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Full text of "Hey rub-a-dub-dub; a book of the mystery and wonder and terror of life"

HEY RUB-A-DUB-DUB 

A BOOK OF THE MYSTERY AND 

WONDER AND TERROR 

OF LIFE 



BOOKS BY 
THEODORE DREISER 



SISTER CARRIE 

JENNIE GERHARDT 

THE FINANCIER 

THE TITAN 

THE GENIUS 

A TRAVELER AT FORTY 

A HOOSIER HOLIDAY 

PLAYS OF THE NATURAL AND 

SUPERNATURAL 
THE HAND OF THE POTTER 
FREE AND OTHER STORIES 
TWELVE MEN 



HEY RUB-A-DUB-DUB 

A BOOK OF THE MYSTERY AND 

WONDER AND TERROR 

OF LIFE 



By THEODORE DREISER 

AUTHOB or "SISTER CARRIE," "THE HAND OP THE POTTER," 

"FREE AND OTHER STORIES," "JENNIE 

GERHARDT," ETC. 




BONIAND LIVERIGHT 

NEW YORK 192 



Copyright, 1920, 
By BONI & LIVERIGHT, Inc. 



Printed in the United States of America 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I. HEY RUB-A-DUB-DUB i 

II. CHANGE 19 

III. SOME ASPECTS OP OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER . . 24 

IV. THE DREAM 60 

V. THE AMERICAN FINANCIER 74 

VI. THE TOIL OF THE LABORER 92 

VII. PERSONALITY r '.**.. 107 

VIII. A COUNSEL TO PERFECTION 115 

IX. NEUROTIC AMERICA AND THE SEX IMPULSE . . . 126 

X. SECRECY ITS VALUE 142 

XI. IDEALS, MORALS, AND THE DAILY NEWSPAPER . . 152 

XII. EQUATION INEVITABLE .157 

XIII. PHANTASMAGORIA 182 

XIV. ASHTORETH 2OI 

XV. THE REFORMER 206 

XVI. MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE 212 

XVII. MORE DEMOCRACY OR LESS? AN INQUIRY . . . 225 

XVIII. THE ESSENTIAL TRAGEDY OF LIFE 238 

XIX. LIFE, ART AND AMERICA 252 

XX. THE COURT OF PROGRESS ........ 277 



HEY RUB-A-DUB-DUB 



HEY, RUB-A-DUB-DUB! 



(Taken from the notes of the late John Paradiso) 

I HAVE lived now to my fortieth year, and have seen a good 
deal of life. Just now, because of a stretch of poverty, I 
am living across the river from New York, in New Jersey, in 
sight of a splendid tower, the Woolworth Building on the lower 
end of Manhattan, which lifts its defiant spear of clay into 
the very maw of heaven. And although I am by no means as 
far from it as is Fifth Avenue, still I am a dweller in one of 
the shabbiest, most forlorn neighborhoods which the great me- 
tropolis affords. About me dwell principally Poles and Hun- 
garians, who palaver in a lingo of which I know nothing and 
who live as I would despise to live, poor as I am. For, after 
all, in my hall-bedroom, which commands the river over the 
lumberyard, there is some attempt at intellectual adornment, 
whereas outside and around me there is little more than dull 
and to a certain extent aggrieved drudgery. 

Not so very far from me is a church, a great yellow struc- 
ture which lifts its walls out of a ruck of cheap frame houses, 
and those muddy, unpaved streets which are the pride of Jer- 
sey City and Hoboken. Here, if I will, I can hear splendid 
masses intoned, see bright altars and stained glass windows and 
people going to confession and burning votive candles before 
images. And if I go of a Sunday, which I rarely do, I can 
hear regularly that there is a Christ who died for men, and 



2 HEY, RUB-A-DUB-DUB! 

that He was the son of the living God who liveth and reigneth 
world without end. 

I have no quarrel with this doctrine. I can hear it in a 
hundred thousand churches throughout the world. But I am 
one of those curious persons who cannot make up their minds 
about anything. I read and read, almost everything that I 
can lay hands on history, politics, philosophy, art. But I find 
that one history contradicts another, one philosopher drives 
out another. Essayists, in the main, point out flaws and para- 
doxes in the current conception of things; novelists, dramatists 
and biographers spread tales of endless disasters, or silly illu- 
sions concerning life, duty, love, opportunity and the like. And 
I sit here and read and read, when I have time, wondering. 

For> friends, I am a scrivener by trade or try to be. Be- 
times, trying to make up my mind what to say about life, I am 
a motorman on a street-car at three dollars and twenty cents a 
day. I have been a handy man in a junk shop, and wagon 
driver, anything you will, so long as thereby I could keep 
body and soul together. I am not handsome, and therefore 
not attractive to women probably at any rate I appear not 
to be and in consequence am very much alone. Indeed, I am 
a great coward when it comes to women. Their least frown 
or mood of indifference frightens me and makes me turn inward 
to myself, where dwell innumerable beautiful women who 
smile and nod and hang on my arm and tell me they love me. 
Indeed, they whisper of scenes so beautiful and so comforting 
that I know they are not, and never could be, true. And so, in 
my best moments, I sit at my table and try to write stories 
which no doubt equally necessitous editors find wholly unavail- 
able. 

The things which keep me thinking and thinking are, first, 
my social and financial state; second, the difference between 
my point of view and that of thousands of other respectable 
citizens, who, being able to make up their minds, seem to find 



HEY, RUB-A-DUB-DUB! 3 

me queer, dull, recessive, or at any rate unsuited to their tastes 
and pleasures. I look at them, and while I say, "Well, thank 
heaven I am not like that," still I immediately ask myself, 
"Am I not all wrong? Should I not be happier if I, too, were 
like John Spitovesky, or Jacob Feilchenfeld, or Vaclav Melka?" 
some of my present neighbors. For Spitovesky, to grow a 
little personal, is a small dusty man who has a tobacco store 
around the corner, and who would, I earnestly believe, run if he 
were threatened with a bath. He smokes his own three-for- 
fives (Flor de Sissel Grass), and deposits much of the ashes 
between his waistcoat and his gray striped cotton shirt. His 
hair, sticking bushily out over his ears, looks as though it 
were heavily peppered with golden snuff. 

"Mr. Spitovesky," I said to him one day not long since, 
"have you been reading anything about the Colorado mining 
troubles?" 

"I never read de papers," he said with a shrug of his shoul- 
der. 

"No? Not at all?" I pursued. 

"Dere is nodding in dem lies mosdly. Somedimes I look 
ad de baseball news in sommer." 

"Oh, I see," I said hopelessly. Then, apropos of nothing, 
or because I was curious as to my neighbors, "Are you a 
Catholic?" 

"I doaned belong to no church. I doaned mix in no politics, 
neider. Some hof de men aboud here get excided aboud poli- 
tics; I got no time. I 'tend to mine store." 

Seeing him stand for hours against his doorpost, or sitting 
out front smoking while his darksome little wife peels pota- 
toes or sews or fusses with the children, I could never under- 
stand his "I got no time." 

In a related sense there are my friends Jacob Feichenfeld 
and Vaclav Melka, whom I sometimes envy because they are 
so different. The former, the butcher to whom I run for chops 



4 HEY, RUB-A-DUB-DUB! 

and pigs' feet for my landlady, Mrs. Wscrinkuus; the latter the 
keeper of a spirituous emporium whose windows read "Vynas, 
Scnapas." Jacob, like every other honest butcher worthy the 
name, is broad and beefy. He turns on me a friendly eye as he 
inquires, "About so thick?" or suggests that he has some nice 
fresh liver or beef tongue, things which he knows Mrs. Wscrin- 
kuus likes. I can sum up Mr. Feilchenf eld's philosophy of life 
when I report that to every intellectual advance I make he ex- 
claims in a friendly enough way, "I dunno," or "I ain't never 
heard about dot." 

My pride in a sturdy, passive acceptance of things, how- 
ever, is nearly realized in Vaclav Melka, the happy dispenser 
of "Vynas, Scnapsas." He also is frequently to be found lean- 
ing in his doorway in summer, business being not too brisk dur- 
ing the daytime, surveying the world with a reflective eye. He 
is dark, stocky, black-haired, black-eyed, a good Pole with a 
head like a wooden peg, almost flat at the top, and driven 
firmly albeit not ungracefully into his shoulders. He has a 
wife who is a slattern and nearly a slave, and three children 
who seem to take no noticeable harm from this saloon life. 
Leaning in coatless ease against his sticky bar of an evening, he 
has laid down the law concerning morals and ethics, thus: 
no lying or stealing among friends; no brawling or assaults 
or murdering for any save tremendous reasons of passion; no 
truckling to priests or sisters who should mind their own 
business. 

"Did you ever read a book, Melka?" I once asked him. It 
was apropos of a discussion as to a local brawl. 

"Once. It was about a feller wot killed a woman. Mostly 
I ain't got no time to read. Once I was a bath-rubber, and 
I had time then, but that was long ago. Books ain't nutting for 
me." 

i Melka states, however, that he was a fool to come here. 
"A feller wanted me to take dis saloon, and here I am. I 



HEY, RUB-A-DUB-DUB! 5 

make a living. If my wife died I would go back to my 
old job, I think." He does not want his wife to die, I am sure. 
It does not make that much difference. 

But over the river from all this is another picture which 
disturbs me even more than my present surroundings, be- 
cause, as seen from here, it is seemingly beautiful and invit- 
ing. Its tall walls are those of a fabled city. I can almost 
hear the tinkle of endless wealth in banks, the honks of auto- 
mobiles, the fanfare of a great constructive trade life. At night 
all its myriad lights seem to wink at me and exclaim, "Why so 
incompetent? Why so idle, so poor? Why live in such a 
wretched neighborhood? Why not cross over and join the 
great gay throng, make a successful way for yourself? Why 
sit aside from this great game of materiality and pretend to 
ignore it or to feel superior?" 

And as I sit and think, so it seems to me. But, alas, I 
haven't the least faculty for making money, not the least. 
Plainly beyond are all these wonderful things which are being 
done and made by men with that kind of ability which I 
appear to lack. I have no material, constructive sense. I can 
only think and write, in a way. I see these vast institutions 
(there are great warehouses on this side, too) filled to over- 
flowing apparently with the financially interested and capable, 
but I I have not the least idea how to do anything likewise. 
Yet I am not lazy. I toil over my stories or bounce out of bed 
and hurry to my work of a morning. But I have never earned 
more than thirty-five dollars a week in my whole life. No, I 
am not brilliant financially. 

But the thing that troubles me most is the constant palaver 
going on in the papers and everywhere concerning right, truth, 
duty, justice, mercy and the like, things which I do not find 
expressed very clearly in my own motives nor in the motives 
of those immediately about me; and also the apparently earn- 
est belief on the part of ever so many editors, authors, social 



6 HEY, RUB-A-DUB-DUB! 

reformers, et cetera, that every person, however weak or dull- 
appearing externally, contains within himself the seed or the 
mechanism for producing endless energy and ability, providing 
he can only be made to realize that he has it. In other words 
we are all Napoleons, only we don't know it. We are lazy 
Napoleons, idle Hannibals, wasteful and indifferent John D. 
Rockefellers. Turn the pages of any magazine are there not 
advertisements of and treatises on How To Be Successful, 
with the authors thereof offering to impart their knowledge 
of how so to be for a comparative song? 

Well, I am not one who can believe that. In my very hum- 
ble estimation people are not so. They are, in the main, as I see 
it, weak and limited, exceedingly so, like Vaclav Melka or 
Mrs. Wscrinkuus, and to fill their humble brains with notions of 
an impossible supremacy, if it could be done, would be to send 
them forth to breast the ocean in a cockleshell. And, yet, here 
on my table, borrowed from the local library for purposes of 
idle or critical examination, is a silly book entitled "Take It!" 
"It" meaning "the world!" '; and another "It's Yours!" the 
"It" in this case meaning that same great world! All you have 
to do is to decide so to do and to try! Am I a fool to smile 
at this very stout doctrine, to doubt whether you can get 
more than four quarts out of any four-quart measure, if so 
much? 

But to return to this same matter of right, truth, justice, 
mercy, so freely advertised in these days and so clearly de- 
fined, apparently, in every one's mind as open paths by which 
they may proceed. In the main, it seems to me that peopl< 
are not concerned about right, or truth, or justice, or mercy,] 
or duty, as abstract principles or working rules, nor do II 
believe that the average man knows clearly or even semi- 
clearly what is meant by fcKe words. His only relation to them. 
so far as I can see, is tEat he finds them used in a certain 
reckless, thoughtless way to represent some method of ad- 



HEY, RUB-A-DUB-DUB! 7 

justment by which he would like to think he is protected from 
assault or saved from misery, and so uses them himself. His 
concern for them as related to the other individual is that 
the other individual should not infringe on him, and I am now 
speaking of the common unsuccessful mass as well as of the 
successful. 

Mrs. Wscrinkuus, poor woman, is stingy and slightly sus- 
picious, although she goes to church Sundays and believes 
that Christ's Sermon on the Mount is the living truth. She 
does not want any one to be mean to her; she does not do 
anything mean to other people, largely because she has no par- 
ticular taste or capacity in that direction. Supposing I should 
advise her to "Take It!" assure her that "It" was hers by 
right of capability! What would become of right, truth, jus- 
tice, mercy in that case? 

Or, once more, let us take Jacob Feilchenfeld and John 
Spitovesky, who care for no man beyond their trade and whose 
attitude toward right, truth, mercy, justice is as above. Sup- 
pose I should tell them to take "It," or assure them that 
"It" was theirs? Of what import would the message be? 
Vaclav Melka does favors only in return for favors. He 
does not like priests because they are always taking up col- 
lections. If you told him to take "It" he would proceed to 
take something away from the very good priests first of all. 
Everywhere I find the common man imbued with this feeling 
for self-protection and self-advancement. Truth is something 
that must be told to him; justice is what he deserves al- 
though if it costs him nothing he will gladly see it extended 
to the other fellow. 

But do not think for one moment because I say this that I 
think myself better or more deserving or wiser than any of 
these. As I said before, I do not understand life, although I 
like it; I may even say that I like this sharp, grasping scheme 
of things, and find that it works well. Plainly it produces 



8 HEY, RUB-A-DUB-DUB! 

all the fine spectacles I see. If it had not been for a certain 
hard, seeking ambition in Mr. Woolworth to get up and be 
superior to his fellows, where would his splendid tower have 
come from? It is only because I cannot understand why peo- 
ple cling so fatuitously to the idea that there is some fixed 
idyllic scheme or moral order handed down from on high, which 
is tender and charitable, punishes so-called evil and always re- 
wards so-called good, that I write this. If it punishes evil, it 
is not all of the evil that I see. If it rewards good, then much 
of the good that I admire goes wholly unrewarded, on this 
earth at least. 

But to return. The Catholics believe that Christ died on the 
Cross for them, and that unless the Buddhists, Shintoists, 
Mohammedans, et cetera, reform or find Christ they will be 
lost. Three hundred million Mohammedans believe quite oth- 
erwise. Two hundred and fifty million Buddhists believe some- 
thing else. The Christian Scientists and Hicksites believe still 
differently. Then there are historians who doubt the authentic- 
ity of Christ (Gibbon; Vol. i, Chapters 15, 16). Where is a 
moral order which puts a false interpretation on history as in 
the case of sectarian literature (lists furnished on application), 
or allows fetiches to flourish like the grass of the new year? 

I will admit that in cases such as lying, stealing and the like 
there is always a so-called moral thing to do or say when these 1 
so-called moral principles or beatitudes are inveighed against. 
You have ridden on a street-car; pay your fare. You have- 
received five dollars from a given man; return it. You have 
had endless favors from a given individual; do not maligni 
him. Such are the obvious and commonplace things with 
which these great words are concerned; and in these prima 
facie cases these so-called principles work well enough. 

But take a case where temperament or body-needs or ap- 
petites fly in the face of man-made order, where a great spirit- 
thirst stands out against a life-made conviction. Here is 



HEY, RUB-A-DUB-DUB 1 9 

man-made law, and here is dire necessity. On which side is 
Right? On which side God? 

(1) A girl falls in love with a boy to whom the father takes 
an instant dislike. The father is not better than the lover, just 
different. The girl and boy are aflame (no chemical law of 
their invention, mind you), and when the father opposes them 
they wed secretly. Result, rage. A weak temperament on the 
part of the father (no invention of his own) causes him to 
drink. On sight, in liquor, he kills the youth. The law says 
he must be hung unless justified. A lie on the part of the girl 
defaming the lover-husband will save the father. On which 
side now do right, truth, justice, mercy stand? 

(2) A man has a great trade idea. He sees where by com- 
bining fourteen companies he can reduce cost of manufacture 
and sell a very necessary product to the public at a reduced 
rate, the while he makes himself rich. In the matter of prin- 
ciple and procedure (right, truth, justice, etc.), since his 
competitors will not sell out, he is confronted by the following 
propositions: (a) forming a joint stock company and permit- 
ting them all to share in the profits; (b) giving them the idea, 
asking nothing, and allowing them to form a company of their 
own, so helping humanity; (c) making a secret combination 
with four or five and underselling the others and so compel 
them to sell or quit; (d) doing nothing, letting time and chance 
work and the public wait. Now it so happens that the second 
and fourth are the only things that can be done without 
opposition. He is a man of brains and ideals. What are his 
rights, duties, privileges? Where do justice, mercy, truth, fit 
in here, and how? 

(3) A man's son has committed a crime. The man realizes 
that owing to deficiencies of his own he has never been able to 
give the boy a right training or a fair chance. The law de- 
mands that he give up his son, even though he loves him dearly 
and feels himself responsible. Where do right, justice, mercy 



io HEY, RUB-A-DUB-DUB! 

work here, and can they be made harmonious and conso- 
nant? 

These are but three of fifty instances out of the current 
papers which I daily read. I have cited them to show how 
topsy-turvy the world seems to me, how impossible of a fixed 
explanation or rule. Scarcely any two individuals but will be 
at variance on these propositions. Yet the religionists, the 
moralists, the editorial writers preach a faith and an obvious 
line of duty which they label grandiosely "right" or "true," 
"just" or "merciful." My observation and experience lead me 
to believe that there is scarcely a so-called "sane," right, 
merciful, true, just, solution to anything. I know that many 
will cry in answer "Look at all this great world! Look at all 
the interesting things made, the beautiful things, the pleasures 
provided. Are not these the intelligent directive product of a 
superior governing being, who is kind and merciful into the 
bargain and who has our interests at heart? Can you doubt, 
when you observe the exact laws that govern in mathematics, 
chemistry, physics, that there is an intelligent, kindly ruling 
power, truthful, merciful, etc?" My answer is: I can and 
do, for these things can be used as readily against right, 
truth, justice, mercy, as we understand those things, as they 
can for or with them. If you don't believe this, and are anti- 
German or anti- Japanese, or anti-anything else, see how those; 
or any other so-called inimical powers can use all these mag 
nificent forces or arts in its behalf and against the powers o 
light and worth such as you understand and approve of. And 
when justice and mercy are tacked on as attributes of this 
intelligence there is no possible appeal to human reason. 

"But only look," some one is sure to cry, "at some of the 
beautiful, wonderful, helpful things which Divine Providence 
or Life, or Force, or Energy has provided now and here fo) 
man! Railroads; telegraphy; the telephone; theaters; gas 
electricity; clothing of all sorts; newspapers; books; hotels 



HEY, RUB-A-DUB-DUB! n 

stores; fire departments; hospitals; plumbing; the pleasures of 
love and sex; muic." An admirable list, truly, and all pro- 
vided by one struggling genius or another or by the slow, 
cataclysmic processes of nature: fires, deaths and painful 
births. Aside from the fact that all of these things can be 
and are used for evil as well as good purposes (trust oppres- 
sion, enemy wars and the like), still it might as well be sup- 
plemented by such things as jails, detectives, penitentiaries, 
courts of law good or evil things, as you choose to look at 
them. All of these things are good in the hands of good 
people, evil in the hands of the evil, and nature seems not 
to care which group uses them. A hospital will aid a scoundrel 
as readily as a good man, and vice versa. 

Common dust swept into our atmosphere makes our beauti- 
ful sunsets and blue sky. Sidereal space, as we know it, is said 
to be one welter of strangely flowing streams of rock and dust, 
a wretched mass made attractive only by some vast com- 
pulsory coalition into a star. Stars clash and blaze, and the 
whole great complicated system seems one erosive, chaffering, 
bickering effort, with here and there a tendency to stillness and 
petrifaction. This world as we know it, the human race and 
the accompanying welter of animals and insects, do they not, 
aside from momentary phases of delight and beauty, often 
strike you as dull, aimless, cruel, useless? Are not the processes 
by which they are produced or those by which they live (the 
Chicago slaughter-houses, for instance), stark, relentless, 
brutal, shameful even? life living on life, the preying of one 
on another, the compulsory aging of all, the hungers, thirsts, 
destroying losses and pains. . . . 

But I was talking of Jersey City and my difficulty in ad- 
justing myself to the life about me, thinking as I do. Yet 
such facts as I can gather only confound me the more. Take 
the daily papers which I have been reading to beguile my 
loneliness, and note that: 



12 HEY, RUB-A-DUB-DUB! 

(1) Two old people who lived near me. after working hard 
for years to supply themselves with a competence, were ruined 
by the failure of a bank and were therefore forced to seek 
work. Not finding it, they were compelled to make a choice 
between subsisting on charity and dying. Desiring to be as 
agreeable to the world as possible and not to be a burden 
to it, they chose death by gas, locking the doors of their bare 
little home, stuffing paper and clothing into chinks and under 
doors and windows, and turning on the gas, seated side-by-side 
and hand-in-hand. Naturally the end came quickly enough, 
for Divine Mind has no objection to ordinary illuminating 
gas killing any one. It did not inform any one of their 
predicament. Impartial gas choked them as quickly as it 
would have lighted the room, and yet at the same time, accord- 
ing to the same papers, in this very same world 

(2) The sixteen-year-old son of a multi-millionaire real 
estate holder was left over fifty million dollars by his fond 
father, who did not know what else to do with it, the same 
son having not as yet exhibited any capacity for handling 
the money wisely or having done anything to deserve it save 
be the son of the aforesaid father. 

(3) A somewhat bored group of Newport millionairesses 
give a dinner for the pet dogs of their equally wealthy friends, 
one particular dog or doggess being host or hostess. 

(4) A Staten Island brewer worth twenty millions died of 
heart failure, induced by undue joy over the fact that he had 
been elected snare drummer of a shriners' lodge, after spending 
thousands upon thousands in organizing a band of his own 
and developing sufficient influence to cause a shriners' organi- 
zation to tolerate him. 

(5) A millionaire politician and horse-racer erected a fif- 
teen-thousand-dollar monument to a horse. 

(6) An uneducated darkey, trying to make his way North, 
climbed upon the carriage trucks of a Pullman attached to a 



HEY. RUB-A-DUB-DUB! 13 

fast express and was swept North into a blizzard, where he was 
finally found dving of exhaustion, and did die arms and legs 
frozen a victim of an effort to better his condition. 

Puzzle: locate Divine Mind, Light, Wisdom, Truth, Justice, 
Mercy in these items. 

By these same papers, covering several months or more, I 
saw where: 

(1) Several people died waiting in line on bundle day for 
bundles of cast-off clothing given by those who could not use 
the clothes any longer not such people as you and I, perhaps, 
but those who were sick, or old, or weak. 

(2) Mr. Ford, manufacturer of automobiles, was convinced 
that he could reform any criminal or bad character by giving 
him or her plenty of work to do at good wages and with the 
prospect of advancement; also that he was earning too much 
and wished to divide with his fellow man. 

(3) August Belmont and J. P. Morgan, Jr., noting this 
item, concluded that they could not do anything for any one, 
intellectually, financially or otherwise. 

(4) An attendant in an Odd Fellows Home, having tired 
of some old patients, chloroformed them all a purely pagan 
event and not possible in an enlightened age and a Christian 
country. 

(5) A priest, having murdered a girl and confessed to it, 
no way was found to electrocute him because of his cloth. 
Men whose services and aid he contemned insisted that he 
must be proved insane and not be electrocuted, though he did 
not agree with them. 

(6) A young soldier and his bride, but one day married, 
walk out to buy furniture for their new home; a street fight 
in which three toughs assail each other with pistols breaks 
out and before they can take to cover a stray bullet instantly 
kills the soldier-husband. Subsequently the bride becomes 
morbid and goes insane. 



14 HEY, RUB-A-DUB-DUB! 

(7) In nearly all the countries of the late great war a day 
of prayer for Divine intervention was indulged in, but prayer 
having been made and not answered the combatants proceeded 
to make more and worse war Divine prohibition of combat, 
according to the Christian dogma, being no bar nor of any 
avail. 

(8) A well-known Western financier and promoter of strong 
religious and moralistic leanings, having projected and built a 
well-known railroad and made it immensely prosperous by re- 
ducing the rates to the people of his region was thereupon set 
upon by other financiers who wished to secure his property for 
little or nothing, and being attacked by false charges brought 
by a suborned stockholder and his road thrown into the hands 
of a receiver by a compliant judge, was so injured financially 
thereby as never to be able to recover his property. And 
those who attacked him justified themselves on the ground 
that he was a "rate-cutter" and so a disturbing element a 
disturber of the peace and profits of other railroads adjacent 
and elsewhere. His dying statement (years later) was that 
American history would yet justify him and that God governed 
for good, if one could wait long enough! 

(9) One man was given one year for a cold, brutal man- 
slaughter in New York, whereas a whole family of colored peo- 
ple in the South was strilng up and riddled with bullets for so 
little as that one of them fought with a deputy sheriff; while 
a woman who had shot another woman through a window 
because of jealousy (aroused by her husband's assumed atten- 
tions to said woman) was acquitted and then went on the 
stage, the general sentiment being that "one could not elec- 
trocute a woman." 

(10) The principal charities aid society of New York had 
spent and was spending one hundred and fifty thousand dollars 
per year on running expenses, and something over ninety thou- 
sand dollars in actual relief work, though it was explained 



HEY, RUB-A-DUB-DUB! 15 

that the hundred and fifty thousand brought about much refer- 
ence of worthy cases to other agencies and private charities, a 
thing which could not otherwise have been done. 

(n) It is immoral, un-Christian and illegitimate to have a 
child without a husband, yet when six hundred thousand men 
are withdrawn from England to fight the Germans and twenty 
thousand virgins become war-brides it is proposed to legalize 
the children on the ground that it is nevertheless moral to pre- 
serve the nation from extinction. 

(12) A doctor may advise against child-birth when that 
experience would endanger a woman or threaten her perma- 
nent disability, but if he gives information or furnishes contra- 
ceptal means which would prevent the trying situation he is 
guilty of a misdemeanor, subject to fine and the ruin of his 
career. 

(13) The president of one of the largest street railway cor- 
porations in the world finds it wrong to fail to rise and give 
your seat to a woman, but right to run so few cars as to make 
available seats for only one- third of the traffic; wrong not to 
take extreme precaution in stepping off or on a car or crossing 
the tracks, but right to leave the cars without heat, the win- 
dows and floors dirty and the doors broken, making anger, delay 
and haste contribute to inattention and unfairness; wrong to 
read a newspaper wide open, to cross your legs or protrude 
your feet too far, thereby inconveniencing your fellow-pas- 
senger, but right to mulct the city, composed of these same 
passengers, of millions via stolen franchises, watered stock, 
avoided taxes, the refusal of transfers at principal intersec- 
tions, to say nothing of the prevention of fair competition via 
the jitney bus and other means which would relieve traffic 
pressure, and all with no excuse save that the corporation 
desires the money; and a tame public endures it with a little 
ineffectual murmuring. 

(14) A man has been found in a Western penitentiary 



16 HEY, RUB-A-DUB-DUB! 

who had been there for twenty years and who had been sent 
there because of erroneous circumstantial evidence, the real 
offender having confessed on his death-bed. 

(15) A certain landlord in New York compelled a certain 
family to move, because, not they, but some of their visitors, 
wore shabby, hence undesirable, clothes, thus lowering the 
social and material tone of the apartment house in question 
and causing their distant but still watchful fellow-tenants 
much distress of mind in being compelled to live in such an 
atmosphere. This was a Riverside Drive apartment. 

But need I cite more, really? 

It is because of these things that I sit in my hall-bedroom, 
a great panorama of beauty spread out before* me, and hi 
attempting to write of this thing, life, find myself confused. 
I do not know how to work right, truth, justice, mercy, etc., 
into these things, nor am I sure that life would be as fascinat- 
ing without them, as driving or forceful. The scenes that I 
look upon here and everywhere are beautiful enough, sun, moon 
and stars swinging in their courses, seemingly mathematically 
and with great art or charm. I am wiling to assume that their 
courses are calculated and intelligent, but no more and no 
further. And the river at this moment is begemmed with 
thousands of lights a truly artistic and poetic spectacle and 
one not to be gainsaid. By day it is gray, or blue, or green, 
wondrous shades by turns; by night a jewel world. Gulls 
wheel over it; tugs strain cheerily to and fro, emitting gor- 
geous plumes of smoke. Snows, rains, warmths, colds come in 
endless variety, the endless fillip which gives force and color to 
our days. 

Still I am confused. For, on the one hand, here is Vaclav 
Melka, who does not care much for this alleged charm; nor 
John Spitovesky; nor Jacob Feilchenf eld ; nor many, many 
others like them. On the other hand, myself and many others 
like me, sitting and meditating on it, are so spellbound that 



HEY, RUB-A-DUB-DUB! 17 

we have scarcely any thought wherewith to earn a living. 
Life seems to prove but one thing to me, and that is that the 
various statements concerning right, truth, justice, mercy are 
palaver merely, an earnest and necessitous attempt, perhaps, 
at balance and equation where all things are so very much 
unbalanced, paradoxical and contradictory the small-change 
names for a thing or things of which we have not yet caught 
the meaning. History teaches me little save that nothing is 
really dependable or assured, but all inexplicable and all shot 
through with a great desire on the part of many to do or 
say something by which they may escape the unutterable con- 
fusion of time and the feebleness of earthly memory. Cur- 
rent action, it appears, demonstrates much the same thing. 
Kings and emperors have risen and gone. Generals and cap- 
tains have warred and departed. Philosophers have dreamed, 
poets have written; and I, mussing around among religions, 
philosophies, fictions and facts can find nothing wherewith to 
solve my vaulting egoism, no light, and no way to be any- 
thing more than the humblest servitor. 

Among so much that is tempestuous and glittering I merely 
occasionally scrub and make bright my room. I look out at the 
river flowing by now, after hundreds of millions of years of 
loneliness where there was nothing but silence and waste (past 
so much now that is vivid, colorful, human), and say to myself: 
Well, where there is so much order and love of order in every 
one and everywhere there must be some great elemental spirit 
holding for order of sorts, at any rate. Stars do not swing 
in given orbits for nothing surely, or at least I might have 
faith to that extent. But when I step out and encounter, 
as I daily do, lust and greed, plotting and trapping, and envy 
and all uncharitableness, including murder all severely con- 
demned by the social code, the Bible and a thousand wise saws 
and laws and also see, as I daily do, vast schemes of chicane 
grinding the faces of the poor, and wars brutally involving 



18 HEY, RUB-A-DUB-DUB! 

the death of millions whose lives are precious to them be/- 
cause of the love of power on the part of some one or many, 
I am not so sure. Illusions hold too many; lust and greed, 
vast and bleary-eyed, dominate too many more. Ignorance, 
vast and almost unconquerable, hugs and licks its chains in 
reverence. Brute strength sits empurpled and laughs a throaty 
laugh. 

Yet here is the great river that is beautiful; and Mr. Wool- 
worth's tower, a strange attempt on the part of man to seem 
more than he is; and a thousand other evidences of hopes and 
dreams, all too frail perhaps against the endless drag toward 
nothingness, but still lovely and comforting. And^yet here also 
is Vaclav Melka, who wants to be a bath-rubber again! John 
Spitovesky, who doesn't care; Jacob Feilchenfeld, who never 
heard; and millions of others like them, and I I think and 
grow confused, and earn nineteen-twenty a week or less never 
more, apparently. 

Come to think of it, is it not a wonder, holding such impossi- 
ble views as I do, that I earn anything at all? 



CHANGE 

TF I were to preach any doctrine to the world it would be 
1 love of change, or at least lack of fear of it. From the 
Bible I would quote: "The older order changeth, giving place 
to the new," and from Nietzsche: "Learn to revalue your 
values." The most inartistic and discouraging phase of the 
visible scene, in so far as it relates to humanity, is its tendency 
to stratification, stagnation and rigidity. Yet from somewhere, 
fortunately, out of the demiurge there blows ever and anon 
a new breath, quite as though humanity were an instrument 
through which a force were calling for freshness and change. 
The old or unyielding die or crumble; the unwitting young 
arise to take their places. By this same thing which brings 
man into being is he ended before he becomes inelastic and 
unpliable. Indeed, Nature constantly replaces her handiwork, 
quite as in the case of the leaves on the trees, creating newer, 
greener, sappier things. This is just as true of religions, 
theories, arts and philosophies as it is of animals, races and 
individuals. Nothing is fixed. The most convincing and 
stable thing that you know may well bear inquiring scrutiny, 
even this law of change. Out of the well-springs of the deep 
what may not arise? 

I often think how foolishly humanity opposes change at 
times and how steadily and uninterruptedly it flows in, alter- 
ing the face of the world. With how many astounding changes 
has not life been visited astounding only because life never 
seems to be prepared for the astounding. Our little earth 
minds, being only seventy years in duration and wise only by 
reason of the actual experience which can be crowded into 

19 



20 CHANGE 

that time, cannot but view as astounding those larger natural 
phenomena which in the endless duration of time come swiftly 
enough, however incalculably slow they may seem to us. "For 
a thousand years in thy sight are as but yesterday," a million 
years but a day in geologic time. But to a being whose dura- 
tion is only seventy years, whose thinking period about forty, 
how remote they seem, even impossible! If one could live a 
thousand years the value of change in connection with many 
things would appear swiftly enough, and the seemingly as- 
tounding would become the natural and even the commonplace. 
If one but observes the phenomena of geology and of biology 
one may see how ready Nature is to quit one form of effort 
for another, once its uselessness has become apparent, to drop 
a difficult tendency in one direction and pursue an easier one in 
another. Indeed, the theory of the pragmatist is seemingly 
well-emphasized at times by the disappearance of some large 
and presumably successful species for reasons of difficulty in 
connection with its sustenance, and the steady rise of some 
minor creature whose wants are simple and not difficult to 
satisfy. And it is not necessarily through aeons and aeons of 
time that those changes are accomplished but almost instanter, 
as when behemoth ended and the great auk puffed out. Man 
says to himself today, "I am the Lord of creation," but is he? 
A slight change in the chemistry of our atmosphere, so slight 
that it might be scarcely noticeable, a change in the odor 
of the air or the taste of the water, could soon end or debilitate 
him so as to make him of no import whatsoever. It might be 
unfavorable to man and favorable, let us say, to cats or spiders; 
then man, a sleepy stumbling creature, would be devoured by 
his hungry, pagan house pet and the theory of his domination 
disposed of. Remote? So was the rise of Christianity. If 
you do not believe this read history, or note what tragedies 
a slight trace of sewer gas can produce in your own house- 
hold, how smoke ends a corps of firemen, how water, too much 



CHANGE 21 

heat, too much cold, may destroy us all. And what star so 
humble that if it came near enough could not effect one or 
another of these changes? 

Deep below deep lie the mysteries, and theories flourish like 
weeds in a garden or let us call them flowers, for at times they 
are so artistic. Arts spring out of the mysteries, but the arts 
themselves grow stale if left to themselves. The thing that 
the individual should remember is that he is a part of this vast 
restlessness, uncertainty and opportunism. Life will have none 
of anything forever, neither Egypt nor Greece nor Rome nor 
England nor America; it will not have anything of one type of 
god, nor a fixed code of morals, nor a fixed conclusion as to 
what is art, nor a method of living. We build up rules where- 
with life is to be governed, and behold! some fine day the 
character of life itself changes and our rules are worthless. 

Many of us now dream that there is such a thing as jus- 
tice, but experience teaches us that it is an abstraction and 
that what we actually see is an occasional compromise struck 
in an eternal battle. Many believe that there is such a thing 
as truth, but, if there is, it is not within the consciousness of 
man, for he has not the knowledge wherewith to discern it. 
There is too much that he does not know to permit him to say 
what is truth. Likewise, virtue and honesty go by the boards 
as names merely, a system of weights and measures, balances 
struck between man and man. They are symbols of something 
which man would like to believe true and permanent. They 
represent a balance he would like to strike between extremes 
on either hand, but they are only important to him in his 
state here. Beyond him lie the deeps which may know them 
not. All we can know is that we cannot know. 

Therefore, what I would most earnestly advocate, if it 
were of any importance so to do, would be love of change, for 
by change have come all the spectacles, all the charms and all 



22 CHANGE 

the creature comforts of which our consciousness is aware. 
Life appears to be innately artistic in all that it attempts, 
so that we need not trouble ourselves about that; we can 
scarcely escape it. If there is a seeming love of order, of 
stratification, of fixity, in connection with many things, an 
equally unending force appears to be bent on change and 
variation, so that that something within us which tends to rigid 
duty and stratification spells suffering or disappointment for 
us in so far as we are unable to counteract it. The caution, 
sprung from somewhere, to keep an open mind is well-grounded 
in Nature's tendency to change. Not to cling too pathetically 
to a religion or a system of government or a theory of morals 
or a method of living, but to be ready to abandon at a mo- 
ment's notice is the apparent teaching of the ages to be able 
to step out free and willing to accept new and radically dif- 
ferent conditions. This apparently is the ideal state for the 
human mind. Not that anything so much more perfect is in 
store (I, for one, do not believe that), but that a different 
thing is at hand, always, outside your door, around the corner, 
beyond the limits of the vision of even the philosopher and 
the thinker. To be always ready, if such a thing were pos- 
sible, to meet the new and to know that it will be as valuable 
as the old that is the great thing. But what vain advice! 
for the experiences, the capacities, the tendencies of man are 
not in his keeping. There is something controlling, of which 
we are a part and not a part; there is a mystery to which we 
belong yet which will not show to us its face. Only its im- 
pulses burst upon us from day to day and from century to 
century, making us weep from fear or regret, or faint with 
terror, or thrill wild with joy. Out of the deeps they come 
the realms we do not know. What is Master? Who? What 
is He or It like? Only by the artistry and the terror and the 
peace and the change through which it works can we guess, 



CHANGE 23 

and all names and fames and blames by which we qualify it 
are as nothing, save that they brighten the face of its one out- 
standing tendency, which we must accept whether we will or not 
change. 



SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 

OUR most outstanding phases, of course, are youth, opti- 
mism and illusion. These run through everything we do, 
affect our judgments and passions, our theories of life. As 
children we should all have had our fill of these, and yet even 
at this late date and after the late war, which should have 
taught us much, it is difficult for any of us to overcome them. 
Still, no one can refuse to admire the youth and optimism of 
America, however much they may resent its illusion. There 
is always something so naive about its method of procedure, so 
human and tolerant at times; so loutish, stubborn and igno- 
rantly insistent at others, as when carpetbag government was 
forced on the South after the Civil War and Jefferson Davis 
detained in prison for years after the war was over. 

Great men and great events, so I was told in my youth, 
went to the making of us. The dreams of justly dissatisfied 
and downtrodden souls elsewhere, so our histories read, im- 
pelled them to seek in a new land freedom from the tyrannies 
which had oppressed them abroad. Once here, they were pre- 
pared to fight and die in order that the vision which had led 
them forth might not end as an airy insubstantial nothing. 
For us (fatalistically, at any rate, if not really) Columbia 
sailed from Palos over the uncharted deep; Magellen rounded 
the Cape of Good Hope; and Vasco da Gama, Cape Horn; 
Balboa discovered the Pacific, Hendrick Hudson the Hudson; 
De Soto and Marquette the Mississippi. For us, especially 
(although before that, great sociologic, economic and moral 
dreamers had been at work), Locke, Paine, Von Humboldt, 

24. 



SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 25 

Voltaire, Fourier, de Tocqueville, Rousseau thought and 
dreamed. 

In our new land, fresh upon an unbroken soil, giant spirits 
swiftly arose to testify to the significance of these dreams 
Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Hamilton, intellectual 
and social enthusiasts all who saw a vision, or seemed to, and 
dreamed tremendous dreams of the wonders to come to our 
nation and race, and because of it and through it to the world 
at large. We, more than any other nation, because ours was 
the youth and the strength, were to lift and maintain aloft the 
banner of intellectual and spiritual freedom. We were to do 
tremendous things, not for the human pocketbook but the 
human mind and soul. Our children and our children's chil- 
dren were to be free, progressive, fearless, mentally and spir- 
itually alert, entirely loosened from the trammels and chains 
of superstition and the degradation of poverty and want. 

Well, it is quite true that we have done some things: 
fought wars for our "rights"; freed the slaves (which, how- 
ever, England did in her territories before we did and with- 
out bloodshed); "liberated" Cuba (to no exploitation since?); 
struggled with the Philippine and Mexican problems (to no 
final solution however) ; and then helped to crush the Kaiser 
without seeking gain for ourselves. However, it is also quite 
true that at no time in our history has this ideal been quite 
realized, even though in the hearts of a modest percentage of 
the population, as can be most safely asserted, this has been 
a dominant and moving ideal. Perhaps its realization is not 
within the possibilities of life. We are all slaves essentially, 
and there have as yet been no measures devised whereby strong 
and weak people will not be generated at one and the same 
time side by side. But it is useless to say to the average Amer- 
ican that democracy is a dream and can never be realized. 
He will never believe it. Wars come and go. Strong men arise 
and plot and conquer and disappear. Weak men fail, and the 



26 SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 

poor are as much put upon here as anywhere and ignored 
and laughed at; but in spite of all* these facts which endure 
in the face of every dream of love, heaven, perfect happi- 
ness as well as perfect liberty the American goes on dream- 
ing his sweet dream, and will. Perhaps he already has all 
the democracy there will ever be, because he believes that he 
has it. 

