Hermione and Her Little Group of Serious Thinkers
Don Marquis

Part 3 out of 3

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

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?


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

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

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

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?

(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

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

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

"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,

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-

"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. . . ."


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

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?


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

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

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

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,

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.


(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

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

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.


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

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-

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.


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

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?


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

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

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.


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

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?"


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,

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

"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 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. . . .
Dear man, how you always do!"


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

I was indignant. "Mamma," I said, "what right
have you to say they would discuss that all the

"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.


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

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

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

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

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.


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

"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

"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

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!


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

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?


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

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!


I'M thinking of taking up politics in a practical

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

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?


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.



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!



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.
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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".

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of reading on screen.

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

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


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