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we took it up in quite a serious way the other evening — our Little Group of Serious Thinkers, you know — and threshed it out thoroughly — we hadn’t the slightest idea that it would lead us straight to Nietzsche and — and, well, all those people like that, if you get what I mean. Though, of course, as the man who spoke to us — he was the LOVELIEST person! — spoke in German, we may have missed some of the finer shades.

Oh, yes, I had German in high school . . . really, I was quite proficient . . . although, of course, it’s such a GUTTURAL kind of language — don’t you think? — that one wonders how they EVER sing it. And then, the verbs! . . . but I had Latin verbs about the same time, you know . . . and really, isn’t it surprising how some of those foreign languages seem to RUN to verbs, if you get what I mean?

It seems it was the Germans who invented the Superman . . . and I suppose we must be grateful to them for that, no matter what they may have done with him after they invented him. . . .

I used to be quite taken with the Superman, you know. . . . Really, I didn’t recognize how dangerous he might become. . . .

I didn’t know he was German at all when we took him up. . . .

Have you read anything about the Blond Beast?

I felt rather attracted toward him for a long time myself . . . until lately. . . . But the attraction passed. . . . I’m not brunette, you know, at all. . . . Likely that’s why I lost interest in him. . . .

Aren’t affinities between people of different complexion simply WONDERFUL!

It makes me wonder if the Eugenists can be right after all!

Fothergil Finch says that’s where the Eugenists fall down. . . . He says they don’t take account of Affinities at all.

Sometimes one finds it very puzzling — doesn’t one? — the way these modern causes and movements seem to contradict one another!

But if one is in tune with the Cosmic All these little inconsistencies don’t matter.

The Cosmic All! . . . WHAT would we do without it?

How do you suppose people ever got along a generation or two ago before the Cosmos and all that sort of thing was discovered?

I’ve often thought about it . . . and of what life must have been like in those days! As Emerson . . . or WAS it Emerson? . . . says in one of his poems: “Better a year of Europe than a cycle of Cathay!”

That’s what Fothy Finch says he always feels about Brooklyn . . . though I WILL say this for Brooklyn — the first girl I saw with courage enough to wear one of those ankle watches on the street lived in Brooklyn.

But don’t you think Brooklyn people are rather LIKE that . . . go to the latest things in dress, you know, in an EXTREME sort of way, so that people won’t suspect they live in Brooklyn?

THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS

ISN’T the Christmas festival just simply WONDERFUL?

For days beforehand I feel so uplifted — so well, OTHER-WORLDLY — if you know what I mean.

Isn’t it just dreadful that any MATERIAL considerations have to spoil such a sacred time?

It does seem to me that somehow we might free ourselves of WORLDLINESS and GREEDINESS and just rise to the spiritual significance of the day. If only we could!

And what a blessing it would be to the poor, tired shop girls if we could!

Though, of course, they, the shop girls, I mean, must be upheld even in their weariest moments by the thought that they are helping on the beautiful impulse of giving!

When they reflect that every article they sell is to be a gift from one thoughtful and loving heart to another they must forget the mere fatigue of the flesh and just feel the stimulus, the inspiration, the vibration!

There are gifts, I admit, that haven’t the divine spark of love to hallow them, but after all there aren’t so many of that sort. Love one another is the spirit of Christmas — and it prevails, whatever the skeptics say to the contrary. And though it’s a pity there has to be a MATERIAL side to Christmas at all, it’s so comforting, so ennobling to realize that back of the material gifts is Brotherly Love.

It quite reassures one about the state of the world; it certainly isn’t getting worse with Brotherly Love and the Spirit of Giving animating everybody.

Of course, Christmas giving IS a problem sometimes. It is SO embarrassing when somebody you’d forgotten entirely sends you a present.

I always buy several extra things just for that emergency. Then, when an unexpected gift arrives, I can rush off a return gift so promptly that nobody’d ever DREAM I hadn’t meant to send it all along.

And I always buy things I’d like to have myself, so that if they aren’t needed for unexpected people they’re still not wasted.

With all my spirituality, I have a practical side, you see.

All well BALANCED natures have both the spiritual and the practical side. It’s so essential, nowadays, to be well balanced, and it’s a great relief to me to find I CAN be practical. It saves me a lot of trouble, too, especially about this problem of Christmas giving.

I know the value of material things, for instance. And I never waste money giving more expensive presents to my friends than I receive from them. That’s one of the advantages of having a well balanced nature, a PRACTICAL side.

And, anyway, the value of a gift is not in the COST of it. Quite cheap things, when they represent true thought and affection, are above rubies.

Mamma and Papa are going to get me a pearl necklace, just to circle the throat, but beautifully matched pearl. I wouldn’t care for an
ostentatiously long string of pearls anyway.

Poor, dear Papa says he really can’t afford it — with times so hard, and those dear, pathetic Europeans on everybody’s hands, you know — but Mamma made him understand how necessary BEAUTY is to me, and he finally gave in.

Isn’t it just WONDERFUL how love rules us all at Christmas time?

POOR DEAR MAMA AND FOTHERGIL FINCH
(Hermione’s Boswell Loquitur)

HERMIONE’S mother, who has figured so often as “Poor dear Mama” in these
pages, has come out definitely for Suffrage.

Someone told her that there was an alliance between the liquor interests and the anti-Suffagists and she believed it, and it shocked her.

Since the activities of her daughter have brought her into contact with Modern Though her life has been chiefly passed in one or another of three phases: She has been shocked, she is being shocked, or she fears that she is about to be shocked.

She is nearing fifty and rather stout, though her figure is still not bad. She has an abundance of chestnut hair, all her own, and naturally wave; her hands are pretty, her feet are pretty, her face is pretty. Her mouth is very small, almost disproportionately so, and her eyes are very large and blue and very wide open. She was intended for a placed
woman, but Hermione and Modern Thought have made complete placidity impossible. She has a fondness for rich brocades and pretty fans are chocolate candy and big bowls of roses and comfortable chairs. When she was Hermione’s age
she used to do water color sketches; the outlines were penciled in by her drawing teacher, and she washed on the color very smoothly and neatly; but she heard a great many stories concerning the dissolute lives that artists lead and she gave it up. Nevertheless, she sometimes says: “Hermione comes by her interest in Art quite naturally.”