Millions of Americans born on this soil or arriving here 
from other lands believe thus. With them it was and per- 
haps still is a glowing and enlivening thought that whether 
they were or not they were supposed to be free. Their children 
and their children's children somehow are to be heirs to a 
magnificent and comforting land, one over which a wise and 
generous form of government, the fruit of the dreams and 
genius of their forefathers, their generosity and social as- 
piration, is to rule and ensure all the blessings for which they 
had hoped and fought. 

Well and good. The thing has substance enough even now 
in the face of some setbacks and because of virgin soil and! 
boundless untouched opportunities, unharassed by war or slav- 
ery, which offer to physical labor as well as to the imagination 
of those who come or who went before us, great opportunity. 
Their success hitherto has been written into our songs, our 
books, the public messages of our statesmen and patriots. 
Even to this day, many who lack even a shadow of the sub- 
stance of these dreams are still dreaming, if not in their 
reality at least in their possibility and eventuality here. I 
in my youth was one of these. I saw in America what many 
others around me seemed to see: i. e., many if not all of the 
things for which our forefathers fought and bled: generous, 
protective and encouraging laws in all walks of life; an! 
amazingly free and unterrified press; a warm, sympathetic and 
encouraging educational system reaching down to the poorest 
and humblest child and helping it to rise and better its station; 



SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 27 

a real political referendum or ballot system by which all pro- 
jected laws and movements for the betterment and control 
of the impulses and tendencies of the people were formulated 
and with their consent; and these seemed real enough. 

Well? 

Well, I still think we have a modicum of these things. The 
pressure of the strong upon the weak is as yet not too grinding 
perhaps, and let us hope may never be, although it is daily 
becoming sharper. The poor are being put upon while being 
loudly told that they are not fed on air and kind words, as it 
were. The powerful are learning that the poor, here as else- 
where, are either fools or, being poor, may not help themselves; 
a very dangerous state of mind to begin with, I think. 

Yes, in recent years a certain change has come over the 
spirit of our original dreams. Our bright morning sky has been 
overcast with something that was by no means foreseen by the 
charming and gracious idealists who framed our Constitution 
and, better yet, our ideals. America, ungracious as it may 
seem on the part of one who has prospered well enough in it, 
is neither so free nor so liberal as many imagined it would be. 
Our press, our school system, our laws, our political methods 
do these today answer to the incisive aspiration which was 
characteristic, or at least was supposed to be characteristic, of 
the spirit of those who generated the American Republic? 

Let us see. 

The fact is that what is supposed to be and what is true of 
American history are two very different things. Because as a 
people we have instinctively craved some things and have 
written it into a Constitution that man is inalienably entitled 
to them, it does not follow that we have them; although most 
Americans, I am inclined to fear, think so. If I read Amer- 
ican history aright, the men who drew up the Declaration of 
Independence and framed our Constitution were men who, like 



28 SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 

ourselves today, were in the grip of an ideal which had very 
little to do with' their own condition or the actual working 
necessities and conditions of life as seen about them. Far 
from being democratic at that time America was quite the 
reverse, a most stratified and nobility-aping nation with feudal 
servants and thralls at the bottom and landed and all but 
titled proprietors at the top ("History of the Great American 
Fortunes/' Myers). But those same leaders and many follow- 
ers appear to have been in the grip of a time-spirit or move- 
ment which had its roots as far back in time as the thirteenth 
century, when Europe seemed to give new birth or breath to 
the pagan spirit and to revolt at the mummery and flummery 
of kings and the gorgeous paraphernalia of a religious idea 
run completely to seed. Hess and Bruno were but the fore- 
steppers of Luther. Bacon, Locke, Voltaire, de Tocqueville, 
Rousseau and Paine, had much to do with the spirit of our 
American Constitution. Indeed, it is a question whether 
the latter six, and especially Rousseau with his "Social Con- 
tract," his dream of a new social arrangement in which the 
State should do so much more than it had ever before at- 
tempted to do for its constituent units, are not the makers of 
the Declaration of Independence. Yet nothing that Paine, Vol- 
taire, Locke or Rousseau dreamed or believed concerning the 
essential capacity of man to govern himself is absolutely true. 
What is true is that autocracy or single-headed government 
without genius and a love of humanity is closely allied, or very 
likely to be, to tyranny; whereas democracy or multiple- 
headed rotation in control is likely to prove even more dan- 
gerous where it is merely dull. It has not even the advantage 
of being spectacular and interesting. Whether the individual, 
thus protected against tyranny, is likely to prove a greater and 
more useful engine or mechanism for the development of more 
and better thought, more beautiful dreams and ideals than 
the world ever had before, remains to be seen. Dominant 



SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 29 

America, now in the saddle of the world, has an opportunity 
to prove this. 

But does history provide a single analogy? Scarcely. The 
older nations were not built so much for the individual, that 
he might have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness 
guaranteed him, as for the perpetuation and glory of the State 
itself, or the King thereof. This was true of Athens and Sparta 
as well as the Roman Republic, and more recently of Ger- 
many. It is very doubtful whether the modern republic is 
made any more for the humble, single individual than the old- 
time kingdom. Is not the modern trust-magnate or money- 
baron who taxes and drives him by his wage arrangements and 
food extortion as much of a King, or at least a medieval 
baron, as any such that ever lived? Take Rockefeller, for 
example. How different is he, or others like him Morgan, 
for instance to the Dons who in combination ruled Spain, 
laughing at its King, or the money-lords who direct the policy 
of England today, as did their equivalents in Russia and Ger- 
many before the late war? 

The truth is that it is given to few, if any, individuals of a 
nation to understand it. By some it is assumed that the in- 
dividual must rule. By others the mass. Neither is true. 
The mass at times must be pitted against the individual, and 
vice versa. But neither must disappear entirely. That would 
spell death or slumber. It is also a question whether any na- 
tion at any time ever collectively understands itself. Do not 
some portions of its units always misunderstand other portions? 
Take our part in the late great war. Sentimentally, a fair 
portion of America's integral units assumed that we entered 
the war to "free humanity from slavery" and "to make the 
world safe for democracy," a very large order; but, to quote 
one of President Wilson's later utterances, it was for a some- 
what different purpose, namely, "the destruction of every arbi- 
trary power anywhere that can separately and secretly and of 



30 SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 

single choice disturb the peace of the world." Well, that is not 
exactly the same as making it safe for democracy but still . 
The truth probably is that the nation, propelled by its instinct 
for self-preservation, entered the war to make America safe. 
It is not at all unlikely that sooner or later we should have 
gone to war with Germany had there been no European war. 
Germany was known to regard with avid eye many phases 
of this Western hemisphere, its resources, institutions, preten- 
sions; so America very practically, however sentimental the rea- 
sons given may be, engaged herself on the side of four or five 
powers of the first rank (some long friendly, others not uni- 
formly so) to protect her future interests. 

From a practical point of view there were, and of course 
were sure to be, many who disagreed with the somewhat senti- 
mental interpretation of all this. More than one person of 
authority at the time privately ventured the opinion that in 
giving so much to aid Europe something should have been 
done to secure for America its future integrity in the Western 
hemisphere. "In so far as Mexico, Canada, the West Indies 
and the Pacific are concerned," wrote one authority, "should 
not everything be done to further our interests there?" Canada, 
one would say, thinking of a nation that should be looking rea- 
sonably well after its own welfare, should be made at least 
sovereign that is, independent of Great Britain and com- 
pelled to enter into commercial and definite offensive and de- 
fensive alliances with us; the forts along our borders disman- 
tled and all plans to oppose us at any future time set aside. 
Again, all of the West Indies, so it was argued, now controlled 
by European powers, should have been exacted or made inde- 
pendent under our protection so as not to fall into the hands of 
our enemies iiv the future. Should not, asked some, a halt have 
been called to European aggression in China, the open door 
insisted upon? . . . The seas should have been made abso- 
lutely neutral policed by America, along with others. 



SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 31 

A great, even dominant, merchant marine should have been 
built up. Why the expenditure of endless blood and treasure, 
with no definite strength added to the point of view which 
the United States represents the right of her ideas as well 
as those of other people to prosper and grow strong? 

But witness what was actually done, where our chief interests 
lay: Belgium, a country that had never been a completely 
sovereign State with rights which were inalienable, but a State 
which was the product of the fears of Europe, commanding our 
sympathies as though it had been individual and free through- 
out history. It was torn from Holland by England and 
France only as recently as 1830. England and France chose 
its reigning house the English Queen's uncle, who was speed- 
ily married to the daughter of the King of France. Yet with 
Ireland, India, Egypt, the Philippines, the Boer Republic and 
other violated lands and nationalities before us, the woes of 
this one country developed our greatest interest. Japan guar- 
anteed the neutrality of Korea, but annexed it with the con- 
sent of the powers. England, before our very eyes, sup- 
pressed attempts at "self-determination by smaller nations of 
their rights" in Egypt, Ireland, India, the Boer Republic. Yet 
we thought nothing, or at least did nothing. Yet the Bal- 
kans, for some peculiar reason not easily to be explained, 
aroused another sentimental emotion in us. Although one 
would have said the interest of America in the question of 
what should become of Russia, Turkey and the Balkans was 
not direct, and from an old-time practical and political point of 
view never could be, yet America interfered there as else- 
where, laying down, or attempting to, a rule for the future 
organization of Europe (self-determination of nations!), and 
that without any referendum to the American voter, any def- 
inite constitutional inquiry as to what he thought of all this. 

Yet the neglect of the latter, most important in a self- 
determining democracy or republic, one would suppose, was 



32 SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 

passed over as nothing, while it was assumed or preached by 
those in the lead, and in the face of much repressed grumbling, 
that we were engaged unquestionably with those who were 
nearest to and best for us intellectually, spiritually and in 
every other way, nations which would seek, or had invariably 
sought our welfare in the past. But history, of course, dem- 
onstrated that this was not true and that such alliances were 
only momentarily beneficial, if at all, and later were broken 
without so much as a by-your-leave or a farewell. But did 
this serve to alter the state of public feeling or illusion? By 
no means. In so far as England was concerned it appeared 
to strengthen it, although this was the first time she had ever 
been on our side (1776, 1812, 1865, 1896); (1897-8, the 
Boer War). In all those instances we were anything but pro- 
British. So again with France in 1788 and 1815, when we 
practically declared war on her in favor of England, although 
she had reason to expect our sympathy and aid. Our attitude 
toward Italy has varied, as it has toward Russia: now friendly, 
now the reverse. Taking into consideration the brevity of 
all international alliances one would have supposed that it 
would have been the imperative duty of American statesmen 
to make sure that in the course of a temporary alliance with 
European powers the best interests of the American nation 
would not have been imperiled, but being powerful and opti- 
mistic we assumed that our interests were safe enough, or, if 
not, that we could make them so, and let it go at that. But 
supposing we had not been so powerful? Would God, Justice, 
Mercy, Truth, Progress and a number of other things invoked 
during the great argument, have been on our side? All 
failure, some one has said, is due to but two things: weakness 
and error. Suppose we had been weak? Or foolish? 

A singular thing in connection with this same great war 
and the American people, their history, is the attitude of this 



SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 33 

nation toward the French, at this time and earlier. At the 
beginning of the war America Christian America was de- 
cidedly opposed to the French, on moral and intellectual 
grounds, their literature, their art, their stage, their vile ten- 
dencies to naturalism in thought and deed. Even before this, 
at the beginning of our history, the original Colonists, al- 
though of various nationalities English, French, Dutch, Swed- 
ish, Spanish were finally consolidated under English rule and 
a fairly systematic warfare waged against the French and the 
Indians, whom both the French and the English were employ- 
ing by turns in their contest for supremacy. Yet later, at the 
time of the dispute between the English and the American 
Colonies, which ended in the Revolutionary War, French sym- 
pathy, due to ancient antipathy to England as well as the 
intense opposition to autocratic oppression in France, drew the 
Americans and the French together in a bond of sympathy. 
The French sent various Generals and Admirals (Rocham- 
beau, Lafayette, Count d'Estaing, Count de Grasse) to help 
the Americans on land and sea. Yet in 1788-9, when France 
and Spain declared war on England, and especially later (after 
the French Revolution in 1789) when the French were strug- 
gling to maintain their democratic independence and England 
was seeking to put the Bourbon rulers back on the throne 
of France, do you believe that American sympathy was with 
the French? If you do, you don't know American history. Un- 
der the offensive and defensive agreement or treaty entered 
into between France and the Colonies in 1778, when the latter 
were struggling for their independence, it was confidently ex- 
pected by the French that the Americans would help them 
against England, but nothing of the sort followed. When, in 
the belief that America must sympathize with France, "demo- 
cratic" societies, after the French model, were organized 
throughout the States, and later Genet, the French Minister to 
America, attempted to fit our privateers on American soil and 



34 SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 

to establish admiralty ports for the condemnation of prizes, 
there was great opposition to this. Only read the history of 
that period (Burgess: "The Middle Period"; Babcock: 
"American Nationality"; Hart: "American History Told by 
Contemporaries"). America, according to this new attitude, 
was now to look out for itself, and in consonance with this in 
1793 Washington issued his famous Neutrality Proclamation, 
leaving France to take care of herself. After the issuance of 
the Proclamation, Genet, still believing that American sym- 
pathy must be with France, appealed to the people and 
openly defied the Government. His recall followed, of course. 

Then followed a very curious state of affairs. The French 
Revolutionists, angered by the official attitude of America, fell 
to attacking American shipping, looking upon it as a hostile 
power aiding England. American commissionaires, sent to 
adjust our relations with France, were ignored and represen- 
tatives of the Revolutionists (or so it was claimed), using the 
initials "X Y Z," demanded tribute and a bribe. Hence the 
famous comment of William Pinckney, the American lawyer 
and statesman, who said "Millions for defense, but not one cent 
for tribute." And that against our late ally, France! 

President Adams laid the correspondence before Congress, 
and the whole country was aroused. War with France was 
thought to be inevitable and (1798) Washington was reap- 
pointed Commander-in-Chief of the Army. Owing to the 
activity of French sympathizers in America and rabid criti- 
cisms in the newspapers of the Government's stand in this 
matter, the Federalists, who were then in power and who had 
no sympathy for France, secured the passage (1798) of the 
famous Alien and Sedition Laws. These laws gave the Gov- 
ernment power to banish "foreigners" (meaning the French) 
from the country and to suppress obnoxious newspapers. Actual 
warfare with France went on upon the sea! But these laws, 
being against the then "fundamental ideas" of Americans in 



SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 35 

regard to free speech and the right of asylum to immigrants, 
were regarded by enough of the people as proving all the 
charges of tyranny urged against the Federalists, and at the 
next election (1800) they were defeated. In the meantime Vir- 
ginia and Kentucky had resolved, owing to these same Alien 
and Sedition Laws, that a State might nullify a law of the 
United States. Congress, because of French attacks on our 
shipping, formulated the "Spoliation Claims," and it was not 
until Napoleon (1800), as First Consul of France, agreed to 
abandon the French Claim that America was still bound by 
the treaty of 1778 to aid her that these latter were abandoned 
and peace reached. In other words, we refused France aid in 
her most trying hour. Yet twelve years later, because of Eng- 
land's continuous attacks upon our ships and seamen, trying to 
prevent our dealing with France in any way, we went to war 
with her only she did not quit until the victory over Na- 
poleon removed the cause of her alleged grievances. One 
hundred years later, as we have just seen (1914-19), although 
opposition to France on moral grounds had been steadily 
growing in America, still in the contest with Germany all the 
refused sympathy and gratitude of 1800 was revived and 
France became once more the object of our tenderest solicitude. 
So much for national moods and gratitudes. 

Another curious phase of the late great war, as of all coun- 
tries and wars perhaps, but one which illustrates the American 
temperament rather clearly, was the attitude of America to one 
and another phase of it, the psychologic flounderings and back 
somersaults, as it were, concerning one problem and another. 
For one thing, as we all perhaps remember, the preliminary 
internal contest was for peace at any price practically, and 
any one who suggested mobilizing a large army for self-de- 
fense (if nothing more) was, if not a traitor, something of an 
undesirable citizen. Mr. Wilson, if you will recall, was elected 



36 SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 

the second time on the slogan "He Kept Us Out of War"; 
also before we entered the war we were told what a blessing 
it was in one way, commercially at least. Later, as Germany 
appeared to be winning and America was actually threatened, 
the whole world had to be made "safe for democracy," air 
order so large that publicity was quietly refused it in all coun- 
tries outside the United States. But that was the sweet milk 
fed to Americans. Later still, when it came to actually de- 
claring war, although this is a republic and the people are sup- 
posed to have a voice in deciding that which they do, no will- 
ingness on the part of the authorities, executive or legislative, 
to refer the matter back to the people for a vote, was in evi- 
dence. 

And once war was declared, the people were allowed or 
compelled to "take out" whatever opposition they might feel 
in private thought, not public or open opposition. It was 
openly admitted that a referendum might have prevented a 
declaration of war, yet afterwards public complaint was rug- 
gedly suppressed by the courts and officials, if not by the 
whole people, astounding farces by way of law being perpe- 
trated. Still later on, when it came to "raising" troops, money 
and supplies (controlling food), volunteer service in the first 
of these fields was swiftly abandoned, and conscription, 
with all which that implied in the way of force and putting 
down opposition to it, free speech as well as free action, was 
used. "Public sentiment," as fostered by an administrative 
press bureau, to say nothing of much foreign propaganda, con- 
trolled or overawed the papers. Overawing sentences, such as 
forty years in the penitentiary, for circulating a pamphlet in 
opposition to the current will of the Government, were uni- 
formly handed down in all parts of the nation by a judiciary 
whose independence, sanctity and what not were supposed to 
be the bulwark of American liberty. But at whose request? 



SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 37 

By what authority? The necessity of strict and impartial 
justice? 

I am not quarreling with the process; I am showing the 
thin line of difference between autocracy and democracy where 
necessity or passing opinion favors one course of conduct or 
another. Later on, when suggestions in regard to food-saving 
were rather freely ignored, the "suggestions" became not only 
suggestions but restrictions and, to quote the food administra- 
tor, "the restrictions will be voluntary, but any evasion will 
result in compulsory enforcement." Similarly in connection 
with bond-selling; the people were to lend and lend and lend 
because they loved their country, but (I am quoting a leading 
administrative organ) "the period has arrived (October, 1918) 
to discontinue wooing and soft-soaping. God help the man 
who is found with filled pockets if the war goes on because of a 
financial failure here." 

And it was not alone in such matters where some inde- 
pendence or at least latitude might have been presupposed, 
but it extended to a press censorship and an intolerance of 
opposing opinion which compared rather favorably to darkest 
days of Russian autocracy. Although America is always 
naive and "free," its innumerable blessings of tolerance and 
the like prated of, still there was but one publicly endured 
opinion in relation to the conduct of the war, and that was pro- 
war. Any other form of thought was rigidly put down, 
although in England and France one might say one's say with 
all but destructive freedom. One woman in New York was 
actually fined for saying that "Ireland was as good as Eng- 
land any day!" A booklet entitled "Shall Morgan Own the 
Earth?" and intended to show how the war was profiting 
some individuals, was first investigated by the Department of 
Justice and pronounced immune, then later the author was 
urged "as a patriotic duty" to change the title; still later, 
even under the milder title, it was refused the privilege of the 



38 SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER. 

mails by the Postoffice Department and the author warned 
that "to circulate it would subject you to ten years in prison. 
You know it violates the Espionage Law." 

And to what astounding fol-de-rol in regard to the conduct 
of all wars in the future, if not in the past, were we not 
treated I There were to be no more brutal wars of any 
kind anywhere. Everl Oddly enough, the horrors of the 
Civil War, especially the part of the Northern soldiers in it, 
were entirely forgotten; also the "water cure" and "Hell Roar- 
ing Jake Smith" of the Philippine campaign were forgotten 
those natives, for instance, who were stood up in rows and 
shot down one after another by an officer with a revolver 
or who had water poured down their throats and into their 
noses until they died of strangulation, because they could not, 
or did not choose to, reveal that which possibly they did not 
even know. Nations as well as individuals have short mem- 
ories. Before we entered the war it really looked as though 
a great war must necessarily be fought with tooth-brushes, so 
great was the opposition to brutality. Later we were never to 
fight any more wars at all, or if we did it was all to be ended by 
one war. A little later one of our greatest agonies was that we 
could not visit on the enemy something much more terrible 
than they were visiting on us national annihilation, no less. 
We could not live in peace with autocracy although, for- 
sooth, we could live in peace with the Japanese, the Chinese, 
the Imperial Russian Government before it fell, England in 
India, England in Egypt anything and everything, indeed, 
save with a nation that did not fight as we did. Never again 
were the erring nations to be restored to their old place in the 
world. Between chortles over an immense trade increase, a 
finally united railway system, new and better methods of food 
control, intensive agriculture, lessons in self-denial and thought, 
still, and idiotic as it may seem, the war was an unmixed evil; 
the Germans were all wrong. "The passage of a thousand 



SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 39 

years will not obliterate the memory of Germany's crime. She 
will get her good name back when Judas does." (I am quot- 
ing from the Cincinnati Enquirer of March, 1918.) And this 
in the face of the above-recited blessings pointed out in this 
very paper! What are you to say for such a ragbag point of 
view, a national intelligence that can blow hot and cold with 
the same breath? 

Actually, it looked for a time as though America were 
suffering from pernicious mental anemia. Its whole original 
significance as a forward-pushing, clear-thinking nation ap- 
peared to have been clouded over, and, not unlike the bee 
and the coral insect which apparently serve only one or two 
purposes in life the one to gather honey and pollenize the 
flowers, the other to build a coral island that it had been 
invented by Nature to devise and manufacture machinery 
which it should never have the courage or brains to apply 
to the limits of their possibilities. It was as though the Ger- 
mans and the English and the Japanese, seeing the peculiar 
gifts and mental limitations of the American, were to be per- 
mitted to use his gifts, quite as we use the stored labor of 
the bee or the coral insect, and leave him to go on moiling in 
his brainless mechanistic way. For the average American, who 
could so easily invent a flying machine, a submarine, a range- 
finder for guns, a revolving turret, a steel-protected battleship, 
a steamboat, and what not, was being urged to believe, at 
first, that he had no heart for their use and that he was "too 
proud to fight" or lacked the courage to face the horrible 
grinding necessities of life; later that he was the greatest 
fighter of all. Only, having proved that, he was still to be- 
lieve that he was here only to save the world, never by any 
chance to further his own interests. His great inventions 
were to be put aside like toys or sold to others or reserved for 
moral purposes only. 

For note, up to the hour of sheer tragic compulsion, every- 



40 SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 

thing was, and no doubt still is, to the average American, i 
matter of morality, and morality, take note, in the limitec 
sense in which he understood and appreciated morals up t 
that time. You might invent a battleship wherewith to defem 
yourself and kill other people, but if you used it for any bu 
a Christian or moral purpose, or the enemy who was non 
Christian got it (and used it) it was terrible, shameful, a mora 
crime, not to be blotted out by a thousand years of expiation 
To an American, a machine, however deadly in intention, o 
its method of slaying, was not to be used unless some dis 
tinctly moral end was to be achieved by it. And he was t< 
judge as to the moral end involved. But, to his horror, he wa 
finding and did find that the savage and the pagan could ge 
hold of his machine gun or his flying machine, or submarine 
or his battleship, or chemic invention of any kind, and turn 
it on him without any moral compunction whatsoever anc 
to his still further Christian horror it worked just as wel 
for the savage or the pagan as it did for him. Nature, o 
God, did not prevent the submarine from discharging a tor 
pedo at an unarmed merchantman any more than it aided th 
firing of one from a Christian submarine at a pagan battle 
ship. In short, Nature seemed to be without Christianity o 
Christian morals, and this shocked the American terribly. Hi 
found that he had to lay aside, for the time being anyhow 
his fine-spun theories and fight in any way that he could 
and he proceeded to do so. Whereupon, he won. But to th 
American, nevertheless, and in spite of all this. Nature was anc 
is still strictly moral. She has fixed, definite and Christiai 
ways by which she works. Whenever the good American bj 
any chance discovers that Nature is betraying him in anj 
way, not working according to the code as handed down a 
Sinai, or the Mount in Palestine, he is horror-stricken! What 
Nature not working according to the Ten Commandments. 
The weak do not inherit the earth? "Thou shalt not kill" no 



SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 41 

a universal law? "Thou shalt not steal or commit adultery" 
not chemic or psychic truth running through all nature? Who 
says so? Where is our God who told us these things? Why 
does he not act in our behalf? Why does he not confound the 
enemy in his blasphemies, destroy him, for flouting these 
fundamental religious truths? 

But behold, God does not, or did not act until the Amer- 
icans, bestirring themselves and laying aside their theorizing, 
proceeded to fight as do the heathen. Then and then only, 
with the moral and exegetic rust rubbed off and the good 
American, standing up vital and dangerous, did the tide turn. 
Up to that hour the tide was indifferently going against 
him. The heathen, noting his mood, had picked up the 
American's subtle inventions where he laid them down fine, 
powerful, complete but immoral instruments and had used 
them for "immoral" purposes. And the machines and the 
schemes of the American, moral though he thought they were, 
worked just as well for the unmoral heathen as for himself. 
To his pathetic horror and utter Christian decay he found that 
if he was to succeed at all he must not only invent subtle 
and deadly things, but apply them in the same spirit in which 
he invented them or other people would horrific Nature, 
working through other non-Christian nations quite as effec- 
tively as it worked through good Christian Americans. In other 
words, Nature was not Christian, not moral, in the sense that a 
race or an organized society working to protect its selfish inter- 
nal arrangements and comforts may be, and no amount of ener- 
getic spouting on this score helped him in the least. Nature, or 
God, or what you will, showed that it cared no whit, not a snap 
of her or his fingers, what becomes of man or an American 
with his theories, religious or otherwise, unless he was able 
to protect himself. A man or a nation had to have wealth 
and power to survive, and if the Germans had had more 
power they would have survived, methods or means to the con- 



42 SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 

trary notwithstanding. Ten thousand pagan shrines did not 
save Rome from the pacifist destruction which Christianity 
involved. Ten million Christian churches spouting peace and 
non-warlike ways could not and did not save America or any 
other country from a nation which put its faith in war and 
the ruthless forces of Nature herself. Only greater war on our 
part could do that, and did. 

But let us consider some of America's other equally potent 
and definite moods or opinions in regard to some other things: 
the negro for one. By the year 1700 slavery, which up to 
that time had been more or less a matter of individual pref- 
erence or taste, there being no general Colonial agreement in 
regard to it, had become an economic institution in Colonial 
life. A legalized status of Indian, white and negro servants 
had preceded slavery in almost all, if not all, the English- 
maintained colonies; but apparently it paid to make them 
slaves, and they were so made in spite of the legal fact that 
they were not. Later the difference in the industries of the 
several States made slavery more desirable in some States than 
in others, and then the natural boundary lines of the slave 
territory began to develop. Georgia and South Carolina espe- 
cially were clamoring for slave-labor on the tobacco, cotton and 
rice plantations; whereas in the North it was found to be an 
unsatisfactory system, and so there was early developed in 
those Colonies a sentiment against a negro population and 
the institution of slavery in general. It cannot be said that 
this was due entirely to the economic disadvantage of keep- 
ing slaves in the North there always existed some opposition 
to slavery in the minds of individuals but would it have been 
effective if slave labor had been profitable as profit- 
able, say, as it was in the South? Jefferson, for in- 
stance, wrote a denunciation of slavery into his draft 
of the Declaration of Independence, but later, owing to its 



SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 43 

probable effect on slave-holding Colonies, erased it. And ne- 
groes were freely lynched and burned in New York City in 
1712 and 1741 because they were suspected of a desire to 
rebel against slavery. A public slave-market was established 
in New York City as early as 1709! 

Yet to hear the average Christian American of today or 
earlier talk of slavery and its horrors and the great war fought 
to free the negro, you might assume that he liked him. Far 
from it. Although a Northern Congress (March 2d, 1867) 
attempted to impose universal manhood suffrage on the South 
and (1875) passed a law forbidding discrimination against 
negroes in inns, public conveyances, theaters and other places, 
aimed principally at the South, still the negro has never been 
accepted in the spirit of these laws either in the North or 
South. In any residence neighborhood anywhere in America, 
when the black man begins to come in the whites move out. 
Excellent as he may be, and I have known many who were 
wholly admirable, he is not even wanted in the same churches 
or schools. And the feeling, instead of growing less, becomes 
stronger. Almost daily he is burned alive somewhere in Amer- 
ica, and for all but indifferent crimes. America may have fought 
and bled for his physical freedom, but she does not want him 
about; and when, as in 1917 in East St. Louis, employers at- 
tempted to use him to break a strike, he was murdered (117 of 
him in that instance) , his homes burned, his wives and children 
driven out of the region; and in the far South, where one of him 
has even so much as insulted a deputy sheriff, he has been done 
to death, he and his entire family. Yet the American has no 
plan for the negro his threatening future here. He merely 
allows the question to go begging, trusting to luck, no doubt. 
Puzzle: does the American citizen want the negro, or doesn't 
he? 

** 

Take once more the matter of the American and the idle, 



44 SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 

greedy or predatory rich, as you please, and their attitude 
toward America, all being citizens of the same land. Because 
a Colonial American once wrote it down in our Declaration of 
Independence that men are created free and equal, that they 
are, and of right ought to be, entitled to life, liberty and the 
pursuit of happiness at the hands of their fellow-citizens and 
the world, the American ever since has been amazed and 
troubled by the curious human or chemic contradictions of and 
oppositions to this, not only in others but himself. Struggling 
along trying to be free and happy he finds that he is constantly 
interfered with by others who are doing the same thing, and 
that, Declaration of Independence or no Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, the curious fact remains that the strong, the ruth- 
less, the shrewd get along as well here as they do anywhere 
and that they are constantly developing ways and means of 
undermining him and foreshortening his peace and happiness 
in favor of their own. 

Thus, in illustration: (i) A Federal judge (1919) ruled that 
although Congress (1918) had forbidden any one to compel 
children of ten or more years of age to labor in cotton mills, 
still it was unconstitutional for Congress so to forbid and 
those who wished could so employ children. Result, hun- 
dreds of thousands of children returned to eleven hours per 
day factory labor. 

(2) A New Jersey judge, one Gumere by name, ruled (1900) 
that a child's life, lost in an accident on a railroad or other 
public conveyance, was not worth more than one dollar, the 
child not being as yet a source of profit to its parents. 

(3) An Ohio circuit judge (William H. Taft, afterwards 
President of the United States) ruled (1893) that quitting 
work without the consent of the employer was a criminal 
offense on the part of an employee. 

(4) The Federal Supreme Court ruled (1908) that arbitra- 
tion in labor disputes is unconstitutional, therefore something 



SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 45 

which an employer may not even enter upon with his em- 
ployees. 

(5) The Oregon Supreme Court decided (1903) that a citi- 
zen might be legally held in duress (jailed) for one month 
without trial this in the face of explicit prohibition on the 
part of the American Constitution. 

(6) The Massachusetts Supreme Court held in one dispute 
(1906) that where conditions are unsatisfactory there is no 
remedy open to labor save by individual and personal suit; 
union or combined action being illegal or unconstitutional. 

(7) Four magnates, two of them controlling the production 
and two the distribution of milk for and in New York City, 
decided (January 10, 1919) that since they could not agree as 
to how the profits of the sale of milk in New York City 
were to be divided among them, New York was to have no 
milk until they could agree. Time of city without milk, one 
month. 

(8) One Barnet Baff, wholesale chicken merchant in New 
York City, was murdered because he would not enter upon a 
scheme with other chicken-wholesalers to fix prices and extort 
a higher profit from the public. Secondary executors, but not 
primary instigators or murderers, were caught and electro- 
cuted. 

(9) In Lachnor vs. New York (198 U. S. 45) a majority 
of the judges of the New York Court of Appeals held uncon- 
stitutional a law limiting the hours of labor of bakers, many 
of whom (women) were forced to toil twelve hours daily in 
cellars to earn wages barely sufficient to keep them alive. 
The Court held that this law was void because it interfered with 
freedom of contract. 

(10) In Ives vs. South Buffalo Ry. Co. (94 N. E. R. 431), 
a case in which a railroad employee, crippled for life while 
at work and without "contributory negligence," sued for recom- 
pense, the New York Court of Appeals unanimously decided 



46 SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 

that the law under which the suit was brought was unconsti- 
tutional. The judges admitted the injustice, since the man 
was helpless, but held the Constitution responsible. 

. . . One might thus go forward for pages. I merely cite 
these in order to present a few definite instances. The truth 
is that while the average American imagines he is better looked 
after and more free here than he would be elsewhere, it is more 
a matter of thought than anything else. As to his daily earn- 
ing and living capacity, while it is true that he gets more pay 
he also pays more for what he buys. A rising scale of wages 
has so regularly been accompanied by a lowering of the pur- 
chasing power of the dollar that he has not been much com- 
forted by higher wages. In fact, the National Department 
of Labor (February, 1919), after studying family budgets in 
various cities of the country, announced that the then ex- 
orbitant cost of necessities bore heaviest on incomes of one 
thousand dollars or less, although five per cent of the popula- 
tion controlled ninety-five per cent of the wealth of the nation. 
And one should further note the rising Protection policy of a 
hundred years, under which the trusts flourished without any 
notable increase of wages to the local consumer, and the local 
consumer paid uniformly higher prices than those paid by for- 
eigners for the same grade of goods, often the very same goods 
made here and shipped abroad. This protection explains the 
American multi-millionaire; also the American beggar 
and his slum. It also explains the profiteer. If the 
average American has had a little more of food and 
clothes than the men of some other countries, he has also been 
confronted by the very irritating spectacle of thousands upon 
thousands who have so much more than he has or can get. 
He has been made to appear as poor as any churchmouse any- 
where, and, worst of all, his woes get but small attention from 
those who, financially able to control his only medium of ex- 
pression, the newspapers, insist upon telling him that he is well 



SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 47 

and happy. If any one should doubt this, let him consult, for 
one thing, the report of the Federal Trade Commission ap- 
pointed by Congress (Report handed down June, 1918), 
wherein it was charged and proved that large exactions and 
safe profiteering permitted more than one giant concern to 
double, treble, even quintuple, its capitalization and still earn 
from 100 to 227 per cent in one instance. Coal, valued at five 
cents a ton in the ground, was being sold for twenty-two dol- 
lars a ton in New York not over two hundred and fifty 
miles away. Milk was shoved up rapidly from seven to 
seventeen-and-one-half cents a quart, and with no interference 
on the part of any one and no effort to pool the wasteful com- 
petition and duplication of systems which, on the other hand, 
were offered as an excuse for the necessity of the more than 
100 per cent increase. Wheat, potatoes, meat, oil, sugar rose 
in proportion. There was no corresponding increase in the 
wages, save to unionized labor (which was the only form of 
labor in a position to demand a just share, and which con- 
stituted but ten per cent of all employed). And these had to 
indulge in three hundred and sixty-seven strikes in the first 
three years of the war to effect even so much as a twenty 
per cent increase. (I am quoting figures furnished by the 
United States Bureau of Labor.) When complaint was made, 
one enthusiastic retort on the part of a corporation press was 
that the natural law of supply and demand must be allowed to 
work, that interference with exhorbitant prices meant curtail- 
ment of production at the source. The poor producer, robbed 
of his just right to high prices under a strenuous demand, would 
become discouraged and quit! On the other hand, the pro- 
ducer was constantly complaining tKat he was getting little 
more than before, while the rapidly increasing cost of labor 
was cited as proving the need of a from 100 to a 1000 per 
cent increase on everything shoes, clothes, food, rent. 

That is all simple and interesting enough when one accepts 



48 SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 

human nature for what it is: a thing of rough balances and 
equations only or a catch-as-catch-can struggle in which the 
strong or the shrewd survive and the weak go under. But 
when, in the same land in which these things occur, the air is 
full of a huge hubbub over the extreme merits of democracy, 
and when at the same time any one who says anything against 
profiteering or intimates that democracy as such may be sub- 
ject to at least some of the faults of autocracy is looked upon 
as an enemy, if not an enemy alien, it becomes slightly ana- 
chronistic, to say the least. 



It is also a matter of pride with most of us, frequently ex- 
pressed in disparagement of our European contemporaries, that 
we are a nation of workers. To hold a position in any Amer- 
ican community, so the thought runs, a man must have a job. 
We do not conceal our contempt for the chap who fails to go 
down to an office or a business every day. Often, of course, 
our ostentatious workers do go down but do very little work. 
Still, somehow it is felt by the public at large that every man 
owes it to the community or the nation to put in from six to 
ten hours outside of the residential district doing something, 
if no more than twiddling his thumbs. Hence the huge 
commuting armies oscillating to and fro, between home and 
office or factory. And yet can it be said that American com- 
mercial activity is so immensely more profitable than that of 
any other nation? Or even as much so? During the late 
great war it was actually proved that both Germany and Eng- 
land had shrewder and more profitable business schemes and 
methods. The German plan for national co-operative buying 
was one. Again, the superior efficiency of the Germans and 
even the English was one of the facts which burst like a flash 
of lightning out of a clear sky upon the astonished American, 
the instantaneous skill with which all national resources food, 
clothing, transportation, man-power were mobilized and put 



SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 49 

at the services of the nation, the relative cheapness of it all, 
the efficiency with which it was maneuvered once it was in the 
hands of the Government. Yet the American business man as 
well as the American executive, while English and French Com- 
missionaires were instructing our factory masters and " Captains 
of Industry," had been bustling down to his desk each day, his 
telephone to his ear, or racing from one directors' meeting to 
another and the result to America was the largest war debt 
per capita for time of service in the war and number of men 
involved of any nation in the world, not even excepting Russia. 
Question: Is the American business man as efficient as we think 
he is? As honest? As patriotic? Is he? 



Another curiosity of American character is, or was before 
the war, its adoration of all things foreign. Everything abroad 
was, if it is not now, excellent, priceless, beyond all praise or 
blame; whereas anything native, or even occidental, was more 
or less worthless or inconsiderable even such things as the 
Andes and Amazon, as contrasted with the Alps and the Nile; 
Brazil and Argentina, Mexico and the Canadian snows were as 
nothing compared to Belgium or Turkey, the Riviera, Asia, 
Africa. One cannot help smiling a little at times at the grand 
manner with which the only moderately equipped foreigner, 
intellectually or otherwise, has been permitted to walk abroad 
in America and either sniff at or patronize all with which 
he comes in contact as though it were nothing. And the 
pathetic desire of the American to live up to what foreigners 
expected of him even the waiters of France or the middle 
class or gentry of England. And as for the English lord, the 
French or Italian count, the Austrian or even German baron, 
the Spanish grandee, the Russian prince or Turkish pasha it 
is folly to deny that he was may be even yet, for all one 
knows overcome by his attentions. To the American they 
were inherently better, in some strange sense, more versed in 



'50 SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER | 

the ways of that great world which he longed to explore. Let' 
a restaurant advertise a French cuisine or cook; a tailor say 
he is English; a beauty-parlor or dressmaker that it or she 01 
he is of Paris; a writer or artist that he is of French, Russian, 
Italian, English extraction creak goes the American knee and! 
instanter your native American is down on his marrowbones, 
his eyes rolled heavenward. Of Paris! Of London! Of Rome! 
Of St. Petersburg! Of Vienna! Ah! How many American 
fortunes have been re-banked in Europe to the order of the: 
thinnest of noble pretensions! What millions have not been ex- 
pended in an all but useless effort to take on the color and 
surface veneer of European manners and culture! To this 
day a foreign make of car, watch, cloth, is inherently better 
than that of any American manufacture. Formerly foreign 
plays practically excluded the American product and rightly 
enough, in my judgment. We have been "raised" on the 
foreign book, the foreign picture, the foreign object of art. 
The Swiss, French or Austrian Alps how for a hundred years 
at least have they not outrivaled everything America has to 
offer! 

And well enough, perhaps, since as yet America has no in- 
tellectual atmosphere, no native art force wherewith to present 
its claim, even to itself. A drab, and in places narrowly igno- 
rant, people, imagining that it is religious, moral, conservative 
a thousand things that really it is not. Since it is mental 
capacity that makes a country interesting to itself and others, 
perhaps it is the drab attitude of the American toward what 
he has and is which makes his land so uninteresting to himself 
and others. Give him a different mental attitude, more per- 
spective, "punch," daring in regard to life itself, and America 
would soon take on a luster not outrivaled by that of any 
other land. 

Let us contemplate in this connection another and, in so far 



SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 51 

as this essay is concerned, final phase of the American mind 
for I have elsewhere dealt with moral narrowness and that is 
his serious and, were it not so pathetic and at times tragic, one 
might say, amusing, faith in the ballot and what it will or 
can accomplish for him. Always, always he is voting for some 
one a mayor or a State legislator every year; a congressman 
every two years, a senator every four or six; a governor every 
two and a President every four years and he is under the 
illusion that thereby, by his vote, his choice of a candidate, he 
is running the Government and maintaining his so-called liber- 
ties. The futility of his vote in the late great war might have 
taught him something, if only he were to be taught. To this 
day he has not discovered that, in the main, he is merely voting 
for individuals thrust upon him by interests and forces over 
which he has no control, never has had, and apparently never 
can have, and the election or defeat of whom does not depend 
upon him or the individuals about whom he is so excited. 
Mayors, governors, state legislators, congressmen, senators, and 
even judges and presidents, come and go, but the powerful 
interests at the top remain ; and however much the former may 
be imbued with a desire to do something for the rank and file, 
the latter are there to revise or repress their emotions or opin- 
ions, and the ordinary voter finds himself about where he was 
before of small force or weight in the vast welter of Ameri- 
can politics. In short, keen money-masters at the top long 
since learned that a bare majority of votes anywhere, in or out 
of congress or a state legislature, is sufficient to confer rule and 
that, apart from convincing the intellect by sound argument, 
there were many, many ways of bending the representatives of 
the people to their will. If this is not true, how is it that 
five per cent of them have ninety-five per cent of the wealth 
and the other ninety-five only five? 

