am almost provoked
to the point of giving up my Social Betterment work
when I think HOW ungrateful they are.
But some of us, in every age, must suffer at the
hands of the masses for the sake of the masses, if
you know what I mean.


IT is not enough to be merely unworldly.

One must be OTHER-WORLDLY as well, if you
get what I mean.

For what does all Modern Thought amount
to if it does not minister to the Beautiful and the

Isn't Materialism simply FRIGHTFUL?

For the undisciplined mind, I mean. Of course,
the right sort of mind will get good even out of
Materialism, and the wrong sort will get harm out
of it.

Every time before I take up anything new I ask
myself, "Is it OTHER-worldly? Or is it not OTHER-Worldly?''

We were going to take up Malthusianism and
Mendelism -- our Little Group of Serious Thinkers,
you know -- and give a whole evening to them, but
one of the girls said, "Oh let's NOT take them up.
They sound frightfully chemical, somehow!"

I said, "The question, my dear, is not whether
they are chemical or un-chemical. The question is,
Are they worldly? Or are they OTHER-Worldly?"

That is the Touchstone. One can apply it to
everything, simply EVERYTHING!"

Should teachers be mothers, for instance -- that
question came up for discussion the other evening.
And I settled the whole matter at once, with one
question: "Is it worldly? Or is it OTHER-worldly
for Teachers to be Mothers? Or is it merely Un-Worldly?"

Have you seen the latest models? Some of them
are wonderful, simply WONDERFUL! You know I
always dress to my temperament -- and I'm having
the loveliest gown made -- the skirt is ecru lace, you
know; a double tiered effect, falling from a straight
bodice, and the color scheme is silver and blue.


MAMA is unadvanced enough, goodness

But poor, dear Papa!

"Papa," I said to him the other day, " all conservatives
worth listening to were radicals in their
youth." The loveliest man told us that the other
night -- our Little Group of Serious Thinkers, you
know -- and it struck me as being profound.

And isn't profundity fascinating?

But Papa only glowered and said, "Umph!"

Papa, you know, is an obstructionist.

"Papa," I said to him, "what is stubbornness in
you has become will power in me. You will never
dominate me -- NEVER! You should study heredity;
it's wonderful, simply WONDERFUL!

Papa scowled and said, "Umph!"

But you know, Parents are Doomed.

Our little group listened to a talk the other evening
about Parents. Mothers, particularly.

"The menace of the Mother," it was called. I
always make note of titles.

This man said -- he was a regular savant -- I wish
you could have heard him -- my, if I weren't such
an advanced thinker, I would be a savant ----

Anyhow, he said, this savant, that Mothers held
back Civilization through Selfishness -- they teach
the Child, you know, that is -- er, well, you know,
they lose sight of Ulterior Ethics and Race Morality
while inculcating Individual Self-Improvement.

It's frightful to think about, isn't it? Simply FRIGHTFUL!

Then and there I resolved that if I were ever a Mother
I would turn over the up-bringing of my children to experts
and savants and specialists like that.

"Papa," I said, "you allowed poor, dear Mamma
to make me selfish -- you know you did! What
have you to say for yourself? What right had you
to make me a Self-Indulgent Individualist?

And, you know, I have struggled and struggled
to get rid of the selfishness my parents trained into
me. How I strive for Harmony and Humility!
Nearly every night before I go to bed I say to my-
self: "Have I been HUMBLE today? Truly humble?
Or have I FAILED?"

Children are not nearly SIMPLE enough these days.

Oh, for more Simplicity! That is what we all need.

Though I will say this for Mamma -- that it
would have been hard to train Simplicity into me
even if she had known how.

I had such a high-strung, sensitive, nervous organism
as a child, you know.

At a very early age my temperament began to show.

And one CANNOT hide one's temperament.

Especially if one is at all psychic, and I am, VERY.

But if I ever have Children -- well, I will take no
chances with them.

To begin with, I will Select their Father.

Mamma said, when I told her that: "Hermione,
you are HORRID!"

Poor dear Mamma! She's SO stupid! "Mamma,"
I said to her, of course I DON'T mean free love.
I'm not that advanced, I hope! Though some VERY
Nice People have written of it -- it's quite respectable,
as a theory. But you're hopelessly old-fashioned.
I WILL select the parent of my Off-spring;
YOU were selected."

Mamma only groaned and said: "Anything but
a Cave-man, Hermione."

But I am not sure. It comes back to me again
and again how Primitive I am in some ways.

And to wander barefoot in the dew!

Not really quite barefoot, of course -- but with
some of the new sandals on.