Fothergil Finch and I called recently. Hermione was not in, and her mother suggested that we wait for her. Hermione’s mother looks upon all of Hermione’s friends with more or less suspicion, and she would not permit Fothergil in particular to be about the place for a moment if she were not obliged to; but she does not have the requisite stern- ness of character to resist her daughter. Fothergil, knowing that he is not approved of, scarcely does himself justice when Hermione’s mother is present; although he endeavors to avoid offending her.

“Have you seen the play, ‘Young America’?” asked Fothergil, searching for a safe topic of conversation.

A little ripple of alarm immediately ruffled the lakeblue innocence of her eyes.

“If it is a Problem Play, I have not,” she said, “I consider such things dangerous.”

“But it isn’t, you know,” said Fothergil eagerly. It’s a — a — it’s a perfectly NICE play. It’s about a dog!”

“About a dog!” Her eyebrows went up, and her mouth rounded itself with the conviction that no perfectly nice play could possibly be about a dog. “I think that is dreadfully Coarse!” she said.

“But it isn’t,” protested Fothergil. “It’s just the SORT of thing you’d like.”

“Indeed!” She felt slightly insulted at his assumption of what she would like, and dismissed
the subject with a wave of her pretty hand. Fothergil tried again.

“I hope,” he said ingratiatingly, “that you haven’t been bothered by mosquitoes.” She looked a bit frightened, but said nothing, and he dashed on determinedly. “You know, this is a new variety of mosquitoes we’ve been having this year. Most of them have stripes on their legs, you know, but these have black legs this year. But maybe you haven’t noticed — — “

He stopped in midcareer. The preposterous idea that she could be interested in examining the legs of mosquitoes had too evidently outraged Hermione’s mother. Fothergil, flushed and embarrassed, tried to make it better and made it worse.

“Maybe you haven’t noticed their — er — limbs,” said Fothergil.

“I have not,” she murmured.

Fothergil desperately persevered.

“We don’t see so much as we used to of — of — — ” (I am sure he didn’t know he was going to finish the sentence when he began it, but he plunged ahead) — “of the Queen Anne style of architecture.”

With visible relief, and yet with a lurking suspicion, she assented. And Fothergil, feeling himself on safe ground at last, went on:

“Don’t you think she was one of the most interesting queens in English history — Queen Anne? Do you remember the anecdote — — ?

But she checked him, frightened again:

“I do not wish to hear it, Mr. Finch,” she said.

“But,” said Fothergil, “She was a most unexceptional Queen — not like, er — not like — well, Cleopatra, you know, or any of those bad ones.”

Hermione’s mother was silent, but it was apparent that she feared the talk was about to veer toward Cleopatra.

“When I was a girl,” she said, “the lives of queens were considered rather dangerous reading for young women. You need not go into details, please.”

I couldn’t stand it any more myself. “If you’ll just tell Hermione I called,” I said, edging toward the door. Fothergil, however, stuck it out. In the frenzy of embarrassment he must have lost his head completely. For as I left I heard him be- ginning:

“Did you read the story in the papers today of the man who killed his wife? Crimes of passion are becoming more and more frequent. . . .”

PRISON REFORM AND POISE

AREN’T you just crazy about prison reform?

The most wonderful man talked to us — to our Little Group of Advanced Thinkers, you know — about it the other evening.

It made me feel that I’d be willing to do anything, simply ANYTHING! — to help those poor, unfortunate convicts. Collect money, you know, or give talks, or read books about them, or make any other sacrifice.

Even get them jobs. One ought to help them to start over again, you know.

Though as for hiring one of them myself, or rather getting Papa to — well, really, you know, one must draw the line somewhere!

But it’s a perfectly fascinating subject to take up, prison reform is.

It gives one such a sense of brotherhood — and of service — it’s so broadening, don’t you think? — taking up things like that?

And one must be broad. I ask myself every night before I go to bed: “Have I been BROAD today? Or have I failed?”

Though, of course, one can be TOO broad, don’t you think?

What I mean is, one must not be so broad that one loses one’s poise in the midst of things.

Poise! That is what this age needs!

I suppose you’ve heard wide-brimmed hats are coming in again?

AN EXAMPLE OF PSYCHIC POWER

HAVE you thought deeply concerning the Persistence of Personal Identity?

We took it up the other evening — our little group, you know — in quite a thorough way — devoted an entire evening to it.

You see, there’s a theory that after Evolution has evolved just as far as it possibly can, everything will go to smash, but then Evolution will start all over again. And everything that has happened be- fore will happen again.

Only the question is whether the people to whom it is happening again will know whether they are the same people to whom it has happened before.

That’s where the question of Persistence of Personal Identity comes in. FRIGHTFULLY
fascinating, isn’t it?

For my part I’d just as soon not be reincarnated as to be reincarnated and not know anything about it, wouldn’t you?

Of course, one’s Subliminal Consciousness might know about it, and give one intimations.

I’ve had intimations like that myself — really!

I’m dreadfully psychic, you know.

Sometimes I quite startle people with my psychic power.

Fothergil Finch was here the other evening — you know fothergil Finch, the poet, don’t you? — and I astounded him utterly by reading his inmost thoughts.

He had just finished reading one of his poems — a vers libre poem, you know; all about Strength and Virility, and that sort of thing. Fothergil is just simply fascinated by Strength and Virility, though you never would think it to look at him — he is so — so — well, if you get what I mean you’d think to look at him that he’d be writing about violets instead of cave men.

“Fothy,” I said, when he had finished reading the poem, “I know what you are thinking — what you are feeling!”

“What?” he said.

“You’re thinking,” I said, ‘how WONDERFUL a thing is the Cosmic Urge!”

Thoughts come to me just like that — leap to me — right out of nowhere, so to speak.

Fothy was staggered; he actually turned pale; for a minute or two he could scarcely speak. There had been scarcely a WORD about Cosmic Urge in the poem, you know; he’d hardly mentioned it.

“It is wonderful,” he said, when we got over the shock; “wonderful to be understood!” And you know, really — poor dear! — so many people don’t understand Fothy at all. Nor what he writes, either.