Those who have made a study of the history of the American 
judiciary have stood in amaze before the evidence that non- 



52 SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTE1 

elective branches of the Government could so consistently, soi 
openly and so contemptuously undo the work of the elective] 
branches (The Dred Scott decision; the first nullification of> 
the income tax; to cite only two). In what American city* 
would an outside corporation desiring real facilities or privileges- 
not deem itself lunatic not to see the individual local boss, who 
holds no office of any kind but who is nevertheless the last; 
authority and can tell the local mayor and the local council, 
often the local governor, what and how? And to whom does 
the local boss bow the local governor or national president? 
Not at all. He makes them, or helps. He bows to but one 
force: money, the great national monied interests, and none 
other. It is only when the financial powers at the top fall out 
among themselves that the least of benefits accrue to the people. 
It is always so, and has always been so. Equation equation. 
The monied individual against the mass; the mass against the 
monied individual. 

In what American city or state, pray, would a popular vote 
for any franchise or improvement, however needful, be of any 
avail unless the consent of the financial oligarchs at the top 
(in Wall Street principally) were first obtained? So much is 
this a commonplace that even the voters themselves would 
laugh at the suggestion of any power lying in them to obtain 
any such thing. Before the Government temporarily took over 
the railroads during the period of the great war, Lucius Tuttle 
(a mere single illustration, this), president of the Boston & 
Maine Railroad, controlled the political life of Maine, New 
Hampshire and Vermont and lifted up or cast down, at his 
personal whim, members of legislatures, governors, and United 
States senators. This is a matter of record, not of rumor. 
The quondam Senator Chandler of New Hampshire, one of the 
foremost senators of the nation of his day, was thrown out 
of office on orders from Mr. Tuttle for the most inconsequential 
exhibition of independence. And Mr. Tuttle took his orders 



SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 53 

from Charles S. Mellen, president of the New York, New 
Haven & Hartford Railroad; Mr. Mellen took his orders from 
J. Pierpont Morgan, the elder, financial master of Wall Street. 
And Mr. Morgan took his orders from whom? God? 

Is it not a commonplace of fact, recorded in every newspaper 
file in America as well as every history worthy the name, that 
the Goulds, Hills, Harrimans, Rockefellers, Vanderbilts and 
such great banking houses as Kuhn, Loeb & Company, abso- 
lutely ruled via agents, attorneys, lobbyists, paid legislators, 
governors and the like the politics of the states through which 
their roads passed? The little minnow voters running here 
and there in schools might amuse themselves as they would by 
voting for this, that or the other unimportant thing a mayor, 
say, or a governor or a president but let any vital question 
appear, something affecting the purse or privileges of the 
money-lords, and the votes of the voters were cast out or mis- 
counted, their elected representatives suborned and made false 
to their oaths and pledges, the judiciary ruled as the money 
interests dictated, the newspapers made to cloud the issue with 
specious or false arguments, and even presidents and parties 
faced about, leaving the dreaming, ambitious, hopeful voter to 
dream on or to seek his so-called constitutional rights in some 
other vain or ridiculous way. Money has always ruled America, 
and apparently always will. As well ask five cents to contend 
with five billion dollars as to ask an ordinary voter or business 
man of minor import to maintain or obtain his so-called rights, 
privileges, hopes, dreams via the ballot, or any other way. 
Even decent consideration for him or his affairs from those 
above him financially has not in the main been granted. He 
has been whipped and harried by the very rich as they chose; 
and still, because he has the ballot and can go to the polls every 
once in so often and cast it and at such times as he is 
not whimpering over his defeats he imagines he rules! 






54 SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 

The truth is that America has not as yet had an intelligence' 
or a culture worthy the name. It has no visible intellectual! 
purpose, unless it be that of getting money. What little so- 
called culture we have had, if we have had any, has been bor- 
rowed from abroad principally England, which itself has 
needed to be revivified along the lines of true culture; for it,, 
too, as to its written and spoken professions at least, has be- 
come puritan, pharisaic, religious and never has been demo- 
cratic. If you want to see America illustrated rather clearly 
as to its cultural, or lack of cultural, results contemplate the 
American millionaire. He had, if he has not now, the prevail- 
ing idea that money is power; he worshiped and slaved for it r 
in the hope that it would make him wonderful in the eyes of' 
all men. 

But consider the pathetic result. He got it. A great war 
crisis arrived. He wished to be useful with his great (and! 
purely imaginary) power, to do some significant thing which 
would help the world or at least his country in its hour of 
stress. Had he the mental or spiritual equipment to see or 
even feel what was needed? Or was he but one of that im- 
mense class of American men and women who discovered in 
this crisis that business somehow failed to fulfill their spiritual 
needs and reached out from it, only to find themselves lost in 
a maze of wider relationships for which they had no technique? 
Ford organized a peace ship! He, with a little load of editors, 
journalists, preachers and what not, going to Europe to "call 
the men out of the trenches by Christmas!" (1915). And the 
wise American papers, especially in our Middle and Far West, 
full of his praises, and the probability of success! It could 
be done! And that, in the face of an amazing and subtle racial 
movement and propaganda, with war and conquest as its 
under-stones, organizing in Germany since the year 1813. 
The rest contented themselves with making more money. So 



SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 55 

much for one American business giant's success, and his intel- 
lectual grasp on life! 

Take yet another phase in conclusion. At the beginning of 
the great world war we were constantly hearing talk of "the 
obligations laid upon us," "our duty to civilization," the neces- 
sity for "making the world safe for democracy," when, as a 
matter of fact and according to our chief spokesman's own ad- 
mission it was not until between the third and fourth year of 
the war that we began to realize the true program or purpose 
of the enemy and that some such enthusiasm as was at first 
called for might be necessary! We talked of the time having 
come for us "to play our part among the societies of the world' 7 
and then sent a Root and a Francis (corporation lawyers 
and agents both, and long since discredited by the American 
people themselves) to argue with the representatives of a 
torn and war-worn people seeking a new and better form of 
social and political life. In the war itself it was apparently 
assumed that "men, money and ships" (the old American idea 
of quantity, you see, not ideas or wits wherewith to match the 
deepest schemes of our adversaries as well as our friends) 
was the point. But life or international politics and relations 
or diplomacy is something more than that. It may, and did, 
require nothing less than a mobilization of new characteristics 
and unique forces on the part of the pacifistic and religious- 
minded American. It actually compelled him to open his 
brains to the fact that life is more dark and mysterious than he 
had supposed, more forceful and terrible and cruel than his 
petty little pacifistic and puritanic dreams would previously 
have permitted him to believe. A door was unlocked, a win- 
dow opened, and looking out or in on the deeps of Nature he 
saw dimly enough even then, it must be admitted what he 
has not even yet digested; that Nature has no strict and 
God-given rules, that nothing is really fixed; anything may 



5 6 SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 

arise, and that within the bounds of an unknown arc of equa- 
tion anything may happen anything. 

But it took a world horror to crack the armor of smug, 
ignorant self-sufficiency which has covered the average Ameri- 
can from crown to sole. 

And has he learned? Does life really mean any more to him 
than it did before? I wonder. As some one else has brilliantly 
said: 

"The fierce, rudimentary mass mind of America, like that of 
some inchoate, primeval monster, relentlessly concentrated in 
the appetite of the moment, knows nothing as yet apparently of 
its own vast, inert, almost nerveless body encrusted with para- 
sites. One looks out to-day over the immense vista of our 
society, stretching westward in a succession of dreary steppes, 
and one realizes what it means to possess no cultural initiative 
or tradition, filling in the interstices of energy and maintaining 
a steady current of life over and above the ebb and flow of 
individual necessity or animal appetite or purpose." Money, 
money, money. To build, build, build, in order to make more 
money, to make a show, to be better than thou financially 
only. It is told of the quondam Russell Sage that he kept near 
him in his office a strongbox containing $78,000,000 in what he 
called "gilt-edge" securities, the which, whenever he wished to 
prove how wonderful he was and how great his life had been, 
he brought forth and exclaimed: "There there isn't a man in 
America who can show that many first-class stocks and bonds! 
Not one!" 

And there wasn't, perhaps. 

But what of it? 

He died, and not knowing what to do with it (splendid testi- 
mony to the American financial intellect), left it all to his wife; 
who, old and ignorant herself and not knowing what to do 
with it, but fearing its senseless distribution, left it, after 
various benefactions to sectarian schools and much influence 






SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 57 

brought to bear, to the Russell Sage Foundation. And the 
Russell Sage Foundation, not knowing exactly what to do with 
it, has been "investigating," and re-investigating and re-re-in- 
vestigating ever since, this, that and the other, with a view to 
finding out what it should do with it, what one thing, if any, 
to help. And what great thing, if any, has the Russell Sage 
Foundation done? 

Well, America, in its own peculiar and interesting way, may 
find itself intellectually. As an old char-woman who worked 
for me remarked, "I'm not so dumb than I look." So, possibly 
and probably, America. 

To be sure, a new country must at first borrow its culture 
from somewhere. One does not come by such a thing instanter 
and out of a silk hat. Still here is a nation now three hundred 
years old ; it has one hundred and twenty millions of people, if 
not more ; it has as great, and in their way forceful, cities as ex- 
ist anywhere on the globe; its architecture is already most im- 
posing and fast attaining a splendor hitherto never equaled by 
any land; a far better and more satisfying mechanical equip- 
ment is here than in any nation elsewhere. We have, in so far 
as material facilities are concerned, more and better opportuni- 
ties for genuine culture than are now available to the mass 
anywhere. Then, why are we so bent, I should like to know, 
upon more money, and, when not that, upon idealistically mis- 
interpreting life? The few genuine thinkers that America has 
thus far produced are taboo: Poe, Whitman, Twain. Only 
in one field, finance not in war, politics, the arts and sheer 
intellect do our essential individuals compare favorably with 
those of other lands. In the main we are too idealistic or 
illusioned in all but our material affairs. But why all the 
delusion in re the ordinary intellectual facts of life? No single 
nation has more of wealth, courage, industry, or more impres- 
sive varieties of scenery, be it of mountains, lakes, valleys, the 
coast. We should be, and for all I know are (although the 



58 SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 

signs are not numerous), at the opening of an era of art and 
letters such as the world in none of its great periods has sur- 
passed. Yet in spite of all this, and in so far as the mass and 
its ostensible leaders are concerned, we are intellectually dull 
and unperceiving in regard to all the basic facts of life. All 
men are still honest, kind and true (or should be) in America; 
all women pure as driven snow (or should be) in America. 
The Sermon on the Mount is our real Constitution; the Ten 
Commandments our only laws. We all do justly, think kindly, 
and it is only bad men from the world without, strangers and 
evil-thinkers, who come from heaven knows where for our in- 
tellectual and spiritual cosmogony does not admit them to 
cause us trouble. 

America in its own good time may come to a great end. 
And again it may not. It may be who knows? a mere 
money machine, a honey-gatherer like the bee, a material welter 
like Rome, without the slightest vision as to what to do or how 
to act once it has its great store. Other and shrewder nations, 
far less able financially or physically, may yet lead the giant 
by the hand, pull him around by the nose. He may be psycho- 
logically the same as the wealthy heir to whom life's pains and 
doubts are and remain unknown, who, being pulled in upon ex- 
pensive pleasures or the ventures of others and given a super- 
ficial reason, is cheerfully willing to pay the bill and depart. 

Well, if so be, so be. Who can help it? Nature, if not man, 
has a way however, if not wisdom. In the course of time She 
disposes of nations and their dreams, as well as man and his, 
by rotting them and their material splendors back into primal 
chemical substances and forces and forgetting them. Rome 
has gone; Greece has gone; and many, many another. But 
speaking for a nation that wishes to stand forth mentally sig- 
nificant among the peoples of the earth, that wishes to lead or 
at least be among those that lead, must not thought intelli- 
gent, artistic, accurate vision be among its primary charac- 






SOME ASPECTS OF OUR NATIONAL CHARACTER 59 

teristics? And is it not possible that as with individuals so 
with nations where the power to think is lacking failure fol- 
lows? Sometimes, and in view of the careers of various na- 
tions past and still present, one is hounded by the thought that 
as with individuals so with nations; some are born fools, live 
fools, and die fools. And may not America perchance be one 
such? 

One hopes not. 
But 



THE DREAM 

SCENE: The vicinity of iijth Street and Broadway, New York 
City, on a warm, lowery May night. Time, 11.15. 

Approach along Broadway from n6th Street George Paul Syphers, 
Professor of Chemistry; Forbes Mitchell, Professor of Phi- 
losophy; Abner Barrett, Professor af Physics. Syphers is 
medium in height, slim, fiery, black-whiskered, barbered to per- 
fection. He is loquacious and demonstrative. Mitchell is at- 
tenuated, humped, gray. He is quite old. Barrett is "fifty, 
blonde, bald, heavy, silent. 

SYPHERS 

(As they reach the corner.) Well, I turn off here. That was 
an interesting discussion we had, eh? The fact is, Mitchell, 
as I told you the other day, I have passed out of my old mate- 
rialistic point of view to a certain extent not entirely but 
now I see more order in things than I once did a necessary 
if mechanistic order. It seems more or less inescapable to me, 
doesn't it to you? 

MITCHELL 

(Doubtfully) Well, yes, I might say only of 
course 

BARRETT 

(Dogmatically.) I do not see how any one can doubt law. 
Everything obeys law of one kind and another. 

SYPHERS 

Quite so! Quite so! Law, of course. Everything obeys a 
law or laws of one kind and another. Nevertheless, there are 
so many confusing contradictions. Laws seem to conflict at 

60 



THE DREAM 6r 

times, don't you think, even in chemical and sidereal space. 
You don't deny that, do you? 

BARRETT 

Still, more knowledge might prove them to be anything but 
contradictory. 

SYPHERS 

Well, I admit that, too. Only I was merely suggesting that I 
see more definite order than I once did. A few years ago I 
could see nothing but disorder, chaos, the inexplicable clashing 
of forces. Of late I am not so sure. This matter of ortho- 
genesis now; it appeals to me very much as demonstrating an 
intellectual if not a spiritual order, some great controlling 
force somewhere. I seem to see a definite tendency to order 
in things. Life has certainly built itself up through the ages 
in a very intelligent way indeed, don't you think? 

BARRETT 

(Loftily.) Ye-es, of course, only there have been many er- 
rors and conflicts there too sudden stoppage of plans in vari- 
ous directions. 

MITCHELL 
True, as I was about to point out. 

SYPHERS 

(Almost unconscious of interruption.) I admit that. I 
admit that. What I am getting at is this: all life, as we know 
it, is based on the cell cell origination, cell multiplication, cell 
arrangement. That is an old story. Now here is something 
which is my own idea it's a mere theory, of course that the 
whole thing may have been originated, somehow, somewhere 
else, worked out beforehand, as it were, in the brain of some- 
thing or somebody and is now being orthogenetically or chemi- 
cally directed from somewhere, being thrown on a screen, as it 
were, like a moving-picture, and we mere dot pictures, mere cell- 
built-up pictures, like the movies, only we are telegraphed or 
telautographed from somewhere else, like those dot pictures 



62 THE DREAM 

that are now made electrically, built up dot by dot, millions o 
them coming rapidly by wireless or wire and being thrown on ; 
screen of some kind ether, the elements you know what ! 
mean. You have seen the telautograph pictures I mean, o 
course? 

BARRETT 

Yes, of course. Very ingenious. Very ingenious. But hov 
do you prove the origination of the cell in the fashion that yoi 
want? 

MITCHELL 

(Aside.) A rather slow movie, I should say, considering th< 
length of time it has taken to build it up. 

SYPHERS 

Well, in this way it has its drawbacks, of course; you re- 
member the experiments of that Irish scientist Burke, don'1 
you? He generated what he called a radiobe a single cell ir 
a plasm culture which he had hermetically sealed and which 
he kept under the influence of radium. I do not recall the 
exact facts of the case at the moment, and I do not believe 
that his deductions have since been accepted, but that is 
neither here nor there. That idea of his illustrates mine very 
well. If we could prove that one cell, one radiobe, had been 
or could be originated or generated by an outside influence 
of this kind radium, if you wish, in a plasm of that kind 
we would have to admit that the whole thing might be built 
up in some such fashion. Why, you could base a new phi- 
losophy on that, Mitchell. One radiobe generated in a plasm 
culture under radium or something else, some autogenetic 
force manifesting itself through a thing like radium, and there 
you are. After that you would have to grant the possibility of 
millions and billions of cells coming in that fashion, whole 
nations constructed of cells, as they have been. 
MITCHELL 

My dear Syphers! 



THE DREAM 63 

BARRETT 

There was some hitch in that experiment, however. The 
chain wasn't quite complete. 

SYPHERS 

I know I know. I grant you that. All I'm insisting on is 
that if one cell, one radiobe, say, can be generated by a syn- 
thesis of energy, why not millions? And if millions, why not 
billions, the whole human family, in short, since we are a syn- 
thesis of cells this whole visible scene in all its details? I 
know it sounds wild, but (to Mitchell) I have heard you your- 
self say that you thought it might be possible that we were all 
a part of some invisible psychic body, force body, in the 
mechanism of which we function in some way, just as the cells 
do in ours. 

MITCHELL 

(Much flattered.) Yes, I have said as much. 
SYPHERS 

Well, then, why may not my theory be true? 
BARRETT 

May? May? Of course it may. But how are you going 
to prove it? I myself have suggested that Mitchell's larger 
psychic body, as he calls it, may be nothing more than a fetus, 
a secondary creature being built in the womb of a still larger 
organism, but what of it? All of us, everything that we see 
here, may be nothing more than parts of organs that are being 
constructed in some huge womb. This so-called higher psychic 
body may not even be complete yet, not ready to be born in its 
realm. But how do we know? There's nothing to prove it. 

SYPHERS 

Just the same, if I had a few hundred thousand dollars I 
would enlarge my laboratory and pursue this subject. I believe 
that something may be discovered. I believe that I could prove 
it in the course of time. Why, snow crystals, tree and flower 
forms, everything, gives us a hint, sometimes instantaneously. 



64 THE DREAM 

Why do snow crystals assume almost instantaneously and out 
of nothing their beautiful forms? The controlling impulse is 
certainly artistic, isn't it, and outside of anything we know? 
(He notes that he is pressing the matter too jar and boring his 
two friends.) Well, good night. Glad to see you two at the 
meeting to-night. It was interesting, wasn't it? 

BARRETT 
Very. (To himself.) He's a terrible bore. 

MITCHELL 

Delightful. (To himself.) I'm glad he's done. (They bow 
and depart.) 

SYPHERS 
Dolts! Fogies! That's always the way, dull and cautious. 

BARRETT 

(As they walk up the street.) An ingenious theory, but 
dangerously speculative. He ought to read Stromeyer on "Im- 
pulse." 

MITCHELL 

I often wonder about his work and just how sound he is. 

SYPHERS reaches his own door and goes up the steps, un- 
locks it and mounts the inside stairs to his room. He lights the 
gas in a chamber which is half library and half bedroom.) 

SYPHERS 

(Seating himself and gazing about dreamily.) A great idea. 
I'm sure of it. Along this line is coming a scientific revolution. 
If I had enough radium and stromium, why but they cost 
so much. (He yawns.) Life is reafly a dream. We are all an 
emanation, a shadow, a moving picture cast on a screen of 
ether. I'm sure of it. (He gazes about, yawns again, and 
begins to undress.) 

A TELEGRAPH INSTRUMENT 

(At noth Street Station.) Tick tick-tick tick-tick-tick 

tick-tick tick tick-tick-tick-tick-tick 



THE DREAM 65 

TELEGRAPH OPERATOR 

There goes that blamed machine again (begins to write) 
"Professor George Paul Syphers, 621 West usth Street, New 
York City. Your uncle, Edward Fillmore, died at eleven to- 
night. By the terms of his will you are the sole heir to the 
bulk of his fortune, three hundred thousand dollars. Come at 
once. A. J. Larywind, Counsellor," (Aside.) I wish someone 
would leave me three thousand cents. (To a waiting mes- 
senger.) Here, Patsy. Take this up to ii5th Street. 

PATSY LAFERTY 

(Cock-eyed, overgrown, contentious.) Sure, it's just de 
night to keep busy. It's goin' to rain, an' it's me late watch. 
Oh, well, dere's nuttin' like bein' poor an' honest. (He seizes 
a black cotton umbrella almost as large as himself and goes 
out.) 

SYPHERS 

(Crawling into his bed.) The curious thing is: why should 
any dominant force outside this seeming life wish to create it 
the smallness, the pettiness, the suffering? I must write a 
book about that. Here I am (he suddenly bethinks him of 
opening a window and gets out. Looking out). It's going to 
rain, I do believe. (He returns and stretches himself to rest.) 
There, it's thundering already. 

PATSY LAFERTY 

(Trudging solemnly up Broadway.) It's funny, dese mokes 
wot git messages at one in de mornin'. I'll lay a even bet I 
don't git nuttin', neider. If you'd come wit a million dollars 
after twelve o'clock dere's guys wot'd git sore. 

SYPHERS 

(Dozing, but still continuing his speculations hazily.) I 
must try to find the psychic impulse which originates and 
directs the cell. That is the great thing. We're all shadows, 
I say, shadows adumbrations impalpable nothings rumors 



66 THE DREAM 

dreams. (He turns on his side.) If our ills become too great 
we might be able to wake up or drive them away by thinking 
of this. It may be that that's what we do when we die wake 
up. But that's Christian Science, isn't it? Bah! (He snores 
slightly.) 

PATSY LAFERTY 

(Arriving at the door and closing his umbrella.) A fine 
night, dis. An' he won't be in. Dat's my luck. (He rings the 
bell.) 

SYPHERS 

(Beginning to dream.) Radiobes! Radiobes! Flying radiv 
obes as big as houses monsters (He stirs. As he does so the 
ringing of the bell, the rising wind and the thunder and light- 
ning, which rapidly become violent, identify themselves in some 
weird way with his thoughts. He is on a large plain now over 
which a battle is being fought. The flashes of lightning and 
bellows of thunder gradually identify themselves in his mind 
with some impending disaster, vague and yet oppressive. He 
begins to cerebrate in an imaginative, illogical way. A sense of 
something ominous pervades him, a feeling of great change. 
Then the rat-a-tat-tat of machine guns begins and armed figures 
running and fighting appear in the distance.) 

SYPHERS 

(Who once saw military service.) War! And fighting men! 
(It begins to rain.) That is a machine gun. Now I am in 
real danger. How did I come here, anyhow? (He moves a 
hand, thinking he is hurrying to cover.) 

PA^TSY LAFERTY 

(Standing at the door, ringing the bell and shifting from one 
foot to the other.) Wot a swell night! Wot a swell night! 
Now it's startin' to pour an' I'll have to stand here aw'ile, I 
guess. Holy Gripes, dem drops is as big as marbles! (He 
pushes the bell again.) 



THE DREAM 67 

THE PROFESSOR 

(Hearing the whirr of the buzzer in his dreams and taking it 
for the rush of artillery and men.) Ah, the horror of war I 
What was I thinking? ah, yes! If one had some method of 
waking up. (He mingles the dream notions of his waking 
philosophy with the figures of his dream.) Then there would 
be no more war, no horrors. It is entirely possible, now that 
we know this existence of ours is a dream. I may be dreaming 
now who knows? If so, I could wake up and all my ills would 
vanish+-or would they? (As the thunder and lightning in- 
crease.) How horrible this is! ( The dream sky lights up as if 
with red fire.) 

PATSY LAFERTY 

T-r-r-r! T-r-r-r-r! T-r-r-r-r-r! Wot's de matter wit dis 
bell? W'y don't de guy answer? 

THE PROFESSOR 

(Dreaming and looking about him in apprehension.) War! 
War! How terrible! How did I come here? How does there 
happen to be war? Those are fighting men over there! They 
are killing each other! Horrors! But the great thing is to 
escape. That fire is dreadful. It means death. (He struggles 
to put himself in motion and grunts in his sleep.) 
PATSY LAFERTY 

(Ringing again.) Well, dis is some sleeper, all right. Or 
else dere ain't nobody home. I'll kick, I will. (He kicks.) 
Come to! I ain't supposed to stand here all night. (Kicks and 
knocks are without result.) 

SYPHERS 

(Still dreaming heavily.) And here comes a file of soldiers 
I hear them tramping a great company. Merciful heavens, 
they see me! (He begins to run. As he does so the file of 
dream soldiers begin to run also.) 

THE FILE OF DREAM SOLDIERS 

Halt! 



68 THE DREAM 

THE PROFESSOR 

(Breaking into a heavy sweat.) Great God! I haven't a 
place to hide! Oh, Lord, what shall I do? (He turns, and in 
his dream he imagines a deserted stone hut set in a grove of 
thick tall trees, which seems to offer shelter. lie runs towards 
the hut.) As I live, here is a stone hut among thick trees! I'll 
hide in it. Perhaps they won't see me. (He dashes wildly in, 
slamming a heavy door behind him.) 

A SCORE OF DREAM SOLDIERS 

(Hurrying after him and knocking with their musket butts 
on the door.) Knock! Knock! Knock! 

PATSY LAFERTY 

(At the door.) Knock! Knock! Knock! Gee, wot a 
night! Dese raindrops look like spits. An' dat lightning! 
Dat last one looked like a telegraph pole standin' straight in de 
air! 

SYPHERS 

(Cowering in a corner.) Oh, Lord! My life is worth 
nothing! Here I lie hiding in an empty stone hut, and those 
men at the door want my life. What is life? A dream! A 
dream! but, oh, such a precious dream! I would not want 
to disappear not yet! No, no! I would not want to wake up. 
I don't want to die not yet. Not yet! (/Is he lies there cower- 
ing, all the coruscations and thunder of a great battle afflict 
him; cannon, machine guns, human cries, commands. He cowers 
lower, and yet in spite of the thickness of the walls which seem 
to protect him he can see through them to the surrounding 
trees to where the dream soldiers await him tall men in red 
coacs and towering shakos and beyond them again to the bat- 
tlefield, red with flame and gore. As he stares, the men in the 
shakos glare at him.) 

FIRST DREAM SOLDIER 
(Pointing at him and speaking to another.) We'll easily 



THE DREAM 69 

get him out of there. Can't you see him lying there, close by 
the wall? (To the other soldiers.) Bring a battering ram. 
(A soldier starts off.) No, bring a cannon. We'll blow him 
out. (A second soldier goes.) He thinks we can't get him, 
but we can. (Other soldiers draw near. They move in the 
curious, indefinite way common to figures in dreams. Nothing 
is clear, and yet there is a sense of impending disaster. The 
Professor studies the nature of his predicament with a sense 
of horror.) 

THE PROFESSOR 

(Lying on the floor, close to the wall.) Ah, if I could only 
escape! I was thinking a while ago that life was a shadow of 
something else, an adumbration, a thing built up point by point 
like the dots of a telautographed picture. Now if that were so 
I could get out of here. It would be a dream. I could wake. 
I could cry "Avaunt!" I could stir and it would all disappear 
and become as nothing. But here! Here (he pauses and 
stares. A company of dream soldiers on horseback gallop up 
and swing a cannon into position.) 

THE CAPTAIN OF THE DREAM SOLDIERS 
(Dramatically.) Position! (They unhook the horses And 
man the guns.) Load! (A shell is put in.) Fire! (It 
belches flame and smoke. A great hole is torn in the wall of 
the hut.) 

PATSY LAFERTY 

(At the door.) Gee, dat las' crack was a bold! If he kin 
sleep troo dat he soitenly won't hear me or maybe he ain't 
home. Well, I might as well stand here. I can't go back in 
dis. (He decides to make himself comfortable in the door- 
way.) 

THE PROFESSOR 

(Imagining he is crying.) Help! Help! Oh, save me! 
Save me! (He realizes that he emits no sound, and groans.) 



70 THE DREAM 

FIRST DREAM OFFICER 

Once, more, men! Another shell here! (Another is put in.) 
Fire! 

THE CANNON 
Poof! Boom! (Another great hole is torn in the watt.) 

PATSY LAFERTY 

(As a second electric crash occurs.) I don't know wedder 
I'd better stay here. I don't wanna get killed. (He walks 
about uneasily.) 

THE PROFESSOR 

(Heavily and desperately.) I am lost! I know it. Oh, if 
my idea were only true! What if all this turmoil and agony 
were a figment of the mind merely, a cell or dot picture? Here 
I am in this hut; these soldiers are about to destroy me. If 
I could just cry "Avaunt! " "Disappear! " or if I could know 
that I am not real, and disappear myself. I wonder if I might 
not try it? (He jumps to his feet.) 

A FLASH OF LIGHTNING 
Click Sssssss! 

A CLAP OF REAL THUNDER 

Boom ! 

THE PROFESSOR 

(To the dream soldiers, defiantly.) I defy you! Do your 
worst! You're not real! I'm not real! This whole thing is 
a dream! I'm a dream, or I'm dreaming! I defy you! 

FIRST DREAM SOLDIER 

(Drawing near with a rifle.) Is that so? You defy me, do 
you? I'll show you whether I'm real or not. (He takes de- 
liberate aim.) 

SECOND DREAM SOLDIER 
Yes, kill him. That's the way! 

THE PROFESSOR 

(Lifting his hand.) Wait a moment! Don't! I I'm not 
sure! 



THE DREAM 71 

FIRST DREAM SOLDIER 

But I will, just the same. You say I'm not real? I'll show 
you whether I am or not! (He fires.) How does that feel? 
THE PROFESSOR 

(Who has twisted himself about until he has one hand under 
him in a most painful position.) Oh, God, I'm shot! And 
now I'll die! This whole scene, real or not real, will pass away 
and I will never know or will I? And yet once I was a man, 
and it was good to be alive. Oh! Oh! Oh! (He weeps and 
sinks down. A power fill clap of thunder half arouses him. 
The knocking of Patsy Laferty becomes dimly audible, a cross 
between the clatter of musketry and a knock. He stares at 
the soldiers, some of whom seem already to be growing thin and 
wavering.) Dying! Alas! I'm dying! Never will I see this 
wonderful world any more! (He partially wakes.) Or will I? 
What's this I'm not dying, after all! They're not real! I'm 
only dreaming. How astonishing! (To the dream soldiers, de- 
fiantly.) You're not real, after all. You're mere shadows, 
thin air. I'm dying, but you're not real. This house isn't real. 
It couldn't have holes in it if it were, or at least I couldn't have 
seen through it in the first place if it hadn't. You're shadows, 
tissues of nothing, a mere fancy of the brain. Oh, wonderful! 
FIRST DREAM OFFICER 

(Standing by the cannon.) Are we? Well, you're a fool! 
Wait! You may be waking into another state, but you'll be 
dead to this one. But we won't. Ha! Ha! We'll still be 
here, alive. (To the second dream soldier.) He thinks he's 
not real. He thinks we're not real. v He thinks he's not going 
to die, but wake up into something else! Ha! Ha! (They 
look at each other in a strange, fading, unreal way.) When he 
passes out of this won't he be dead to this, though? 
THE PROFESSOR 

(Amazedly.) What is this? Am I dying, or waking up? 
Which is it? Are there various worlds, one within another? 



72 THE DREAM 

Are those soldiers really real? Great heavens! How strange 1 
I am waking up, and yet this world in which I am is real 
enough. I died there. I certainly did, or I am dying there. 
( The house begins to dissolve like smoke; the trees can be seen 
through the bodies of the soldiers.) 

PATSY LAFERTY 

(At the door.) I'll give dis guy one more spin an' den I'll 
quit. I ain't gonna stand here all night, rain or no rain. 
Clump! Clump! Clump! (He kicks with his heel at the 
same time that he rings.) 

THE PROFESSOR 

(Bounding out of bed.) Oh, blessed heaven! What is that? 
I'm not dead, after all! I am really alive! It was a dream, all 
of it. How glad I am to be awake! (He reaches for his 
trousers.) But those soldiers! They argued with me about it! 
They did! They made fun of me! Isn't that amazing! This 
dream is a call to me to seek out this mystery. If ever I get 
money enough to do it that is certainly what I will do. I shall 
devote all my life to solving this mystery. If only I could find 
somebody who would endow a laboratory for this purpose. 
(He pauses and stares, as the bell whirrs.) Yes, yes! I'm 
coming! (He bustles downstairs, turning up the light as he 
goes.) 

PATSY LAFERTY 

(Irritably ', as the door is opened.) Syphers? 

THE PROFESSOR 
Yes. 

PATSY LAFERTY 

Tellygram. Sign here. (He produces about a half inch of 
pencil and holds up a signature blank. The Professor signs. 
Absentmindedly he tears open the message, but while doing so 
turns and closes the door. Patsy Lafferty stares at it discon- 
solately.) 



THE DREAM 73 

THE PROFESSOR 

(Reading.) A miracle! $300,000! Just what I need for 
that laboratory! It's a sign! The dream is a portent, a call! 
My poor dear, good uncle! What moved him to leave me 
that? Now I know the dream was an omen. And yet 
(thinking of a certain maiden he has been courting) should 
I really do that? Three hundred thousand are three hundred 
thousand, and where would I ever get that much again? (He 
hesitates mentally.) We could live beautifully on that. I'm 
not so sure. Perhaps I could get some one else to furnish that 
money. (He starts upstairs.) But that poor boy! I forgot to 
give him a penny, and it's storming. (Returns and reopens the 
door, looks up and down the street, and comes back.) Dear, 
dear, dear! I should have given him a dime, anyhow bring- 
ing such a fortunate message. But I must think about this 
laboratory, though, and this money. I must not act too hastily 
or inadvisedly. Three hundred thousand are three hundred 

thousand, and (He goes upstairs again solemnly.) 

PATSY LAFERTY 

(One block south, staring at the sidewalk.) Wot did I say? 
Wot did I say? Dey never comes across wit nuttin' after 
twelve nuttin'. Not if you handed dem a million. 



THE AMERICAN FINANCIER 

THE long line of American financiers, beginning with Ste- 
phen Girard (1750-1831), and extending via Astor, the 
Vanderbilts, Goulds, J. P. Morgan and F. W. Woolworth to 
Henry Ford of the present time, suggests nothing so much as a 
procession of thrifty and, in the main, cat-like animals weaving 
a devious way amid intricacies of law and public opinion and 
theories as to morals, duty, charity and the like, until finally one 
is led to conclude that, by and large, the financial type is the 
coldest, the most selfish, and the most useful of all living phe- 
nomena. Plainly it is a highly specialized machine for the ac- 
complishment of some end which Nature has in view. Often 
humorless, shark-like, avid, yet among the greatest constructive 
forces imaginable; absolutely opposed to democracy in prac- 
tice, yet as useful an implement for its accomplishment as for 
autocracy; either ignorant or contemptuous of ethical niceties 
as related to thine and mine, yet a stickler for all that concerns 
mine; moral and immoral sexually both types abound; narrow 
to all but an infinitesimal line in nearly all that relates to the 
humanities as applied to individuals; wise and generous in the 
matter of large, even universal benefactions, yet guilty of the 
meanest subterfuge where their own interests are concerned; 
and seeking always to perpetuate their own fame. In other 
words, typical men and women of an avid pagan world (vide 
Hetty Green, Russell Sage), yet surrounded by religious and 
ethical abstrusities for which they care little and of which they 
understand less. 

Such might be called the pathology of the genus financier, 
not only in America, but everywhere. 

74 



THE AMERICAN FINANCIER 75 

In regard to our American specimens it is more or less ana- 
chronistic to speak of them as purely American in character, 
although, in a way, they are. The organizing and financial 
type of mind American, European or any other is really 
little different from that of all preceding countries and ages. 
Yet financial manipulation, in the extended modern sense, is 
comparatively new. It dates from the industrial revolution 
in England in the eighteenth century. There was a time when 
the organizing type of mind, comparable to our modern exam- 
ples, was engaged in other things: money-lending and exchange 
principally. The machinery for finance in the modern sense was 
lacking. You might have found a J. P. Morgan, a J. D. Rocke- 
feller, or a Russell Sage as Keeper of the Exchequer and Super- 
visor of the Grain Stores of, say, Egypt or Assyria, or Adviser 
to the King, whether he ruled in Babylon, Persia or elsewhere. 
One cannot help thinking what an excellent type of Keeper 
of the Exchequer, Vizier or High Priest our own John D. 
Rockefeller would have made. The robes! The sanctity 1 

As we come forward in history to the end of the Roman 
Empire and the beginning of that mental darkness known as 
the Middle Ages, when all intelligence, financial and other, 
seems to have been completely swept away, we find the purely 
financial and organizing type but slowly developing. Joseph 
(he of the coat of many colors), fabled Croesus, who ruled in 
Asia Minor, and Lepidus and Maecenas, friends of triumvirs, 
emperors and poets, are excellent examples of the ancient finan- 
cial type. Their like is not to be found until after the revival 
of banking and trade in the fifteenth century. And if you look 
back you will see that to-day, in another way, we have been 
repeating in Wall Street (or were until a few years ago), the 
type of man who occasionally sat as Emperor over all the 
Romans. If you are inclined to doubt this you might, if the 
opportunity offered, examine the collection of portrait busts of 
Roman Emperors of the highly executive and financial type 



76 THE AMERICAN FINANCIER 

(Hadrian, Trajanus, Titus, Caracalla and the rest) in the 
Vatican, the Musee del la Terme and the British Museum. 
Hadrian, for instance, was as much like the late Commodore 
Vanderbilt, side whiskers and all, as one man might be to 
another; and Trajanus greatly resembled the late Mark Hanna, 
whose name somehow suggests that of a Roman. Any one of 
ten or fifteen portrait busts of ancient Roman Emperors might 
almost be mistaken for Armour, Morgan, Gould, Sage, Crocker, 
Stanford, Hearst. For example, compare Russell Sage to Julius 
Caesar; or Wm. H. Vanderbilt to Augustus Caesar. Indeed, if 
you were to examine some of the major operations of the suc- 
cessful Roman Emperors you would find that their power to 
maintain their positions with the Praetorian Guard and the 
Patrician Class (which was really the Roman world, so far as 
they were concerned) was largely financial and organizing in 
the same peculiar spirit in which we find those qualities oper- 
ating to-day. 

It is not until the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries 
in Italy, Flanders and north Germany that one encounters 
financial types very like those with which we have been very 
recently dealing. Italy of the Renaissance found a most inter- 
esting specimen of this type of mind in Cosimo I. of the Medici 
"Pater Patriae," as he was called who was little more than 
a very active Vanderbilt I. of his day. The family first con- 
ducted a successful pill business, then Cosimo engaged in 
the banking business. Being a financier he secured control 
of nearly all the financial channels of Italy, France, Greece, 
a portion of Egypt, and the Lowlands. It is charged that he 
brought about the death of one or two enemies in Florence, not 
because he disliked them, but because he thought they were 
dangerous to his interests, and once he came very near to being 
gibbeted himself. He was a patron of the arts, not so much 
because he was emotionally and poetically enthusiastic about 
art as because, as at present, it was a distinguished thing to 



THE AMERICAN FINANCIER 77 

be. The trick of currying favor via art patronage is old. 
His descendants, having less of his force and more of the refine- 
ment which invariably follows wealth, did more for art and 
less for trade, and so while we see the Medici family identified 
with the most brilliant period of Italian art we also see it 
slowly sinking into financial and political insignificance. That 
it finally degenerated and passed out is no reflection on the sig- 
nificance of Cosimo, his primary import. Although the coldest 
and most financial of them all, he was also the best. 

This was equally true of Louis XIV of France and Frederick 
the Great of Germany, organizing and financial types both, 
although monarchs by birth. 

England has had its full share of the type in the officers 
and directors of its famous East India Company (Warren 
Hastings, for one) and their efforts to monopolize and exploit 
the Indian Empire, as well as in the very excellent Rothschild, 
who flourished at the time of the Battle of Waterloo and who 
stood behind a tree to view the battle in order that he might 
decide for himself which side was going to win and so get to 
London and the stock-market first. There he spread the report 
that England had lost so that the already trembling stocks 
of the nation might tumble and he be able to buy them for a 
song. When he had gathered in all the shares he could carry 
he gave out the correct news of the victory and reaped his 
harvest. Dishonest? As you choose to look at such things. 
But when has high finance been honest, or let us say, consider- 
ate of the interests of others? The financial history of this 
particular individual is so selfishly single-minded as to be al- 
most ridiculous, suggesting a power which invents man for one 
purpose and no other, as generals, saints and the like are in- 
vented. 

In America, the history of our financiers is so full of thiev- 
ery and selfishness as to appear comic were it not for the 
mass misery which so many of their deeds involved. Stephen 



78 THE AMERICAN FINANCIER 

Girard, for instance, stole his employers' ship at the outbreak 
of the American Revolution (pretending it had been sunk, of 
course), and with the proceeds opened a wine and cider busi- 
ness in Philadelphia. John Jacob Astor drugged the Indians 
-with fire-water and bought their furs for a song, as well as 
bribed Government agents to permit him so to do. J. P. 
Morgan senior at the outbreak of the Civil War sold the 
Government five hundred of its own condemned rifles for 
twenty-two dollars each, after having but the moment before 
bought them from the Government for three dollars and fifty 
cents each, and that with money borrowed on the strength of 
the proposed contract. (History of the Great American For- 
tunes, Myers, Vol. II., page 172.) Cornelius Vanderbilt black- 
mailed the United States Steamship Company, plying between 
New York and California, in the amount of nearly $500,000 a 
year by threatening to operate a rival line. (Ibid. Vol. II., 
pp. 1 20- 1 2 1.) Jay Gould robbed the various States through 
which his railroad ran and drove some of his rivals to suicide. 
Russell Sage robbed the city of Troy of a railroad and bribed 
the Minnesota and other State Legislatures. (Ibid. Vol II., 
pp. 1 2-1 6.) The record is too long to be more than mentioned 
here; those interested should read Myers' remarkable work, 
in which the crimes as well as genius of our long line of money 
kings are described in full. 

That the world has always been troubled with the huge 
financial innovator and the self-seeker is of course a common- 
place; the objection to him has been, as a rule, that he has 
too few human traits. Like the astronomer, the mathematician, 
the philosopher and the historian, his thoughts are more or less 
remote from the concerns of the ordinary individual, although 
his dealings are with him. To do anything which is to be of 
benefit to the individual it requires the mind that sees the indi- 
vidual en masse rather than in particular. Indeed, the thing 
that has always confronted the individual of ability since the 



THE AMERICAN FINANCIER 79 

beginning, aside from his own inner driving emotions, ambi- 
tions and needs, is this same organized need of the mass as rep- 
resented in constitutions, governments, declarations, which in 
order to advantage himself be must flatter, satisfy or exploit 
but which he must meet in some way or fail. And only when 
the organized sense of the mass becomes sufficiently intelligent 
for it to act in concert is it possible to sweep away or even curb 
the individual. For the individual and the mass are interde- 
pendent facts, and the one cannot escape the other, try as each 
may. 