BERTIE GRIGGS -- you know Ethelbert
Griggs, don't you? He does the text for
the Paris fashions for a woman's magazine,
and on the side he writes the most impassioned
verse. All about Serpents and Woman, and Lillith
and Phryne, you know.

Bertie said to me only the other day, "Fothy, you
are too Radical. It will keep you down in the

"Bertie," I said, "I know I am, but can I help
it? I spurn the world! A truly virile poet must."

"Some day, Fothy," he said, "you will come into
contact with the law."

I only laughed. Bitterly, I suppose, for Bertie
looked at me quite shocked.

"Bertie," I said, "I expect persecution. I welcome
it. All great souls do. I look for it. On
one pretext or another, I will be flung into prison
when my next volume, "Clamor, Cries and Curses'
comes out."

And I will, too, if I ever find a publisher who
dares to bring it out. But they are all too cowardly!

"Fothy," he said, "you Revolutionists are always
talking -- but what do you ever do?

I arose with dignity. "Bertie," I said, "I am
ready to suffer for the Cause." I turned and left
him. I must have been pale with resolve, for he
ran after me and caught me by the wrist. But I
shook him off.

I was in a desperate mood.

"Curses upon all their Conventions!" I said, as I
turned up the street toward Central Park. "Curses
upon all organized society!"

I stopped in front of Columbus's statue, at
Columbus Circle.

"Fool," I muttered bitterly, "to discover a new

I shook my fist at the statue and went on.

I wandered over to the place where they keep
the animals, and stopped in front of one of the
monkey cages.

Dear, unconventional little beasts! They always
charm my blacker moods away from me! So free,
so untrammeled, so primitive!

I smiled at a monkey. He smiled at me. I held
up a peanut. He reached out his hand for it.

I was about to fling it to him when I saw a sign
that read:

"Visitors are warned not to feed the animals
under the penalty of the law."

Always their laws! Always their restrictions!
Always their damnable shackles! Always this
denial of the rights of the individual!

For a moment I stood there with the peanut in
my hand just simply too angry for anything!

And then I cried out, quite loudly: "Curses upon
organized society! I will break its laws! I will
feed the animals!"

Always in times of great crisis I see myself quite
plainly as if I were some other person; poets often
do, you know; and I could not help thinking of the
pose of Ajax defying the lightning.

"I WILL break the law!" I cried. "So there!"

And with that I flung the peanut right into the
cage with all my might, and ran away, laughing
mockingly as I ran.

I felt that I had crossed the Rubicon, and that
night I sat down and wrote my revolutionary poem,
"The Defiance."

What the Cause needs is men with Vision to see
and Courage to perform! This is the age of Virility!


WE'VE been taking up the Exotic this week
in poetry and painting, you know, and
all that sort of thing -- and its influence
on our civilization.

Really, it's wonderful -- simply WONDERFUL! Quite
different from the Erotic, you know, and from the
Esoteric, too -- though they'll all mixed up with it

Odd, isn't it, how all these new movements seem
to be connected with one another?

One of the chief differences between the Exotic in
art and other things -- such as the Esoteric, for
instance -- is that nearly everything Exotic seems to
have crept into our art from abroad.

Don't you think some of those foreign ideas are
apt to be -- well, dangerous? That is, to the
untrained mind?

You can carry them too far, you know -- and if
you do they work into your subconsciousness.

One of the girls -- she belongs to the same Little
Group of Advanced Thinkers that I do -- has been so
taken with the Exotic that she wears orchids all the
time and just simply CRAVES Chinese food. "My
love," she said to me only yesterday, "I feel that I
must have chop suey or I'll DIE! The Exotic has
worked into her subliminal being, you know.

She has an intense and passionate nature, and
I'm sure I don't know what would become of her
if it were not for the spiritual discipline she gets
out of modern thought.

Next week we're taking up Syndicalism -- it's
frightfully interesting, they say, and awfully

I suppose it's a new kind of philosophy or socialism,
or maybe anarchy -- or something like that.
[Most of these new things that come along nowadays
ARE something like that, aren't they.

I'm sure the world owes a debt to its advanced
thinking which it can never repay for always
keeping abreast of topics like that.

Not that I've lost my interest in any of the older
forms of sociology, you know, just because I am
keeping up with the newer phases of it.

Only yesterday I rode about town in the car and
had the chauffeur stop a while every place where
they were shoveling snow.

The nicest man was with me -- he is connected
with a settlement, and has given his life to sociology
and all that sort of thing.

"Just think," I said to him, "how much real practical
sociology we have right here before us -- all
these men shoveling snow -- and how little they realize,
most of them, that their work is taking them
into sociology at all."

He didn't say anything, but he seemed impressed.