But the strangest thing was — I wish I could make you understand how positively EERIE it makes me feel — that just the instant before he said, “It is wonderful to be understood!” I knew he was going to say it. I got that psychically, too!

“Fothy,” I said, “It is absolutely WEIRD — I eavesdropped on your brain the second time!”

“Wonderful!” he said, “but the still more wonderful thing would be — — “

And before he could finish the sentence it happened the THIRD time! I interrupted and finished it for him.

“The still more wonderful thing would be,” I said, “if it were NOT so.”

“Heavens!” he cried, “this is getting positively ghostly.”

And you know, it almost was. Not that I’m superstitious at all, you know, in the vulgar way. But in the dim room — I always have just candlelight in the drawing-room — it fits in with my more reflective moods, somehow — I believe one must suit one’s environment to one’s mood, don’t you? — in the dim room, all those thoughts flying back and forty between my brain and his gave me a positively creepy feeling. And Fothy was so shaken I had to give him a drink of Papa’s Scotch before he went out into the night.

SOME BEAUTIFUL THOUGHTS

(Fothergil Finch, the Vers Libre Bard)

OH, the Beautiful Mud! I always leave it on my boots. It is sacred to me. Because in it are the souls of lilies!

The Hog should be a sacred beast. Hogs are Beautiful! They are close to the Mire! Oh, to be a Swine!

What is more eloquent than a Sneeze? The Sneeze is the protest of the Free Spirit against the Smug Citizen who never exposes himself to a cold. Oh, Beautiful Sneezes! Oh, to make my life one loud explosive Sneeze in the face of Conventionality!

What is so free, so untrammeled, so ungyved, so unconventional, as an Influenza Germ? From throat to throat it floats, full of the spirit of true democratic brotherhood, making the masses equal with the classes, careless, winged ungyved! Oh, the Beautiful Germ! Oh, to be an Influenza Germ!

What is so naive as a Hiccough! Oh, to be ingenuous, unspoiled, beautiful, barbaric! Oh, the
hiccoughs, the beautiful hiccoughs, the hiccoughs of Art uttered against the hurricane of time.

Bugs are Beautiful! Oh, the beautiful, sleek slithery bugs. Oh, to be a water-bug of poesy skipping across the flood of oblivion! Oh, to be a Bug!

I went down to the waterfront where they sell fish and there I saw a fisherman who had caught a Dogfish, and he cursed, but I said to him, “Do not curse the Dogfish! The Dogfish is Symbolical! The Dogfish is beautiful! Beautiful!”

Oh, the lovely Garbage Scows! I went down the bay, and there I saw them dump the Garbage Scows! I said to the man who sailed my boat: “What does the Garbage Scow MEAN to you?” He was a
Philistine; he was Bourgeois; he was Smug; he was Conventional, and he said: “A Garbage Scow means a Garbage Scow to me!” But I said to him: “You are Academic; you are Conservative! Garbage Scows are lovely Symbols! Oh, my Argosies of Dream! Oh, my beautiful Garbage Scows! Some day even the Philistines of Benighted America will see the Spiritual Significance of the Lovely Garbage Scow!”

I found a Glue Factory, a Free Untrammeled Glue Factory! I was expressing itself. It was asserting its individuality. It was saying to the Blind Complacent Pillars of Polite Society: “My aroma is not your aroma, but my aroma is my own!” Oh, the Courageous Glue Factory, the Free, Unfettered Glue Factory! A thousand Glue Factories, from Main to Oregon, are thus rebuking Class Prejudice and Bourgeois Smugness. Like
Poets, like Prophets of the New Art, they stand, Glue Factory after Glue Factory, expressing their Egos, Being Themselves, undaunted, unshackled, strong, independent, virile! Oh, to be the Poet of the Super Glue Factory!

With violets in my hands I wandered to the wilds, and there I met a Buzzard. He was Being Himself! I wove a wreath of the violets and I crowned the Buzzard, and the Buzzard said, “Why do you crown me?” And I said, “Oh, Lovely Buzzard, are you not Being Yourself? Are you not
rebuking the Trivial Conventionalities of our Organized Society? I know your Dream, O Buzzard!
Accept this Crown of Violets from our little group!”

Come with me to the zoo, and I will bare our Souls to the Hyena, and the Hyena will commune with us, and we will know the meaning of Life! Oh, the lovely Hyena.

THE BOURGEOIS ELEMENT AND BACKGROUND

ISN’T it simply wonderful about D’Annunzio enlisting as a common soldier and digging trenches along with the Due D’Abruzzi and those other Italian poets? Or was it D’Abruzzi? Anyhow, it was one of those poets that were always talking about the Superman.

Although, I must say, one doesn’t hear so much about the Superman these days, does one? The Superman is going out, you know.

One of my friends — she’s quite an advanced thinker, too, and belongs to our little group — told me a year or so ago, “Hermione, I will NEVER marry until I find a Superman!”

“Of course, that is all right, my dear,” I said to her, “but how about Genetics?”

Because, you know, the slogan of our little group — that is, one of the slogans — is “Genetics or Spinsterhood!”

It made her quite angry for some reason. She pursed her lips up and acted shocked.

“It is all very well, Hermione,” she said, “to discuss Genetics in the ABSTRACT. But to connect the discussion with the marriage of a FRIEND is not, to my mind, the proper thing at all!”

Did you ever hear of anything more utterly in- consistent?

Oh, Consistency! Consistency! Isn’t Consist- ency perfectly wonderful!

But that is always the way when it comes to a discussion of Sex. The Bourgeois Element are NEVER Fundamental and Thorough in their
treatment of Sex, if you know what I mean.

And, as Fothergil Finch says, in this country we are NEARLY all Bourgeois.

We have not had enough Background for one thing.

If all the little groups the country over would take up the matter of Background in a serious way, something might be done about it, don’t you think?

We must organize — we who are the intellectual leaders, you know — and start an effective propaganda for the purpose of obtaining more Background.

TAKING UP THE LIQUOR PROBLEM

WE’RE thinking of taking up the Liquor problem — our little group, you know, — in quite a serious way.

The Working Classes would be so much better off without liquor. And we who are the leaders in thought should set them an example.

So a number of us have decided to set our faces very sternly against drinking in public.