But never, apparently, previous to the French Revolution, 
which was a revolt against centralized and hereditary construc- 
tive craft and ingenuity, had it occurred to the world, or rather 
the mass, to rout these individuals and make pariahs of them, 
although the world in recent days has developed an es- 
pecial aptitude for it, one must admit. England, which is not 
so much a democracy as an ordered hierarchy of powers, largely 
financial in character, has never felt called upon to drive these 
gentlemen from their positions or quarrel with them for the 
often singular and fantastic manner in which they have achieved 
their success, or the indifference they may have displayed to- 
ward the millions below them. The gentlemen at the top may 
or may not have intentionally done anything for the peasants 
at the bottom in the past, but until very recent days they have 
not been asked to relinquish their control of the machinery. 
Yet now the world presents another angle to this proposition: 
the organizer and financier is being suspected and harried every- 
where. Only in America, the home of anti-financial legislation, 
the multi-millionaire is apparently becoming safer than ever 
and more powerful. Yet to the economist, the historian, the 
student of politics, it is already a truism that economic reforms 
are not and never have been permanent; also that no one, how- 
ever self-interested, ever succeeds wholly in working for himself. 



8o THE AMERICAN FINANCIER 

He must do something for the mass if he is to do anything for 
himself. It is a condition of life, not a theory. 

The trouble in America, in so far as this type of mind is or 
was concerned, is or was this: that when it appeared it came 
rather speedily and roughly into contact with the pen-written 
notion or ideal embodied in our American Declaration that 
all men are born free and equal, and that they are possessed 
of certain inalienable rights, among which of course are those 
of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And these latter 
were not supposed to be interfered with by financiers or or- 
ganizers seeking power. Yet the race has always been, and 
will so remain, of course, to the swift, the battle to the strong; 
chemical and physical laws not being easily upset by fiats of 
government. Time and chance still continue to operate as 
before, sometimes to destroy the strong, sometimes to destroy 
the weak. The best that can be said for the theories laid down 
in the American Declaration is that they do more credit to the 
hearts of those who penned them than to their heads. Yet 
that these sentiments so expressed should have moved to bring 
about a conflict between the American individual and the 
American mass might well have been foreseen, although curi- 
ously it has not yet done so. Other countries without any 
Declaration are far more alive to their inalienable (so-called) 
rights than is America, if one may judge by recent develop- 
ments in Russia and elsewhere. All good things may be and, 
no doubt, are gifts, but they are not conferred by governments, 
any more than death and disaster can be prevented by govern- 
ments. Sometimes innate strength and fortuitous circum- 
stances help some of us, yet this merely illustrates once more 
the truism that nature "plays favorites" and that many are 
vastly better equipped than others. 

A great voice, for instance, is a gift, and cannot be acquired 
at any school or for any price; the beauty of a woman, how- 
ever modest or staggering, is a gift and cannot be purchased 



THE AMERICAN FINANCIER 81 

or even manufactured (amazing as that may seem in the face 
of all the drug companies), although ugliness, apparently, can 
almost be wished on a person, so lavish is life with its dis- 
favors. The ability to paint a great picture, to design a great 
building, to lead an army, to organize a government, to con- 
struct a philosophy, to dream a religion, is a gift and cannot be 
added to any one by taking thought, however quickly it may be 
taken away. Neither can the possessors of these be reduced to 
the level of those who have nothing to offer, no ideas, no 
dreams. Christ said one really significant thing, "Who by 
taking thought can add a cubit to his stature?" If He had 
followed the logic of that statement He would never have 
delivered the Sermon on the Mount or the Beatitudes and 
would not now be so popular, but apparently He was genius 
enough to be illogical. 

What has confronted the American organizing genius, 
now known as a captain of industry, a multi-millionaire, 3 
financier and the like, has been aside from a mass need for 
this, that and the other and his desire to supply it in order 
that he might improve his own condition, strengthen his 
own individuality, etc. this same pen-written theory 
about all men being free and equal. Free they might be to 
begin with, one might hear him saying to himself to a very 
limited extent, anyhow but equal to himself, however much 
they might be equal one to another, never. It became his 
business, therefore, as he soon found and as he afterwards 
phrased it, to "drive a horse and wagon through the Constitu- 
tion," or indeed any other law that might be devised to stop 
him and his dreams. I do not believe that any financial 
genius, American or other, anywhere or at any time, ever 
stopped to consider that there was such a thing as law or a 
Declaration of Independence or a Constitution when he began; 
or, if he did, it was as something to be evaded or overcome. 
To the aggressive organizing mind life is and always has been 



82 THE AMERICAN FINANCIER 

a free and practically uncharted sea. It finds itself blazing 
with an impulse to get some one new thing done; it conceives 
some great scheme, is inspired with some great enthusiasm for 
something; and thereafter all else is as nothing. Being strong 
and magnetic and enthusiastic, it rushes in where it is generally 
assumed angels fear to tread and seizes upon all which it deems 
may aid it in its dreams. The average man is of as little sig- 
nificance to such a temperament as a stalk of grain to a reaper. 
Any ideal other than its own is likely to be looked upon as an 
impediment. But always, of course, there exists the tramping 
mass of lesser individuals who have been going to school and 
church and there learning (in America at least) all the religious 
and copy-book maxims, which argue that the world was made 
for the individual and that he was born free and equal, each 
as good as any other and each called upon to aid the other; 
and these begrudge, and always have and always will, these 
great giants their power. They often fight them and sometimes 
beat them. 

But they are not to be wholly undone by them at any time, 
anywhere. Like the Lilliputians, the mass as often succeeds in 
binding Gulliver with their threads as Gulliver succeeds in 
tearing through their petty stays. The twain are ever being 
born side by side in nature; the giant and the pygmy, the shark 
and the bluefish, the whale and the minnow. "Look," cry 
the minnows to their fellows, "this whale imagines he is bet- 
ter, wiser, greater, than we! He moves in larger ways, disturbs 
our great sea, taking his choice of the realms and pleasures of 
life. Why should this be? Are we not as good as he? And yet 
he does all these things which we cannot; he breaks the law 
which governs the average minnow, whereas we cannot. There- 
fore he must be evil. We will seize and bind him and so end 
his privileges, if not him." Immediately and always, at this 
point, there arises an intermediate figure or group, the sophis- 
ticated "advocates of the people," "tribunes of the people," 



THE AMERICAN FINANCIER 83 

individuals less powerful than the giants, though shrewder than 
the pygmies, their employers, many of whom are sincere enough 
in their conviction of unselfishness; others self-seekers and 
charlatans purely, yet each and every one crying that he will 
deliver the mass from its bondage, and actually attempting, or 
pretending, to adjust the impossible demands of the people with 
the almost impossible individualism of the egoist. But, honest 
or dishonest as they may be, the mass is never made quite free; 
the financiers or individuals are never wholly curbed. Both 
merely proceed to develop new issues and new battlefields. 

Personally I believe that most of us would prefer that the 
mass should not sweep away the individual, for each of us 
would prefer to be somebody in however small a way rather 
than mere unrecognizable cogs in a machine or bees in a bee- 
hive. At best, we are little more than that; even our greatest 
individuals, individual as they may seem. They, too, are but 
minute factors in the total machinery, little able to forefend 
against disaster or the ultimate nothingness that swallows them. 
But one thing is sure: the individual in the course of the de- 
velopment of his dreams and ambitions does scheme out and 
construct or bring into organic operation functions which are 
valuable to mass prosperity, and on that score there is scarcely 
any fault to be found with him. 

The thing that might seriously concern a thinking American 
would be whether the American financial type, as contrasted 
with those of other lands and times, is more or less admirable. 
Greece had Croesus; Rome, Lepidus, Hadrian; Italy, Lorenzo, 
the money-gathering Popes; France, Louis XIV, the Baron de 
Hirsch; England, the first Rothschild, the late Cecil Rhodes, 
Harmsworth, Strathcona; Japan, Shibusawa. 

While it may be admitted that the organizing types 
developed in America have not had any too great charm or 
virtue (Astor I., Vanderbilt I., Gould, Sage, Harriman, Mor- 
gan), still they appear to compare favorably with most ancients 



84 THE AMERICAN FINANCIER 

and moderns. If they have done less for the arts, as many 
seem to think, socially, or at least economically, they have 
done as much if not more than their predecessors. Astor I. 
may have begrudged a washerwoman fifty cents, dunned his 
tenants for rent, debauched the Indians, but he opened up 
the most remote portions of America and laid the way for roads 
and railroads. The first Vanderbilt was no doubt a brutal, 
cruel and savage man, but he had the vision which made a 
transcontinental railroad possible. His greed and vanity made 
it possible. As much might be said for Gould, Russell Sage and 
Harriman, though the picture of Sage keeping apples in his 
desk to avoid buying lunches for his friends or well-wishers 
and using his old plug hats for umbrella stands in order to get 
a little more wear out of them could not be of much interest 
to the mass except in a Dickensian sense. Unless one accepts 
the subtleties of Nature as one finds them, sees in all an in- 
explicable and yet biologic or universally constructive plan, 
and in these riant and lawless individuals a scheme of hers to 
achieve something quickly, there is nothing very admirable or 
even explicable about the dark goings to and fro of such types 
as the late J. P. Morgan, H. H. Rogers, Thomas F. Ryan, Wil- 
liam C. Whitney, or any of a score of other large fortune- 
builders so recently in control of stupendous matters here and 
elsewhere. They are not explicable save as motivating forces 
in the hands or will of higher powers good, bad or indifferent. 
Seen at close range they are more suggestive of sharks and 
we of sniveling bluefish, and it is plainly to our best interests 
either to keep out of their way or unite firmly to oppose them 
in whatever way we can, unless we choose to be promptly 
eaten. 

Yet are they any worse than their prototypes anywhere? 
The worst that can be said for the American is that as yet no 
one of him has been able to rival Lorenzo the Magnificent or 
Louis XIV to gather and use in any marked way, supposing 



THE AMERICAN FINANCIER 85 

there has been anything of importance to use, the significant 
artistic personalities and materials (American or general) of 
his time after the fashion, say, of a Lorenzo, a Hadrian or a 
Can Grande. Perhaps he has had few opportunities, no 
Michelangelos to countenance or foster, no Raphaels or Leonar- 
dos to attach to his court or entourage. Again it may be urged 
that he has never been in any position to organize or dictate, 
being by no means in any free or superior position in a democ- 
racy such as this. The best he has been able to do apparently 
is to buy, although of course the power to patronize nobly and 
generously has to a certain extent been within his range. Still, 
a stranger to our rich and powerful land might (I do not say 
he would) be struck by the abject poverty of a Poe or a Whit- 
man, scarcely knowing which way to turn for means, as con- 
trasted with the enormous affluence of so many financial gen- 
iuses. Why, one such might ask, should either a writer or 
poet of the transcendent merit of either of these have lacked 
a financial sponsor? And why, the same inquiring mind might 
ask, was there no Maecenas to befriend the late George Inness, 
Harris Merton Lyon, or MacDowell, the musician? But in 
other ways via libraries, gifts to art museums, schools and 
universities he would have to admit that the American multi- 
millionaire has done quite as well as the others; only, in so 
far as I can see, he has in the main lacked the insight to con- 
nect his gifts with an impulse toward the truest art values and 
realms of mental freedom and refinement. Too often, as in 
the case of our universities, his gifts have been far too subtly 
identified, aside from purely technical progress, with mental 
retrogression, or at least the perpetuation of religious and 
moralistic dogma not compatible with the truest mental de- 
velopment. At the same time the retort might be that it has 
never been a part of the organizing ability of any money 
genius anywhere to plan for true mental progress. It may 



86 THE AMERICAN FINANCIER 

not be necessary. Life may be taking care of that "on its 
own," as the phrase runs. 

However that may be, one cannot help thinking how inte- 
resting it would have been if in New York or elsewhere any 
one of the above-mentioned men had in his day troubled to 
gather about him in some private court a representative group 
of intellectual and artistic personalities, for the sole purpose of 
testifying to his interest in that side of life, if nothing more. 
After all, the living individual is worth something, and any 
one of our financiers might have done what no American of 
wealth, as far as I know, has as yet done: invested some of his 
boundless wealth in personality. Or he might have endowed a 
wholly independent magazine or newspaper or theatre, of which 
there is at present not one, or a school of special learning free 
from dogmatic interference, or a publishing house, or a uni- 
versity which should have been a true university and not one 
devoted to the economic or social or religious theories or moods 
of any particular period. The strangest lack or flaw in the 
American organizing financial temperament, in so far as I can 
see, is or has been, hitherto, its inability to see either character 
or significance in anything save movements which tend to fur- 
ther the most material financial aims: railroads, butcher-com- 
panies, electricity, gas, typewriter and other purely mechanical 
or material organizations. Yet possibly, up to the present time, 
the land has only needed things of this kind. And perhaps 
the next generation will make amends. Who knows? Thus 
far there has been little if any tendency to invest in anything 
save such art or art forms as have been heralded by time. 

To this day, ancient Asiatic, Egyptian and European art 
forms continue to pour in on us in a brilliant phantasmagoric 
stream, until we threaten, or did, to drain the world of its 
treasures. Our private mansions groan with the antiquated 
skill of Asia and other continents, but of these other matters, 
or the cultivation or preservation of a single living personality, 



THE AMERICAN FINANCIER 87 

not a word. It is possible to go forth and raise any reasonable 
or even unreasonable sum for any number of useless or surplus 
charitable organizations or hospitals or churches, whereas if it 
were a question of cash for a truly civilizing movement of some 
kind, or a personality, the obstacles would prove well nigh in- 
surmountable. Some of the trashiest homes I have ever had 
the misery of beholding have been those of men of tremendous 
wealth and alleged refinement, stuffed to overflowing with 
bogus furniture and art. Yet, when all is said and done, are 
they to blame? Are they not specialized machines sent here 
for a purpose? And should one expect more? Verily we have 
our reward in their practical achievements. . . . Yet, also, 
when one looks at them one cannot help remembering that Walt 
Whitman lived in a back street in Camden and depended upon 
a friendly admirer to bring him a fish for his supper; that Poe 
lived in a hut in the woods, unable to achieve or afford a more 
suitable abode. I am not quarreling; I cite these as interesting 
facts. 

An interviewer once questioning me in regard to the signi- 
ficance of the American financial type (it was just after I had 
published "The Financier"), raised the question as to whether 
the American financial type, then so abundant and powerful, 
had ethically the right to be as it was or do as it was doing, 
seeing that it was being and doing about as it pleased. My 
answer was, and I still see no reason for changing it, that, in 
spite of all the so-called laws and prophets, there is apparently 
in Nature no such thing as the right to do or the right not to 
do, if you reach the place where the significance of the social 
chain in which you find yourself is not satisfactory. The mur- 
derer has under the written law no right to murder anybody. 
It is perfectly plain that he has the right if he is willing to pay 
the penalty, or if he can evade it. Conscience, this thing called 
conscience to which people repeatedly appeal, is, as I have 



88 THE AMERICAN FINANCIER 

pointed out elsewhere, little more than a built-up net of social 
acceptances and agreements in regard to society or the agreed 
state of facts in which we all find ourselves when we arrive 
here; in other words all the things which we wish to do and be, 
or avoid. It is not anything save an inherent condition of 
balance in Nature which desires and achieves a very rough 
equation, but nothing which works exact justice to any individ- 
ual anywhere. The so-called "still, small voice," ever present 
at one's inner or spiritual ear, is, if it is anything at all, a sense 
of self-preservation and conditional desire for equation or peace 
stillness, rest, lack of friction. 

It is true that the individual may not always agree with the 
ethics of his time, or that he may smack of anything but 
sweetness and light, may even seem a little gross or terrible; 
but if he prove essential, as he nearly always does, his revolt 
against the commonplace fixity, rigidity and the like of the 
slower-moving man cannot be looked upon as either wholly 
evil or in vain. Indeed, if he did no more than throw a new 
light on this strange phantasmagory called existence, then, 
ethics or no ethics, he would have been worth while and it 
would make no essential difference whether he agreed with 
passing theories or not. Apparently the world, or let us say the 
race, is moving along in some curious way to possibly a larger, 
more widespread condition of complexity and articulation, part 
with part (variety in unity, unity in variety), and a self-sen- 
sating intellectual perception and appreciation of the same. 
Who knows? But beyond that, what? Is man better, purer, 
more spiritual, more generous than ever he was? Do any 
of the savages or animals lack any of the emotional or chari- 
table traits which we possess? Observe the wolf with its 
young; the cat; the dog; the lion. Are not all swayed by 
conditioning laws of subsistence and which they obey, but 
nothing more? True, they kill to eat, to preserve themselves. 
Has man ever done less or more? 



THE AMERICAN FINANCIER 89 

Any naturalistic philosopher can, of course, trace all the 
steps for you, how it is that you have come to be seemingly 
so different, although he cannot tell you why or where you 
are going. My own guess would be that we, or rather the 
race, is going on to a greater individuality, plus a 
greater weakness as to its component and clinging atoms, 
providing it does not suffer an endless dark age of mass 
control or total extinction in some form or other. Nietzsche 
appeared preaching individuality, greater individuality for 
everybody who could achieve it, and to a certain extent he was 
right. Greater individuality than the world has yet seen will 
certainly be achieved by some. Schopenhauer, before him, an- 
nounced that only failure for the individual was possible, and 
to a certain extent he was right also. The two saw the over- 
soul from different angles. Again, Marx, the humanitarian, 
appeared preaching solidarity for the mass and mass control, 
and his work will probably result in greater material battles 
between the individual and the mass than any yet witnessed. 
If one stands with the individualists, as one may well do, and 
believes that there are no laws created by mass conditions 
and necessities which the individual should not be allowed to 
break for the subsequent good of the mass, and also that the 
mass only moves forward because of the services of the excep- 
tional individual, then one will be compelled to agree with 
Nietzsche that it is folly not to wish that the significant individ- 
ual will always appear and will always do what his instincts 
tell him to do. On the other hand if one feels, as so many of 
the less well-equipped do, that in the long run and in the plan 
of Nature itself the individual is nothing, the type all, and that 
mass conditions favoring the production of many of the best 
type are most important, then the airs and dreams of the indi- 
vidual in regard to his personal satisfaction and satiation will 
not seem so important, the general welfare of each individual 
of the mass more important than anything else. And this will 



90 THE AMERICAN FINANCIER 

mean that always the special individual, the genius of any 
kind, will be curbed and restrained if not actually pushed into 
the background. And, in the main, life proves this nearly all 
the time. Attempts at world domination on the part of one 
individual and another have proved failures, as witness Darius, 
Alexander, Hannibal, Napoleon, the Kaiser. 

Yet theories and doxies wear thin with the course of time, 
and the "still, small voice" of one age is not the "still, small 
voice" of the next, strange as it may seem. At best, all we 
have is the individual, not always financial, by any means, or 
artistic, but one who has dreamed out something: music, a 
picture, poetry, a machine, a railroad, an empire anything, in 
short, that man as race or nation can use or rejoice in. If to 
have a Woolworth Building, a transcontinental railroad, a 
Panama Canal, a flying machine, to say nothing of literature 
and art, means that we must endure a man who is dull, greedy, 
vain, ridiculous in many ways or even an advocate of every 
conceivable vice in order to twist his brain into some strange 
phantasmagorical tendency, the result of which will be some 
one of these things, there are many who would enthusiastically 
say, "Then let us have him along with all his lacks or vices, 
in order that this other may be." If it is a question of having 
a Villon or not, provided we cannot have him without having 
a thief at the same time, then the same or another group would 
cry, "Let us have the thief and the poem concerning the 'Snows 
of Yesterday.' " For my part I am convinced that so-called vice 
and crime and destruction and so-called evil are as fully a part 
of the universal creative process as are all the so-called virtues, 
and do as much good providing, as they do, for one thing, 
the religionist and the moralist with their reasons for existing. 
At best, ethics and religion are but one face of a shield which 
is essentially irreligious and unethical as to its other face, or 
the first would not exist. 

For myself, then, I cannot say that personally or socially the 



THE AMERICAN FINANCIER 91 

American or any other financier, as I have investigated him, ia 
not as satisfactory as may be, all things considered. Artisti- 
cally thus far he is not much to survey, but a giant or a Titan 
he certainly has been. As for the majority of them, they were 
by no means presentable or even acceptable socially, but what 
would you? They were, in the main, too ignorant, too insis- 
tent on their own views, too self-hypnotized by their own 
dreams of self-advancement and dominance. A leader of 
polite society anywhere, for instance, might not be willing to 
welcome a Russell Sage, a Jay Gould, or a John W. Gates or his 
wife, or indeed any other American financial type thus far 
known, and this solely on the ground of expediency or social 
or artistic fitness or unfitness for the lighter forms of living, but 
that in itself proves nothing. It could truthfully be said, on 
the other hand, that it would scarcely be possible to admit the 
average society man to the threatening precincts of radical 
energy or thought in any form. One thing is sure: the indi- 
vidual cannot wholly understand the mass, nor the mass the 
individual. Both have their significance, their place, but if 
one were to say of either that it or he alone had claim to sig- 
nificance as a helpful factor in life, or as dramatic or artistic 
material, or as a spectacle, one would be greatly mistaken. 
Both have. All have. 






THE TOIL OF THE LABORER 

A TRILOGY 



"The ears to hear! The beauty 
Of life is unceasingly calling. 
The eyes to see! Its glory 
Is ever unfolding anew!" 

THE toil of the laborer is artless. There is in it neither 
form, nor color, nor tone. For months I have been 
working as only workingmen work, and in the dreary round 
of the hours it has come to me that the thing which is weari- 
some and disheartening about it is that it is utterly devoid 
of art. In the construction of a building, for instance, whereat 
we labored for three long months, I discovered that with each 
day's labor I was in contact only with that which was formless 
and colorless and toneless. Huge, misshapen, disheartening 
piles of brick; commonplace, indifferent and colorless masses of 
stone, wood, iron, sand, cement; bone and sinew of what was 
to be, but in themselves devoid of all that could appeal to the 
eye or touch the heart, and scattered about in such an aimless 
way as to bring to the mind nothing but a wearying sense of 
disorder. This disorder, however, as soon became clear to me, 
was not apparent in a definite way to all those who worked 
amidst it. These mixers of mortar and carriers of brick toiled 
in the grime and dust without seeming to realize that it was a 
wretched condition, hard, grim and, so far as the sum of their 
individual lives was concerned, but meagerly profitable. Car- 

92 



THE TOIL OF THE LABORER 93 

penters, masons and iron-workers went sturdily about their 
labors, but the artless and unlovely nature of their work was 
over it all, and despite their seeming unconsciousness to it one 
felt the drag of its absence, their eagerness to get away, 
their innate yearning to be where things were not in the 
making, the urge to be out in the larger and more perfect world 
where form and color and tone do abound. 

For, after all, in the main, things do stand complete, as we 
see them. The hills have their enduring roundness, the trees 
their perpetual forms. Landscapes and skylines are not torn 
and scraped as in the vicinity of some (comparatively) minute 
constructive labor. Nature is nearly always cunningly pleas- 
ing to the eye on the surface, whatever may go on below, 
whereas the average constructive processes are so often dis- 
cordant, broken, disordered. 

Seeing this, and not being able in my own consciousness 
to explain why, my heart was sad and I wondered why life 
should be thus grimly organized ; why formlessness in the parts 
of the thing to be formed; why tonelessness in that which 
when laboriously organized would be all tone; why colorlessness 
in that which in the end would enliven the heart with color and 
dance before the eye a perfect thing. 

In the progress of the work, however, it was given me to 
see that, in the production of all things here, there is at bot- 
tom this very formlessness innate. For to organize and per- 
fect one thing we must take from and destroy another; and 
in doing that we fly in the face of that which we most desire: 
order and harmony. Therefore, if we would have that which 
the inexplicable urge for something new and more beautiful 
commands, we must apparently steel our hearts against the 
old and destroy it, although, having committed the offense of 
destruction, we must repay or balance by the labor of con- 
struction. 

It is not given to all of us to follow the ramifications of 



94 THE TOIL OF THE LABORER 

Nature's planning nor to see wherein justice or the seeming 
injustice lies. Most of those about me average short-reason- 
ing creatures took their labor drearily enough and were not 
able to see in any definite inspiriting way the approaching 
beauty of that which their hands were building. It did not 
concern them. Many of them came and labored but a little 
while, doing but a minute portion of that which was to be 
the whole, seeing only the mass and chaos of it without ever ob- 
taining one glimpse of the loveliness which was to be. 

But when the labor had been completed, when the mortar 
had been mixed and the brick and stone removed from their 
uneven masses and set in order, when the wounds of the earth 
had been smoothed over, the scattered debris removed and 
the grass allowed to grow, when in the light of the restful 
evening there rose, in this instance, high in the air a per- 
fect tower, buttressed, arched and pinnacled, with here a 
window reflecting the golden Western glow and there a pillar 
standing out in delicate relief against the perfect background 
of the sky, the meaning of the chaos came home. Here it 
was: color, form, tone, beauty. The labor of the excavator, 
the toil of the iron-worker, the irritating beats of the car- 
penters' hammers, the mess and disorder of the field of action, 
had all blended together finally and made this perfect thing 
only they were no longer a part of it. To most of them it was 
all but meaningless. Having labored on but portions of it they 
could scarcely conceive it as a whole. 

And yet as I looked my heart rose up, and I, for one, was 
thankful to have been in part a worker, to have worked a little, 
to have wearied a little, to have sighed a little, that so lovely 
a thing might be. 

IL 

The toil of the laborer is thoughtless. There is in it neither 
conception nor initiative nor the development of that which 



THE TOIL OF THE LABORER 95 

is new. Though the hands labor and the body bend, the heart 
is not in it. It is all a weariness and a travail of the flesh, 
and the profit is unseen. 

In a certain factory, not far from the heart of the city of 
New York, I worked as a laborer. My duty was to carry 
shavings and lumber and to sweep the floor. All day, from the 
blowing of the whistle at seven in the morning to its welcome 
blast at six at night, my body was busy bending and lifting 
in the effort to keep the floor clean of shavings and supplying 
a half-dozen machines with lumber. The slow, unchanging, 
imperative nature of the work, the fact that I went on whether 
one man came or another one stayed away, the dreary per- 
sistence with which it was necessary to repeat the same mo- 
tion day after day, week after week, month after month, year 
after year, was, to the thinking and restless mind, madden- 
ing. 

In this factory at the time there ruled a foreman well 
fitted to the scheme of things. He was a strange, egotistic, 
vainglorious soul, with a mind so set up by the fact that he 
had been foreman of this little shop that there was no living 
with him. He was arbitrary; his word was law. With an air 
that might have become a tragedian, he walked about his 
domain and glared upon each and all, meditating upon his 
exalted position. Every word was either a command or a re- 
proof, and in times of excitement or depression, such as 
naturally flow from the hurry or the lack of work, he was al- 
ways about, venting his humor or wrath, as his mood dic- 
tated. 

This situation, coupled with the meager wages, the enormous 
wealth of the corporation which controlled it all, the utter 
indifference of those who sat at the top to those who worked 
at the bottom, was a difficult thing to endure. It was so very 
apparent to any one who thought that the work of those at 
the bottom was entirely without point save as a means of 



96 THE TOIL OF THE LABORER 

subsistence. To lift and carry, to move along given lines and 
within certain limits this was the sum and substance of 
wisdom required, and it mattered little who did it. Some 
small personal characteristics figured in, such as whether a 
man was naturally quick or slow, good-humored or ill-humored 
and the like, but the main point was to do the work as con- 
ceived, planned, initiated and developed by some one above. 
And this could be acquired until it was not a matter of thought 
but of rote. What you thought or how you felt was not 
involved. 

One of its pathetic aspects was that it was involved with 
the maintenance of a condition which was not necessarily 
beneficial or worthy of approval. So many of the owners, 
for whom these thousands upon thousands of individuals la- 
bored, were mere idlers in society, social loafers, daily bul- 
letined as the chief factors in a dozen trivial amusements, 
and as wholly unconscious of this under-condition which 
made for their situation and pleasure as if it did not exist at 
all. For every motion and bending here, some one else was 
deriving the privilege not to move or bend there. It was as if 
some untoward power were momentarily taking something 
from each of these and giving it to some one who did not even 
know whence it came. 

And the saddest part of it was that these toilers, born for 
the most part to a condition and with brains unsuited to any- 
thing much better, were still not so dull that they could not 
see, and that rather plainly, how scurvily Nature was using 
them, with what a vast, contemptuous indifference. It was 
little to Her whether they lived or died, did poorly or well. 
Most of them were mere machines who had acquired the little 
they knew by observing others, who, if they were capable of 
thinking at all, were restricted by the nature of their labor 
in utilizing thought, and yet they could see so plainly that 
those above them did very little or nothing, and received much, 



THE TOIL OF THE LABORER 97 

so much more. It was one of those situations in which labor, 
a mere round of motions, took the place of thought and left 
them weary and disinterested at the close of the day, not fit to 
originate a thought if it had been possible or necessary. 

And yet, after a time, it occurred to me that it was not, 
perhaps, so much the thoughtlessness of it that was so 
wretched as that any human being, toiling to his full capac- 
ity, should not receive more of the legitimate profits of his 
labor. These men, ignorant and, in a way, valueless without 
direction, were nevertheless useful creatures and, in this sense 
if no other, were deserving of a far more reasonable share of 
the profit which their efforts created. That it should not be 
so, that despite their willing or non-willing they should be 
driven early and late to create a surplus which was not di- 
rectly applied to the pressing needs of society as a whole, 
but to the frittering amusements of the few, not much better 
in the main than themselves, seemed hard. 

And yet sometimes when I looked out upon the world as it 
glimmered before my windows when I saw, as it so chanced, 
the waters of the river flowing by, the splendid boats riding 
at anchor or steaming peacefully past, and the wonder of the 
hills and hollows, all set suggestively before the eyes it came 
to me that, perhaps, in spite of the seeming injustice involved 
in this situation, variety was as essential to happiness as so- 
called justice or equation, and that the very inequalities I was 
bemoaning were the things which I was admiring in Nature. 
To blot out the light and the shadows, to remove the hills and 
dales, to take away the far reaches which spread between lux- 
ury and want, idleness and toil might not these be the things 
which after all would rob life of much of its value and charm? 
Might they not? 

But as I turned again to the weariness of my labor and saw 
once more the routine, the comparative slavery, the drag of 
almost endless hours, I could not help wishing for each that 



98 THE TOIL OF THE LABORER 

there might be some better solution than this necessity for 
variety that perhaps the heights and hollows need not after 
all be so vast. To survey a mountain, to view a desert was 
not this the privilege of but a few? And might not the true 
beauty of life exist in the way-places where are neither heights 
nor depths but only a tender and appealing undulation? I 
wondered, and still do, for in spite of endless personal incon- 
venience I have never been able to believe that an unbreakable 
dead level of equality should maintain, that none should suffer 
overmuch, that none should want to the extreme. And yet 
at this time, in this place, the less varied seemed the all-to-be- 
desired. That it was not to be found in so starkly diversified 
a world as here offers did not lessen the pain of the labor or 
the value of the ideal in the least. To work, to wait, to hope, 
to pray for some such change how important these loomed in 
the hour of weariness! And yet the charm that hope cast 
over effort was as though the difference had already in part 
been bridged and that the realization of the ideal was almost 
at hand. 



III. 



The toil of the laborer is without mercy, its grim insistence 
unrequited by anything save the meager wages wherewith it is 
paid. There is no true beauty in it, no tenderness. There is 
no thought of anything save what muscle and the strength of 
the individual can be made to yield. More than this, the sum 
of what is accomplished passes almost entirely into other 
hands. There is no provision made for those who will be as 
tattered remnants when the things for which they labored 
have been accomplished. 

For several months I worked with the laborers for a great 
railroad. It was the kind of labor that falls to the lot of every 
man who is unskilled and whose sense of honesty or compulsion 



THE TOIL OF THE LABORER 99 

or duty or need commands that he labor. Those with whom I 
worked were employed to carry lumber, load brick, shovel earth 
and mix mortar. The work was requited at the rate of fifteen 
cents an hour, and nothing more than this was allowed for 
overtime. We worked nine or ten hours a day, as the light 
permitted. There was no rest for those here employed save 
in a form of subterfuge, which was as wearisome as the toil 
itself to one not accustomed to it by long years of practice. 
To be sure one might delay in the carrying of anything; it was 
possible to be deliberate, to hang first on one foot and then 
the other; there was a way of resting on one's pick before 
lifting it; but the gam was scarcely worth the pains. At the 
close of the day the sum of idleness thus secured would not 
be sufficient to produce a restful feeling, and the knowledge 
that a watchful foreman was well aware of the spirit of your 
labor was not conducive to comfort. 

We were under a foreman whose conception of life was that 
it meant toil, and who himself was perfectly equipped physical- 
ly to meet it. He did not stop to parley or temper the neces- 
sities with tenderness but shouted and cursed his commands, 
the fulfilling of which was as much of a burden on his mind 
as upon our bodies. Work there was in plenty, vast quan- 
tities of labor extending into the weeks and years, and the 
only thought which the conclusion of one hard day's toil could 
bring was that there was another exactly like it tomorrow. 
It had no end for the individual save in arbitrary cessation on 
his part, the ending of his pay, or in disintegration and death. 
And need drove so many to continue day after day, without 
rhyme or reason in so far as the individual was concerned. 

I could not help pondering over this from time to time, 
wondering at the lust of the controlling powers at the top for 
money and place, the fierceness of Nature in placing such an 
impulse in them, the fierceness of the temper of our imme- 
diate masters (general managers, superintendents, foremen and 



ioo THE TOIL OF THE LABORER 

the like) , the persistence of their frowns, the manner in which, 
when anything was delayed or the work went wrong, they vis- 
ited the blame upon the heads of those beneath them, the 
urge and blame finally falling with sharp effect upon the car- 
riers and serfs at the bottom. Life did not seem to require 
or justify it, I often thought. The rewards achieved by those 
at the bottom at least were too inconsiderable. The enormous 
and almost useless surplus of this great corporation flowering 
out into exotic social forms at the top was proof that it was an 
unjust exaction. A man should be a man in spite of the orders 
of his superiors. Mercy and tenderness should qualify our 
every deed. ... So it looked from the bottom. 

And then one day I was made a foreman. 

I was determined that I, as foreman, would hold per- 
sistently, through whatever wearinesses might come, to this 
earlier creed of courtesy and consideration. I told myself that 
I would do better than these others. There should be no 
harshness in my tone. I would not swear. A moderate effort 
would be demanded of my men, but nothing more. So much 
for good intentions. 

In this new capacity I found that my duties were of a 
different nature from those of my former. Here, instead of 
running at the beck and call of another, I had men running 
for me. I had from a dozen to fifteen men under me, as 
the work varied, and my principal duty was to see that they 
did not shirk. 

I accepted this with a light heart. It seemed easy enough, 
something which could be accomplished in the most gracious 
spirit. All I had to do was to take my position beside my 
gang, humming a tune, and to watch (as I thought) their 
progress with a gentle and merry heart. 

How speedy and how sad was my disillusionment! 

Before one day was gone I was made to feel that the 
pressure which was on me from above must be transferred 






THE TOIL OF THE LABORER 101 



to those who were below, regardless. There were orders to be 
complied with, periods to be observed, standards of quality to 
be maintained in certain kinds of work, which my men did not 
always understand. Nor did an explanation or a simple re- 
quest always result in understanding or ready willingness to 
comply. They were often tired, a night's rest not always ap- 
parently repairing the weariness of the day before. None 
were so dull that they could not see that many reaped where 
they had not sown, took joy in that for which they had never 
paid, while others like themselves sweated under a load which 
they had never willed to carry. Dark looks, dark moods, 
dark wishes were as common as ever, yet if my own position 
or my superior's good will were worth anything to me I could 
not allow them to fall below their quota of toil. It was neces- 
sary to achieve a given result, or resign, and at every turn 
there were rules, rules, rules. 

How hard I tried to adjust my new relationship to the ideal 
which had previously been mine, and at the same time comply 
with the rules of the company, I will not say. For a time I 
did manage to keep a cheerful attitude and to speak gently. 
I tried to overlook the indifference and subterfuge which I knew 
they were practicing and which before, in part at least, had 
seemed justifiable but which must also in part be overcome, 
if life were to go on at all. For Nature, as I had come to 
see, had established these inequalities, the smallness of mind 
in some, the strength and vision in others. Who was I to set 
about establishing exact justice or equation, where I had not 
created? Or how or where? Or I might smile and smile 
and urge with pleasant compliments, but how did that justify 
or make amends? And although for a time it seemed as 
though I might succeed in avoiding all difficulty, still the 
memory of my own recent feelings was too fresh not to influence 
me deeply. 

Then came a day when the pressure of work to be done was 



102 THE TOIL OF THE LABORER 

so much greater than it had been before that the usual subter- 
fuge of the men became an irritation to me. They were pain- 
fully and exasperatingly slow, if not without reason, and the 
pressure on me from above was heavy also. A heavy rain had 
washed the earth into a long trench which we had been excavat- 
ing. It was necessary to hurry the reopening of this in order 
not to delay other work. Concrete had to be prepared, a large 
foundation set by a given date. We were under urgent sur- 
veillance from our superiors and could but follow out their 
orders or resign. 

In this situation I confess that I did not do much parley- 
ing with my sense of equation or justice. Although I knew 
these men to be in the main underpaid and overworked, and 
in so far as the corporation was concerned mere machines 
to be pushed to the limit of their capacity and discharged 
when no longer useful, still I stood beside them and ordered 
and commanded, urging first one and then the other with shouts 
and gruff words, until at last they were as wrought up and as 
harried by me as they had been by any one of whom I had 
previously complained. They were driven, harassed by me, 
until one, irritated by the anachronism of it all, no doubt, my 
previous enthusiasm for better conditions, turned on me with: 
"Yes hurry! Hurry! You didn't work so hard yourself, 
though!" 

I paused in my ordering and walked aside a little space to 
consider. How true was the thing he said ! I had not worked 
so. It had been a constant complaint with me, in my own mind 
at least, that so much insistence and heartless driving had 
never been justified by the reward offered, that the men were 
entitled to more than they received for the grudging toil they 
gave. And here was I outdoing these drivers who to me had 
seemed most brutal! 

For that day then, and for many others, I tried to discover 
just how it was that I had drifted into so rough and exacting 



THE TOIL OF THE LABORER 103 

an attitude. Did I not know now, as well as before, that the 
corporation for which we were all working was enormously 
rich? Had I not more evidence than before that the men 
were overworked and underpaid, my own demands proving it? 
Could I not see in the orders given me that there was no 
consideration for them, but only the thing to be accomplished 
at the least possible expense? 

I acknowledged freely that this was absolutely true, and 
yet I now pleaded with myself that I saw no way to remedy 
it and that if I did not fulfill the company's orders some one 
else would. The work had to be done. There was no way 
of permitting these men to shirk and take their time, without 
noticeably delaying the work. If the corporation was to be 
run, its present efficiency maintained and the public served, it 
would of course have to be done at a profit which would induce 
men of initiative and skill at the top to serve; otherwise no 
man would undertake the matter, and there would be no 
labor at all for any of these men at the bottom. For Nature 
apparently went on the theory of great reward for those who 
could or would originate and conduct in a large way, little 
for those who could not; and these at the bottom did not and 
apparently could not originate. Their reasoning powers were 
not as yet sufficiently developed for that. They were, by 
reason of their mental equipment, hewers of wood and drawers 
of water. 

After a time I felt that I could no longer go on without 
making a definite choice: I must serve them or their masters 
wholeheartedly. The retort of the laborer had proved too 
great a shock, and it was long before I recovered my exterior 
equanimity, and never again my internal peace, here. Plainly 
I was not one called by nature to this task. Reason as I 
would, the two elements of capital and labor, exacting strength 
and helpless weakness, would not adjust themselves within my 
consciousness save in some, such rough way as I here saw 



104 THE TOIL OF THE LABORER 

operating, and so because of my natural sympathy for these 
underlings I was forced in spite of myself to choose sides. 
Either I must relinquish my former attitude of sympathy for 
the men and opposition to the indifference of the company, 
or I must side with them. There could be no middle ground, 
and until I should choose my conscience would give me no 
peace. 

It was after a particularly hard day's work and because 
of some special conditions that I managed finally to reach 
a decision, which, however much it may have benefited me, 
helped them in no least way. We had been mixing concrete 
and, a touch of my old cynical uncertainty dominating me, I 
had been driving them all the day long, urging one to shovel 
faster, calling to another to bring the wheelbarrows of stone 
almost before they were needed, sending this one for water 
and that one for cement, until the men were running about 
like ants. About four o'clock of this long day it began to 
rain. It had been gray and lowery all day but now the 
moisture descended in a fine drizzle and we were compelled 
to work or leave unfinished the batch of concrete we were 
just beginning. In a sullen mood, because of my own dreary 
part in this, I stood and held them to their task, not caring 
much what became of them or myself either, until at last the 
work was completed. At dusk, damp and dreary, I took my 
lunch-box and tramped doggedly along the tracks toward the 
depot, comforted by one thought only: that the day was over 
and I myself was free. 

It was at that hour when the traffic outward from the 
great city assumes its most imposing aspect. Along this mag- 
nificent highway of steel were speeding the trains of one of 
the wealthiest corporations in the world. Limiteds were 
passing, their splendid interiors aglow with half a hundred 
lights. Seemingly more prosperous citizens than we were 



THE TOIL OF THE LABORER 105 

reclining there in comfort. Others were gazing out idly. The 
dining cars of various trains were set with silver and white 
linen. 

As I paused near the station to turn my eye on this truly 
appealing scene and to gather its significance as contrasted 
with that which I had just left, there passed by, going in my 
direction, the little procession of Italians over whom I ruled, 
bearing with them the tools with which they had been labor- 
ing. There was Philip, whom I had often noted as I stood 
beside the trench in which he was working, his body all twisted 
and bent from long years of unremitting toil; there was An- 
gelo, old and leathern in feature, whose one boast was that he 
had never missed a day's work in seventeen years; there was 
Matteo, thin, spare, worn-looking, whose eye was alight with 
a kindly humor and whose willingness to work I had never 
been able to question; there were John and Collarbrace (as 
we called one Calabrian), Mussolin and Jimmie, all trudging 
patiently onward like cattle, the day of their labor having 
brought forth nothing but a night of weariness. 

