Hermione and Her Little Group of Serious Thinkers by Don Marquis

Typed in WordPerfect V7 for Windows 95. Converted to ASCII DOS delimited text by WP7. Original WP version is available if desired. email: Jim@halcyon.com JimEnnes@aol.com Jim_Ennes_Jr@juno.com HERMIONE AND HER LITTLE GROUP OF SERIOUS THINKERS BY DON MARQUIS CONTENTS PROEM Introducing Some of Hermione’s Friends Sincerity in the Home Vibrations Aren’t the Russians Wonderful? How Suffering
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Typed in WordPerfect V7 for Windows 95. Converted to ASCII DOS delimited text by WP7. Original WP version is available if desired. email: Jim@halcyon.com




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 watchwords.

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 traditions.

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 Vibrations.

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?

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 Orientalism.

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 one?

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. It is FRIGHTFUL!

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 all.

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; simply 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 families.

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

And then one of the girls asked him if he was tattooed!

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! Philistine,
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 everything!
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 said:

“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, perhaps.

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 being.

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 know.

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, too.

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 failed?”

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 will.”

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 think?

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 smile.

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

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 things.

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 dressing-gown.

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, poppies!
Silver poppies,
Silver poppies in the moonlight,
Poppies poppies, crimson poppies in the sunset, Love!
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 green!

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 millionaire,

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 wonderful!

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 counts.

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 know.

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?