Of course, a cocktail or two and an occasional stinger, is something no one can well avoid taking, if one is dining out or having supper after the theater with one’s own particular crowd.

But all the members of my own particular little group have entered into a solemn agreement not to take even so much as a cocktail or a glass of wine if any of the working classes happen to be about where they can see us and become corrupted by our example.

The Best People owe those sacrifices to the Masses, don’t you think?

Of course, the waiters, and people like that, really belong to the working classes too, I suppose.

But, as Fothergil Finch says, very often one wouldn’t know it. And who could expect a waiter to be influenced one way or another by anything? And it’s the home life of the working classes that counts, anyhow.

When we took up Sociology — we gave several evenings to Sociological Discussion, you know, besides doing a lot of practical Welfare Work — it was impressed upon me very strongly that if one is to do anything at all for the Masses one must first SWEETEN their Home Life.

Though Papa made me stop poking around into the horrid places where they live for fear I might catch some dreadful disease.

And the people we visited weren’t all that grateful. So VERY OFTEN the Masses are not.

One dreadful woman, you know, claimed that she couldn’t keep her rooms — she had two rooms, and she cooked and washed and slept and sewed in them and there were five in the family — claimed that she couldn’t keep her rooms in any better shape because they were so out of repair and the plumbing was bad and the windows leaked and all that sort of thing, you know, and one of the rooms was ENTIRELY dark.

I preached the doctrine of fresh air and sunshine and cleanliness to her, you know, and the imprudent thing told me Papa owned the building and it wasn’t true at all — Papa only belonged to the company that owned the building. One can’t do much for people who will not be truthful with one, can one?

Besides, it is the Silent Influence that counts more than arguments and visiting.

If one makes one’s life what it should be Good will Radiate.

Vibrations from one’s Ego will permeate all classes of society.

And that is the way we intend to make ourselves felt with regard to the Liquor Problem. We will inculcate abstemiousness by example.

Abstemiousness, Fothy Finch says, should be our motto, rather than Abstinence. We shall be QUITE careful not to identify ourselves with the MORE VULGAR aspects of the propaganda.

And of course at social functions in our private homes total abstinence is quite out of the question.

The working classes wouldn’t get any example from our homes, anyone; for of course we never come into contact with them there.

But the working classes must be saved from themselves, even if all the employers of labor have to write out a list of just what they eat and drink and make them buy only those things. They simply MUST be saved.

Not that they’ll appreciate it. They never do. If I were not an incorrigible idealist I would be inclined to give them up.

But someone must give up his life to leading them onward and upward. And who is there to do it if not we leaders of Modern Thought?

THE JAPANESE ARE WONDERFUL,
IF YOU GET WHAT I MEAN

DON’T you just dote on the Japanese?

They’re so esoteric — and subtle and all that sort of thing, aren’t they?

Just look at Buddhism and Shintoism, for instance. Could anything be more subtle and esoteric?

We’ve been taking them up — our Little Group of Serious Thinkers, you know — and they’ve wonderful, simply WONDERFUL!

Not, of course, that one would BE a Buddhist or a Shintoist — but it’s broadening to the mind, don’t you think, to come in contact with the great thought of — of — well, really of people like Shinto, you know, and those other sages?

And how wonderfully artistic they are — the Japanese!

The new parasols are quite Japanese, you know. Haven’t you seen them?

I have three, for different costumes. One is covered with embroidered Japanese crepe, and an- other with martine silk.

But the one, I think that express ME the most accurately — the one that represents my individuality, REALLY — is made with gold spokes covered with black Chantilly lace. Japanese shape, you know, and French workmanship.

And one must strive to represent one’s self if one is to be honest.

One must put one’s soul into one’s environment.

Although Environment isn’t what it used to be. You don’t hear Environment spoken of nearly as often as you did.

Environment is going out.

But besides being so esoteric and exotic and artistic, and all that sort of things, the Japanese are wonderfully up to date, too.

Do you know, they actually have a battleship named The Tango!

Have you thought deeply of Interstellar Communication?

It promises to be one of the great new problems.

The loveliest man talked to us about it the other evening. “Interstellar Communication in Its Relation to Recent Psychic Hypotheses” — that’s the title; I wrote it down. I always take notes of a title like that. It helps one to get to the heart of the matter.

Interstellar Communication is wonderful — simply WONDERFUL!

We’re going to take up Mars soon.

Mamma said to me only yesterday: “Hermione, you SIMPLY MUST drop some of your serious subjects during the hot weather.”

“Mamma,” I told her, “that was all very well in your day — to take things up and drop them at will. But people didn’t have a Social Conscience in those times. We advanced thinkers owe a duty to the race. We must grapple with things. We are not content to frivol, I WILL take up Mars!”

And, you know, I don’t have the temperament to remain idle. My mind MUST be active. Sometimes when I think how active my mind is, I wonder my forehead isn’t wrinkled.

And of course that would be a loss — anything is a loss that destroys Beauty.

For, after all, Beauty is what the world needs more than anything else. It’s a serious thought — how far Use should be sacrificed to Beauty, and Beauty to Use, isn’t it?

You know that’s why I can’t join the suffragists. I am one, of course, but the suffragist yellow is such a HORRID color I simply CANNOT wear it.

SHE REFUSES TO GIVE UP THE COSMOS

WE’VE taken up Gertrude Stein — our Little Group of Serious Thinkers, you know —
and she’s wonderful; simply WONDERFUL.

She Suggests the Inexpressible, you know.

Of course, she is a Pioneer. And with all Pioneers — don’t you think — the Reach is greater than the Grasp.

Not that you can tell what she means.

But in the New Art, one doesn’t have to mean things, does one? One strikes the chords, and the chords vibrate.

Aren’t Vibrations just too perfectly lovely for anything?

The loveliest man talked to us the other night about World Movements and Cosmic Vibrations.

You see, every time the Cosmos vibrates it means a new World Movement.

And the Souls that are in Tune with the Cosmos are benefitted by these World Movements. The other souls will get harm out of them.

Frightfully interesting, isn’t it? — the Cosmos, I mean.

I have given so much thought to it! It has be- come almost an obsession to me.

Only the other evening I was thinking about it. And without realizing that I spoke aloud I said, “I simply could NOT DO WITHOUT the Cosmos!”