And as I stood there looking at them I could not help con- 
trasting the weariness of their labor with this (one of many, 
many), flowers which it, or labor like it, had produced at the 
top. Here was this immerse corporation with its magnificent 
equipment, its palatial depots, its comfortable trains speeding 
onward bearing their burdens of the comfortable (?) and the 
more fortunate (?), and here at the very bottom were these 
humble trudgers making their way homeward in the night and 
the rain. And as I thought of the meagerness of their wages, 
the manner in which I had driven them, and the profitless 
luxury, in so far as they were concerned, to which their labor 
trended, I resolved that I, for one, would have nothing more 
to do with it. 

Not to drive where I could not ease, not to urge where I 



io6 THE TOIL OF THE LABORER 

could not repay, not to be a tool in the hands of their indif- 
ferent masters who could not or would not interest themselves 
in them, was something, even though my ceasing could not 
relieve them of their toil. 



PERSONALITY 

IN the last analysis personality appears to be a sense of 
power resting on a feeling of capability or wisdom and use- 
fulness, and hence a right to be; or this may be reversed for 
some and it be said to be a sense of capability or usefulness 
which springs from inherent wisdom and power. At best it is 
inexplicable to the individual himself. He does not know from 
whence it comes, why he has it, why he of all people should 
have it and so many other billions not, why his thoughts 
should be large where those of others are so small, his cunning 
or subtlety great where those of so many others are obviously 
less. If he has in addition any charm of character, being 
thus endowed, he will be courteous, considerate, merciful; but 
it by no means follows that he must so have or be. That 
would not explain an Attila, an Alaric, a Can Grande or a 
Torquemada. 

"Why should I be born with a great mind," a Caesar, a 
Shakespeare, a Hannibal or a Leonardo might well have asked 
of himself, "whereas so many have little ones? Why is my 
frail bark speeded by winds of destiny or chance over favorable 
seas to power, where so many are beached or foundered en 
route? Did I make myself? Did I foreknow all?" Where so 
profound an egoist, even with a minute brain, to claim so 
much? 

The truth is all good things are gifts, a voice, strength of 
body, vigor of mind, vision, the power to lead, as in war, any 
art, beauty, charm. This is not to say that these things may 
not be technically improved, and are, but this is the business 
with which mediocrity is chiefly concerning itself. I know 

107 



lo8 PERSONALITY 

that the world, where it lacks the strength to think on 
the subject, thinks differently, but this is mere nonsense and 
without import. 

The man of personality or destiny realizes the guidance, en- 
mity or favor of not necessarily higher, we will say, but dif- 
ferent powers. (I am not for saints, guardian angels, Buddhas, 
Christs, perfect gods all.) He realizes all too keenly the ele- 
ment of chance, luck, unpropitious as well as propitious hours. 
Sometimes, in spite of himself and to his wonder, he notes that 
his affairs prosper. "There is a tide " At other times (and 
who has not realized this?), try as he will, he had better lay 
aside all effort and disappear. Fortune will have none of 
him. The furies hover over his path. Harpies beset him. Go 
where he will, there will be elements to annoy him, if no more 
than an ill wind to blow his cap away or to cast dust into his 
eyes. He, above all others, knows that time and chance happen 
to all men. 

But it is so easy to cite the old-time virtues of honesty, 
stability, truthfulness, fair-dealing, etc., as proving character, 
its value, and the power of any one, however weak or defec- 
tive, personally to achieve it. But always, in spite of the 
advocates of simple and normal and moral things as proving 
in themselves genius and worth, there is something more 
magnetism, for instance, a thing not necessarily or solely a part 
of these other so-called virtues, and strength, assurance, cour- 
age, generous or the reverse. These are not things of ethical 
import necessarily, but they make for success just the same. 
Observe that youth admires color, flare, pugnacity, brute cour- 
age and daring; middle age, knowledge of sorts, aggressive- 
ness, endurance, success; old age, wisdom, generosity, humility, 
etc. How many of the former are ethical? In the quiet halls 
of learning or reflection certain of the tabulated virtues may 
be extolled, but to whom does the world pay attention, to 
whom has it paid attention? Darius, Artaxerxes, Alexander, 



PERSONALITY 109 

Caesar, Hannibal, Attila, Alaric, Peter the Hermit, Napoleon, 
the Kaiser; possessing what of all these virtues? Caesar kind, 
patient, honest, truthful? Napoleon the same? Antony the 
same? Attila the same? Not even the popes, the preachers, 
the founders of religion were so. Always craft, force, diplo- 
macy; but little of the sacrificial media so extolled and com- 
mended to the rank and file in order to keep them at rest. 

It is significant of the intellectual development of America, 
if not of other countries, that we hear less these days of 
character, that something or somewhat which we were all sup- 
posed to have, or at least develop for ourselves or make (!) a 
la Washington, Lincoln, Grant, etc., who in most American 
schoolbook essays and college addresses were and still are 
supposed to have made their skill, endurance, resourcefulness, 
etc.; and more of that other thing which we call personality 
and which for a long time apparently we were not supposed 
to have, that unexplainable, inescapable something with which 
we come and in which even here in America we are now begin- 
ning to believe. Yes, we are beginning to suspect that there 
are certain things which some of us cannot do, however much 
we may wish or try to. Also that ability in many realms 
and forms comes without volition on our part, fate and cir- 
cumstance causing it to blaze for us whether we will or no. 
After many volumes of another kind of mush, this is at last 
becoming rather apparent. There is less talk now of being 
Napoleons all, adding inches to our stature by taking thought 
(lifting ourselves by our boot-straps, in other words), and more 
of plain effort according to our especially inherited abilities 
or capacities. It is a sad truth for most men, more especially 
for most Americans, when they discover it, but it is neverthe- 
less an economic and helpful one. Men do better once they 
realize their genuine limitations and cease reaching for the 
moon. For so very long, here in America at least, we have been 



no PERSONALITY 

fed on something so very different: our inalienable ability to 
do anything and everything equally well. 

One wonclers at times whether the light is really breaking. 
Can it be that we are getting ready to admit that we are 
not Csesars each and all, held back by our own idleness and 
indifference? One begins to rub one's eyes. I have often won- 
dered why it is that the word "common," in its sense of 
being plentiful and therefore indifferent, has not struck home to 
the many of us for what it is: an expression of contempt; and 
that "uncommon," "extraordinary," denote approbation. Why, 
if this is not true, should everything that is common be held 
so lightly of the mass, whereas that which is special or indi- 
vidual, inherited or no, is of such intense interest to it? For 
example, the individual skill or personal traits of the actor, 
painter, writer, sculptor, the exceptionally talented in any 
field? 

The truth is that the average man, dull as he is, realizes 
quite well that a creature who has little or nothing that is 
different from millions of his kind is of small import here or 
anywhere. There is no especial demand for what he has to 
offer. If he wishes to stand out above his fellows he must 
bring something new, and this he cannot provide by mere 
wishing or thinking. There is something more than' that 
inherent capacity, a something which he cannot create for him- 
self, try as he may. He also knows that Nature sends bub- 
bling up from her inexhaustible springs an infinitude of 
creatures who are of small import, because they have no in- 
herent power wherewith to develop very special characteristics, 
or better yet individual impulses in other words, personality. 
They cannot, and are not asked to, create them after they 
arrive here. They must have them to begin with, or they are 
not important, cannot make their way easily. And again, it 
is obviously quite right that a creature with qualities 
except those of the species should have to confine its claim to 



PERSONALITY in 

an existence entirely within the limits of the species, and live 
a life conditioned by them. If Nature wishes one to rise 
above the conditions wherewith he finds himself surrounded at 
birth She usually provides him with the equipment for so do- 
ing during gestation, or before, and in addition accidental and 
most opportune circumstances invariably aid him. He is the 
heir of most propitious conditions. Vide Caesar, Napoleon, 
Shakespeare, Luther, Lincoln, even Goethe. Yet, it is impos- 
sible, I presume, to convince the mass that this is true. It 
would be too discouraging. 

Again, it is a common fallacy among the ignorant that no 
lower animal possesses more than the generic characteristics 
of its species such-and-such powers, such-and-such limitations, 
such-and-such instincts, although this of course is not true. 
There are weak and strong animals of the same species, more 
cunning and less, more ferocious and less, better-natured and 
less, just as there are among men. (If you do not believe this 
study cats and dogs, the historic wolf of Cevennes in France.) 
Indeed in many intellectual circles, so-called, it is still claimed 
for man that he is the only one to possess individual charac- 
ter. But this is not true, as the "Origin of Species" plainly 
shows. Sometimes I think that man, take him by and large, 
presents less differences than some of the individuals of species 
of the so-called lower animals. He is supposed to reason more, 
but does he? It seems to me that the average cat reasons 
quite as well as the average plumber or grocer, if not better. 
Give a good pagan tomcat a man's body and sensory capacity, 
and how long do you suppose he would remain a plumber? 
The truth is that man, somewhat confused at present in his 
response to those chemic instincts which appear originally to 
have guided him, has been all but done for mentally by vain 
isms and theories. At times these same appear to be able, 
and quite completely, to do for him mentally, as does cancer 
and tuberculosis for him physically vide Christianity, Mo- 



H2 PERSONALITY 

hammedanism, Shintoism, etc. On the other hand, the animal 
has no such handicap, let us say, as Catholicism, Shintoism, or 
what Mohammed or Buddha or Zoroaster said. It has just life 
and its own bare wits or chemical responses wherewith to do, 
no restraining and deadening rules. Hence it has very marked 
personality at times, and makes its way exceedingly well and 
without restraint or deadening aid of community or mass gov- 
ernmental advice. This is true of snakes, birds, fishes, mon- 
keys and all other creatures lower, so-called, than man. 

In most men, individual character, that thing which is sup- 
posedly so superior to lower animals, comes to very little, 
They run in schools, join secret orders or churches, vegetate, 
label themselves in a dull way democrats, republicans, social- 
ists, and strive in all ways to make themselves as like others 
(those within their immediate ken) as possible. My father, 
for instance (peace to his spirit!), wished to prepare himself 
by self-abnegation, prayers and good works here on earth to 
fit himself for an entirely mythical heaven, to be a stand- 
ardized angel wings, harp, robes and all such as he saw in 
the "saint pictures" in the various Catholic churches which he 
attended from time to time. These were the only representa- 
tions of the future life with which he was familiar, hence he 
accepted them as true! Indeed as a rule the average or 
ordinary man (fortunately there is no exact average) cannot 
think or see beyond his quite immediate environment and 
binding rules, his neighborhood, his church, what somebody 
else says or thinks. 

A plumber wants to be exactly like the next successful 
plumber he sees; a grocer, the same; an undertaker, the same. 
Most rich men would like to live in a house like that of all 
the other rich men they know. Show them the very dif- 
ferent house of a rich man in Spain, in Egypt, in India, in 
Japan it would never, never do. It is not like that which 
they know. Their thoughts and desires, like their faces, are 



PERSONALITY 113 

those of the species to which they belong. In the main, they 
are of a trivial, commonplace character, as unimportant as a 
bean or a pea. Like animals of so limited a mentality as the 
duck and the penguin, if you know one you know all. You 
might almost say that they have come to their end spiritually. 
Nothing can be done for them. Some more vigorous active 
thing i. e., the thinking, restless, dissatisfied individual 
must come along to rebel and push them aside. If ever the 
surface of the commonplace is to be disturbed the individual 
moved by some inherited or bestowed impulse must do it: 
Luther, Galileo, Keppler, Newton, Columbus. 

Anything that is strong, special, different must, as a mat- 
ter of course and by its very nature, stand alone in the world 
where so many things are not strong, special, different. That 
which places one being over another and sets differences be- 
tween man and man is not alone intellect or knowledge, as 
some would have us believe (Schopenhauer, for one), but these 
plus, other things being equal, the vital energy to apply them or 
the hypnotic power of attracting attention to them in other 
words, personality. It is that peculiar quality or ability which 
makes a way for our plans, desires, dreams. Cunning, which 
is by no means knowledge in the sense in which we use that 
word, nor intellect of a high order perhaps (although it may 
well be), still may play a magnificent share in personality and 
contribute to its triumph. No truer book than Machiavelli's 
"The Prince," although it earned him the distinction of equal- 
ing the devil, was ever written, although the necessary gift of 
hypnotic personality was by no means sufficiently insisted upon. 
Was not one of the amazing qualities of Julius Caesar, as of 
Hannibal, Napoleon and, indeed, most of the outstanding 
figures of history, cunning? The average man, realizing his 
own limitations, does not like to believe it, but it is none the 
less true. Did Alexander the Great, for instance, lack it? Or 
Lincoln? On the other hand, mere strength without cunning 



Ii 4 PERSONALITY 

is so little. Contrast the tiger and the Norman horse or an ele- 
phant. Which of the three is truly superior? Which one 
commands your innate respect? 

Whatever else you do, believe nothing in regard to the in- 
dividual's ability to develop an especial and remarkable ca- 
pacity, unless it is already inherent in him at birth. Nature 
works in no other way. Another thing, life cannot do without 
brains, however much disassociated from beatific virtues these 
may be; for these are a gift and can no more be created here 
than you can add to your height by taking thought. What 
life does is to develop and train especial inherent capacities 
an eye, a hand, a taste, a smell perhaps; but the instinct and 
the ability to foreknow, to appreciate, understand these 
things are not taught in schools. Schools labor with them 
to improve, polish, give them a special turn or bent ; little more 
and little less. 



A COUNSEL TO PERFECTION 

BRIEF as are the sensations of success, victory, happiness, 
etc., yet these are things of actually some duration and 
as such can be looked forward to and back upon with pleasure, 
which in itself is a kind of reward for living. Love is real, a 
kinetic vibration of great comfort and a reward, as well as are 
the gratifications which arise from a sense of wealth or power 
or any hunger satiated. All these may be exceedingly brief 
and do fade, but however brief and however quickly faded 
they endure for at least a minute fraction of time and are 
therefore, and legitimately so, the basis of much human 
hope, ambition, delight, as well as despair and all the other 
contraries which might otherwise be inexplicable. The pathetic 
thing in connection with them all is that they are so plainly 
baits as well as rewards, that they do prove man to be the 
victim or evoluted mechanism if not tool of some higher, 
perhaps scheming force by no means essentially friendly to,^ 
if it is even conscious of, him, and that an enduring state of 
pleasure for anything is not contemplated by Nature as an es- 
sential portion of the career of man; also that it may be by no 
means concerned as to whether or no man, its tool, achieves 
any moments of triumph or satiation. 

Looking at most lives the defeated, the hungry, the poorly 
equipped mentally and physically, the homely, those seized 
on in childhood by the strong and shrewd and made to serve 
pointless and wretched purposes entirely alien to their lives 
I should say that Nature does not care and that distinctly for 
them life may not be worth its pains. On the other hand, 

"5 



n6 A COUNSEL TO PERFECTION 

where crass chance lifts a given organism to great power or 
builds it with such care that it is an almost perfect and deli- 
cately responsive machine, life may well be and no doubt is 
worth all its costs. Many organisms, by accident of dullness 
or non-responsiveness of a higher sort, come off with less 
pain, and Nature, either accidentally or intentionally, builds 
most of these. They are machines well suited to the rough 
grind of material and psychic forces, and may be said to strike 
such a neat equation with the circumstances of life that they 
achieve a kind of sensory comfort or satiation and so do well 
enough. Again, dulling religion or illusions of one type and 
another, fatuitous hopes far beyond the pale of possibility, 
sensory response of a comfortable character to this earthly 
scene as a spectacle, or depleted nervous energy or force which 
reduces many to the point where nervous or sensory response is 
lacking, eases many to the place where it may be said that if 
they do not enjoy keenly they at least do not suffer keenly. 

But is man happy? Is his game worth the candle? The 
sophisticated reply that the fear of death proves that life is 
worth while, since all are so eager to avoid it. But this is 
worse than no answer for it predicates either no life at all, 
which is certainly no recommendation, or that there may be 
worse things there than those which befall man here cer- 
tainly no proof of a keen joy in this. 

The essential tragedy of life, then, and the thing which 
makes it painful to consider, is this: that once man is raised 
above the non-cerebrating and automatic sensory responsive- 
ness of the beast he becomes conscious of the rather obvious 
fact that he is either an intelligently or an accidentally evoluted 
mechanism or minute tool in the hands of something so much 
more significant than himself that he is as nothing; and again, 
that to this force or intelligence above him his little earthly 
schemes bear about as much relationship as do those of an 
office boy bent on becoming a baseball pitcher to those of the 



A COUNSEL TO PERFECTION 117 

Standard Oil Company or the German Emperor bent on world 
dominion. And again and this is the darkest thought of all 
it, our personal Creator, assumed by the religionists at least 
to be so careful of our individual welfare, may be little more 
than the veriest tyro in so far as the larger and largest creative 
forces or impulses in the universe are concerned. Manifesting 
little or no interest in us, no more perhaps than is needful 
to its own welfare, it may be as little to the powers above it 
as are we to it. For who can guess whether the thing or 
power which makes man is the ultimate power or guiding force 
in so spacious a thing as the universe? Already our chemists 
and physicists are inclined to doubt it. Its impulses, humors, 
appetites and methods, as manifest in man, are by no means 
of so glorious or illuminating a character as to inspire admira- 
tion, even in its machine: man. Plainly its methods and ac- 
tions bespeak as much of the lowest as of the highest that we 
know, and this is as much evidenced by the thoughts, aspira- 
tions, tastes or habits, chemically compulsory or no, of man, 
its product, and through whom it seemingly expresses itself, 
as by its methods and procedure in other ways, fumbling ef- 
forts and failures of all kinds. For man in his capacity as 
chemist, physicist, fumbling philosopher, didactic or synchro- 
netic poet, experimentator or agnostic is scarcely a fit creature 
for one to contemplate as the highest product of a so-called 
supreme intelligence or God, or Good, however well he might 
look as the product of a minor and so seeking hieratic power. 
For if God, or Good, as so many have already pointed out, 
can do no better than produce the quarreling, eating, seeking, 
spewing thing we know as man and that is the chief concern 
of His intelligence ! ! ! 

We will assume that you have read at least a simple work 
on astronomy or chemistry or physics. If so, could you pos- 
sibly believe that the present intelligence of man, or even any 
conceivable progress which he can make in his present limited. 



n8 A COUNSEL TO PERFECTION 

form and with his present equipment of senses, would be oi 
sufficient force to gather either the meaning or sensory impact 
of spaces, distances, weights, relationships which at present, 
except in the most minute and fragmentary way, are entirely 
beyond him? Consider the meaninglessness of numbers to 
you, of great weights, distances. I for one would be the last 
to cast a shadow upon man's dreams or pride, but when one 
investigates even the little we are permitted to know the dark- 
ness, the inexplicable confusion, the non-reason in all the 
things we think, believe, hope for it would, at the least, sug- 
gest that seons must elapse and man himself change radically 
and develop powers (which, if they are his at all at present, 
are in embryo) before he could begin to conceive of the sig- 
nificance of even the smallest of the forces which he seems to 
use but which in reality use him. 

All the great things, the creative impulses and substances 
such as produce even the most minute forms of life which at 
present we can see, are entirely outside the range of his lim- 
ited group of senses. He does not know, for instance, where 
heat or cold begin or end; what shades lie beyond the outer 
edges of the spectrum; what are the limits or the immediate 
beyond of sound, light, weight, space, etc. His weak senses 
plus his devised instrumental aids offer him no real help. 
They merely multiply his difficulties. Something has invented 
an eye, an ear, an olfactory nerve, the ganglia of the finger- 
tips, the central cerebral cortex and so-called reason, all of 
which appear to be nothing more than assembled and synchron- 
ized reactions to other and unknown stimuli, wherewith it is 
possible now for man to apprehend only minute portions of 
the immense energies and substances blowing about him. Yet 
with all these aids and the evidences of the mechanism of 
the universe outside him which they yield, still man, attacking 
special bits and portions, finds it quite impossible to suggest the 
reason for anything. He lacks the equipment and power, 






A COUNSEL TO PERFECTION 119 

which even the thing which made him may not have, of 
creating such finer perceptive organs as might aid him. At 
present and at best apparently he is allowed only to invent 
some things such, for instance, as are or may be useful to the 
propagation and rearing of man in the matter of numbers, not 
brains. His Creator apparently is either unable or unwilling to 
endow him with such equipment as might make for great 
knowledge. Tremendous psychic opportunities appear and go 
by, as when a duller and more ignorant Rome conquers a sen- 
sitive and highly perceptive and meditative Greece. Owing to 
his minor equipment, ignorance and vain beliefs flourish, and 
he stumbles from one vain illusion and delusion to another 
to achieve what? Something, possibly, which his Creator can 
use. Or so it would seem. 

But it is not this phase alone which is troublesome. One 
might and does get along well enough knowing but a minute 
portion of that which, it would seem, our immediate Creator 
must plainly know concerning the processes by which we 
arrive, depart and function during our little stay here, but to a 
seeking intelligence there is inescapable tragedy in the plain 
implication, written large over everything, that to the acci- 
dental Creator of man the largest intelligence of whatsoever 
bent or character among him is of no more importance to 
the ruling force than the veriest gnat or leaf. It, whatever it 
is that makes man and the animal, manufactures intelligences as 
though they were buttons or pins, and though it create from 
time to time an Anaximander, a Plato, an Alexander, a 
Socrates, a Keppler, a Newton, a Leonardo or any other titanic 
brain, yet to it the least ditch-digger or wastrel is as impor- 
tant. The mass is everything, the individual nothing. With 
the greatest nonchalance or blundering inconsequence it strikes 
down a Hertz, a Raphael, a Curie, a Spinoza, a Schubert, a 
Keats. Seventy years is the allotted span for all, great or 
small, an average amount of strength, the same stomach and t 



120 A COUNSEL TO PERFECTION 

blood capacity. Though an individual had seemingly the 
most important ideas under consideration, great schemes where- 
with to benefit or further the so-called progress of man (the 
especial care, as we learn, of his Maker), still this is of no 
least importance to his Creator. It is invariably on, on, out 
of the way, as though the Creator had most carefully arranged 
not to take advice from any one He made, or as though a blind 
process were at work which could not. If the former, one ; 
might say small blame to one so powerful. Presuming Him 
even moderately intelligent, how unimportant His little manni- 
kins must be to the ultimate scheme of things, the giant 
forces through which He manifests Himself and which grind, 
helplessly create, helplessly control! Imagine taking advice 
from a loaf of bread you had accidentally evolved, or listen- 
ing to the protests or advice of a ginger-snap of your own 
creating! 

Nevertheless if it were possible in the face of the driving 
forces which seem wholly to manipulate him to reach man and 
by a suggestion aid him, it would be that in the face of so 
much confusion he no longer wastes time on theories wholly 
unrelated to himself or his own material welfare, his essential 
necessities here, but rather that he see to it first of all, and 
clearly, that his life here is something which is to be lived here 
and now to the utmost, in the best form for all during seventy 
years, if not longer here, and not elsewhere, and that some 
reasonable and concentrated effort be made to make it livable 
for man here and now instead of elsewhere, however glittering 
or picturesque that elsewhere may be, thin romance that it is. 
For is it not high time that we all realized how essential it is 
to make life worth while for all here, knowing as we now do 
that man is not a pet in Nature and that if he makes 
anything of himself and his social as well as his mental state 
here it must be with the full understanding that he can expect 
but little if any aid from Nature or the forces directing him, 



A COUNSEL TO PERFECTION 121 

certainly none that would tend to ultimately enlarge his own 
mental clarity and supremacy. To this end therefore it would 
seem advisable that man as a whole throw over as swiftly as 
possible all his old-time religious and moral conceptions, his 
restraining conventions, taboos and the like, and re-examine 
for himself the data concerning which, accidentally or other- 
wise, he now finds himself capable of cerebrating and according 
to which he is now supposed to regulate his life. It may not 
be true that he should limit himself as his present theories and 
ethics suggest. And furthermore, his greatest problem being 
that of living longer, of being stronger, happier, not so much 
the butt and jest of chance or the willful or indifferent moods of 
the surrounding and stronger forces in Nature, that he devote 
himself entirely to solving those problems. 

Elsewhere I have indicated a possibly broader moral con- 
ception which may be of value to this end. One of the 
greatest achievements, of course, would be to rid the human 
mind of all vain illusion concerning things spiritual, to get it to 
see, if it were possible, that man is not necessarily an endur- 
ing spiritual creature endowed for who can know? with 
an enduring and progressive soul, but rather that he is an 
implement or tool in the hands of something else which is 
creating or using him as, for example, the vine does the leaf, 
yet which itself may be of no great import in Nature. 

If, by any process of investigation, and as now seems pos- 
sible, it could be proved that man's Creator is no universal 
lord by any means but a blind fumbling force, it should be 
possible for man to do one of two things: either ally himself 
strictly with such impulses and instincts as he can detect as 
coming from this lesser and plainly more immediate Creator 
many of them plainly non-moral enough, as we may see by 
like impulses in him, and so aid this Creator to discover 
Himself; or, now that he has a foothold here and appears 
to be a fairly self-perpetuating machine, to endeavor to reveal 



122 A COUNSEL TO PERFECTION 

to himself and for himself the secret of self-creation and per- 
petuation and so become the equal of the force or forces now 
using him. But to that end he would need to rid himself of 
the delusion that anything in life should be accepted in blind 
faith and without question as permanent. One of the oldest 
of the Hebraic sayings is "My son, get wisdom, get under- 
standing," and a later saw declares "Knowledge is power," 
and so it is. Adam, in the fable of the genesis of man, was 
condemned not so much for eating of the Fruit of the Tree 
of Knowledge as for the fact that "in the day ye eat thereof 
your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as gods, knowing 
good and evil." And Prometheus (forethought), the other 
"God" who is supposed to have created man out of earth and 
water and who for man's benefit "stole fire from heaven in a 
hollow tube" and taught him all the useful arts, was punished 
for this by Zeus, the supreme "God," by being chained to a 
rock and having his liver daily torn by an eagle certainly a 
most significant fable, for he was trying to make something 
of man, or rather teaching man to help himself, and this the 
Supreme Ruler of the Universe did not want, probably for the 
same reason that the Hebraic "God" wanted Adam to remain 
a dull machine or clod. 

But the Greek fable is far more hopeful and significant than 
is the Hebraic one, for, in the former, strength (Hercules) 
subsequently slew the eagle and released Prometheus, or fore- 
thought, thus allowing him to aid man; while in Genesis man 
is condemned, slave-like and forever after, to "eat his bread 
in the sweat of his face," a very sharp commentary on the 
nature of his Maker as the ancients conceived him. What is 
implied by both fables is that man is a waif or accident in 
Nature, not intentionally endowed with wisdom or the power 
to get it, and that Nature (Zeus, Jehovah, anything you will) 
markedly objects to his obtaining any "lest he become as one 



A COUNSEL TO PERFECTION 123 

of us" and "put forth his hand and take also of the Tree 
of Life and eat and live forever." 

In view of this one might ask, Is life worth living? Is 
there any use? Perhaps there would be if man, accidentally 
evoluted or not, but coming at last, by accident or not, to the 
place where he finds himself able to reason upon the processes 
which have brought him thus far, could seize upon the con- 
structive processes and so begin a creative, constructive career 
of his own which would redound to his own benefit and com- 
fort and none other. Only there is no least evidence as to that 
yet, i. e., that it is possible. In so far as one may judge 
by chemistry and physics man appears to be in the grip of a 
blind force or process which cannot help itself and from which 
man can derive no power to help himself save by accident or 
peradventure. Even now, for all one can know, he may be 
sinking into a blind, unreasoning mush instead of evoluting fur- 
ther, so many are the theories which counsel him to believe in 
some vague, aimless peace hereafter and which he so readily 
accepts. The important thing for him to do, supposing that 
he could, would be to avoid henceforth all destroying notions of 
this character and to think of himself rather as a waif, an 
unloved orphan in space, who must nevertheless and by his 
own effort make his own pathetic way in the world. Or, if 
that is too harsh, then to think of himself as part and parcel 
(leaf and vine) of some hard-pressed Creator, a sun, a group 
of chemic forces synthetized into an individual somewhat like 
himself, not a Supreme God, by any means, but a kind of local 
manufacturer or well-meaning Prometheus who is trying to 
make something out of man and Himself at the same time, be- 
ing in or of man, or man in Him ("I am in the Father; the 
Father is in me"), but who in turn and so through him, man, 
is being assailed by larger or rival forces and cannot always 
make His way as well as He might wish. Hence, He needs the 
consideration and even help of man, the atomic force of which 



124 A COUNSEL TO PERFECTION 

He is composed. That being the case, the burden of life might 
possibly come to seem less hard. 

But, aside from such an hypothesis, thought offers but 
small comfort to the thinker viewing the drift of fact as one 
must. For see how painfully and often most sadly our scien- 
tists and philosophers dig at this riddle of existence and how 
slowly, if at all, we are really fitting ourselves for the giant task, 
these greater and greater contests with Nature, which must 
come if man is to come to anything. Even individual self-pres- 
ervation via chemistry, physics, mathematics, economics, sociol- 
ogy, philosophy, astronomy, botany, biology, and what not, is a 
slow and difficult process. On every hand are destructive forces 
that beset us, and we have apparently only ourselves to look 
to that we be not so persistently tortured. All religions and 
theories of Divine aid to the contrary, man has been and is now 
compelled to battle hourly and momentarily for his "right" 
(how pale is that word!) to live and grow, let alone think 
against heat, cold, destructive rivals and enemies of all kinds, 
destructive insects, savage animals, savage men, droughts, 
storms, dissensions, diseases, death whereas he in turn has 
sought and does now seek to help himself via farmers, butchers, 
inventors, scientists, doctors, seeking to wrest from forces ap- 
parently alien to the one which prospers him, if there is such an 
one, some of the powers which apparently they hold in such vast 
abundance and which might even contain the secret of eternal 
life. Who knows? Indeed, surveying what has befallen him 
throughout the ages, I should suggest to man that he accept 
as true the fabled statement made by "God" in Genesis iii. 
14:19, and seek persistently and without too much reverence 
for some method of solving his own difficulties. He should re- 
ject vain theory, especially that which relates to a mythical 
reward hereafter, and cling only to those methods and forms 
of procedure which give promise or hope of a larger reward 
here, tending to strengthen his capacity for living here and 



A COUNSEL TO PERFECTION 125 

now. Such a theory or belief, however antagonistic to current 
religious theories, would at least tend to make man less de- 
pressed and indifferent to his state here and more conscious 
of the fact that if he is to extract any joy out of his span 
he must think and plan to make things better not only for 
himself but for others, since joy for himself depends upon his 
joy in others and they in him. Indeed, it would give him more 
zest for the game here if he did. By that last I am not 
arguing with the moralists for all their shabby, little pinch- 
beck repressions, the idea that the less you do and know the 
better you are; but rather that the more you do and know 
the better off you are, physically and mentally, and the more 
you make your state or form of government do and let you 
know the better. 

How soon would not such an attitude not on the part of 
all, for one cannot hope for that, but of even a moderate minor- 
ity make for a more vivid, aggressive, fascinating world! 
How soon might not the now seemingly sealed doors open, 
unsolvable (so-called) riddles end as solved, man acquire new 
reasoning faculties, senses and powers, and finally stand forth 
a creative force himself, a genuine creator on his own account, 
able not only to fend and forefend against many of his 
present disasters here but to give new powers and thought, 
and even creative force, to things which now crawl meekly 
at the feet of man? Who knows? Is not courage better 
than fear? a healthy, if skeptical, seeking better than blind, 
dull acceptance of anything or nothing, as the case may be? 
I, for one, think so, and, for my part, would prefer to be a 
seeking Prometheus chained to a rock and my liver gnawed 
daily by the eagle of an irritated and jealous higher power 
than a crawling worm or whimpering slave praying for some 
endless Nirvana, or a minute part in an endless legion of 
cherubim harping the glory of something which had plainly 
sought neither my peace nor my signficance but only my pain- 
ful, unimportant and even worthless service. 



NEUROTIC AMERICA AND THE SEX IMPULSE 

I SOMETIMES think that a calm and exhaustive study of 
the American temperament in relation to sex and its vari- 
ous manifestations would result in the scientific conclusion that 
this country, taken as a whole, is as much a victim of a deep- 
seated neurosis relating to this impulse as any, the most mor- 
bid of those who appeal to psycho-analysis for treatment. 
The profound and even convulsive interest in any case in- 
volving a sex crime or delusion (Thaw, Leo Frank, Billy Brown, 
Carlisle Harris, Nan Patterson, Durant; or any negro rape case 
in the South) ; the ridiculous and quite neurotic interest dis- 
played by grown men and women, to say nothing of children, 
in the exploits of so-called "cuties" the "Spring Blossoms," 
"June Elfs," "Violet Dawns" of the movies the perennial 
and astonishingly profitable (in so far as a certain class of 
theatrical management is concerned) interest of the male and 
even female American in the utterly mechanical and standard- 
ized beauty chorus shows with their (presumably) seventeen- 
year-old maids in bathing, bedroom-bath and other forms of 
abbreviated attire! Are not these points in evidence? In the 
matter of the latter, no story is necessary; just erotic color, 
music, dancing evolutions and double-meant (I almost said 
"mint") jokes, and the thing is done. 

Again, look at any American city where morality or reli- 
gion, or both, presumably have full sway (and in what Ameri- 
can city are they not supposed to be dominant?), and what do 
you find? The most desirable locations in the best portions of 
the city, outside of the trade centers, given over to the lead- 
ing churches and the newspapers, which preach a lofty 

126 



NEUROTIC AMERICA AND THE SEX IMPULSE 127 

code of ethics and morals which they themselves find 
difficult if not impossible to practice; while elsewhere the 
local bookstores and picture shops and bill-boards are 
crowded with a class of literature and illustration, or 
so-called "art," which to read or view, according to the ad- 
jacent churches and newspapers, would result in the loss of 
your immortal soul as well as your local standing. And yet 
these same are displayed, sold and read plentifully and 
with avidity, for the very good reason, no doubt, that they 
satisfy a craving and a thirst not otherwise open to satiation. 
In any town of any size, what pictures are not displayed and 
sold: "September Morn," "Youth," "Purity," "Innocence," 
"Yes," "Waiting," and the like, disguised as little as the law 
will permit. Again, where will you not find a swarm of sex 
magazines labeled "breezy," "snappy" and the like, the kind 
that any sex-suppressed neurotic might well crave, and all re- 
ceived with the profoundest gratitude and widest distribution? 
Where in America, any more than abroad (barring countries of 
Asia, Africa and the South Pacific, where sex-suppression is 
not the order of the day) does one lack for pornographic nudes 
or privately circulated writings of the most lurid character? 
Are the art or book or drug stores of the small towns free of 
them? Is it not true that you can still buy almost everywhere, 
"Three Weeks," "Life's Shop Window," "The Yoke," and other 
such classics, whereas those admirable volumes of life and 
satire "The Decameron," "Droll Stories," "The Confessions," 
Cellini, are only to be discovered, and that by chance and per- 
adventure and "against the law," on the dark and musty 
shelves of some out-of-the-way old book store, and these con- 
sumed by the intelligensia and the sex-satisfied only, and with 
an upward mouth-curl of amusement at the innate humors of 
passion? The hobble-skirt, the tango dance, the Hula-Hula or 
Hawaiian melodies what did each in its day indicate? Plays 



128 NEUROTIC AMERICA AND THE SEX IMPULSE 

like "Everywoman," "Experience," "The Girl from Rector's," 
"Parlor, Bedroom and Bath" what did they suggest? 

Not so very long since, I stopped for a little while in a 
town of a hundred thousand population in the South. It was 
moral, religious, conventional in other words, American. It 
might as well, however, have been in New England, the North- 
west, the Southwest, the Middle West, for any difference to be 
discovered in its moral texture. In this home of chivalry, cour- 
tesy, purity and the like, erected originally on the backs of 
driven slaves, a number of its most interesting points of van- 
tage were as usual occupied by the churches, as impressive 
and prosperous as those anywhere. It had only one theater of 
consequence, and that open only two nights a week, if so 
often. Its poorer classes were entertained by three or four 
moving-picture establishments ("Passed by the National Board 
of Censors") ; but the well-to-do also attended these, for they 
had no other place to go for amusement. Yet, in the face of 
the highly censored "movies," theater and bookstores and the 
absence of houses of ill-repute (all suppressed), there were two 
or three "first-class" hotels, all with their Thes Dansantes, 
cabaret suppers and the like, of the character of which I pro- 
pose to speak later. The most exclusive bookstore was so 
very moral that it would not carry any books not approved by 
the "Watch and Ward" and "Library Protection" association, 
nor would the vine-covered library in the best section, although 
at any time you might have gone to the principal dry-goods 
store and by a roundabout process secured nearly all that you 
desired. 

While I was in this city a twelve-year-old boy was arrested 
at one of the railroad stations about two hundred yards from 
the principal beach for appearing in a two-piece bathing suit. 
It was not asserted in the prosecution which followed (which 
was vigorously defended by his father) that a twelve-year-old 
boy in a two-piece bathing suit was immoral, but a man in a 



NEUROTIC AMERICA AND THE SEX IMPULSE 129 

one-piece one or a girl in any kind at all would be, and 
to avoid the possible vitiation of public purity which might 
thus follow the boy was arrested. He was discharged with a 
warning but even so. You can see how high the virtue at 
this city should be. 

Yet, at the same time, in this same city, were the three afore- 
mentioned hotels with their Thes Dansantes, roof gardens, 
cabaret grills, this, that and the other, and in these might have 
been seen, any late afternoon or evening, winter and summer, 
such a collection of sex-struck infants and elders as would be 
worth the same price of admission anywhere. The clothes! 
The wondrous shoes and gaudy purses, the subdued and yet 
moving and suggestive combination of colors! The efforts to 
flagellate the already too harried imagination with a promise 
of delights which the local morality squad, I fear, would never 
permit to be realized. You could pay as much in either of these 
places for a pot of tea and three little thin slices of toast as you 
could anywhere in the world. In their efforts to provide you 
with a superior (sex) atmosphere they made it possible for you 
so to do. 

Wrong? Not a bit. I am not describing it for that purpose; 
nor am I quarreling with human nature for expressing its 
inmost desires, being what it is: avid, alluring, secret, hungry. 
I am smiling at the anachronistic spirit of the same community 
which would arrest the boy in the bathing suit, prohibit "near 
beer," snip every even weakly suggestive passage out of a 
"movie," "run" any indecent play ("Hedda Gabler," let us 
say, or "The Wild Duck," since it could not understand them) 
out of town. No copies of "The Song of Songs," Rousseau's 
"Confessions," "The Decameron," or the unexpurgated 
"Arabian Nights." Never, never, never! Yet look at these 
same hotels, these girls and youths clinging to each other in 
the suggestive dances! The movements, the sinuous, almost 
savage, abandon, the love-looks, the whispers! And the auto- 



130 NEUROTIC AMERICA AND THE SEX IMPULSE 

mobiles lined up along distant country roadsides in the dark 
later although not a single house of assignation or prostitu- 
tion was tolerated within the city limits. One had to secure^ 
a Ford and employ the open woods and fields instead. And in 
the basement next to the barbershop in each hotel was one or 
more "manicure booths," curtained confessionals or reces- 
sionals, into which one might retire with a manicure maid to 
have one's fingers done. Owing to the dashing quality of these 
maids the business was large. 

For myself, I do not know what the psychic or spiritual or 
creative significance of these impulses of the sexes may be, 
unless, in truth, within equational limits they are moral or at 
least essential, and so to be cherished as a good instead of an 
evil; but one thing is certain: their appearance in this florid 
public form and in the center of a vice-cured city would indi- 
cate that either the attitude of the nation is wrong or that we 
have in our midst a host of neurotic or sex-struck degenerates 
who ought to be eliminated from the body civic in a very radi- 
cal manner. But are they neurotic? Or is it the nation that 
is wrong, and these but the neurotic symptoms of its error? 
Certainly, nowhere outside of America and especially in such a 
vice-taboo realm as this, I fancy, are the terrors of sex excess, 
the degradation and disease following sex libertinage, more en- 
thusiastically or more glowingly pointed out as the psychic or 
spiritual aftermath or heavenly punishment of these "sins"; 
and, yet, for all the length of time these horrors have been 
"known" or insisted upon or pointed out, and regardless of 
whether they are really true or not, is there any marked diminu- 
tion of the so-called sex evil in America? Has the denying of 
drink or prophylactics to the American sailor or soldier cured 
him of his interest in sex? Will it? The world apparently, or 
that part of it expressed by, in or through the sexes, is as avid 
and seeking as ever. We know, or some of us do, that the chem- 
istry by which we and the sex impulse are compounded is above 



NEUROTIC AMERICA AND THE SEX IMPULSE 131 

the knowledge or volition of man, although its object in so far 
as human moods and passions are concerned, is plain enough. 
But in America we are not willing, if we do know, to admit it. 
Our increasing numerical presence here should be evidence 
enough of its force, but we waive that in favor of our theories 
in regard to the inherently moral and Christian home even 
the complete suppression of sex! That a balance or equation 
between excess and license and inane, mollusc-like passiv- 
ism in regard to sex and its expression is all that is ever struck 
in Nature, is plain enough to those who think; but that an 
American in authority in state or church should admit it! Life, 
apparently, is never exact in anything, and the desirability of 

having it so is of course open to question. But still 

Yet, to me, the impulses we are trying to suppress are, this 
side of excess, perfectly normal, while the thing we think we 
want is an infantile conception of life and its processes, un- 
suited to thinking men and women. Our conviction is ap- 
parently that sexuality is essentially wrong and debasing, and 
yet we do not really think so, as our intense national interest 
in every phase of sex proves. We are afraid to face ourselves 
honestly and openly in anything, neurotically so, and that is 
what makes the American intellect so utterly contemptible and 
negligible at times. What is nearer the truth is that our atti- 
tude is to be psychoanalytically traced in various ways to the 
strangely exaggerated (neurotic, I think) conceptions of the 
part sex or its over-emphasis plays in life due to repression, 
which have followed upon impossible religious theories brought 
from abroad (Quaker, Methodist, Puritan, Mennonite, Catho- 
lic), and our reaction to them. These have developed that re- 
pressive social and biologic ignorance regarding sex charac- 
teristic of so many American families, offspring of these sects 
even when they are no longer of them. The conviction that sex 
is debasing, dominant at least at this time in nearly every 
American mind, I believe, is to be traced so often to these 



NEUROTIC AMERICA AND THE SEX IMPULSE 

earlier experiences, particularly with regard to parents and their 
views. The average American child and I suppose England 
is not much better, judging by their novels and morals is per- 
mitted to base its ideals of life and social relations, especially 
sex relations, on this earlier pretense on the part of parents 
that sex does not exist for them at least. 

