A HERMIT IN THE HIMALAYAS
neither In him nor in his wives. When two decent people, who
might have got on well enough with other persons, are yoked in
matrimony without understanding whether they are suited to each
other, the painful discover/ of their disparity usually brings out
what is worst in the characters of both. Free them, and they become
decent once more,
I have thought more than once about the reasons given by
Chaplin's first wife on behalf of her suit for divorce. He was a man
of strange moods, she complained, who wandered down to the
seashore and stayed there alone for hours; he was a silent man,
indulging in overmuch thought; he was a solitary who frequently
tramped away from society into the Galifornian hills.
They were married, but not mated. Men marry in haste for
women to repent at their leisure! Mrs. Chaplin, poor creature, was
too young in body and soul to understand that if Charles' genius was
to survive, he had to do these frowned-upon things, he had to practise
solitary self-communion. If divorce had not come, his work would
have suffered and Chaplin, like several other geniuses, would have
had to live on the memory of his past greatness, on his past reputation.
His withdrawn moods and his taciturn silences were the price
of his genius.
When the bond of matrimony becomes a heavy clanking prison
chain it is sometimes the hour to pack one's boxes and depart; at
other times the hour to learn the difficult yet divine lesson of personal
Genius walks into marriage at its own peril.
Thomas Burke, the novelist, once observed that, "Chaplin is
the loneliest, saddest man I ever knew."
Why? The reason is not far to seek. Charles Chaplin is an
unconscious spiritual hermit, a potential Yogi.
He should be up here in the mighty Himalayas with me! What
a wonderful time we would have in silent spiritual communion!
What beautiful moments watching the sun smite the peaks into
apricot yellow at day-fall! What unscreened, unphotographed
adventures, seeking and finally discovering -the true spiritual self!
But my reflections upon him must come to an end. And so, just as at
the end of his films, he shrugs his shoulders pathetically, twirks his
familiar cane, and shuffles off into solitude—a wistful lovable
oddity amongst the human species!
It strikes me, on further reflection of this delicate matter today,
that if I invite Mr. Chaplin to become a Yogi, the first thing