Mamma — poor Mamma! — she is so terribly unadvanced you know! — Mama said: “Hermione, I do not know what the Cosmos is. But this I do know — not another Sex Discussion or East Indian Swami will ever come into THIS house!”

“Mamma,” I said to her, “I will NOT give up the Cosmos. It means everything to me; simply EVERYTHING!”

I am always firm with Mamma; it is kinder, in the long run, to be quite positive. But what I suffer at home from objections to the advanced movements nobody knows!

Nobody but the Leaders of Thought can dream what Martyrdom is!

Sacrifice! Sacrifice! That is the keynote of the Liberal Life!

Nearly every night before I go to bed I ask myself: “Have I shown the Sacrificial Spirit to day? Or have I FAILED?”

THE CAVE MAN

DON’T you think the primitive is just simply too fascinating for anything? We’ve all
got it in us, you know, and it seems like nowadays the more cultured and advanced one is the more likely the primitives is to break out on one.

I have a strong strain of the primitive in me, you know.

I wouldn’t take anything for it — it’s simply wonderful — wonderful!

It comes over me so strong at times, the yearning for the primitive does, that I just sit with a dreamy look on my face and murmur to myself: “ALONE, ALONE — UNDER THE STARS! ALONE!”

Mamma overheard me saying that the other day and thought I had gone crazy, and she said: “for Heaven’s sake, Hermione, what are you thinking about, and what do you want?”

“The stars,” I murmured, scarcely knowing that I spoke aloud, “the stars and my Cave Man!”

Mamma was shocked — she says for an unmarried woman to think of Cave Men is simply indelicate.

Mamma is not at all advanced, you know.

She’s dear and sweet, but she doesn’t believe in Trial Marriages at all.

And I must admit they shocked me when I first heard about them. But that was before I had taken up these things seriously.

“Mamma,” I said to her, “it is no use for you to pretend to be shocked. I have a right to happiness. And happiness to me means being alone, under the stars, and walking barefoot and bareheaded in the dew.”

“Alone with a Cave Man!” she said. And then she cried.

Tears! — that is so like the old-fashioned woman!

“Mamma,” I said, kindly, but firmly, “If it is my destiny to be kidnaped by a Cave Man and taken into the waste places, under the stars, can I avoid it?”

She said I could at least be respectable, and that I was acting like I WANTED to be kidnaped.

And, you know, at times I do feel as if that might be my fate, “really. I am so psychic, you know, and psychics feel their fate coming on quicker than most people.

I told Mamma that I felt every woman had a right to choose the father of her own children, and she was shocked again. And then she wanted to know what being kidnaped by a Cave Man had to do with choosing the father of one’s own children, and how did I know but these Cave Men
kidnaped a different woman every year?

But I settled her.

“Mamma,” I said, “you are NOT advanced, and so I cannot argue with you. You wouldn’t understand. But if I AM primitive — and I feel that I am — whose fault is it? Who did I inherit it from?”

She couldn’t say anything to that. She didn’t like to own that I inherited it from her. And she knew if she blamed it onto Papa I would ask her how she DARED to deny me a primitive man when she had married one herself.

Finally she quit crying and said, pressing her lips together: “Hermione, do you KNOW any of those Cave Men?”

But I refused to answer. I went to my room.

Dissension disturb’s the soul’s harmony.

One’s subliminal consciousness must ever vibrate in harmony with the Cosmic All.

I never fuss when a person disturbs me. I just go into the Silences and vibrate there.

But I kept thinking: “DO I know any Cave Men?”

I Think I do — one. He tries to conceal it. But it’s his secret. I’m sure.

He has the most luminous eyes!

Like a wolf’s, you know, when it gallops across the waste places — under the stars, alone!

And the way he eats! I don’t mean that he’s noisy, you know. But the way he crunched a chicken bone the last time he dined with me was perfectly WONDERFUL — so nonchalant, you know, and loudly and — and — well, primitive! I’m SURE he’s one!

I wouldn’t go autoing with him for anything — unless, of course, he gave me one of those compelling glances, like Cave Men do in the magazines, you know. Then I’d know it was destiny and useless to resist.

THE LITTLE GROUP GIVES A PAGAN MASQUE

The Little Group gave a party
And all of the gods were there,
From Thor to Miss Susan Astarte
With doo-daddles gemming her hair,

Bill Baldur and Jane Aphrodite,
Dick Vishnu and Benny O’Baal,
And Bacchus came on in a nightie
With little pink snakes in the tail;

Latin, Phoenician and Hindu
Norse and Egyptian and Chink. . . . Castor was watching his Twin do
Stunts, with a brotherly wink. . . .

Persephone swearing by Hades. . . .
A Norn and Sibylline Simp. . . .
A Momus, who showed up to the ladies The latest Olympian limp.

Was Hermione present? By Crikey!
(This Crikey’s a Whitechapel joss)

Our Hermy attended as Psyche —
She siked and she got it across

And Fothergil Finch, rather gaumy
With Cosmic cosmetics, was there, But the Swami went just as the Swami,
After oiling the kinks in his hair.

I said to Hermione: “Goddess!
You’re graceful, you’re Greek, you’re a rose, From the pinions that rise from your bodice To the raddle I note on your toes,

“And Fothergil, here, with his censer, And his little cheeks crimson as beets, Your acolyte, perfume-dispenser,
Is sweet as a page out of Keats,

“But tell me, my Dea — my Psyche! — (With your wings outspread as to race
With that swift and acephalous Nike Who lost her bean somewhere in Thrace) —

“My Thea — my classical pigeon! —
Is not your Sincerity shocked
By this giddy revue of religion? . . . Are none of these gods being mocked? . . .

“In the regions unknowable — Thea! — Where the noumenon chumbs with the Nous, Where the Idol gets hep to Idea,
And pythagoras ogles a Goose,

“In the heavens of Brahm and Osiris,
Are they peeved with this revel, I ask? . . . Does Pluto like this, where his fire is? . . . What in hell do they think of this masque? . . .

“Where the deities, avid of Is-ness,
Resurge from the Flivvers that Were, While the wild Chaotical Whizness
Gives place to a Cosmic Whir,

“Do they relish this josh of the josses? Do they lamp not the same with a grouch? Are you stinging these gloomy Big Bosses To a keener, immortaler ouch?”