So it is that we find adult boys and girls pretending, even to 
themselves, that they do not know what sex is and the manner 
in which children come into existence, and preachers and pre- 
tending thinkers speaking and writing as though sex were not 
an all but dominant force in life. And instead of viewing this 
inconceivably dull attitude as something that needs modifica- 
tion and bringing ourselves to the realization that there is 
nothing inherently disgraceful about having sexual desire, or 
at least knowledge of it, and of eventually gratifying it, we 
allow ourselves to be kept in tow of crack-brained religionists 
and ethic mongers who insist on painting our very normal 
natures as abnormal and so developing national neuroses and 
psychoses which make us ridiculous, not only to ourselves but 
to every other nation. It has even succeeded in twisting our 
judgments in regard to politics and economics. For without a 
rational conception of the part, and the very normal part, sex 
plays in life, how can there be sanity in these other things? 
One cannot be wrong as to one vital point in life and right as 
to all others. We continue to assert, as a nation and as indi- 
viduals, that everything sexual is wrong, while at the same time 
having sexual feelings and impulses which we can scarcely dis- 
guise even to ourselves and which we satisfy or over-compensate 
for in ways too ridiculous to mention (a Billy Sunday revival, 
for instance; a White Slave Crusade in which our papers blaze 
with sickening criticism; an insane, an impossible pursuit of 
money or vice, due to the repression of every other normal 
instinct). Truly, a goose nailed to the floor by its feet and 
stuffed daily to produce an enlarged and salable liver, could 



NEUROTIC AMERICA AND THE SEX IMPULSE 133 

be no more ridiculous or pathetic than the average American 
debarred from every avenue of intelligence or effort save that 
which relates to money. 

It is a bit curl, .is, one cannot help remarking, that the 
widespread fame and weight of such sincere and eminent in- 
vestigators as Kraft-Ebbing, Ellis, Freud and his host of fol- 
lowers, with all the profoundly moving evidence of the pathos 
of sex-repression which they offer, has not had more influence 
upon our national, if not the world's international, mind. The 
sorrows revealed! The grisly prison doors unlocked by the 
patient and brilliantly revealing researches of Freud alone! 
The old sorrows dragged from the depths of the repressed 
subconscious and at last permitted to come forth into the light, 
where the fortuitous and yet crushing weight of earthly illusion 
and error may be noted! And yet they have not apparently 
as yet enlightened or broadened us. 

At this point I would like to present a citation from the 
writings of one of our leading neurologists and psychoanalysts 
(H. W. Frink) in regard to the type of patient (neurotic) 
pouring in upon him from all parts of America. "My own 
experience," he writes ("Morbid Fears and Compulsions," 
page 224), "is that the sexual factor comes to expression in 
every analysis at once, usually within the first two or three 
visits, and I am sure that for this result no special technique 
or dexterities are required; about all that is necessary being to 
let the patient talk. To the question, Why is the sexual factor 
dominant in every neurosis? I shall not attempt to make any 
detailed reply. The answer is perhaps to be sought in the 
direction indicated by Meyer ("Discussion of Some Funda- 
mental Issues in Freud's Psychoanalysis," State Hospital Bul- 
letin, Vol. II, No. 4, 1910), when he says: 'No experience or 
part of our life is as much disfigured by convention as the sex 
feelings and ambitions. 7 That is to say, if we had other im- 
pulses which throughout the whole life of the individual were 



134 NEUROTIC AMERICA AND THE SEX IMPULSE 

so consistently and unremittingly warped, cramped and de- 
formed in every conceivable and unnatural manner (as they 
are in America) and they had the same strength to rebel 
against such treatment as have the sex impulses, then we 
might have neuroses in which they and not the sex factor 
played the dominant role." 

For my own part, I cannot understand why it is that the 
human mind, and more especially the American or Anglo- 
Saxon mind, unless it is regulated by biogenetic forces over 
which it has no control but which have full control over it, 
functions so dully in regard to sex and its import. One 
would assume, from the average religious or social conception 
of the time, that the sole function of sex in all its ramifica- 
tions is the production of more children, to live, work and die 
according to the prescribed routine of the dullest Christian 
formula. But, unquestionably, sex means much more than 
that. While it is true that some of the minor professors of 
psychoanalysis are offering what they are pleased to term 
the "sublimation of the holophilic (or sex) impulse" into 
more "useful," or, at any rate, more agreeable fields of effort 
via suppression or restraint, this in my judgment is little more 
than a sop, and an obvious one, to the moralists. What is 
actually true is that via sex gratification or perhaps better, 
its ardent and often defeated pursuit comes most of all that 
is most distinguished in art, letters and our social economy 
and progress generally. It may be and usually is "displaced." 
"referred," "transferred," "substituted by," "identified with" 
desires for wealth, preferment, distinction and what not, but 
underneath each and every one of such successes must prima- 
rily be written a deep and abiding craving for women, or some 
one woman, in whom the sex desires of any one person for 
the time being is centered. "Love" or "lust" (and the one 
is but an intellectual sublimation of the other) moves the 
seeker in every field of effort. It is the desire to enthrone and 



NEUROTIC AMERICA AND THE SEX IMPULSE 135 

enhance, by every possible detail of ornamentation, comfort 
and color love, sensual gratification that man in the main 
moves, and by that alone. Protean as this impulse may be, and 
it takes many forms, it stands revealed as the underlying 
reality of a thousand astounding impulses or disguises 
pathetic, lying, simulating, denying, but the same old impulse 
everywhere and under all circumstances. Refracted as it is 
by opposition, misunderstanding, failure into a million glister- 
ing and lovely or pathetic things, it may seem to be what it 
is not; but hold fast, trace it back, and there, at bottom, sex 
appears, a craving for love, and its accompanying sensual 
gratification, and there is no other. 

But the thing which is especially interesting about America 
is its infantile blindness to all this and the pathetic and at 
least semi-neurotic condition into which we have fallen in 
consequence. As one views American life to-day it can be 
safely asserted that scarcely one of a hundred American men 
or women view this phase of life intelligibly, although they 
respond to it normally enough in some of its other phases. 
Usually before their so-called vision, and between them and 
their daily deeds, hangs an inane and miasmatic cloud of 
cant and make-believe. The physiologically and biologically 
informed know, of course, how ridiculous is the assumption 
that sex union is the narrowly "moral" function which the 
religionists would have one believe, although moral it may well 
be in some larger constructive sense, as is any other life pro- 
cess, if life itself can be termed moral. But that it can in- 
volve, without becoming profoundly ridiculous, a narrow or 
sectarian religious interpretation, is open to question. That it 
has a sad, tragic, even ruthless aspect (read Maeterlinck's 
description of the struggles of some flowers to be born and 
continue the species) is not, scientifically at least, to be corn- 
batted. In its biological aspects it has many, many tragic 
sides, although so dull is the race to all but its most indi- 



136 NEUROTIC AMERICA AND THE SEX IMPULSE 

vidual ambitions and needs that it cannot be expected to 
sense this either. Indeed, as expressed by the impulses in 
man (concocted by what psychic meditation below and on the 
part of what?), sex is an unregenerate and only partially con- 
trolled passion which has more as its aim perhaps than is 
dreamed of in the philosophies of man. It is a fire, a chem- 
ical explosion, really. It concerns not so much the individual 
as the race, the endless unbroken chain of men and women, 
however much any individual may think it concerns him alone. 
Instead of denouncing the individual for his mood in regard 
to all this, it might be more important to inquire how moral 
in their import are the elements which compound and bring 
about the explosion and to treat him as one of their victims. 
The truth no doubt is that in this much-maligned impulse 
which chemical forces beyond and above the willing of men 
are compounding lies the destiny of man (if he has one), only 
we are not as yet able to fathom that destiny. Here we come, 
bottles of fluid dynamite (prepared by what satiric super-soul, 
and why?), and somewhere in the world is, or may be, another 
compound which will set us aflame and we are supposed to 
connect this with a narrow religious order or theory! I will 
admit that for the necessities of social arrangement and 
relationship here, the necessary balances and inter-adjust- 
ments that go to make up a workable society of beings, some 
form of equation between the less and more avid sexually, 
the too hot and the too cold, must be and is struck, willy- 
nilly and regardless of individual or man's moral theory. But 
by what rule and rote? Is there so-called "justice" in it, or 
"reason," or a fixed social order or method of procedure? We 
see that in spite of our fixed methods of moral procedure the 
tragedies continue, the waves and flames of morality and im- 
morality come and go. Our divorce rate! Our sex tragedies 
and districts! And what guide has the individual? The 
Golden Rule? A more liberal method of adjustment? In the 



NEUROTIC AMERICA AND THE SEX IMPULSE 137 

past, Nature has tolerated polygamy, polyandry and an ab- 
breviated monogamy, and may do so again. The stress and 
strain which the present social arrangements show are almost 
premonitory. 

But one thing is certain: no hard-and-fast rule governing 
this impulse has worked with accuracy for any given length 
of time, anywhere. If there are discovered or discoverable rules 
for its control and best management in the interest of the 
race and so in the interest of the Creator they have not yet 
been announced. We hear of the duty of preserving the 
sanctity of the home, maintaining a wife and raising a family 
according to the monogamic theory. Well and good. But, 
outside of raising endless children to be slain in wars, vege- 
tated in a routine factory life, worn threadbare in a vast and 
internecine struggle for existence, there is not so much to be 
said for that, either. Routine home life, even an artistic 
breeding-pen, can scarcely be the be-all and end-all of human 
existence, any more than may unrestrained license. And how- 
ever comfortable or admirable or encouraging the average 
home may be to given individuals, it is not necessarily so to 
all. There are those who find it confining, destroying. And, 
again, religionists and theorists, moral and otherwise, as well 
as the great greedy syndics and master minds in business or 
politics, prey upon the fruit of the home and collect "spiritual" 
and material taxes and establish "spiritual" as well as material 
autocracies or over-lordships which in no wise make for sex 
morality any more than for the forces which destroy it. Vice, 
suborned by the wealthy and powerful, as well as the avid and 
perverse among the weak, feeds upon the fruit of the so-called 
moral home. The bull seal still conquers his fifty or a hundred, 
and the weakling none. In fact, in a so-called Christian realm 
the mistress abounds, and the high divorce rate attests much 
private dissatisfaction with the theory. Laws come and laws 
go; and still we are about where we were before. The 



138 NEUROTIC AMERICA AND THE SEX IMPULSE 

gardens of Aphrodite still exist. The hetaera of Greece and 
Rome are still with us in our back streets or our high- 
priced apartment houses. If we no longer have our streets 
of the so-called "fallen" or "evil" women, who walk in the 
dark, is it not because caution has become the better part of 
trade? Are they not to be found behind closed doors in re- 
sponse to special rings, by card of admission, in our best 
streets? The endless pother! And still sex is as vigorous 
and dominant as ever it was. The riant scoffers nod and 
smile and accept the new rules. 

Personally, after all this time, my conclusion is: (i), that 
no individual, however well or ill compounded physically, can 
make or unmake his moods or add one jot or tittle to Ms moral 
desires or perfections, although he and society (or conven- 
tion) can exercise a certain amount of restraint a restraint 
that will almost invariably prove irksome and which he will 
seek to evade; (2), that however much theorists, hypocrites 
and sincere religionists, chill-blooded or otherwise, may revile 
sex or attempt to restrain or destroy it, yet Nature (God or 
the devil, or the two in one) permits these wild fires to be 
generated in man, and, in spite of all punishments and hin- 
drances, sees to it that his passions overleap his fears and 
judgments and cause him to do all the things that may be 
strictly forbidden him but which may nevertheless be of value 
to the race itself; (3), that man is not temperamentally or 
chemically a monogamous animal, however much the social 
conditions and necessities by which he finds himself sur- 
rounded in certain lands and times tend to make him believe 
so or fear, and that a rough balance or equation is all that 
is ever struck between his outward public deeds and his inner 
chemic condition; (4), that, to this hour, there is no city with- 
out its percentage of prostitution or hetsera of one grade or 
another; (5), that there is no city or town where some women 
or girls do not walk, secretly or openly, to accomplish prostitu- 



NEUROTIC AMERICA AND THE SEX IMPULSE 139 

tion and where men do not, secretly or openly, encourage and 
pursue them, the chemic necessities of their being as much as 
poverty impelling them to do it; (6), that there is no city or 
town or countryside, anywhere, where adultery or fornication 
is not indulged in outside wedlock for love or pleasure; (7), 
that a high percentage of men in all walks, including priests 
and clergymen, look after some one type at least of woman 
and lust after her; (8), that a moderate percentage of women, 
in marriage and out, seek the affection of a given type of man 
temperamentally or chemically agreeable or appealing to them, 
and offer their bodies as a bid for or sacrifice to that affection; 
(9), that women crave monogamy where their affections or the 
interests of their children are involved; (10), that love of one 
woman or one man, or their several or joint love of children, 
is likely to overlay and put at rest, for the time being, the 
usual roving desires of sex; (n), that law in all special in- 
stances is absolutely helpless before passion, powerless either 
to interpret its psychology or fix a just measure of praise or 
blame; (12), that convention has not made, and cannot make, 
any headway against a chemical scheme of life which puts 
sex desires first and all else as secondary or socially con- 
tributory. 

Do I seem illogical or inclined to exaggerate? Think well 
over the things I have said. The world has a partially trace- 
able history covering more than ten thousand years; in that 
time nations have risen and fallen, law codes have come and 
gone, religions have dominated and been swept away. In no 
law code and in no religion of any nation has the sex question, 
the need of moderation, duty to family and the like, been 
ignored. But in all that time the social expression of sex has 
never been so much as modified, let alone done away with. 
The Mosaic law is all of three thousand years old, yet what 
has it availed? Are our women all pure, our men ail moral? 
Yet, in the face of history and present-day occurrences, the 



140 NEUROTIC AMERICA AND THE SEX IMPULSE 

facts of divorce courts, night courts, streets crowded with 
prostitution and kept women, men seeking constantly to lure 
women, and vice versa, all the million and one evidences in 
books, plays, newspapers and social life generally that sex 
is the keynote of existence, there are those who would bar all 
mention of it, harry the prostitute, unduly punish the forni- 
cator, ostracise the woman who strays from the path of virtue 
or seeks in divorce a way out of a troubled marital state. 

What to make of the brain of man under such circum- 
stances? What to say of the thing that causes him to fight the 
passion of which he is a victim? Necessity for equation and 
balance in all things, a very rough balance which cares no more 
for the individual "good" or "bad" than we care for flies 
or gnats? Inherent love of moderation in some? Love of 
peace in some? Love of the reverse in others? The tendency 
of all things to become static, even passionate temperaments? 
Surely that, and nothing more. Yet, aside from that, there is 
something which does not care for the equation-seeking mood 
of either individuals or society, which is busy manufacturing 
and pouring into the world new individuals with all their new 
dreams, passions, lacks of equation, lack of a sense of self- 
restraint, and sweeping away the old, the conservative, the 
religious, sanctimonious. 

One of the sanifying recourses in life is, of course, to fix 
one's eye on youth and note what it desires. Plainly, it is a 
fair expression of the thing that creates it, the chemic mood of 
the biologic force, for plainly it is closer to that which creates it. 
As the human or physical machine ages and wears out it is 
prepared, and then only, to accept the restraints and the 
equation which society, in order to maintain itself, requires; 
but not before. In the main, youth blazes with non-equational 
fires and it best represents that which makes it, the concocting 
chemic impulses below or behind life. Is youth wrong? Then 
so is the life impulse, for it builds youth freshly to its needs 



NEUROTIC AMERICA AND THE SEX IMPULSE 141 

yearly, daily. The physical laws which seem to govern the 
biologic impulse after it expresses itself in the shape of youth, 
or man, and compels it for purposes of social expression to 
submit to restraints and equation, is another matter, in- 
herent, perhaps, in the constitution of the universe itself and 
not to be avoided by the biologic impulse or its creatures. 
But this, as I have said before, does not provide us with exact 
rules for conducting ourselves here or how best to subdue or 
balance with other things the enormous fires with which we 
sometimes find ourselves lit. Better admit at once that hard- 
and-fast and cock-sure rules or laws are of no avail, and 
trust to the crude accidents of life to caution youth. A happy 
balance between the fires of youth and the fears and chills of 
age may be desirable, but, freely admitting that, can it be fixed 
by exact rule? We are inherent in some greater thing than 
man Nature Herself. Only She knows. 

One thing is sure: we are not done with the conflict and 
amazing super-impulses of sex, and are not likely to be soon. 
And if we were, would life be the varied, fascinating, humor- 
ous, poetic, tragic thing we see it to be? Suppose the moralists 
ruled, with their stiff and narrow balance, and man accepted 
their quiescent dictates then what? Contrast it with some of 
the freer, more distinguished periods Greece, Rome, Italy 
during the Renaissance, France under the Louis, England 
under Elizabeth and Charles II. Consider. I for one see no 
immediate solution, and firmly believe there is none which does 
not end in complete mental quiescence balance or its equiv- 
alent, intellectual and emotional or temperamental nothing- 
ness, decay and dissolution, with something not so balanced 
and therefore alive, to supersede, if we are to have any form, 
of life at all. 



SECRECY ITS VALUE 

IN the face of a rampant and inane morality which is 
constantly seeking to befog or misinterpret a world which 
needs to be seen quite clearly if man is even partially to under- 
stand himself or the conditions by which he is confronted, it is 
well to remember that life is secret, nearly entirely so, in all 
its phases. Nature reveals Her secrets to no man, save grudg- 
ingly and peradventure. By dint of slow searching and be- 
cause of his own necessities and sufferings he has discovered 
a few things how few, as contrasted with the vast sea of the 
all but undiscoverable, not even the wisest can guess. And, 
even so, it is all a process of inclusion, and hence exclusion. 
How little included? And how much excluded? And Her 
secrecy is by no means moral or ethical or generous in any 
way. Yet, confronted by all the iron and pagan mysteries of a 
catch-as-catch-can world, and seeing daily and hourly that 
only the strong or shrewd or gifted, or those befriended by 
them, survive, and the weak and untalented are left to fester in 
want, and that only a rather loose and not very protective 
or comforting balance or equation is struck between extremes 
of any kind (even between his so-called God and devil), man 
still persists in interpreting his needs or hopes or dreams as 
the result of a super-tender administration of some kind, and 
sniffs rather disconsolately, if not quite unbelievingly, at the 
hard facts by which he is confronted. He is so anxious to think 
Nature kind, generous, non-secret. Indeed, any well-reared- 
and-ordered moralist or religionist would be inclined to con- 
tend, I am sure, that the world is not in the main secret, 

142 



SECRECY ITS VALUE 143 

or at least not maliciously so, and that, even if it is, it 
should not be innate desire for balance and equation be- 
tween so-called evil and good always urging him to this con- 
clusion. 

But, Nature is secret, quite maliciously so at times, and 
Her secrecy is not to be escaped, even by those most anxious 
to condemn that phase of Her character. All of us, as a part 
of Her, reflect this chiefest characteristic as well as the most 
powerful instinct implanted in us by Her namely, the desire 
to preserve ourselves and propagate our kind as against the 
lives and interests of all others. And, being confronted also by 
one of Her sternest regulations, that only the shrewd, the 
cunning, the appropriate or desired or presently essential or 
fit shall survive when assailed by millions of other creatures 
not so fortunately equipped, we are compelled to admit that we 
are at least a part of a more or less internecine struggle and 
so do our best, willy-nilly, as time and occasion may warrant or 
suggest to escape via secrecy, intrigue, cunning and the like. 
In other words, we are compelled to conceal that which is 
important to us and possibly inimical to others, showing, in 
times of stress, only that which will help us; hence, we, along 
with everything else, are compelled to be secret whether we 
wish to or not. 

It may be mentioned here that there is a certain fish whose 
scientific name is Mycteroperca Bonaci and whose common 
name is Black Grouper, which is of considerable value in 
this connection. It is a healthy creature, growing to a weight 
of two hundred and fifty pounds and living a comfortable 
existence because of its very remarkable ability to adapt itself 
to conditions. Now while that very subtle thing which we call 
the creative power and which we endow with the spirit of the 
Beatitudes is supposed to build this mortal life in such fashion 
that only honesty and virtue shall prevail, still it builds this 
fish. Moving in its dark world of green waters, Mycteroperca 



i 4 4 SECRECY ITS VALUE 

has the very essence of secrecy, the power of almost instan- 
taneous change into something quite different in so far as 
appearances are concerned. Its great superiority over other 
fishes lies in an almost unbelievable power of simulation, which 
relates solely to the pigmentation of its skin. In electrical 
mechanics we pride ourselves on our ability to make over one 
brilliant scene into another in the twinkling of an eye and 
flash picture after picture before the onlooker. The directive 
control of Mycteroperca over its appearance is so wonderful 
that you cannot look at it long without feeling that you are 
witnessing something spectral and unnatural, so brilliant is 
its power to deceive. Lying at the bottom of a bay, it can 
simulate the mud by which it is surrounded. Hidden in the 
folds of glorious leaves, it is of the same markings. Lurk- 
ing in a flaw of light, it is like the light itself shining dimly 
in water. Its power to elude or strike unseen is of the 
greatest. One might go far afield and gather less forceful 
indictments the horrific spider spinning his trap for the un- 
thinking fly; the lovely Drosera (Sundew) using its crimson 
calyx for a smothering-pit in which to seal and devour the 
victim of its beauty; the rainbow-colored jellyfish that spreads 
its prismed tentacles like streamers of great beauty, only to 
sting and torture all that falls within their radiant folds. Man 
himself is busy digging the pit and fashioning the snare, but 
he will not believe it. His feet are in the trap of circumstances; 
his eyes are on an illusion. 

But what would you say was the intention of the overruling 
intelligent, constructive force which gives to Mycteroperca this 
ability? To fit it to be truthful? Or would you say that 
subtlety, chicanery, trickery were here at work? An imple- 
ment of illusion one might readily suspect it to be, a living lie, 
a creature whose business it is to appear what it is not, to sim- 
ulate that with which it has nothing in common, the power of 
its enemies to forfend against which is little. The indictment 
is fair. 



SECRECY ITS VALUE 145 

Yet is it not ridiculous that where all Nature is working 
in shadow, each thing hiding from the other its processes or 
thoughts of power and its intentions, that we ask of poor, 
spindling, cowardly, scurrying man, dodging perpetually here 
and there between the giant legs of chance and, in so far 
as he is concerned, all but malign forces, that he stand up 
and speak the truth in all things (would that he could dis- 
cover it!) or that he say boldly and on all occasions what is 
in his heart, what are his intentions? Of old we know that 
men do not, anywhere, save in consonance with their interests, 
and yet the silly, self-interested request persists; a demon- 
stration of how thought or observation and deduction and 
principally self-interest lag behind fact. The only thing which 
opposes secrecy and brings it to light is the skill for secrecy 
in others; another illustration of the law of balance or equa- 
tion in Nature, the necessity of give and take in life, the 
desire of the other person to be protected from too much 
secrecy on the part of others. But the folly of the appeal in 
its ideal form, the charm that would disappear with the arrival 
of absolute frankness, the mystery that would go! 

Ninety-nine and ninety-nine one-hundredths of all the in- 
terest or charm of all the creatures of the earth and of the 
circumstances and spaces and conditions in which they find 
themselves, is the secrecy or, what is the same, the mystery 
or subtlety which attaches to them. We do not know them; 
we do not understand them; we wonder at their states, their 
thoughts, their moods, what they will do, which way turn, 
when attacked, whom attack, whom deceive, whom praise, 
whom reward. Secrecy secrecy mystery. If it were gone 
the illusion of life itself, which is all that it is, would be gone 
also. And we are cautioned to love truth and to say truly and 
to our own hurt if necessary! And some advocate this so 
earnestly as part of the service due the other person, or of 
life to us. Yet, in the main, it comes to this: every other is 
to speak the truth to us, to conceal no important fact that 



i 4 6 SECRECY ITS VALUE 

might be helpful to us from us, to do justice to us, to think 
kindly of us. 

A fine program, and absolutely consonant with our desire 
to live, prosper, succeed, regardless of the well-being of every 
other. 

But let us reverse the program and advocate to ourselves, 
even in jest, that we do strict justice (if we could discover what 
that might be) to every other or tell him the exact truth 
about ourselves (heaven forbid!), our adventures, dreams, 
schemes; to think kindly (yes, even to think kindly in the 
face of the little that we know) of him. The Catholic hier- 
archy which, by the way, has little to do with Messianic 
Christianity and its fine-spun ideals so thoroughly under- 
stood human nature of the middle centuries as well as to-day 
that it introduced as an intermediary between man and his 
own conscience, his private shames, regrets, fears: the confes- 
sional (secrecy) in order that the average individual might 
free his soul of crimes without exposing himself to the fierce 
light of criticism which a public confession or truth-telling 
would entail. And the hesitation and even shame, for all its 
cloak of secrecy, with which the confessional is approached! 
The Church knew that man was not equal to the task of con- 
fronting his own accusing conscience in the open or before 
others but must confess in secret, if at all. Hence the drawn 
curtain and the reward of absolution for confession! 

War, in the main the result of economic pressure, is an 
illustration of the necessity for secrecy, or rather the methods 
by which war is made strategy, no less. Mere brute num- 
bers clouting each other to obtain a numerical supremacy is 
nothing. A soldier worthy the rank of corporal would smile at 
such a program. Secrecy is the thing, the devising of traps and 
lures whereby the enemy may be betrayed and to his undoing. 
The spider weaving his net, the trapper devising his traps, the 
snake moving in grasses the color of itself, is no different to the 
general who by strategy (and what general without strategy 



SECRECY ITS VALUE 147 

is worthy the name?) seeks to encompass the enemy. Shake- 
speare in Macbeth, by means of the witches, suggests so archly 
the value of secrecy to the so-called good or just (in that 
instance MacDuff) in fighting evil (Macbeth) by having the 
soldiery of MacDuff simulate Birnam Wood by cutting off 
and carrying the branches of its trees towards his castle, thus 
lyingly fulfilling the prophecy of the witches to Macbeth that 
he should not be injured until Birnam Wood should rise and 
come against him, and so destroying his self-confidence. And, 
indeed, is not stark, threatening secrecy, non-moral force that 
it is, the thing which gives color if not joy to life and which 
lends surprise, uncertainty, fear and hence freedom from 
ennui to life, and, by contrast, hope and calculation, the 
greatest and most charming of all our gifts? For what game 
or sport, implying, as they do, friendly contest, would be 
worthy the name if it did not involve the element of chance or 
uncertainty, or, in other words, secrecy, to the extent that one 
cannot beforehand determine the outcome? 

Again, are not all of our ambitions, if not as to their pur- 
port at least as to their outcome, secret? Nature provides 
secrecy, or uncertainty, which is the same thing, or darkness 
as a condition for the development of quite everything, from 
seeds to human plans, and builds and builds with us in count- 
less ways and to astonishing results, and yet we are not per- 
mitted to share Her secret. Our petty brains and bodies are 
but mere implements of sorts in Her hands whereby She is 
constructing something, the significance or purpose of which 
we cannot even guess and which She is at no pains to reveal. 
She builds us to contain, or rather to comprehend, but a mod- 
icum, a minute fragment, of the enormous information or secret 
which is Hers. Secrecy on Her part, you see. 

If one turns to the pages of science, what a masterly array 
of natural diplomacy and artifice is there displayed! The 
fishes of the sea imitating the coloring of the grasses or 
shadows of the deep in which they hide and by means of 



i 4 8 SECRECY ITS VALUE 

which they escape their enemies (protective coloring is the 
scientific name) ; insects the same, in so far as foliage and 
grasses are concerned; birds the same; reptiles the same; 
man. for all his noble theories and dreams of a generous and 
unselfish mode of conduct, the same; as artificial and secretive 
as any, he. The stripling lawyer imitates the look and manner 
of his intellectual superior words, phrases, carriage, side- 
whiskers even in order to seem his equal, or in other words to 
conceal (secrecy, you see) the fact that he is not his equal, 
from some trusting and unsophisticated client. Protective 
coloring, as it were. 

Take again the instance of a man beginning to rise finan- 
cially and wishing to appear the equivalent of men far richer 
than himself. His office is in their vicinity, his residence in 
their neighborhood. He is in their club if possible, their 
church, their directories. He is not as rich as they are, but 
wishes to conceal the fact. It is not good for the world to 
know that he is not what he is not. His few public deeds 
would not be as acceptable or he would be compelled to doff 
the uniform he so much desires to wear, the manners, along 
possibly with the emoluments thereof, or the hope of them. 
Secrecy secrecy secrecy. A seeming only, where reality 
would leave life bare and hard. 

And is it not the same with doctors, merchants, professionals 
of all kinds? To this day is not medicine, like most other 
professions, fond of mystery and secrecy. . . . Latin for in- 
stance, in preparing its prescriptions, thereby giving them an 
air of superiority which is not necessarily there at all, or to 
prevent the patient from knowing what is being put into his 
stomach, or to make the cure seem more formidable by being 
mysterious or secret. And to this hour, lawyers delighting in 
magnificently darksome briefs, which in simple language would 
be understandable to all and far less fearsome. Again, religion, 
the Catholic and many other versions, rejoicing in a ritual 
which, if presented or sung in English, would be just as im- 



SECRECY ITS VALUE 149 

pressive to the really intelligent if it possessed any genuine 
merit or appeal. But to the ignorant laity, according to the 
thoughts of the churchman, it might not be; hence the Latin. 
And perhaps it is as it should be, for do not the ignorant and 
the savage invariably crave that which they cannot under- 
stand? It may be that they desire something more symbolic 
of all they feel but cannot express, a quantity and quality of 
mysterious inner moods and emotions which no human spoken 
words, especially those of their own tongue, would even 
suggest. 

Hence the priest and preacher, Shi'ite or Sunnite, Dervish, 
Buddhist, or Brahman formalist, one and all, although ordinary 
human beings like ourselves, are trained, and most carefully, 
in the protective coloring of their profession. For essentially 
they are no different, or, with very rare exception, no more 
spiritual, no more self-sacrificial in other words, no more un- 
natural than any of their fellows. But, in due process of 
time, the manners, customs, rules even of those who by chance 
or perad venture (the accident of disposition or revulsion from 
too much of something else) have been tender, self-sacrificial, 
humanitarian, have given these latter their cue. They now 
know, let us say, what "good" or self-restraining or humanity- 
loving men and women in times past have, at one time and 
another, been like, how they walked in humility, denied them- 
selves the pleasures, even the necessities of life, divided a cloak 
with a beggar or gave it whole, went with an importunate 
enemy two miles instead of one, turned the other cheek to one 
who had smitten them on one, gave the last of money or food 
to one who was hungered, shelter to the shelterless, warmth 
to the cold, ignored frivolity or laughter because of so much 
existing misery. And so those who, without performing similar 
discomforting services, would like to appear thus, now know 
what to do, how such an one, assuming that he minister to 
the weak, the erring, the deficient, should conduct himself, 
his most appropriate airs, manners, moods. Hence but does 



150 SECRECY ITS VALUE 

one need to call attention to the vast system of protective 
coloring which now produces saviors, Samaritans, ministers by 
the hundreds of thousands throughout the world, all pre- 
sumably embracing the qualities which make the self-sacri- 
ficial character important, if it is important, yet who perform 
few if any of those deeds which the coloring implies: the 
"cloth," the hats, the reversed collars, the severe black, sign of 
abstemiousness, self-sacrifice, putting aside of the vanities, 
shows and pleasures of this world. 

Of course there is always the rare individual born so strong, 
so wise, so courageous, that he needs few if any disguises in 
order to make life palatable to him, or his way in it. But he 
is rare, and, even when present, may not always proceed with 
ease or fearlessly but must disguise the courage and intelligence 
which he possesses (secrecy). Even he, when dealing with 
weaker, as well as stronger, individuals and groups, dare not 
show forth his true strength, save in their behalf, unless he 
would evoke their destroying anger. For masses, lacking 
power as to their individual units, are infuriated by one who is 
not so constituted, who offends by his strength their own fu- 
tility. All lesser strengths, whether represented by individuals 
or masses, are envious and jealous of power. And the strong 
hate the strong quite as much as they do the weak when the 
latter are opposed to them. And, vice versa, the weak look 
upon the strong as driving masters, but the strong look upon 
the strong as rivals seeking power equal to their own, or 
equal to the task of displacing them. Hence their bitter and 
destructive rage; the hate of tiger for tiger, for instance, bull 
for bull. Secrecy, secrecy, here as elsewhere apparently the best 
policy Nature has been able to devise the only or the 
essential one, the one most employed. Truly the wise, however 
powerful, disguise their power and wisdom. They go softly, 
speak kindly, advocate justice or equation in all things, as 
well they may, seeing that they themselves may stand in need 






SECRECY ITS VALUE 151 

of it at any turn; and, if they work their will, work it in the 
dark and alone as much as possible. 

What, then, shall we say of life when confronted by truths 
such as these that it is offensive, unbearable, a thing to be 
wept over, shunned, departed from as quickly as possible? 
I think not. Nature has always been so, and men for millions 
of years have undertaken life with all its difficulties and 
subtleties and have done well enough. Indeed, they have 
thrived, like all those who sharpen their souls against diffi- 
culty. It is Nature's way. With steel She cuts steel, with 
subtlety subtlety, and the whole process appears to be one in 
which a more capable device for enduring the inherent rest- 
lessness and changefulness of Nature Herself is steadily pre- 
pared. It is one of dull wit upon whom, like barnacles, 
illusions fasten. And he is in error who assumes that the 
processes of Nature are different from those of man. We are 
like life, like the chemicals and forces of which we are com- 
posed, and have always been so. Only theory and dogma, 
growing upon and obscuring sluggish minds, have permitted 
the rise of a contra-conception. We should brush the cobwebs 
from our eyes and do away with illusion. In so far as possible, 
and as did the gladiators of old, we should face life with such 
weapons as we may, some with raw strength and short sword 
and shield, others with net and trident; one relying on brute 
strength if need must, the other on the skill and craft with 
which he may enmesh and slay. There is no other way. Life 
is so, and only the cowardly or the dull or the weak will either 
fail to see or endeavor to evade so solemn and even terrible 
a truth. 



IDEALS, MORALS, AND THE DAILY NEWSPAPER 

FOR two centuries now if not longer the newspapers, rather 
than the preachers and reformers generally who preceded 
and still parallel them, have been elevating themselves to the 
roles of soothsayer, prophet, and guardians of all phases of 
virtue, honesty and the like, to say nothing of those shibbo- 
leths of the would-be intellectually dominant, "justice" and 
"truth." And the particular views of these papers have come 
to have an undue weight with those so moderately equipped 
intellectually as to look upon them as moral leaders. 
Experiments in government and phases of moral self-control, 
public and private, are there constantly advocated for the good 
of the other man, yet nearly always in accordance with the cur- 
rent bias or the direction of the interests of the paper. Yet 
back of these papers, and in spite of a public following which 
is supposed to regulate or control or suggest their policy and 
viewpoint, is always, or nearly so, an individual or group of 
individuals, possibly a self-interested organization (com- 
mercial, religious or otherwise) with perhaps no more intellec- 
tual grip on the social and spiritual complexities of the world 
than any other individual of average capacity and judgment, 
possibly not so much. Yet with the tremendous leverage of 
circulation, plus a serviceable and profitable and aggressive 
counting-room to help out, their moral and social pronuncia- 
mentos ridiculously enough become all but sacrosanct, irre- 
futable, colossal! Yet after all is said and done, here is nothing 
more than an individual, all too human perhaps, or if not that, 
a group represented by one individual possibly, seeking via 
this same lever (circulation) the special, particular things 

152 



IDEALS, MORALS, AND THE DAILY NEWSPAPER 153 

which he or it or they crave. And as a rule he or his 
group is truckling and hand-rubbing to that which he or it 
or they imagine the time requires, but seeking always cir- 
culation first, as though that were the be-all and end-all of 
all value, wisdom and duty. 

And yet, in America at least, where will you find a citizen 
who does not to a marked extent reverence the opinions of 
his paper? The slavish manner in which in certain regions to 
this day the voters follow a paper and the manner in which 
the American press has successfully clouded issue after issue 
since America began the currency issue for one, the slavery 
issue for another, the tariff issue for a third, the trust issue 
for a fourth, the profiteering and European war issues at the 
present moment. And where will you find a newspaper not 
advertising passing panaceas that it knows cannot heal (I am 
not talking about patent medicines), or admitting that a 
satisfactory social solution for the woes of the millions cannot 
be found, or admitting frankly that human law is the wide- 
spread net that it is, through which great and small alike skip 
briskly, chance and accident restraining some and releasing 
others? Only when the big skip through the lesion is greater. 
Or where will you find a newspaper that will freely admit that 
the Ten Commandments are not after all God-given law (do 
not think for a moment that they privately believe they are), 
or that they constitute anything more than a form of social 
agreement based for their validity on the will of the majority 
and not holding where men do not believe them to be true 
and not followed by any spiritually destructive consequences 
where men do not accept them to be spiritually true? Life 
pours through the reportorial, editorial and counting-rooms 
of the average newspaper pell-mell quite as it does elsewhere, 
only a little more so. Those at the head note well the secrecy, 
the self-interest, the "policy" running through all things, the 
struggles of all individuals and organizations to grow, usually 
at the expense of everything else; yet editorially, and at the 



154 IDEALS, MORALS, AND THE DAILY NEWSPAPER 

very best, a balance or dependent equation between rival clash- 
ing interests rival, hungry, self-seeking hordes is all that is 
ever struck here, although this is all but invariably announced 
as the Sinaitic command of an all-wise, omnipotent, omni- 
present intelligence, the newspaper editor or owner posing as 
its especial mouthpiece and forwarder! Is it not too ridiculous 
that so human and fallible or greedy and venal a thing as the 
average newspaper should set itself up to be a moral and at 
times even a religious arbiter of a community? 

Yet where would be the circulation of the average paper if it 
did not so do? And where would it be if it attempted to 
practice what it preached, literally and for itself, as it so freely 
advises others to do? As all those well know who have any- 
thing to do with the organization or control of anything in life, 
newspapers included, the Beatitudes, as Christ laid them down 
in the Sermon on the Mount, are not workable and never 
have been practically. Yet where will you find a newspaper 
honestly so stating, or even whispering a serious doubt? On 
the contrary, is it not the absolute workability of these that 
has, hitherto at least, been most violently insisted upon, and 
by organizations which well know the pagan complexities of 
life and are in no way representative of even the faintest ap- 
proach toward a beatific conception of anything? "Do not as 
I do but as I say." That only quiescence and decay could 
follow the enforcement of any such program as the Beatitudes 
or the fixed rules of justice, truth, etc., advocated by the 
average daily paper or any one else, is not only scientifically 
demonstrable by chemistry and physics but is a truism to the 
average, and even less than average, constructive and even 
newspaper mind. Nearly every one with any claim to intelli- 
gence or experience understands this, yet where will you find 
a newspaper or any other public medium of expression ventur- 
ing on this simple truth? The average man is still in leading 
strings to various silly theories, religious or otherwise, fos- 
tered by self-interested groups, or to his hope of temporary 



IDEALS, MORALS, AND THE DAILY NEWSPAPER 155 

human prosperity, and these are the things which still keep 
him in the wake of various sophisticated journals which cun- 
ningly play upon his illusions. Indeed he flees exact fact as 
though it were the plague. Blessed words or the sweet milk 
of romance and prevarication are the things which entertain 
and soothe him most. In other words think of this ridiculous 
and paradoxical fact! a creature invents a bugaboo and 
then kneels down and worships it. It forges chains for its so- 
called intellect, and then groans or rests content under their 
binding weight. 

But (to continue this slight diatribe) imagine the staff of 
any newspaper even attempting to follow any rules save those 
which govern the survival of the fit, or failing to cast the 
Beatitudes out of doors when it comes to their special interests 
or the prosperity of the several functions which they per- 
form! Editorially the Beatitudes prove profitable as texts for 
moral preachment and mass consumption, but in the counting- 
office or the gathering of news how different! And as for 
going two miles with a traveler when he had compelled you to 
go one, or turning the other cheek when the first had been 
smitten! These things do not fall within the realm of the 
practical and are therefore not in the purview of any news- 
paper organization except in the editorial or pulpiteering de- 
partment, and that intended to catch the pennies of the 
religionists. 

So daily we have the spectacle of pages that in one column 
misrepresent the motives of the social or political enemies 
of this or that particular newspaper organization, or that play 
up to the subtleties of vice or crime for their news or dramatic 
values, or that display to the eyes of the young and old alike 
all the misadventures and incalculable subterfuges of a 
treacherous universe, while in another column, constantly 
reiterated, appear the words right, justice, mercy, truth, ten- 
derness, duty, etc., as representing a definite program for con- 
duct for the other person always, easily followed and easily 



156 IDEALS, MORALS, AND THE DAILY NEWSPAPER 

achieved by him. Yes, for the other person, outside of any 
given newspaper office, there are always God-given and im- 
mutable rules which spell peace and happiness for him, that 
are invariably to be practiced, if you will believe these same 
papers, by the majority, especially of their readers. And in- 
deed these rules are by them persistently represented as the 
will and thought of a definite, definable God He who spoke 
from Sinai, or who walked to Calvary (quite different Gods, by 
the way!) to fly in the face of whom or which leads only to 
destruction. Yet all that is needed, as they well know, in so 
far as a reasonable guide to conduct is concerned (and all that 
we ever get, whether via the law or the average motivating 
impulses of man) is the perception and the fact of the neces- 
sity for a certain equation or balance in all things, i. e., the 
Golden Rule, mystic heavens or hells and the clerical repre- 
sentatives of the same with their collections and false notions 
to the contrary notwithstanding. Yet where will you find 
a newspaper with sufficient courage to say so? Where? Is it 
not here that one should pause and inquire whether the news- 
papers, aside from their purely repor tonal functions (which 
latter might well be vised under stricter libel, perjury and false 
witness laws than those prevailing at present), should receive 
.so much as even a moment's serious consideration? 