And I'm not sure the unemployed should be grateful
to the serious thinkers for the careful study we
give them. Don't you think so?


I went to a Soul Fight at Hermione's

And nothing normal can describe it . . .

It was beyond rhyme, reason, rum, rhubarb or rhythm . . .

Therefore, Vers Libre Muse, help me!

Imagist outcast with the bleary eyes,

My psychic Pup, my polyrhythmic hound, lift up
Your voice and help me howl!

Tenth Muse, doggerel muse, slink hither, brute,

And lick your master's hand . . . I've need of
Thee . . .

Come catercornered on three legs with doubtful tail
And eager eyes . . .

Tomorrow I may bash you in the ribald ribs again

And publicly disown you;

But oh! Today I've need of thee . . .

Winged mongrel, mutt divine, come here and help
Me bay the piebald moon!

It was a Soul Fight at Hermione's . . .

A fat Terpsichore with polished toes . . . a barefoot she Soul

With ten Achaian toes . . . and each toe had a separate soul, she said . . .

Was there . . . not only there, but IT.

She sat upon a couch and lectured . . . not with words,

But with her toes, her eloquent, her temperamental toes . . .

Her topes that had trod (so she said) the paths of beauty

Since Hector was a pup at Troy . . .

She sat upon a couch . . . bards, swamis and Hermione,

Gilt souls and purple, melomaniacs, yellow souls
And blue,

Souse socialists and other cognac-scented cognoscenti,

Post-cubist chicles that would ne'er jell into gum . . .

All, all the little groups from all the brainstorm Slums . . .

Why specify? . . . we know our little groups!
. . . where there . . .

Were there to worship at those feet . . . to vibrate
and change color with the moods of those unusual feet. . . .

"This toe," she said, "is Beauty . . . this is Art . . .

This toe is Italy, and this is Greece." . . .

A poet, quite beside himself with inspiration,

Suddenly arose and cried:
"This little pig went to market,
This little pig stayed home
This little pig was Greece,
This little pig was Rome!"

But they chilled him . . . he went Into the Silences . . .

And Terpischore resumed:

"My ten toes are: Beauty, Art, Italy, Greece,
Life, Music, Psyche, Color, Motion, Liberty!
Put yourself into a receptive attitude now, and
Beauty will speak to you!"
And while a satellite ran rosy fingers down a lute,
she moved the toe named Beauty to and fro . . .

A hush fell on the assembled nuts, as Beauty moved . . .
As Beauty spoke to them . . .
"I see," murmured Hermione to Fothergil Finch,
"I see,
As that toe moves . . . the Isles of Greece . . .
And Aphrodite rising
From the Acropolis." . . . "You mean," said Fothergil, "from the Aegean!"
"It is all one," said Hermione, "the point is that
I see her rising!"

Then Color spoke to them . . .
"As that toe moves," said Ravenswood Wimble, "I
see the heavens
Turned into one vast Kaleidoscope . . . all the stars
and moons
Dance through my soul like flakes of colored glass!"
Then waved the toe called Life, and as with one
accord each of the company
Leapt gasping to his or her feet, as the case might be,
And cried: "I feel! I feel! I feel! I feel the Cosmic Urge!"

Then moved the toe called Italy,
And Fothergil Finch remarked: "Roses . . .
roses . . . roses . . .
Onions and roses . . . roses are onions, and onions pigs . . .
And pigs are beautiful" . . .
And then the serious thinkers cried as one:
"Ah! Pigs are Beautiful!"
"Ah, Italy; oh, Italy!" cried Fothy Finch,
"Oh, never cease to move . . . Italy . . .
garlic . . . Venice . . .
Oh, bind my brows with garlic, lovely land, and
turn me loose!"
And as the toe called Italy still moved
The little groups made it into a chant, and sang:
"Oh, bind my brows with garlic, love, and turn me loose!"

* * *

"Hermione," I asked her afterward,
"Did you really see and feel anything when those
educated toes wiggled?"
"How can you ask?" she said, very up-stagey.
"Hermione," I said, "we are old enough friends by
this time, so we can deal frankly with one
another. Tell me on the square . . . did you
get it?"
"You are blaspheming at the shrink of Art!" she said.
"Hermione! You are dodging!"
"Did you notice," she said irrelevantly, "the nail
polish she was using?
"It's QUITE the latest thing! For finger nails, too,
you know. That delicate rose pink, with just
the touch of creaminess in it! It's the creamy
tint that's new, you know. Isn't it simply


Do you know, Kultur isn't the same thing at
all as culture . . . FANCY!

When we took it up -- Kultur, I mean yes, --

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