Hermione murmured: “How eerie!
You are voicing my own Inner Mood! Ah me! but the world is less dreary
If one is but understood!

“And I thank you, I thank you, for rising To my personal point of view. . . .
I THANK you for SYMPATHIZING! . . . Dear man, how you always do!”

SYMPATHY

OF course we’re out of town for the summer — EVERYBODY’S out of town, now — but
I motor in once or twice a week to keep in touch with some of my committees.

Sociological work, for instance, keeps right up the year around.

Of course, it’s not so interesting in the winter. You see more striking contrasts in the winter, don’t you think?

A couple of girl cousins of mine from Cincinnati have been here. They’re interested in welfare work of all sorts.

“Hermione,” they said, “we want to see the bread line.”

“My dears,” I said, “I don’t mind showing it to you, but it’s nothing much to see in summer. It’s in the winter that it arouses one’s deepest sympathies.”

And one must keep one’s sympathies aroused. Often I say to myself at night: “Have I been sympathetic today, or have I FAILED?”

Mamma often lacks sympathy. She objects to having me reopen my Salon this winter.

“Hermione,” she said, “I don’t mind the subjects you take up — or the people you take up with — if you only take them up one at a time. And I am glad when your own little group meets here, be- cause it keeps you at home. But I will NOT have all the different kinds of freaks here at the SAME TIME, sitting around discussing free love and sex education.”

I was indignant. “Mamma,” I said, “what right have you to say they would discuss that all the time?”

“Because,” she said, “I have noticed that no matter whether they start with sociology or psychology, they always get around to Sex in the end.”

Isn’t it funny about pure-minded people? — in the generation before this anything that shocked a pure- minded person like Mamma was sure to be bad.

But now its only the evil-minded people who ever get shocked at all, it seems.

The really PUREST of the pure-minded people don’t get shocked by anything at all these days.

I think Mamma is either getting purer-minded all the time or is losing some of it — I can’t tell which — for she isn’t shocked as easily as she was a few months ago.

But I got a shock myself recently.

I found out that plants have Sex, you know.

Just think of it — carrots, onion, turnips, potatoes, and everything!

Isn’t it frightful to think that this agitation has spread to the vegetable kingdom?

I vowed I would never eat another potato as long as I lived!

And, after all, what GOOD does it do — letting the vegetable kingdom have Sex, I mean?

Even a good thing, you know, can be carried too far.

“Mamma,” I told her, “you are hopelessly behind the times. Sex is a Great Fact. Someone must discuss it. And who but the Leaders of Thought are worthy to?”

I intend to say nothing more about it now — but when the time comes I WILL reopen my Salon.

And as far as talking about Sex is concerned — the right sort of mind will get GOOD out of it, and the wrong sort will get HARM.

I don’t really LIKE discussions of Sex any more than Mamma does. No really nice girl does.

But we advanced thinkers owe a duty to the race.

Not that the race is grateful. Especially the lower classes.

It was only last week that I was endeavoring to introduce the cook to some advanced ideas — for her own good, you know, and because one owes a spiritual duty to one’s servants — and she got angry and gave notice.

The servant problem is frightful. It will have to be taken seriously.

BLOUSES, BURGARS AND BUTTERMILK

SOME of us — Our Little Group of Advanced Thinkers, you know — are going in for Bulgarian buttermilk.

It came in about the time the Bulgarian blouses did — there was a war over there somewhere, you know, before this big war, that made it fashionable.

But the blouses went out, and the buttermilk stayed in.

It seems there’s a Bulgarian by the name of Metchnikoff in Paris who sits down and designs these things — the buttermilk, you know, not the blouses.

Isn’t science wonderful — simply WONDERFUL!

We’re going to take up Metchnikoff in a serious way. You know what he aims to do is to lengthen life.

The question is: “Should life be lengthened? Or should it not?

The Leaders of Thought will have to thresh that out soon.

The question of old age is a subtle one, isn’t it?

And it’s very typical of our times, don’t you think, that we should discuss the problems of old age?

Other epochs have done it, of course, but not optimistically.

The question enters into everything — even millinery.

I’m having the loveliest hat adapted from a French model — to wear with my lingerie costumes, you know — a wide-brimmed black lace with a black velvet crown.

It’s only recently that young women could afford to wear black, even when it was becoming. When Mamma was young it was a sign that youth was past.

And nowadays, age doesn’t matter so much one way or another. A person is the age one FEELS, you know.

Have you thought deeply on Hypnagogic Illusions? We’re planning to take them up.

TWILIGHT SLEEP

HAVE you read anything about the Twilight Sleep yet? It’s wonderful; simply WONDERFUL!

The loveliest man told our little group all about it — just the other evening.

“Hermione,” said Mamma, “I will NOT have you taking up any more subjects of that Easy Indian character. No Swami shall ever enter this house again!”

“Mamma,” I said to her, “you are hopelessly unadvanced., It has nothing whatever to do with Going into the Silences or Swamis. It’s entirely scientific and not psychic at all. And if it were psychic, what then?”

“No Swami,” said Mamma, even more stubborn- ly, “shall ever darken my door again!”

Poor, dear, stupid Mamma! She gets things so mixed!

“As far as Swamis are concerned,” I told her, “the debt we owe to them in incalculable. Where, for instance, would we have ever heard of Karma if it had not been for the Swamis?”

She couldn’t answer; she just looked stubborn; unadvanced people always look stubborn and glare.

“Where,” I said, “did we get the Vedantas and Vegetarianism and Alternate Breathing from?”

She couldn’t say a word. She just pouted.

“Who taught us,” I said, “Transmigration of Souls and Vibrations?”

She broke down and cried.

“Hermione,” she said, “I simply HATE howdahs and cobras and swastikas and all those Oriental things!”

Mamma has no idea whatever of logic. She is a typical old-fashioned woman.

“Mamma,” I said, “cry as much as you like. You shall not disturb MY inner Harmony! I will not permit you to. And my mind is made up. I will take up the Twilight Sleep in a serious way!”

That settled it, too.

Have you noticed, there’s been just a hint of autumn in the air these last few days?