EQUATION INEVITABLE 
A VARIANT IN PHILOSOPHIC VIEWPOINT 

IN society, where man is constantly scheming out methods of 
procedure and how his ideas and feelings and appetites can 
be brought to a harmonious workable state, a certain recip- 
rocating smoothness of exchange and balance must be, and 
apparently has been, achieved. It is like those constructive 
adjustments which make any machine possible, and has appar- 
ently given rise to such conceptions of the necessary condi- 
tions for exchange as are indicated by the words "harmony," 
"justice," "truth," possibly even "tenderness" and "mercy," 
all of which mean but one thing, if they mean anything at all: 
the need of striking a balance or achieving an equilibrium 
between plainly restless and conflicting elements. (Why rest- 
less? Who knows? Why conflicting? Who knows?) How- 
ever, it is this same equation or balance which conditions so 
large a thing as a universe, whose prime impulse apparently 
is to achieve endless variety in homogeneity, and vice versa. 
But these have been assumed, in an absolute and not a 
relative sense, to be attributes of a Supreme Being who is all- 
just, all-truthful, all-merciful, all-tender, rather than as me- 
chanic or, if one accepts the created theory of life, as an in- 
telligently and yet not moralistically worked-out system of 
minor arrangements, reciprocations and minute equations, 
which have little to do with the aspects and movements of 
much larger forces of which as yet we know nothing and 
which at first glance hinder rather than aid the intellect in 
perceiving the ultimate possibilities of the governing force 
in any direction. Indeed the rough balance or equation every- 

157 



158 EQUATION INEVITABLE 

where seen and struck between element and element, impulse 
and impulse, need and need, while they might seem to lend 
color to the existence of absolute right, justice, truth, honor, 
etc., really indicates nothing more than this rough approxi- 
mation to equation in everything force with matter, element 
with element as an offset to incomprehensible and, to mortal 
mind, even horrible and ghastly extremes and disorder; noth- 
ing more. For in the face of all the schemes and contrivances 
whereby man may live in harmony with his neighbor there is 
the contrary fact that all these schemes are constantly being 
interfered with by contrary forces, decays, mistaken notions, 
dreams which produce inharmony. This can mean nothing if 
not an inherent impulse in Nature that makes for change and 
so rearrangement, regardless of any existing harmonies or 
balances, plus the curious impulse in man and Nature 
(inertia?) which seems to wish to avoid change. 

In spite of all man's laws, taboos, social understandings, 
agreements and beliefs, there are certain things done under the 
sun which do not make for perpetual peace, harmony, order, 
exact justice and so the welfare of the race as he conceives it; 
nor do they argue for the domination of a harmonious, all- 
powerful God as man conceives Him. Shocking as it may 
seem, certain individuals and groups contrive to live and thrive 
under conditions which, according to other masses and indi- 
viduals who live and contemplate them, are apparently inimi- 
cal to the so-called best interests of the race and the plans of 
its Creator. Indeed the latter is constantly, according to man 
or his theorists, trying to overcome them and so save Himself. 

Who and what are these inimical forces which are supposed 
to defy God Himself? Criminals, liars, lechers, murderers, 
self-aggrandizing intellects of all types and sizes, plus accident, 
disease, cataclysm. At the same time and as if working in 
harmony with them, and to the dismay of the religionist at 
least, there are vast legions of inimical non-moral and seem- 
ingly socially non-helpful or even destructive microbes and 



EQUATION INEVITABLE 159 

animals which seize on man, the image of God, whose welfare 
God seeks, and which live and thrive without sign of conscious- 
ness of God, equation, or anything else. I am thinking of the 
germs of cholera, smallpox, yellow fever, as well as plagues of 
locusts, worms, wood-lice or scales, rats and the like, which 
while destroying vegetation and wealth most necessary to man 
at one point at the same time may and do nourish birds 
inimical or helpful to him and cause all things to develop 
methods of defending themselves and so aid their growth. The 
chemic or mechanistic interpreter of life discovers equation 
here well enough, and even a kind of rough harmony, although 
the religionist does not, and so while it is entirely possible for 
a monistic or evolutionary mystic to believe in a series of indi- 
vidually severe but racially helpful checks and balances which 
in some of their aspects are non-moral but are still driving 
man on to something, good or ill, it is not possible for the 
religionist or the moralist, taking him at his own dogmatic 
valuation, so to do. God must be good, exactly just, always 
merciful, as man understands those things in the realm in 
which he moves. Though a world of scientific data may now 
be brought forward to demonstrate that God is not a person- 
ality with a given moral direction or bias, as we understand 
morals, or with a here decipherable purpose, yet he must deny 
that. The nature of God, if not revealed by a voice of thunder 
from a mountain top, is, according to him, seen in the works 
of Nature; and the works of Nature are good. 

But if God, or Good, is imminent, working for some far-off, 
Divine event, why the intermediate pother? I wonder at times 
why those who ponder these things with a view of "saving" 
the race and so eventually establishing truth, justice, mercy 
here on earth, are not permanently confused or hushed into 
silence by the overwhelming evidence that no one thing, how- 
ever put together by the human brain to endure, succeeds ulti- 
mately in maintaining itself or that which it dreams it will 
maintain. Religions come and go. Laws are written and fade 



160 EQUATION INEVITABLE 

away. Moral laws change with groups and climates. There 
remains only this necessity for equation, some form of adjust- 
ment, reciprocity, balance between the integral factors of each 
group, good, bad or indifferent, which no one thinks of trans- 
lating as the only omnipresent evidence of so-called Divine 
Will. Indeed, since it is not necessarily directly connected 
with the welfare of the individual but is something to which, 
willy-nilly, he must at least roughly adjust himself, however 
successfully he may temporarily evade it, if he wishes to live, 
it has come to be looked upon by him as the machinations of 
a devil who opposes his God. In other words, dogmatic morals, 
as we understand these, have been introduced, although these 
same, or our interpretation of what is essential to the welfare 
of life, may not agree with the larger chemic urge and the 
import of this compulsion of balance as Nature views or uses 
the same. 

It follows, then, that many things which we now consider 
essential to our racial or spiritual development, especially those 
which are intended to fit us for a purely mythical heaven, may 
not be essential at all. Especially may this be true of the many 
taboos and so-called moral social arrangements which we have 
established here to make comfortable our little passing state 
and which, by a process of egoism and self-interest, we ascribe 
to the will of God. Asceticism in morals, as well as self-im- 
posed deprivations of any kind intended to bring us into con- 
formity with the exact righteousness of Nature or God, may 
have nothing to do with any Divine mandate or impulse what- 
soever. The investigations of the mechanists and the monists 
throw a very disturbing light on Nature (Loeb; Crile; 
Snyder). Excess, we know or its equivalent, strain is 
destructive to any organism, and the dogmatic moralist may 
well caution against it. Yet does a Creator who creates by 
billions and allows whole races, such as the American Indians, 
for example, to disappear almost in a generation, care partic- 
ularly whether this, that or the other organism is broken down 



EQUATION INEVITABLE 161 

by this, that or the other strain or excess? It may be that 
excess is entirely gratifying to Him or It like a shell maker 
pleased with the explosive power of his shells. What is one 
man, one organism, one race of organisms, to a thing that pro- 
duces them by quintillions, age in and age out? So a con- 
ditioning law of equation or balance which compels a rough 
reciprocity between parts, all parts, may not remove the effects 
of or the necessity for strain or excess in the relationship of 
some men or some races, or all men and all races. War cer- 
tainly indicates as much, and all the plottings and struggles 
and injustices and deaths which are concomitants if not essen- 
tials of all forms of progress. Again, what we might consider 
necessary in the way of equation or balance, and what Nature 
would, are two very different things. Our very finite minds can 
see but finitely. So our seemingly necessary limitations on in- 
dividuals may be accidental and trivial and so detrimental to 
the larger purposes of Nature, which must betimes sweep them 
away with huge murderous wars or movements and so restore 
the changeful balance which she must keep in ways different 
from the minor arrangements which spring up here. 

Even now Nature may be constructing individuals and forces 
which will completely undo, or at least enlarge, our theories 
of individual limitations and powers. We do not as yet know 
what Nature is seeking; through man, if anything certainly 
not his immortality; there is no evidence as to that nor can 
we guess how she is seeking it. One thing we do know: our 
impulses do not always accord with moral or religious law, 
the so-called will of the Creator here on earth, and yet our 
impulses are assuredly provided us by a Creator, if no more 
than the mechanistic one of the chemists and physicists. We 
do not compound ourselves. We cannot always by any means 
control the impulses of our compounds. Only the warring, 
frustrating impulses of other compounds (or individuals or 
forces, social opinion being a phase of them) do that for us; 
hence we are not privileged to say that God, or the Creator, 



1 62 EQUATION INEVITABLE 

wishes us to do thus and so. We can only say that changing 
conditions compel us to or prevent us from doing thus and so. 
Nature may wish us to be forceful in many strange ways in 
order that we may contest, bicker with other things equally 
forceful in other ways (all created by Her) so that out of the 
contest such as we see may come something which we can never 
see. Who knows? 

In other words, all we can say is that Nature has supplied 
us with certain forces or chemic tendencies and responses, 
and has also provided (rather roughly in certain instances) 
the checks and balances which govern the same. Our puny 
strengths will permit us to do only so much; no more. That 
these strengths are being enlarged from time to time is rather 
obvious (consider a man like John D. Rockefeller, or Napo- 
leon, and an ape). At the same time the limitations essential 
to balance, reciprocity, part with part and force with force, are 
apparently never set aside entirely. Both Rockefeller and Na- 
poleon find themselves decidedly limited in their powers, com- 
pelled to compromise with many things in moving to attain 
their dreams. And their wishes in the main have far tran- 
scended the dictates of ethics, as these have hitherto been con- 
ceived. For the most part they ignored reported or written 
ethics, sticking by seemingly unethical forces, subtlety, craft, 
the power to do all that their strength or their instincts per- 
mitted them to do. And Nature appears to have no objection 
to them or their results, has furthered them indeed, nor has She 
apparently to millions of creatures like them in spirit, or 
worse, as we see worse here, for She permits their appearance 
and uses the result. 

Let me vary the argument slightly. 

The shelves of our law libraries are packed to suffocation 
and moldering to decay with laws ethically intended to 
govern things which man has never yet been able to govern 
entirely and probably never will be, although the instinct so to 
legislate probably conforms to the mechanistic instinct for 



EQUATION INEVITABLE 163 

balance and proportion in all things. In England they hung 
men for sheep-stealing a few hundred years ago, and yet 
sheep were and still are stolen in England. It is death to kill 
your neighbor, and yet when did man ever cease killing his 
neighbor? Is it not as often and as indifferently done to-day 
as ever? It means from one to twenty years in the penitentiary 
in America to steal, and yet men steal. It is written that one 
should never covet his neighbor's wife and that adultery is a 
crime, yet when has the ultimate conception of these things 
been more than a dream? Man, or at least a part of him, a 
fragment of the chemical whole of which he is a part or an 
expression, wishes and writes laws to confirm these, but in 
spite of all so-called spiritual instruction, an ordered scheme 
of spiritual rewards and punishments, he is still not chemically 
able to accommodate himself to these things not all of him, 
at least. Nature, his sheer, rank human nature, which sinks 
deep below into mechanistic, chemical and physical laws and 
substances, will not let him. Instead he resorts to subtlety, 
craft a very unspiritual but plainly natural or chemical 
thing. The fact is that the power of certain individuals to do 
is only limited by the power of certain other individuals 
to resist, and their natures and tendencies are by no means 
the same. Yet this squares with the first or pyknotic law of 
energy, as laid down by Vogt* The self-integrating force of 
one individual is limited by the self-integrating force of all 
other individuals; which is, if it is anything, Newton's law 
working out in human affairs. There is a rough law of balance 
indicated by this opposition and strain, but nothing more. 

I once talked with a discouraged, or let us say pessimistic, 
humanitarian, the twenty best years of whose life had been 
devoted to corrective and ameliorative work among dependents 
and defectives, young and old, criminals, the physically under- 
mined and the insane. This man had worked to have various 

*J. C. Vogt: "The Nature of Electricity and Magnetism on 
the Basis of a Simplified Conception of Substance." 



1 64 EQUATION INEVITABLE 

laws passed in various States which would tend to lessen the 
brutality of their treatment and also to bring about some 
method whereby their self-reproduction would be painlessly 
stopped. His idea, after twenty years of experimenting, was 
that the processes by which the criminal and defectives gener- 
ally were being gathered and governed and improved, however 
laudable in theory, was destined to eventually prove economic- 
ally impossible and so shirked. The tares were too many, too 
elusive, too expensive to gather and govern. "The thing can't 
be done," I remember his saying. "As society is at present 
governed or constituted something which is by no means hu- 
manitarian or ideal prevails, and in spite of the best intentions 
of idealists or philanthropists you have the enormous toll of 
inefficiency and nepotism to contend with. Always the old 
Adam breaks loose somewhere, and by the time you have in- 
vestigated and reinvestigated and built institutions and passed 
laws and elected officials the thing becomes a social and finan- 
cial burden beyond reckoning lost," he added, "in abstrusities 
and bad management. Politicians juggle with it, and newer 
reformers or reactionaries undo what you have done. Besides," 
he concluded, "normal, healthy men and women do not appear 
to be able to concern themselves with the day-to-day variations 
and aberrations of dependent defectives and criminal types. 
You have the spectacle then of official and even medical neg- 
lect, brutality, rotten meat being served to criminals or those 
detained or cared for in short, all the horrors that spring from 
some curious opposition in Nature to anything which is not 
able to take care of itself. Her plan apparently is to let them 
die. I tell you that the law of the survival of the strongest 
cannot be set aside. Any attempt to do so merely begets a vast 
tangle of effort and expense which results in the final opera- 
tion of that law anyhow." 

My own observations of the working of various plans and 
theories calculated to improve or "save" mankind coincide with 
this and suggest to me the conclusion that there is, on the one 



EQUATION INEVITABLE 165 

hand, inherent in the chemic impulses and appetites of life 
(which man does not create), an instinct toward individuality 
which may be for good or for ill, plus, on the other hand, this 
law of balance or equation but over which neither the humani- 
tarian nor the idealist, any more than the criminal or indiffer- 
ent or self-seeking realist, has any control whatever. If this 
were not true there would be no explaining such strange social 
developments as the lusts of certain individuals, the vast 
animal hungers and abnormalities which seem to contradict 
any possibility of an exact social equation. While the ascetic 
passions and self-sacrifice of such men as St. Francis, Jesus, 
Buddha and the like may belie an entirely material or animal 
interpretation of this very material scene, the more material 
one of an Alexander VI., a Medici, a Morgan and a Gould do 
suggest that an equation or balance between the types is 
holding in Nature. Men do fight and die for idealistic or moral 
beliefs just as plainly as they do for material ends. This 
would indicate, as I said before, a desire for rough balance or 
equilibrium in Nature between the starkest extremes of its 
creative impulses equation, equation. Nothing more nor less. 

But a God directing and calling? 

Oh, no; not that necessarily, but a condition in Nature itself 
perhaps which will not permit it to move save by a process 
of checks and balances variety in unity, and vice versa. 

If one takes no more varied types than Christ and Nero, or 
Alexander VI. and St. Francis, one sees how plain this is, in 
so far as our earthly state is concerned. God, or Nature, or 
Life, permits both, creates both. In these examples one sees 
how the impulses of the flesh always vary and how difficult it 
is, where millions outrival these in secret tendencies and im- 
pulses, to suggest a working harmony; and yet there is a har- 
mony and they do harmonize, or, by triturating the one the 
other maintain a working balance, the tendencies of the one 
being offset by those of the other, and vice versa. 

No less latitude, perhaps, could or would serve in a world 



i66 EQUATION INEVITABLE 

or a universe which breeds individuals by quadrillions, momen- 
tarily perhaps, and which conceals or contains forces of whose 
impulses, emotions, necessities we know nothing, and so equa- 
tion is and can be the only answer. What can we know, for 
instance, of the impulses or morals of the Sun, whose heat 
apparently breeds all forms of life we know here, horrific and 
otherwise? And yet we also know that heat is balanced by 
cold in the universe; light by no light; matter by force; ten- 
derness by savagery; lust by asceticism; love by hate; and so 
on ad infinitum. No thing is fixed. All tendencies are permit- 
ted apparently. Only a balance is maintained. 

The thing which the evolutionist has discovered and put 
forward with considerable enthusiasm is this: that life in every 
form has tended to evolve from the simple to the complex,, 
and only through a vast complexity or organization has iti 
managed to attain this spectacle of things which we call life 
or beauty division of itself, as it were. The complexity of 
the individual thing which we call a tree or a flower or ani 
animal, or, if you please, a social state (and indeed those 
more or less abstruse things which we know as arts and^ 
sciences), are but a further evolution of the complexity of the: 
world machine, and life has brought them about and apparently 
saved them to the world, possibly for the purpose of partial 
self-expression. At the same time there has always been 
involved in this process the law of the survival of the strongest 
or temporarily and accidentally most favored, a process which 
the humanitarians are never prone to accept because it beliesi 
the theory of saving anything except by a compensative con- 
dition of slaughter and neglect of other things less strong or, ; 
as the phrase has it, unfit things. In the theory of the religion- 
ist and the moralist the horrific processes that work in the sea 
and the jungle, and other unsocialized and enigmatic phases i 
of imminent life, are entirely outside the scheme of a just and ! 
merciful God or Creator, not countenanced by Him! When 
His will is known and His suggestions are obeyed, these will 



EQUATION INEVITABLE 167 

overcome and disappear! Well, this may be true, only it 
does not appear from any material or mental examination of 
the scene. 

Even now, as we talk of sweeter and less avid processes 

which might be brought into play by a superior power, life is 

maintaining its ancient balance of evil and good, or extremities 

! of one kind balanced against extremities of another. Even 

now, under the very noses of the religionists and the moralists, 

j these processes are at work and show no sign of being abated. 

For every neighborhood of taste and comfort, witness the vast 

| areas of poverty, poor taste, neglect, dull thought, inefficiency. 

j For every comfortable man a lean one, or many. For every 

I mind of the first order a million of a weaker, fumbling charac- 

i ter. For every tender, Christ-like soul how many of another 

| kind avid, selfish, cruel, hideous almost! Are the poor gov- 

I. erned by the rich and well? Do the shrewd rule the ignorant, 

| and to their advantage? Do the strong control the weak, and 

| to their advantage? Are the inefficient well or badly housed, 

well or badly nourished, neglected, left to stew in their own 

I juice of misery and live and die as best they can, or are they 

looked after, as the religionist and moralist suggest and hope 

! for? Only the dull or dishonest among the moralists and re- 

I ligionists can, it seems to me, fail to perceive or dare deny 

I what even the dull or the ignorant now being trampled upon do 

j already vaguely perceive and understand. 

And yet behold! the song of ultimate perfection continues 
yearly, from century to century, to be sung. The Divine, far- 
off event (which, if anything, is Nirvana) is surely coming. A 
sweeter and less avid process will be brought into play. Man is 
to be saved from hunger, cold, thirst, lust, undue material am- 
bition, by telling him how horrible they are and asking him to 
be kind. Well, he may make a comfortable social organiza- 
tion for himself here on earth, but that will by no means prove 
that the universe or God is moral. For, behold man himself 
is superimposed upon other forms of life, a ruthless Lord or 



1 68 EQUATION INEVITABLE 

devil to them, and thrives only by their destruction. Do you 
suppose the ox, the hog, the horse, the fish, or any of the multi- 
tude of creatures man slays or enslaves in order that he may be 
comfortable and spiritually at rest, could be made to look upon 
him as tender, merciful, a creature necessarily to be saved to a 
higher spiritual state representing, for instance, an all-kind 
God? I doubt it. What about the God who allows their 
organization and so-called right to life to be disrupted in our 
favor? Where the universal harmony, justice, mercy there? 
We are to develop a social organization in which gentleness, 
mercy and harmony will prevail among us, but we do not hesi- 
tate to curb the efforts or aspirations of lesser creatures, even 
rival nations the Indians, say in the same direction. In the 
great days to come no man will contest with his neighbor, 
but only with the universe which of course raises the ques- 
tion of why fight the universe. And where do the rights of 
the universe come in, which we are hoping to rob to our own 
advantage and its enslavement? 

Aside from the confusion involved as to the character c* 
man and the governing forces of life, there is no quarrel with 
a portion of this theory. To a certain extent harmony, or r 
"dependent equation," as Spencer was pleased to term it, will 
always be attained between individuals assembled in vast num- 
bers on earth or in the sea perforce, because it may not be es- 
caped. If one reads chemistry and physics correctly it is a 
condition which underlies everything. An equation between 
matter and force and the elements to which apparently they 
give rise, must be struck, a balance attained, if life as we see 
it is to appear or go on. The slightest disturbance of the exist- 
ing equations which produce life as we see it, as Loeb and Crile 
and others have shown, ends in monstrosities or confusion, and 
life as we know it ceases. In our own social life, if equation 
did not hold, internecine contest would soon decimate and 
gradually eliminate the vast majority of us. The late great 
war indicated as much. Indeed there is scarcely any doubt 



EQUATION INEVITABLE 169 

that social life as we know it will yet need to be organized 
upon an even more closely balanced scale than at present, since 
the elements and powers which make for contest and self- 
defense are becoming- more numerous. Hunger, cold, thirst and 
many other ills to which the flesh is heir may yet be eliminated 
among men, or the individuals of one dominant state. It is 
now, by certain orders of men and insects; the bee-hive and the 
ant-colony offer suggestions. But it does not follow that the 
basic elements of Nature or God, or man, would thereby be 
changed. Is it not more likely that here and now, in a small 
way and for the time being, only their disruptive as opposed 
to their constructive characteristics are restrained? Such 
stabilized centers of motion do occur in Nature from time to 
time in small ways and places. All human and animal bodies, 
machines and forms of government even, are illustrations in 
point. But does that prove or augur that the changeful ele- 
mental conditions everywhere prevailing outside these delicate 
arrangements in Nature may not eventually sweep in and make 
6ver that which has been established here into such a condition 
as we find in the sea, for instance, where life insistently and 
'apparently mechanistically preys on life? Why not? The 
glory of pagan life and art were they saved? Or was their 
knell sounded by the advent of Christianity? 

Many, observing only the satisfactory results of harmony or 
equation or balance, and entirely failing to note the essential 
disharmonies out of which alone harmonies may take their 
rise, have assumed the existence of an emasculate God whose 
virtues are all negative, ignoring the positive horrors by which 
we live and progress. For them the cataclysms of physics, 
the fumbling failures of biology, are meaningless, if they exist 
at all. Yet plainly the creative force is neither as generous 
nor as amiable as they think. Rather, brilliant as is all this 
evolutionary process, and it reveals startling harmonies, beau- 
ties and seeming intelligence, it still only argues some such 
fumbling hit-or-miss mechanistic scheme as the chemists and 



1 70 EQUATION INEVITABLE 

physicists are beginning to outline and which allows for far 
more latitude in morals and conduct, as well as invention and 
discovery even, than the religionist has hitherto been willing 
to grant. The only one who appears to sense the true process 
or processes of Nature is the mechanistic chemist or physicist, 
who does not deny the possibility of extremes and horrors exist- 
ing in the Divine mind or will of the creative impulse. "Mur- 
der," say these scientific seekers after truth, or at least their 
facts point to this, "is a disturbing and disrupting process. It 
destroys the equation best expressed in 'Live and let live.' It 
affects individual peace. If you do so unto others they will do 
the same unto you. Chemically and physically, according to 
the law of reaction or equation, they cannot very well avoid 
it. Therefore do not murder." Yet where is there any Divine 
command in that? Is it not rather a simple and easily under- 
standable interpretation of a very obvious and inescapable 
law of equation, under which nevertheless, so roughly is this 
law adjusted and so casually does it work, murder and many 
other forms of non-equation may and do take their rise and 
do persist? If that is God or Good, then God permits murder, 
repays with murder, or asks you to be the judge as to whether 
you will tolerate murder in your State. Rather, to the physicist 
and chemist, it appears to be not so much a Divine command 
as an accidental and inescapable condition of equation. 

We are told, by way of dogmatic moral comfort, that man 
has achieved somewhat that the animals have not, and that 
therefore he is superior. But also, as is now becoming per- 
fectly plajn, he has been able to discover and perpetuate for 
his own satisfaction crimes and iniquities for which no animal 
apparently within its small range of instinct or mechanistic con- 
trol has the skill. Nature makes both, yet she does not, or 
cannot, or at least has not, made the animals as delicately and 
resourcefully evil in some things as is man. That is why he is 
able to dominate them. In one way, then, man is worse than 
the animals, and in another better a balance presumably in 



EQUATION INEVITABLE 171 

the favor of man, though not necessarily so. The truth is that 
most of the ways wherein man has been differentiated from 
the animals by forces over which he has no control concern 
not ethics, as we understand and act upon them, but mechani- 
cal articulations and utilitarian comforts, the construction and 
normal use of which lie entirely apart from the realm of ethics. 
There is nothing either moral or immoral in the development 
and use or non-use of steam, electricity, plumbing, the tractor 
engine, automobiles and so on. They are mechanistic and non- 
moral. Thus we have developed architecture, machinery and 
the arts. It is true that in so far as man himself is concerned 
these are helpful to him in his mass phase and provide a 
larger freedom, which has resulted in a large experience, hence 
intelligence or comprehension in every direction. Yet have 
they improved his morals? Or lowered them? Who would 
say so? Yet perceiving this development or change, and, more 
faintly, the need of balance and equation which runs through 
all and underlies all, man has set about the task of writing 
about it, framing the inescapable equational laws which all 
changes suggest and compel into definite unbreakable com- 
mands from a definite God, singing songs about Him, painting 
pictures of Him, and directing attention to what man has ig- 
norantly assumed to be a universal source of supply which will 
or should permit the greatest possible number to live under 
some such scheme of equation as is here suggested. Unfortu- 
nately this has not been proved as yet, and at any rate it is 
not the same as the presumably provable scheme of moral 
order which has been foisted upon man by the dull, designing 
or poetically enthusiastic of all ages, and which involves the 
laying aside of nearly every forceful, vigorous, natural, or 
human or pagan, attribute. Quite the contrary. 

In this connection I should like to reiterate that to the 
Christian and other metaphysical idealists neither dishonesty 
nor vice nor any crime is contemplated by God, and therefore 
should not exist, any more than any other variation from that 



* 7 2 EQUATION INEVITABLE 

perfect state, best indicated perhaps by what the Ten Com- 
mandments forbid and the Beatitudes imply. God does not 
will them. He personally resents and will punish their appear- 
ance. The first part of this (i. e., that He does not will them) 
might be accepted as true if the fact that he permits them, or at 
least that they are, in spite of Him, not denied. But of course 
religion, as all those who philosophically struggle with life 
now know or should, is an abstraction, an ideal, whose 
dogmas can only in part be approximated in life. For life, as 
we nearly all know by now or should, is a shifty and evasive 
mechanism, chemic in part at least, and material and inscru- 
table, with which the abstractions of the religionist have little 
if anything in common. The best that religion and ethics 
have so far done is to take credit for the inherent and necessary 
tendency to compromise which has previously been indicated 
and which is manifested by all phases of natural energy, as 
much by that shown in our body politic as anywhere else. In- 
deed, the very best that religion can show is no better than that 
which life, or Nature Herself, could and did long before any 
religion appeared, namely, a rough equation, a balance struck; 
so that if a man had done a consciously wrong thing in one 
place he was chemically or emotionally moved to do a right 
thing in another, and if his actions were bad in one way it 
might be that he was compelled by forces outside his control 
to counterbalance them by good ones in another. All animal 
forms above those merely mechanistic or tropic (those gov- 
erned by tropisms of various kinds) appear to display most of 
the virtues exercised by humans the care of their young, for 
instance, distress at their loss, loyalty, ability to organize and 
so observe group laws; characteristics celebrated by man, 
where exercised by him, as virtues, beatitudes and what not 
else. Yet these lower forms cannot possibly know of religious 
or moral precepts in any revealed or instructed sense, via a 
Messiah or Redeemer. Instincts or tropisms as developed and 
verified by oppositions or aids (accidental or otherwise) once 



EQUATION INEVITABLE 173 

more the law of balance or equation appear to have been their 
sole guides. Hence to the religionist and moralist, thus far at 
least, they have been beyond the pale of ethical consideration, 
things almost beyond the willing, and so beyond the care, of 
the Creator Himself. An especial opponent of God or Good 
had to be devised in order to take care of them. And yet are 
they not an excellent illustration of this same creative and 
governing force in Nature which, while apparently seeking 
variety in unity, is itself subject to a law of balance or harmony 
as well as one of disharmony or change, and this without any 
evidence self-conscious on its part? At least the investigations 
of the chemists and the physicists thus far appear to indicate 
as much. "Vengeance is mine" declared the old Hebraic 
Jahveh, and by that very assertion he admitted that he did 
not expect to establish the abstractions of right, truth, justice 
and mercy on earth but rather, since he could not, he would at 
least attempt to strike a balance and would exact, in the form 
of pain or disaster, repayment for things done in opposition to 
his code. 

Well, that requires no Sinaitic command or religious law to 
make it true. It is not a matter for great churches and con- 
fessionals and pence and genuflections or is it? It is true, 
whether God or Moses or any one else ever said so or not. It 
is a material and an economic fact as well as a chemic or 
psychic law. If you wish to glorify God or Nature for that, 
well and good. Your mood may be admirable or interesting, if 
not exactly necessary. But certainly, whether one admits the 
existence of a self-willing Creator or not, it is too much to say 
that man obtains exact justice or that an exact return is made 
anywhere for energies expended, ideals struggled for, efforts, 
good, bad or indifferent, made. We know that is not true. Nor 
is it true that there is not a counter impulse to withhold it. 
There is. And men, fellow-units in the great self-balancing cos- 
mos, all too frequently reflect that impulse. Man is no more 
essentially just than he is unjust. He is an impulse, a will to 



I74 EQUATION INEVITABLE 

live, a sharply reflected chemical and physical impulse in Na- 
ture, which acts or reacts as the nature of other chemical and 
physical stimuli in immediate contact with him suggests or com- 
pels, and which same may be by no means as moral as we think. 
Man, as a representation of chemical and physical impulses 
coming from somewhere, has an innate desire for power for ex- 
treme movement for himself; but so have all other mechanical 
or physical representations of that impulse. And it is but the 
balancing pressure of his fellows which keeps him in position 
at or near a median line. If you examine him carefully you 
will find that in the main he desires so-called "justice" for 
himself only, a fair balance for himself, liberty for himself, or 
that which is related to him via pleasure or profit, and so 
on ad infimtum. At the same time he is a slave, a tool, a 
medium for something, an intruded if not self-intruding, self- 
seeking insect, but without power to control or fend against 
major impulses and powers. Still, between man and man, tribe 
and tribe, nation and nation, there are these necessary equa- 
tions or balances plus their internal hopes or chemic tendencies, 
each one for himself, to change and achieve; yet the same being 
but roughly worked out; on the one hand to balance or equa- 
tion in favor of all the others, on the other hand to supremacy 
or extreme liberty of movement for each. Where only failure 
is achieved there is either a lull, temporary only, or a storm 
soon or late (revolution), or periods of horror in which chaos 
rules, or peace in which nothing is achieved. The world is 
sad over its inability to obtain freedom, great scope of emotion, 
for itself, or gleeful because of its triumph in this direction. 
But all the time it is struggling and maintaining but a rough 
and in the main brief balance, part with part or unit with unit. 
One might go on indefinitely contemplating other phases of 
this same equational law, its relation to love of parents, love 
of country, love of home, love of one's neighbor, love of this, 
love of that. Are not all of these held up as duties, virtues, 
perfections even Sinaitic commands, as in "Honor thy father 



EQUATION INEVITABLE 175 

and thy mother," when as a matter of fact and inwardly we 
know that this is a matter of equation or balance and can- 
not absolutely as a commandment from on high exist where 
no reasonable return in kind is predicated. What, love a 
shameless, brutal, unparental or non-filial father or mother, 
son or daughter, in whom, let us say, exists not one redeeming 
trait or quality of all that we consider essential to or charac- 
teristic of those states? It is not chemically therefore not hu- 
manly possible. What is meant is that it is not only possible 
but natural to make a reasonable return where affection, kind- 
ness or care has been extended. Now while it is entirely con- 
ceivable that one might love one who was cruel to oneself and 
generous to others, or generous to oneself and cruel to others, 
who in some way or some one direction fulfilled some phases of 
balance or equation, in however weak or impossible a way, still 
one could not possibly love one who was in no wise kind or 
generous to any one, a thing without reciprocal or balancing re- 
lations in some direction. The law of balance or equation 
which governs in all processes, even thought, will not permit it. 
There must be something given in some way, directly or indi- 
rectly, before anything can be returned or evolved, even in 
thought. And if one reverses the picture and attempts to con- 
ceive of hating some one or thing equationally just, fair or 
balanced, not attempting to take from any one or thing too 
much and not withholding from any one or thing that which is 
equationally his, it is quite as psychically impossible. One 
cannot cerebrate inimically toward that person or thing as 
being evil, reprehensible or what not. It cannot be done. 
Sometimes, where by reason of plenty or inherent weakness 
of mind or force, or carelessness of thought or interest, an in- 
dividual is in any way indifferent to a "reasonable" or balanced 
return to himself for effort made, labor given, thought expended 
and what not, and where this results in no injury to himself or 
others, it is entirely possible to look upon him with indifference 
or as a fool, or as one who is weak-minded or not capable of 



I 7 6 EQUATION INEVITABLE 

balancing himself against the shrewd and self-interested minds 
of others. But such indifference or lack of self-interest would 
not indicate that one looked upon him as being evil, scarcely 
even a discreditable force, save possibly where his operations, 
or lack of them, affected the interests or rights or privileges of 
another or others. 

Not love of God, then, it would seem, nor fear of God, al- 
though these abstractions have come to be real enough to some 
minds, prevents one individual from overriding the dreams and 
hopes of his neighbor, but fear of retaliation which his selfish- 
ness might produce. "Thou shalt not" springs plainly from 
"Thou hadst best not, it is dangerous," to which might be 
added the strangest quality of all, the tendency in large or 
small bodies or masses to quiescence, the love of peace, or in- 
ertia. Our evoluted mechanistic chemism has become so dif- 
fused or varied that we may even now speak of such intangible 
and yet vital forces as love of the fixed scene, which appears to 
be little more than a reflected form of helio, or ego, or some- 
other form of tropism, the inherent power in everything to at- 
tract something to itself and so maintain itself, for the time 
being anyhow. That things are inclined to a static or inert 
state or to congeal and so stratify and endure in that form 
(Nirvana?) is as true as that they must change; and, under 
certain conditions, Nature seems to abhor too much speed, as 
too little. 

Is there anywhere in this to be found that universal right, 
truth, justice, mercy, as we have hitherto deemed it or them to 
be or exist? Perhaps not, but it is all of so-called right, truth, 
mercy or justice, universal or otherwise, that we will ever 
know, all of it that is involved with life. Does this, by any 
chance, contain truth? Yes, indeed, it is truth, for it is a 
fact. Is it right? Well, for life as we find it conditioned 
it is apparently the only way. Who can suggest a better? 
Should the fact that we find ourselves thus conditioned, 
confronted by Nature in all Her complexity and with 



EQUATION INEVITABLE 177 

only this necessity for equation to fall back on, disconcert or 
dishearten us? Need it or must it take the savor out of life? 
No; not, at least, in my judgment. Life in its most terrible as 
well as its most halcyon aspects is at once an enticing and a 
fit game. It seems well enough suited to our capacities, and 
we to it, since essentially we are of it it, in fact. At least it 
leaves or provides us much to strive for, and strife is the only 
key to knowledge or sensation and life that we have. Abstrac- 
tions and theories are good as games at which the human mind 
may play if it chooses, and whenever life becomes too severe for 
any group or part of it it is easy enough to invent a theory or 
abstraction which will then make it seem different. And this 
is almost invariably done, as witness all the impossible re- 
ligions and theories that at one time and another have filled 
the world. Like chess or checkers, they furnish a diversion 
or relief to life-weary minds. If you have nothing better to do 
even a religion may be worth while. At worst it can only nar- 
row your vision, and if that is a comfort well, it is a comfort, 
but you do not thus escape the essential facts of life. You 
merely invent a shield against their too-sharp blows. Regard- 
less of whatever dogmatic moralities may have been dreamed, 
or yet may be, or attempted, life is still avid, treacherous, as- 
tounding. Our little safety, if we have any, lies not in the de- 
sires or intentions of our fellow-mortals, good, bad or indif- 
ferent, or in their churches or creeds, or ours really, but in their 
limitations. They dare not do unto us for fear of what we will 
do to them, or of what the machinery of equation which life 
has set up or is conditioned by and now operates, will do to 
them. All else is a poet's dream. 

What, then, shall man do? Weep for that? Shall he despair 
and call life a failure and a torment? Shall he say that it is 
limited, that there is no opportunity for progress, or that the 
sweetness of those things defined as love, charity, mercy, neigh- 
borliness and race sociability are by such a governing condition 
destroyed? Not at all. Wherein is the temperament of Na- 



i 7 8 EQUATION INEVITABLE 

ture Herself, Her sweetness, if such there be; Her romance, if 
such there be; Her beauty, if such there be, altered by this? 
Life is as it is active, dancing, changeful, beautiful, at once 
brutal and tender regardless of how our theories would seek 
to make it seem, and though it does as it chooses at 
times, or appears to, and invents or assumes vari- 
ous guises of perfection, it is as it has always been, 
both good and bad, yet held in a kind of equational vise or 
harmony neither too good nor too bad or we would not now 
be here at all, any of us, to tell the tale. As it is, and well 
within its equational swing or law, there is room for the will to 
superiority in the super-man as well as the trembling fears of 
the least of created creatures. Nor is it impossible for man, 
with his puny strength or with such force as he may gather, 
to attempt to upset this very equation and so rule all: or, on 
the contrary, choose to live in sweetest peace with his neigh- 
bor, if he can. He may, and great will be the wonder and 
charm of his existence if he no more than try. But that he 
should succeed in permanently so doing is not within his 
scope unless he should grow to be the universe itself. On the 
other hand, under this same controlling equation, a man may 
be a Colossus and bestride the world without upsetting the 
equation ultimately. Like Alexander, he may sigh for more 
worlds to conquer; or, like Hannibal, take refuge in despair and 
death. Or, better yet, like some forceful and yet humble la- 
borer at some small task, he may seek to hide himself away in 
some simple peaceful realm, free of the storms which rock 
these greater worlds, and still be secure in one of those minor 
equilibriums which in the shadow of some of the greater ones 
are always holding somewhere in part. For, roughly, equa- 
tion is always holding in one or many forms dependent equa- 
tions, which consist of many, many equations or balances, 
joined in some still greater one or synthesis and apparently 
always will. Who shall say? To our present senses the ulti- 



EQUATION INEVITABLE 179 

mate facts of life are not altering; although that is not for petty 
man to know. 

On the other hand, I should say that the condition of equa- 
tion which is everywhere evident does not deny or belie any 
elements of softness, color, beauty or art which now sweeten, 
or seem, to, a picture which must seem to many inherently 
grim. God, Good, Nature, Force, is not now, and never has 
been apparently, without some of these aspects in part, nor 
bare of the easing limitations indicated by the Ten Command- 
ments, the Golden Rule and the Beatitudes. For before these 
were it was, and if they are or ever were true they still are so, 
for they took their rise out of it and so must be and remain in 
it, forever and ever, emanations or adjustments (equation, no 
doubt) suggested by the desire for expression on the part of 
the cosmos as a whole. Yet the knowledge that they are the 
result of a "condition or equation which the universe, the life 
force itself, cannot escape, is or should be most encouraging. 
Nature must let many things live in reasonable equation or 
peace, for it is in them and they in it. "I am in the Father; 
the Father is in me." 

If, then, man is savage he is also tender, inherently so ap- 
parently, for by what measure would he measure savageness if 
not by its contrary? And if he is avid, centripetal, individual, 
is he not somewhat of their contrary also? In truth, some- 
where in the scheme of things is implanted a love of beauty and 
order as well as their contraries, which can only find expres- 
sion via equation, and this it is, chemical, inherent awareness 
of it no doubt, which eases the ache of existence for us all 
(God, man, devil). For if life loves change, movement, differ- 
ence, contest, it also plainly loves their contraries, for these 
exist, and we could not know the one without the other. Order 
exists as a half of its opposite, disorder, and the one could not 
well be without the other, and peace exists, if at all, as the 
complement or antithesis of what is not peaceful. Yet through 
all and all, and in all and all, are the sting and gayety of 



i8o EQUATION INEVITABLE 

change and the consciousness of it, and these remain, possibly 
forever and ever, outside Nirvana, which Nature may never 
wish to see or know. It may be impossible for Her to die or 
be still. 

Equation, then, is that which is involved in the lust of the 
lover for his sweetheart, and her acceptance; the husband for 
his wife, and her faith; the mother for her child, and its love; 
the citizen for his neighbor; the individual for his friend. Art, 
the love of life for itself, is nothing more than a synthesis of 
many equations whereby many lovely harmonies and their op- 
posites are expressed or implied. Hunger, balanced against 
satiation, creates more beauty. Life builds and wills far be- 
yond the ken of man or his companion animals, and all that 
he can know is the chemic thrill of life, its joys, the necessity 
of equation and so-called fair play, or rhythm and balance. 
For, behold, life is ever dancing and does not will to be still. 
Not to want too much, because one cannot get too much; not 
to seek to devour the whole world, because one cannot; not to 
threaten, because of vanity and self-appreciation, all else with 
extermination, because one cannot possibly exterminate all else 
without disturbing the general balance and so bring the weight, 
the conditioning and crushing force of equation itself upon 
oneself, is to say what may offend the individual life-lover but 
which nevertheless produces the only condition in which the 
general totality in all its glittering variety, which it appears to 
crave, can best express itself outside Nirvana. And this it is 
which should drive the fog of religious theory out of our minds. 

