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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.

HERMIONE TAKES UP LITERATURE

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 think?

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 other!”

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 goes:

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 went:

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?

THE WORLD IS GETTING BETTER

DR. JAGADES CHUNDER BOSE says that
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 slogan.

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

WAR AND ART

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?

A SPIRITUAL DIALOGUE

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.”

WILL THE BEST PEOPLE
RECEIVE THE SUPERMAN SOCIALLY?

WE’VE been taking up Metabolism lately — our Little Group of Serious Thinkers, you know — and it’s wonderful; just simply
WONDERFUL!

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 mean.

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 times.

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!

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 acquaintances.

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!

THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL

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 know.

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.

MAMA IS SO MID-VICTORIAN

WE’VE been taking ;up Hedonism lately — our Little Group of Modern Thinkers,
you know — and it’s wonderful, just simply WONDERFUL!

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 himself?”

“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.

VOKE EASELEY AND HIS NEW ART

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 announcing:

“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.”

HERMIONE ON SUPERFICIALITY

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 there?

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 yet?

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.

ISIS, THE ASTROLOGIST

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 forehead.

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 first.

“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 despair!

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 humorous.

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.

THE SIMPLE HOME FESTIVALS

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 I FAILED?

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 fascinated.

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.

CITRONELLA AND STEGOMYIA

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 politely.

“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 artist.

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 affectation!

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.

HERMIONE’S SALON OPENS

I

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!

II

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.

III

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.

IV

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.

V

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!”

VI

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 PERFUME CONCERT

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

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 emotion.

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 mean.

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.

ON BEING OTHER-WORLDLY

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 Spiritual?

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.

PARENTS AND THEIR INFLUENCE

MAMA is unadvanced enough, goodness
knows.

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.

FOTHERGIL FINCH TELLS OF HIS REVOLT
AGAINST ORGANIZED SOCIETY

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 world.”

“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 world”

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!

THE EXOTIC AND THE UNEMPLOYED

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 sometimes.

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 advanced.

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?

SOULS AND TOES

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 wonderful?”

KULTUR, AND THINGS

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

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