Have you seen the new styles for autumn? They are wonderful; simply WONDERFUL!

INTUITION

IN spite of all we’ve done for them — by we I mean the serious thinkers of the world — some people are so frightfully uncultured!

A girl asked me the other day — and the surprising thing about it, too, is that she belonged to our own Little Group of Advanced Thinkers — she asked me: “Hermione, don’t you just done on Rubaiyat’s poetry?”

For a moment I couldn’t think who she meant at all.

“He’s not an American, is he?” I said.

“Oh, no,” she said, “he’s some sort of an Oriental.”

“It isn’t Rubaiyat you’re thinking of, my dear,” I told her. It’s Rabindranath. Rabindranath Something-or-other, that new man — he’s wonderful, my dear, simply wonderful.”

And then she quoted some of it and — the idea is too absurd for anything, but what do you sup- pose it was?

Omar Khayyam — imagine!

And really, you know, it’s been years since anybody quoted Omar Khayyam; he’s QUITE gone out, you know!

Even the question whether he was moral doesn’t attract any attention any more. Although as far as that is concerned, the pure mind will get purity out of him and the impure mind will get impurity. Honi sit qui — what is the rest of it? Oh, you know — it’s Latin — what the Romans used to say about Caesar’s wife and her continual suspicions.

My, how a suspicious wife can handicap a man!

But, of course, as women get more and more advanced, and know about the lives men lead, they are finding out that the suspicions were justified.

Their intuitions told them so all the time.

I have a lot of intuition myself — the moment a man comes I judge him in spite of myself.

First impressions always last with me, too.

You know, I’m very psychic.

Sometimes I am almost frightened when I think of the things my intuition would tell me if I al- lowed it to roam at will, so to speak, among my friends and acquaintances.

But I restrain it. One must, you know. The loveliest man gave us such an interesting talk on self-restraint the other evening.

And now I always ask myself the last thing be- fore I go to bed at night: “Have I restrained my- self today? Or have I failed?”

There is no real culture without restraint, you know.

That’s where the English are so superior, don’t you think?

I met the loveliest Englishman the other evening. The moment I saw him I said to myself he was one of the aristocracy. Other people have noses like theirs, of course, but it is only the English aristocracy who can CARRY that kind of a nose.

And my intuition was correct — there are only five lives between him and a title, and one of those is a polo player and another is at the front.

Someone told me his family were paying him not to go home, but what they think the poor man would do if he were in England I don’t know, because they don’t duel there, you know. If they dueled there, of course, he might dispose of all five lives.

Don’t you think those old European families are so, so — well, so ROMANTIC somehow?

STIMULATING INFLUENCES

SCIENCE and philanthropy should go hand in hand — two hearts that beat as one, if you know what I mean, and all that sort of thing.

And they do, too. We were discussing it the other evening — our Little Group of Serious Thinkers, you know — and we decided that what philanthropy owes to science is made up by what science owes to philanthropy.

Isn’t it wonderful how things balance like that?

There’s the Twilight Sleep and the Mother- Teacher Idea, for instance.

Our little group are thinking of starting a propaganda to urge ALL Teachers to be Mothers.

And, of course, a lot of them might object — but along comes the Twilight Sleep and takes away all POSSIBLE objections.

And along comes Philanthropy to put the Twilight Sleep within the reach of all — at least, we hope it will — and we’re going to take the matter up with some of the Philanthropists right away.

Isn’t it just simply WONDERFUL how Modern Thought brings subjects like that together?

Of course, even Modern Thought couldn’t do it, unless the subjects belonged together, anyhow, could it? Unless they were — er — er — —

Well, you know, Affinities. Though I don’t care much for the word.

Affinities have quite gone out, you know. You don’t hear much about Affinities this autumn.

Nor Soul Mates, either, for that matter.

Though I always will say there’s an IDEA behind all the talk about them.

Isn’t it odd about things that way — how Ideas come and go, you know, and become quite old- fashioned, and yet all the time have a QUITE profound Idea back of them?

There’s Cubist and Futurist Art, for instance — one doesn’t hear nearly so much about them now, though everyone admitted there was an Idea behind them.

Of course, no one knew what the Idea MEANT.

But it was stimulating.

And why should an Idea have to MEAN anything if it is STIMULATING?

Stimulation! Stimulation! That is the secret of Modern Life!

One should be receptive to Stimulation — one should strive to Stimulate!

One owes it to the Masses to Stimulate! It is the DUTY of the leaders of Advanced Thought!

Nearly every night before I go to bed I ask myself, “Have I been a Stimulating Influence today? Or have I failed?”

Fothergil Finch says I Stimulate HIM!

Poor, dear man! — he’s becoming quite — quite — well, er — er — TOO encouraged, if you know what I mean.

Yes, that is the way with poets.

I doubt if ANY poet ever understood a purely Platonic Friendship.

I gave him a long, long look last evening and said, “Fothergil, CAN you keep on the Platonic Plane?”

He only said, “Alas! The Platonic Plane!”

I hope he can. I need him for my Salon.

I’m having the entire ground floor of the house done over for that, you know, and I may reopen it any time now!

POLITICS

I’M thinking of taking up politics in a practical way.

I’ve never been an active suffragist, you know, on account of that horrid yellow color on the banners and things.

But one must sacrifice Ideals of Beauty to Ideals of Usefulness, mustn’t one?

And politics is fascinating; simply FASCINATING!

Going about and organizing working girls, you know, and seeing Corrupt Bosses and enlisting them for Moral Causes, and making one’s self felt as a Force — could one make one’s self more Utile?

More spiritually Utile?

Utility! That is what our Leaders of Thought need to develop!

Nearly every night before I go to bed I say to myself: “Have I been Utile today? Or have I FAILED?”

Politics, practical politics, will be such an outlet for my personality, too.

And when I reopen my Salon I can make it count for the Cause, too.

We are going to give an evening soon — our Group of Advanced Thinkers, you know — to a serious and thorough study of political economy. They say it’s simply wonderful.

The loveliest woman talked to us the other evening. She’s a poet. When women have charge of
affairs, she said, Humanitarianism, Idealism and the Poetic Spirit will rule in public life.

Won’t that be lovely?

But we must be practical, and get the Bosses on our side. They are simply horrid people socially and ethically, you know. But there’s something frightfully fascinating about the idea of bearding them in their dens with petitions and things.

Though how the idea of abolishing men altogether will work out I don’t know.

Some of the leaders of the Cause seem to want it. I have no doubt that it could be done. Some plants and insects have only the female sex, you know. And maybe the human race will be that way one day.

Although, for my part, if they could only be reformed I’d favor retaining men.

There’s something about them so — so — well, so MASCULINE somehow, if you know what I mean.

But I must hurry — I have to do some shopping.

Clothes are a bore, aren’t they?

HERMIONE ON PSYCHICAL RESEARCH

SPIRITUALISM is becoming quite the thing, isn’t it?

Dear Sir Oliver Lodge has been proving some more things quite recently, you know. How anyone could doubt a man with such a lovely head and face I can’t imagine.

Spiritualism and Spiritism are quite different, you know. It has been a long time, really, since Spiritualism was taken seriously.

Except by superstitious people, of course.

But Spiritism has come to stay. It has nothing to do with superstition at all. It’s part of Advanced Thought — quite scientific, you know, while Spiritualism was just a fad.

And Spiritualism is somehow more — well, er — VULGAR if you get what I mean. The sort of people one cares to know well have dropped Spiritualism for Spiritism.

Though, of course, a ghost is a ghost, whether it is materialized by spiritualism or Spiritism.

I have been often told that I am naturally very clairvoyant — if I were developed I would make a splendid medium. Mediums have seen shapes hovering around my head, and once when I was at school I did some automatic writing.

It was the strangest, easiest thing! I had a pencil in my hand and without thinking of anything in particular at all I just scribbled away, and what I wrote was, “When in the course of human events it becomes necessary; When in the course of human events it becomes necessary,” over and over again.

I was quite startled, for the last thing I had been thinking of was an algebra examination, and not history at all. We had had our history examination days before.

I felt as if an unseen hand had reached out of the Silences and grasped mine!

Wasn’t it weird?

And I know who it was, too. A distant relative of Mamma’s on her father’s side, by marriage, was one of the men who signed the Constitution of the United States in Faneuil Hall, in Philadelphia, in 1776, and it was HIS spirit that was trying to de- liver his message through me!

And only last year I came across a very similar case. Only this was stranger than mine, if any- thing. For it happened on a typewriter — which proves that the veil between the two worlds must be very thin, doesn’t it, if the spirits are taking up modern inventions?

It happened to one of Papa’s stenographers. I had her up to the house to take notes for a report I was making to one of the sociological committees I was on then.

And she took the notes and put them into shape for me, but when she sent the report to me the back of one of the sheets was just full of one sentence written over and over again. She didn’t know she’d included that sheet, of course.

It was so curious I asked her about it.

She looked a little queer and said that when she wasn’t thinking of anything in particular, but just sitting before her typewriter and not working, she always wrote that sentence.

“It just comes into my head,” she said, “and I write it.”

“An occult force guides your fingers?” I asked.

“Yes, ma’am, that’s it,” she said.

Over and over and over again she had written, “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party.”

And here is the eerie part of it — it almost frightened me when I got it out of her! — her father had been some sort of politician; a district leader, or something like that. And he was dead, and she had had to go to work.

But he was trying to deliver a message through her!

Isn’t Psychical Research simply wonderful!

Not that I’d care to go in for any vulgar thing such as tin trumpets, you know, but — —

Well, there’s the Astral Body. That hasn’t been vulgarized at all, if you get what I mean. Really, the Best People have them.

ENVOY

HERMIONE, THE DEATHLESS

She will not die! — in Brainstorm Slum Fake, Nut and Freak Psychologist
Eternally shall buzz and hum,
And Spook and Swami keep their tryst with Thinkers in a Mental Mist.
You threaten her with Night and Sorrow? Out of the Silences, I wist,
More Little Groups will rise tomorrow!

The lips of Patter ne’er are dumb,
The Futile Mills shall grind their grist Of sand from now till Kingdom Come;
The Winds of Bunk are never whist. You scowl and shake an honest fist —
You threaten her with Night and Sorrow? Go slay one Pseudo-Scientist,
More Little Groups will rise tomorrow!

With Fudge to feed the Hungry Bum
She plays the Girl Philanthropist — Each pinchbeck, boy Millenium
She swings, a Bangle, at her wrist — Blithe Parrot and Pert Egoist,
You threaten her with Night and Sorrow? Hermiones will aye persist!
More Little Groups will rise tomorrow!

She, whom Prince Platitude has kissed, You threaten her with Night and Sorrow? Slay her by thousands, friend — but list: More Little Groups will rise tomorrow!

(I)

[END]

Table of typist’s changes:

Original Table of Contents was in large and small caps. Typist converted to upper and lower case.

p3 Original “Anaemic” has letters “ae” printed as a single letter. Changed to “anemic”

p31 “is comprised” changed to “it comprised”.

p37 “blase” with grave accent mark over “e” changed to “blase'” with single mark following the “e”.

p39 Accent mark removed from second “e” in “eugenie”.

p65 Circumflex removed from first “e” in “fete”.

p69 Dieresis removed from “e” in “stael”.

p70 Dieresis removed from second “o” in “cooperate”.

p75 Circumflex removed from first “e” in “fete”.

p106 Original “Anaemic” has letters “ae” printed as a single letter. Changed to “anemic”

p113 Acute accent mark removed from “e” in “ecru”.

p123 Grave accent mark removed from “e” in “winged”.

p126 “Aegean” with “AE” as a single combined capital letter] changed to “Aegean”.

p154 Circumflex removed from first “e” in “crepe”.

p156 “benefited” changed to “benefitted”

p163 “Phoenecian” with “oe” printed as a single combined letter changed to “phoenecian”.

p176 “Caesar” with “ae” printed as a single combined letter changed to “Caesar”.

p176 “duelled” changed to “dueled”.

Throughout, “m dashes” are converted to “space hyphen hyphen space”.

Single extra line spacing is provided between paragraphs for ease of reading on screen.

Chapter and book titles on every page of the original are omitted.

Italics are marked with HTML tags and

I changed these to CAPs for emphasis, and deleted the rest. [mh]