For why pray in beggarly fashion for that which will be, 
whether we pray or not which, as the mechanists believe and 
show cannot escape its own destiny? Rather sing and be joy- 
ful, I should say, for one's unescapable share in so great a 
spectacle. The game is open, free, a thrashing, glorious scene. 
Our God, if we have one, is not a namby-pamby, milk-and- 
water solution, suitable for the stomachs and optics of still more 
namby-pamby men, but a vast somewhat which offers a splen- 



EQUATION INEVITABLE 181 

did universe-eating career to the giant, if he wills, an opportu- 
nity to thrive and grow to even the most spindling of beginners. 
Our God, if we have one, is a vast somewhat too great for the 
perception or understanding or destruction or solution of any 
minor portion of Him, such as we are. He is a creator of specta- 
cles, a slinger of thunder-bolts, a breather of fire, a master of 
cataclysm. His, or Its, least breath is storm. Its sigh is earth- 
quake or orbital derangement. No attributes such as man 
can conceive can apply neither good nor evil, virtue or its op- 
posite for these apply only as mild suggestions at moments of 
equation in one minor part of the great whole or another. 
Our God is tragedy and comedy, terror and delight. He is 
limitless opportunity and endless opposition and destruction, 
for His way is extremes in equation, and nothing more and 
nothing less. 

What then? Despair over that? Is there not, in all con- 
science, under a loose equation (loose and operative only in 
extremes) room for all the lusts, the terrors, the wonders, the 
simplicities of the greatest as well as the least? Alexander 
may yet be again, or the devil himself in all his power and 
lurid glory, before he is crushed and set aside, for the time 
being, by his inherent antithesis, the thing which is not devil. 

And as for the religionist, may not Jesus, St. Francis, St. 
Simon Stylites come again? Let man fight for their return if 
he will. Who is to gainsay him? not God, Force, the Uni- 
versal Substance. Obviously it does not care how it expresses 
itself, so long as it achieves avid, forceful, artistic expression. 



PHANTASMAGORIA. 



CHARACTERS: 



THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE 

BEAUTY 

AMBITION 

PITY 

LOVE 

HATE 

DESPAIR 

REASON 

HOPE 

FEAR 

GREED 

FIRST 

SECOND 

THIRD 

FOURTH 

FIFTH 

SIXTH 
SERAPHIM 
CHERUBIM 

Clouds upon clouds of birds, snakes, fish, animals, men, flowers 
trees, planets, suns. 

SCENE I The House of Birth 
SCENE II The House of Life 
SCENE III The. House of Death. 



- POWERS OF DARKNESS 



182 



SCENE I. THE HOUSE OF BIRTH 

SCENE : Darkness and illimitable space. JEons of time, as meas- 
ured by the illusion of time, elapse. THE LORD OF THE 
UNIVERSE, as force, inert, yet all-in-all, rests quiescent. A 
faint pulsing begins. Without thought or reason, restless, cha- 
otic, the idea of separateness and individuality generates an 
insane dream. The cloudy length of a giant outlines itself, 
reclining in endless space. It appears and disappears, now a 
thigh, now an arm, only to fade again. The vague outlines of 
a brow and cheek appear, only to fade again. JEons of time 
elapse. The illusion reasserts itself. Cloudy fire-mists pour 
from his nostrils. Poles of light erect themselves from ma- 
terialized temples. Blazing suns and meteors burst forth and 
swirl about his head. Strange and multitudinous forms mani- 
fest themselves animals, birds, fishes, horned and winged 
things. They appear and disappear, as thoughts form and 
fade. He is blind, aged, insane. He erects imaginary titanic 
arms and rubs his changing, stupendous face with his changing 
hands. 

THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE 

Oh, ho, ho, ho! Oh, ho, ho, ho! (He sinks back wearily, 
all but the outlines of his head disappearing.) 

BEAUTY (a thought) 

(Leaping, pink-limbed and perfect, from his brain, a figure 
of delight.) Lord, thou hast created me! I am thy perfect 
thought, thy happiest illusion! I will be worshiped! I will 
be worshiped! (She springs sinuously among the spinning, 
changing spheres, a radiant smile upon her face, her arms 
tossed upward in delight.) 

THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE 

(Materializing himself fully, a paretic smile upon his lips. 
He rubs his face and imagines eyes, giving himself sight, and 
surveys her broodingly.) Have I created thee? Oh, ho, ho, ho! 

183 



Ig4 PHANTASMAGORIA 

(He rubs his flaming hair.) I must not forget thee. I must 
not forget thee! Oh, ho, ho! Thou art Beauty! (His expres- 
sion changes; an unimaginable weariness settles upon his face, 
aged, (Bonic. He frowns and leers and partly fades, re-estab- 
lishing himself after a time. As he does so, AMBITION 1 , a 
sinister thought, club in hand and darkling and scowling, a 
figure of terror, leaps from his eyes.) 
AMBITION 

(Brandishing his club.) I will be obeyed! I will be obeyed! 
Out of thy terror, Lord, thou hast created me! War and 
strife will I have! War! War! (He struts and stares.) 
THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE 

(The darkling mood passing, a light of momentary peace 
settling on his face. He gazes at the figure tolerantly.) Ha,ve 
I created thee? Weary! Weary! I am weary! (He stretche" 
his arms.) But stay! I am lonely. Be thou what thou ar . 
(He draws himself to a sitting position, all the height and 
depth of space.) 

BEAUTY 

(Threading a necklace of suns.) I will be worshiped! 
will be worshiped! (She croons joyously.) 

THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE 

(His mood changing, a giant despair creeping into his eyes.) 
Forever and ever! Oh, ho, ho, ho! Forever and ever! It is 
a dream! (He staggers to his feet, the great shadowy arm 
flailing wildly. As he does so he imagines Space and Time, and 
begins to wander down their lengths, staggering as he goes. 
From his brow leap HATE, DESPAIR, PITY, HOPE, FEAR, 
thoughts all, the last two with great round eyes and open 
mouths. At the same time clouds upon clouds of unimaginable 
forms and characters, previously non-existent, come into being, 
the product of his fancy. Suns, worlds, fire-mists, swarms of 
birds, snakes, fishes, animals and men are born, strange wraiths 
that float in wreaths about him and traverse all immensity. 
They circle, murmur, mutter, cry. The avatars of men come 



PHANTASMAGORIA 185 

forth, Huge forms of gas. They are preceded and followed by 
vast clouds of thoughts of their own ravening, embodied 
fancies that bicker and contest. These immense companies 
and semblances appear and disappear, as the primary figure 
thinks or loses memory of what he has thought. He alternately 
laughs and groans, maundering.) 

BEAUTY 

(Dancing on before.) I will be worshiped! I will be wor- 
shiped! 

AMBITION 

(Gathering at his back vast clouds of restless, threatening 

figures like himself.) I am his thought of strength! I am his 

thought of power. I am his thought of rage! I am his 

^ thought of contest! Oh, ho, ho, ho! Follow me! Follow 

j,me! See, we will sow destruction! We will spread despair! 

We will slay! We will burn! Oh, ho, ho, ho! 

THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE 

(Wildly, his fancy flaming furiously.) Oh, ho, ho, ho! I 
1 am (5bd! I am that I am all in all! I am my dream of my- 
self! I will dream me dreams, visions. These are my crea- 
tions, all ! (He turns and surveys his endless fancies of horror 
and delight.) Oh, ho, ho, ho! Come, Art! Come, Love! 
Come, Hope! Come, Death! Dream as I dream! Create 
^destiny, suffer! I am God! I cannot die! Insane! Insane! 
Insane! Oh, ho, ho, ho! (He shouts in agony, then joy, then 
sobs, staggering as he does so, ending in a gale of lunatic- 
laughter.) 

PITY 

(To LOVE, hovering near.) We are his children; and we 
can do nothing? 

LOVE 
Nothing, save he think on us. 

PITY 
(To HOPE.; Canst thou do nothing? 



!86 PHANTASMAGORIA 

HOPE 
Nothing, save he think on me and thee. 

HATE 

(Clasping the hand of DESPAIR.; Come aside. Are not 
we his thought also? What have we in common with them? 

DESPAIR ' 

(Darkly.) Nothing! Nothing! Yet are we his thought 
also, but not of them! No, no, no! He should sleep again! 
He should sleep! 

THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE 

(Staggering and writhing.) Oh, ho, ho, ho! Oh, ho, ho, ho! 
I am God! I dream me dreams! I build me endless won- 
ders, endless pleasures, endless horrors! Oh, ho, ho, ho! 
(He staggers madly on.) 

BEAUTY 

Build thou me temples of beauty, Lord! I will be wor- 
shiped! I will be worshiped! 

AMBITION 

Make thou me worlds and legions! Worlds! Worlds! And 
legions! I would rule! I would slay! I would burn! 

LOVE 

Oh, but wilt thou make flowers and vast realms of quiet 
places, Lord? Or but little valleys, if thou wilt? Make 
streams and pretty shelters! Give not all to Ambition, Lord! 
Give not all to war! 

HATE 

(Springing before his face.) Make thou me implements of 
terror! Create thou me forms of horror, of evil! Spin thou 
me dark chains and darker places! Make thou tortures of 
failure and regret, Lord tortures! Tortures! (He glowers 
'about him.) 

PITY 

Nay, Lord, let not all be of horror and hate! Think thou 
on me, Lord, of sweet pity and tender things! Or, if thou 



PHANTASMAGORIA 187 

canst not, think thou but of ways that I may heal what Hate 
will destroy, what Ambition would crush. Think thou thus, 
Lord! I am a thought of thine also! 

THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE 
(Wearily.) Oh, ho, ho, ho! (He staggers on.) 

FEAR 

Lord, do thou protect me! Do thou conceal me! Forget me 
not, Lord! Forget me not! I fear! I fear! 

DESPAIR 

Why dost thou not sleep, Lord? Of what avail are we, thy 
fancies? Oh, why dost thou not sleep? Sleep! Sleep! Sleep! 

THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE 

(Staggering on.) Oh, ho, ho, ho! Oh, ho, ho, ho! 
Space Time I have made me these! Suns Planets I have 
made me these! Love Hate I have made me these! Hope 
Fear I have made me these! Beauty I have made me 
this! Oh, ho, ho, ho! Oh, ho, ho, ho! (He staggers on, ges- 
ticulating and Sighing stupendously.) 

BEAUTY 
(Wildly.) I will be worshiped! I will be worshiped! 



SCENE II: THE HOUSE OF LIFE. 

SCENE: The cloudy realms of space. At a point, halls of illimit* 
able and indescribable splendor, the colorings of the dawn. Be- 
yond, a swirling belt of suns and satellites glittering thinly 
against the dark. Beyond this, in measureless nothingness, the 
suggestion of other clouds of suns and planets, spinning. At 
the center, the Presence, couched upon gold and porphyry, high- 
piled, cloud on cloud. Poles of outpouring thought, great flames, 
radiate from his brows; about him a nimbus of fire. He is now 
fully self-materialised and concentrated, but sits quiescent, 
weary, lonely, a compendium of vagrom, changeful, insane 
emotions and ideas. Immediately before him, BEAUTY, 
LOVE, PITY, HOPE, REASON colorful shadows all as 
well as beasts, birds, fishes, reptiles, flowers, trees; men and 
women in cloudy, wraith-like masses. Above him, immense le- 
gions of CHERUBIM and SERAPHIM, figures of translucent 
light, radiant, choral. In the background, AMBITION; about 
him swirl, darkling, HATE, FEAR, GREED, DESPAIR, and 
behind them, cloud upon cloud, sinister figures, emissaries, 
dreams, the darker products of the Lord's fancy. 

SERAPHIM AND CHERUBIM 

(Fanning with glittering wings.) Hail, our Creator! Hail, 
Lord! Do thou remain forever in thought our Creator, our 
Thinker! Blessed be thy reality! Hail! Hail! 

BEAUTY 

(Surveying from a glistering footstool, nearest of all the 
swarming universe.) Am I not beautiful, Lord? Am I not 
thy thought of Beauty? Art thou not content to think on me, 
thy first thought? And shall I not be thy last? Thou hast 
but commanded, and they worship me! Thou but thinkest, 
and I am supernal in beauty! (She smiles.) They worship 
me! They worship me I 

1 86 



PHANTASMAGORIA 189 

THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE 
(Broodingly.) Sweet thought my dearest thought! 

AMBITION 

(Clanking ponderous armor, a cloudy giant in moody medi- 
tation.) We wait! We wait! He thinks not on us! He 
thinks not on us. Now are his thoughts of drooling pleasure 
of Beauty, of Hope, Peace pale nothings all Seraphim and 
Cherubim, mere fluttering figures of light! Beauty reigns! 
Hope and Reason and Pity are at her feet! See how the uni- 
verse peoples itself with these, his fancies! He dreams but fair 
dreams! 

THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE 

(To BEAUTY, turning slowly and viewing complacently the 
immensity and beauty of his fancy.) Art thou pleased, then, 
with what I have made for thee? See, see dreams, dreams, 
sweet dreams all mad fancies all mad! Mad! That which 
I make is madness all disordered dreams! I am mad, mad! 

BEAUTY 

Wondrous, Lord, of whom I am the first! Great Creator! 
Thou art wonder and beauty all. Sweet are thy dreams! 
Sweet thy madness! Sweet am I! But sleep no more, Lord! 
Dream on. It is sweet to be worshiped so! I would be wor- 
shiped! I would be worshiped! 

THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE 

Sayest thou so, perfect thought? It is sweet madness? 
Oh, ho, ho, ho! A thing of now, and then no longer! Thou 
art a fair dream, a dear one, but nothing nothing! Is not 
that transcendant sorrow madness? 

BEAUTY 

(Caressingly.) Oh, think not so, Lord! Think not so 1 A 
dear dream! A wondrous dream! 

THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE 

(Darkly and broodingly.) What am I? What art thou? 
What are these? (He waves a vast hand.) What it all is I 



i 9 o PHANTASMAGORIA 

cannot think or why or whence or where. I dream and 
sleep I sleep and dream! Oh, ho, ho, ho! Oh, ho, ho, ho! 
A dream! A dream! Sayest thou a sweet dream? A sweet 
dream! Oh, ho, ho, ho! I have lost the key! I have lost the 
key! (He laughs loudly, sadly.) 

AMBITION 

(In the background, rumbling.) He has lost the key! He 
has lost the key! 

BEAUTY 

A sweet dream, Lord! A sweet dream! Sleep no more, 
Lord! Sleep no more! It is all too sweet! Sleep no more! 
(She smiles.) 

AMBITION 

(Restlessly.) He dreams but useless things! We grow to 
thin nothings! (He clanks his armor weakly.) 

PITY 

Think kindly, Lord! Kind and tender thoughts! It is 
best ever! 

THE POWERS OF DARKNESS 

(Rumbling.) Hail! Let Hope be forgotten! And Love! 
And Pity! Hail! 

BEAUTY 

(Rising and laying a hand upon his brow.) Lord, I am thy 
first-born. After me came these. (She motions to HOPE, 
PITY, REASON.) I am thy first thought, thy thought of 
Beauty! Say it! Remember me! Forget me not! All else 
avails so little! And think thou not on Ambition or Hate. 
They would destroy even me! Even me! (She smiles.) 

THE POWERS OF DARKNESS 

(Thundering:) Yea, even Beauty, Lord! What is Beauty 
to thee? 

THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE 

(Gazing dully.) Beauty! Beauty! Can I remember thee 
always, even though I would? Thine eyes! What is it I 



PHANTASMAGORIA 191 

meant by thine eyes? (He gazeo into them.) Mad! Mad! 
Mad! 

AMBITION 

(Angrily, clanking his armor.) He drools and dreams! Me, 
his best thought his greatest he forgets! I am his horror, 
his strength, his despair, his power yet he thinks not on me! 
Beauty! Beauty! And I wait in shadow! I, his rage yet he 
sleeps in vagrom thoughts of beauty! Awake, Lord! Forget 
these pale shadows! Are not thy darker thoughts better? 
Think thou on me! On Power! Come, Hate! Come, Anger! 
Come, Despair Come, Fear! Sit ye all with me! 

FEAR 
Only let me return unto thee, Lord! I fear! I fear! 

BEAUTY 

(To AMBITION, angrily.) And if he thought on thee, 
what then? Storms, horrors, all blackness and rage! Thou 
art such! Is not Beauty better? this light? this song? 
these Cherubim and Seraphim? Wilt thou have naught but 
shadow? Avaunt! To think on thee is death, destruction, the 
end of all! Oh, no, Lord! Oh, no, no, no! Put them all 
hence! Think thou on me! Are not all thy fair dreams, in 
which suns cluster and lovely forms bud forth, more to thee 
than these, thy darker? (She smiles winningly.) 

THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE 
(Heavily) I am that I am! 

AMBITION 

(Fiercely glowering and sulking.) Yea; Terror, Might, 
Strength, Death thou art! Think thou on me! 

BEAUTY 

Nay Love, Beauty, All Perfectness, Light, Joy, Song so 
art thou, and so only! Think thou on me, Lord! Think thou 
on me! (She smooths his hands.) 

HATE, FEAR, GREED, DESPAIR 
(In chorus.) Think thou on us! Are not we of thee? 



I9 2 PHANTASMAGORIA 

LOVE, PITY, HOPE, REASON 
(In chorus.) Think thou on us! Are not we of thee? 

CHERUBIM AND SERAPHIM 
Thou everlasting glory Hail! Hail! 

AMBITION 

(Angrily.) Vanish, vain things! Dream, Lord, no more! 
(He glowers and sulks.) 

THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE 

(To BEAUTY sadly.) I know not whether thou art best or 
worst. But stay, stay! Stay thou with me but yet a while! 
Let me not forget this thing that thou art wonder, light, a 
glorious dream! (He sighs.) Oh, ho, ho, ho! Let me think 
no more of horrors! Of that I am aweary! Mad! Mad! Mad! 
Yet now I have thee thou art a pleasant thought, thou joyous 
dream of fair things! Beauty! Beauty! Oh, Beauty! (He 
smooths her cheek.) 

A CLOUD OF SERAPHIM 

(Fluttering nigh.) He dreams of Beauty! We will not 
die! Hail! Hail! 

A CLOUD OF CHERUBIM 
He smiles on Beauty! We will not die! Hail! Hail 

AMBITION 

(A hovering, terrible figure in the gloom.) He rests and 
drools! All is light and song! He thinks not on death! 

(The shadows recede into the darkness, to all but nothing- 
ness; the endless legions of suns twinkle; the clouds of CHE- 
RUBIM and SERAPHIM swirl and turn.) 



SCENE III: THE HOUSE OF DEATH 

SCENE: A chamber of unimaginable horrors, vast, murky, in- 
volute, in which serpents twist and writhe; tortured figures 
crawl and groan; beasts of many heads and paws prowl to and 
fro, and all slimy odorous forms interlace in welters and sloughs 
and draperies and festoons. At the center, the Throne of the 
Lord, a mound of unclean beasts and serpents, hung over by 
clouds of evil spirits; his present embodied thoughts. At his 
side, huddled in despair, faint, pale shadows of their former 
selves, the thinnest of dreams BEAUTY, REASON, PITY, 
HOPE, LOVE. Before him in glowering fullness, grown to 
vast proportions, AMBITION, and behind him the legions of 
his fancy, black and fulgurous, drawn close about. Insane, 
fevered, maundering, the LORD OF THE UNIVERSE bellows 
of destruction. 

THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE 

Oh, ho, ho, ho! Oh, ho, ho, ho! Death! Death! Death! 
Thou dearest death! Bring thou me heaps of dead the end- 
less slain! Breed winged and forked things, horrors all! 
Bring thou me shames, despairs, disasters, with which to tor- 
ture and slay! Go forth! Go forth! Sweep thou with Hate, 
with Rage, with Despair, with Fear! Breed me vast powers 
of evil, and still vaster! Rank thou me them rank on rank 
file by file! (He thinks on tortured forms.) Make me armies 
of horrors, of woes, of immedicable griefs! (As he thinks, 
from his brain leap forth, many-headed, forked, winged, the 
first six Powers of Darkness, and after them, clawed and 
winged forces of ravening aspect and disaster.) 

BEAUTY 

(Sadly, in a thin voice.) Lord, am I forgotten? (He makes 
no answer.) 

193 



I94 PHANTASMAGORIA 

LOVE 

(In a thin voice.) Lord, canst them no longer think on me?, 
(He makes no answer.) 

HOPE 
(Weakly.) Lord, am I no more to thee? (No answer.) 

PITY 
Canst thou not remember me, Lord? (No answer.) 

REASON 
Lord, am I as nothing to thee now? (No answer.) 

AMBITION 

(To the clouds of darkness behind him as the first of the 
six great Powers leap forth.) Join them thou! Forth 1 

FIRST POWER OF DARKNESS 

(Hundred-headed, winged and fanged, leaping from the 
brain of the Creator at illimitable speed). Hail! I go to 
harry! To slay! 

SECOND POWER OF DARKNESS 

(Hundred-headed, winged and fanged, rushing forth at il- 
limitable speed.) Hail! I go to rack, to torture! 

THIRD POWER OF DARKNESS 

(Hundred-headed, winged and fanged, rushing forth at il- 
limitable speed.) Hail! I go to ravage! To gall! To flay! 

FOURTH POWER OF DARKNESS 

(Hundred-headed, winged and fanged, rushing forth at il- 
limitable speed.) Hail! Where Sorrow is not, I carry it! 

FIFTH POWER OF DARKNESS 

(Hundred-headed, winged and fanged, rushing forth at il- 
limitable speed.) Hail! Where Happiness is, I destroy it! 

SIXTH POWER OF DARKNESS 

(Hundred-headed, seven-horned, winged and fanged, rushing 
forth at illimitable speed.) Hail! Hail! Where Peace is, and 
Love, I make them as not! (They speed to his right hand and 
to his h't, above and beneath him, before and behind him.) 



PHANTASMAGORIA 195 

THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE 

Forth! Forth! Fury upon fury! Bring me masses of de- 
struction! Undo! Undo! Undo! I would have change! 
Death! Woe! Tears bring me tears, tears, tears! Wipe 
out all dreams! Make ashes of fancies! Destroy! Destroy! 
Destroy! Let all be of horror, of death, of sorrow, of pain! 
Make of life an ending in misery! Mad! Mad! I am mad! 
Oh, ho, ho, ho! (He bellows in insane rage.) 

AMBITION 

(Raveningly, to the clouds of Darkness behind.) Join thou 
these! Forth! Forth! Out upon his glistering thoughts! 
Undo! Undo! He is sick of pity, of "peace! Harry thou 
with these! Destroy! Make dust of suns! Breed distem- 
pers in all flesh! Reduce, level, macerate, decay! Make of 
everything nothing! Forth! Forth! 

THE LEGIONS OF DARKNESS 
(Rumbling in anticipation.) Hail! (They speed outward.) 

THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE 

(Rocking to and fro in insane pain.) To my right hand 
and to my left! Above me, and beneath! Before me, and 
behind! Out on! Harry! Destroy! Cease, Time! Be 
nothing, Space! Oh, ho, ho, ho! Oh, ho, ho, ho! End thou 
me the weariness of this! (He weeps in frenetic misery.) 

A CLOUD OF SERAPHIM 

(Faded to but pale rays.) Oh, Measureless Wonder of all 
Wonders! Oh, Creator of all Things! Canst thou not think 
on us? We die! We die! (They begin to fade.) 

A CLOUD OF CHERUBIM 

(Shrunken to a thin line.) Nor on us on us? We die! 
We die! (They slowly jade also.) 

BEAUTY 

(Rising and mewing all with weary eyes.) He dreams on 
me no more on Beauty no more! Oh, mad, mad, Lord! Oh, 
fevered, useless dreams! Gone all the sweet Seraphim and 
Cherubim the halls of light and wonder his suns and jewel- 



I9 6 PHANTASMAGORIA 

stars! His dreams have changed. These his horrors are now 
his mood. And death and nothingness for all of us, his 
mood! (To DESPAIR) Hail! Hail! thou unutterable one. 
(To AMBITION, glowering near.) And thou, great evil one, 
his torturous swelling thought! Now is thy dark hour! But 
sleep and nothingness is the end of this for thee and all 1 Thou 
wouldst destroy even me, oh evil thing! Yet if he but thought 
on me, how different! His singing world again! But wait, 
wait! If he think on thee for long comes death and the end 
of all this of thee, as of me! By death, sleep! And by sleep, 
if he sleep where then is his thought of thee or me? Pray 
that he change! 

AMBITION 

(Arrogantly.) Avaunt, thin thing! Now is my Lord 
awake he thinks on me, not thee! To harry, burn, slay! 
To his right hand and to his left! Above him, and beneath! 
Before him, and behind! He is for strife, strength, conflict! 
To harry, slay, lay waste! It is as it is! He knows thee not! 
(The destroying legiom rumble.) 

PITY 

(Drawing near to BEAUTY.) He thinks not on me again I 
I am grown so thin! Is there no change? Is peace worth 
nothing the tender heart the end of agonies and stoims? 

AMBITION 

Avaunt! He knows thee not! (PITY shrinks exceeding 
small.) 

LOVE 

(Drawing near, a pale shadow.) Or all the lovely thoughts 
that fluttered into happiness are they worth nothing? 

AMBITION 

Avaunt! He knows thee not, thin wraith! (She fades to a 
point.) 

REASON 
Nor me? Not even order? 



PHANTASMAGORIA 197 

AMBITION 
Hence! (REASON steps aside.) 

HOPE 

Nor yet the thought he had in me? Can he not remember 
me? 

AMBITION 

Vanish! Thy Lord is for destruction! He thinks not on 
thee but on me! Hence! (HOPE pales to a thin flame.) 

BEAUTY 

(Proudly.) Yet am I Beauty, his first thought! Rage on, 
thou evil one! Of what avail, since thou wilt end also? 
Destroy as thou wilt, he will not forget me! I am that which 
he is Beauty! His first thought! Think madly as he may, 
yet will his last thought, as his first, be of me. I am in him, 
and he in me. From him, when he wake, if ever, will I cornel 
I will be worshiped! I will be worshiped! 

THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE 

(Writhing in a last insane agony.) Oh, ho, ho, ho! Oh, 
ho, ho, ho! Let me have done with Life! Let me have done 
with Thought Pain with Order, Beauty, Hope! Let me have 
done with all things! Oh, ho, ho, ho! Sick sick! Death! 
Death! Burn! Harry! Slay! Oh, ho, ho, ho! I will have 
done with all! (He tears at his snaky locks.) 

REASON 

(Sadly.) Great Master of us all, so this then is the end? 
I, who was thy thought of order, am disordered! I, who was 
thy strength, am thy weakness! So sink I back to nothing- 
ness! (He re-enters the brow of the Lord.) 

LOVE 

And I, who was his thought of happiness! So come I to 
nothingness again! (She re-enters the forehead of the Lord.) 

PITY 

And I, who was his thought of tenderness! (She jades into 
his brain.) 



I9 8 PHANTASMAGORIA 

HOPE 

And I, who was his thought of love and peace! (She dis- 
appears also.) 

BEAUTY 

(Paling.) Yet is he not done with me! Mad though he be, 
even though he sleep, now I feel his thought! He is in me, 
as I in him! I will be worshiped! I will be worshiped! 
(She re-enters his brow undiminished.) 

FIRST POWER OF DARKNESS 

(Returning and entering in.) All that was to thy left hand 
is not! 

THE LORD 
Tis well! 

SECOND POWER OF DARKNESS 

(Returning and entering in.) All that was to thy right 
hand is not. 

THE LORD 
'Tis well! 

THIRD POWER OF DARKNESS 

(Returning and entering in.) All that was before thee is 
not! 

THE LORD 
'Tis well! 

FOURTH POWER OF DARKNESS 

(Returning and entering in.) All that was behind thee is 
not! 

THE LORD 
Tis well! 

FIFTH POWER OF DARKNESS 
(Returning and entering.) All that was above thee is not! 

THE LORD 
'Tis well! 

SIXTH POWER OF DARKNESS 

(Returning and entering.) All that was beneath thee is 
not! 



PHANTASMAGORIA 199 

THE LORD 
Tis well! 

AMBITION 

J Tis well! Hail, Lord! As thou wouldst, I have ended thy 
dreams! Canst thou not rest? 

THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE 

(Writhing.) Oh, ho, ho, ho! Oh, ho, ho, ho! I dream! I 
dream! It is too much! Destroy! Destroy! I will have 
peace! I will have peace! (He turns and writhes, sinking in 
weariness as he does so, and partially disappearing. JEons 
elapse.) 

FIRST POWER OF DARKNESS 

(Beginning to jade in the brain of the Lord.) It is of me 
that he ceases to think! I fail! (He disappears.) 

AMBITION 
(Sadly.) It is the end! 

SECOND POWER OF DARKNESS 

(Beginning to fade in the brain of the Lord.) It is of me 
he ceases to think. Oh, ho, ho, ho! I fail! (He disappears. ) 

AMBITION 
(Sadly.) It is the end! 

THIRD POWER OF DARKNESS 

(Writhing and fading in the brain of the Lord.) It is of me 
he ceases to think! I fail! Oh, ho, ho, ho! (He disappears.) 

AMBITION 
It is the end! 

FOURTH POWER OF DARKNESS 

(Fading into the brain of the Lord.) It is of me he ceases 
to think! I fail! (He groans and disappears.) 

AMBITION 
It is the end! 

FIFTH POWER OF DARKNESS 
It is of me he ceases to think! I fail! (He disappears.) 

AMBITION 
It is the end! 



200 PHANTASMAGORIA 

SIXTH POWER OF DARKNESS 
It is of me he ceases to think! I fail! (He disappears.) 

AMBITION 
It is the end! 

THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE 

(Stretching prone in space and all but vanishing. Only 
faint outlines are visible here and there, the brow and face in- 
tact.) Peace! Peace! It is enough! It is enough! I have 
done! Let it be as it ever was from everlasting to everlasting 
a dream a dream! Oh, ho, ho, ho! (He sighs heavily. 
The last writhing beasts thin and are gone. AMBITION, 
paling and thinning, stands wide-eyed, agape, before the Jading 
brow of the Lord.) 

AMBITION 

At last! And I it is of me he ceases to think even me! 
I have done! I have done! (He vanishes.) 

BEAUTY 

(A thin star in the brow of the Lord, glistering and yet 
paling.) It is even of me he ceases to think! Lord, hast thou 
forgotten thy first-born? 

THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE 

Peace! Peace! Enter thou into me! (He sighs and begins 
to vanish completely.) 

BEAUTY 

(Fading into his sleep.) I will be worshiped! I will be 
worshiped! (She smiles.) 

The illusion of reality ceases. Suns and planets 
are gone. Time and Space are not. That which 
was is as that which was not. 



ASHTORETH 

WHAT has impressed me most about life, always, is the 
freshness and newness of everything, the perennial up- 
welling of life in every form; the manner in which, as age steals 
on for some, youth, new, innocent, inexperienced, believing, 
takes charge, its eyes alight with aspiration, its body ablaze with 
desire. We know that the world is old, old, and societies 
also in every form, while the average span of life for the 
individual is little more than forty years yet step into the 
streets and witness the immemorable clangor and newness, the 
present visible portion of the unbroken thread or pattern that 
reaches back into eternity. And for all that life is so old, old, 
and atoms of the life pattern or chain are feeble, is life old? 
Does the bit of thread or pattern that we see here now show the 
least evidence of wear or tear? Is not the race as new, as 
fresh as ever? We rise betimes and the ancient sunlight 
streams fresh and strong and new into our passing window 
this window which, in a few years, will be as forgotten and as 
non-recoverable as we ourselves shall be. 

And the ways without are they crowded with the aged, the 
worn, the soul-weary? Here and there, perhaps, a halting, 
bent or time-worn specimen that attracts attention for its age! 
In the main, at every turn, youth is in charge, laughing, sing- 
ing, whistling, the newest modes of the Zeitgeist adorning it, the 
latest coats, the latest hats, the latest shoes heightening the 
charm of bodies utterly evanescent. The percentage of the 
really aged abroad is as one to one hundred one thousand. 
Viewing the swift tides of life as they burble in the great 
thoroughfares they are utterly negligible. And it is always 
so. A large crowd of the old and the weak and the defective 

201 



202 ASHTORETH 

would be an astounding sight anywhere in life that is so old. 

Yes, life is careful to do away with all evidences of age in 
the public places where it runs so gaily. The sick are they 
here or in hospitals or darkened bedrooms? The maimed, the 
blind, the defective in any way are they here, or hidden 
away in institutions where the young and the hopeful may 
not see? Life apparently resents them. It will not have 
its ways bestrewn by its discarded implements and shells. 
Out, out, since it is done with them. Away! There is much 
talk of charity and the beatitudes, but let one lose an arm, a 
leg, an eye, a hand. Practically the entire world shudders and 
withdraws. Better, indeed, a criminal, whole and exhibiting 
that self-sufficiency which the life impulse demands, than to 
have been injured in any worthy or even glorious contest. 
Rarely if ever, and never willingly, does Life obtrude upon our 
unwilling gaze a suggestion of the brevity of our own strength 
or charm, or present to the eye even a faint suggestion of the 
inscrutable and astounding and even wholesale cruelty of itself. 
Indeed, where Nature with her illusions has her way, pain, 
weariness and death are never to be accepted as the huge con- 
trolling facts that they are. 

What Nature cruel? Look at the freshness of Her face, the 
joy of Her perpetual youth, the glory of Her springs, the rich- 
ness and variety of Her facets and changes! Quite so. She is 
the subtlest of all our enemies, the wisest of all our craftsmen 
and managers. Her instinct and therefore Her business is to 
keep the eternal freshness and durability and zest of life upper- 
most, and this She does with unbelievable skill. For although 
we are here, young and new, believing vigorously in our destiny, 
the grand sum of our future and its durability, still only forty 
or fifty years ago there were all of a billion people here who 
were as fresh and as vigorous and as youthful as we are now. 
They believed in their grand destinies as we believe in ours, and 
where are they? Gone. No trace no memory even no care. 
Only we are what is left of what was them, their descendants. 



ASHTORETH 203 

And the astonishing tragedies, the painful diseases, the 
most grinding and wearing of denied hopes, by reason of 
which they are no longer here and we are how adroitly even 
the memory of these have been removed! The wonder! Yet 
life is as fresh now as it was then. It has not aged. It has 
not gone. The endless chain is as bright and strong as ever 
stronger, maybe. To-morrow when we are where they are it 
will be as taut and shining and swift-moving and as new as 
ever. 

But these young bustling souls swinging their canes, light- 
ing their cigarettes, whistling and dreaming of a perfect to- 
morrow do they know aught of this? Not a word. And will 
they? Not, in the main, until it is too late to affect their lives. 
And, better yet, and what is really more important, they do not 
care. Life has one admirable trait: it limits the sensibility of 
many. "Never mind, dearie," it seems to say, "do not worry 
about me, or older days. The old was nothing, the new is all. 
Eat, drink, be merry and forget. It is best." Thus life, and it 
is her intention that they shall. Each sorrow or deprivation or 
disaster as it befalls them is painted in their consciousness as 
special to them. Never before was there one such to equal 
this. No, no. Life would not be so cruel. She would not in- 
tentionally do this to any one. "What!" she whispers artfully 
and convincingly, "life induce such bitter tears? Life ruth- 
lessly and cruelly deprive any one of a hand? an eye? of 
life itself? Never. To be injured thus indifferently, when 
so many are not, was never intended by her for you, as you can 
see. If that is not so, why is it so many are well, hale, happy?" 
So she lies, for well she knows that each can know but a very 
little, has no time to learn more. And she sees that he has not. 

But in the dark places, the back rooms, the upper floors or 
cellars of tenements or great houses, the hospitals, the asylums, 
the jails, the farms and homes for the aged and the enormous 
graveyards! Look and see. Here are those who but a little while 
since were a part of this pell-mell vigorous scene. They were 



204 ASHTORETH 

her tools, as you are now, her victims. She fashioned them as 
one might a small machine, used them for a while for some- 
thing and then threw them aside. Like a knife or any tool, they 
grew a little dull, and it is so much easier to fashion a new one. 
We are intended to last only a little while. While your strength 
is budding that of others is failing. While your cheeks are 
reddening theirs are paling. While your eyes are sharpening in 
shrewdness theirs are weakening to a dim myopia, and you may 
soon out-see them and push them aside. Yet the bodies of the 
old that so offend you now were as lithe as your own, and 
they in their hour were grumbling at the ineffectiveness of 
age. 

But the darkest part of it is that aside from the small mod- 
icum of service which you may render at top speed and with 
the utmost enthusiasm, Nature has not the slightest care for 
you or yours. With the same cavalier air with which She pro- 
vides a hundred drones for the single love-flight of the queen 
bee, all the failures to die, so She provides a thousand, or ten 
thousand, or a hundred thousand, that one and only one 
may think the necessary thought, invent the necessary ma- 
chine, build the necessary bridge or lead the necessary army. 
The rest may die as they will. They are chaff. Lay them out 
in hundreds in millions to be blown whithersoever the wind 
listeth, to poverty, to death, perchance even to fortune, a brief 
hour. Who cares? Not She. Only the ways of life must be 
kept fresh and new, the illusion of newness and vigor main- 
tained. Only through new bright instruments will She work, 
and none other. A tasteful maid. In the blood-stream of your 
body are quadrillions of little entities so many millions to the 
single blood drop whose total destiny, apparently, is to your 
life about as yours is to the race and no more. They hurry 
that you may live. They toil that you may smile, seek, yearn, 
blaze with ecstasy. A fraction of a minute each, and their little 
cycles have been run. So yours here. But do they know? Or 
care? Or do you? There is that much wisdom or tenderness or 



ASHTORETH 205 

practicality in Nature, that for the majority She inhibits the 
power of memory or perspective or too great sensitiveness to 
joy or pain. Else what a cursing, else what a wailing, else 
what a ceasing even in the face of Her imperial will. 



THE REFORMER 

AMONG the interesting phenomena of life is the periodic 
appearance in every walk of life of the reformer, the 
individual who, according to some theory based on clear per- 
ception or some delusion that has developed in his brain, seeks 
to readjust conditions as he finds them to something more in 
accord with what is agreeable to him, and who accordingly, by 
a process of transference akin to that which has been so ade- 
quately set forth in psychoanalysis, seeks to represent himself 
to himself as a world need. Always it is life, not himself, that 
is in need of this new condition, and so him. And what is it 
that as a rule he offers or seeks? Without exception, if you 
trouble to examine the great instances Buddha, Christ, Con- 
fucius, St. Francis, Luther, Mohammed it is a revision of a 
current, and in itself passing, condition which has become 
irritating to his sense of balance or proportion or equation in 
things mundane, his personal and physical reaction to or sen- 
sory repulsion from conditions which have become chemically 
(socially, spiritually, anything you will) too far removed from 
a norm or mean or equation which appeals to him, his eternal 
and special view of harmony. But this after all is chemic and 
natural, and when he is successful he merely represents an in- 
evitable tendency in nature to maintain a balance or equation 
between one type of mood and another, only one of which can 
be dominant for a time and of which he becomes the passing 
representative. 

It is the only way apparently in which the moving spirit 
which creates us can express or, better yet, change itself. 
Our self-propulsive emotions, moods or appetites have some- 

206 



THE REFORMER 207 

how a tendency, if uninterrupted, to lead us too far in some 
one direction to the place, for instance, where a chemical or 
physical non-balance is threatened to that dependent equation 
of rival forces in which we all find ourselves immersed or held. 
Then, apparently, by an inhering law which compels balance 
or equation in all things, a counter-tendency which is most 
likely to first present itself in the shape of a reformer, or 
instructor, or warner, always chemical in his significance, ap- 
pears (Buddha, Christ, Mohammed, Luther), and you have a 
readjustment toward a happy medium again, as it were. One 
phase of life, let us say, grows and presses too dominantly on 
another. Forthwith a spokesman or mouthpiece of some kind 
arises, the antithesis of the dominant thing, by no means 
remote or divine but plainly human and simple and easily 
understandable, if he is to prove of any value. That is why 
it is always esoterically safe in gross material days to look 
forward to the coming of a Christ or Messiah, or reformer, or 
changer, of one type or another. He is in reality a chemic 
and psychic sign. He cannot help coming. He is merely an 
individual expression of the general tendency toward balance 
or equation. And he will surely come when things swing too 
far in any given direction. Any one can be a mouthpiece for 
an extreme lack of balance in human affairs, any one. The 
accident of circumstances usually distinguishes that one. 

But by that we are not told that extremes, either of the 
gross or material, or on the other hand of the spiritual or 
ascetic, are to be permanently done away with or "reformed," 
or that either, when dominant, is essentially evil or good, or 
that the replacing thing is essentially better and so should re- 
main forever. Rather, what is new and ameliorative be it 
religious, ethic or economic is merely one or the other half or 
portion or face of that which was before it came, a change from, 
or the obverse of, the other. Indeed the essential character of 
God, or the biologic force, or the Universe, is not made much 
clearer unless we see in this tendency to change or equation in 



2 o8 THE REFORMER 

all things that it or he is both good and evil. Since chemically 
or spiritually we are compelled always to seek a level or 
balance and maintain it, roughly enough it is true; since to 
live is to swing to and fro, past a mean and between extremes, 
may we not deduce from that that equation, balance, is an at- 
tribute of God or the life force, a conditioning attribute, and 
one under which it must express itself? 

For in life, as we may always note, and at the very moment 
the greatest reformers are operating, there are also working 
and quite as vigorously, else the reformer would have little to 
do anti-reformers, or anti-Christs, or reactionaries, if you 
will, creatures who represent the obverse of what is sought by 
the reformer or changer, and who will by no means be per- 
manently disposed of by him. Life apparently goes on two legs, 
or opposites, always heat: cold; high: low; external: in- 
ternal; strength: weakness; little: much; excluded: included. 
Side by side with millions or billions who wish one type of thing 
are always millions or billions who wish another, whose im- 
pulses, desires and necessities are the very antithesis of those 
advocated by the reformers, saviors, adjusters then operating. 
Thus as Christ walked the earth there were Herod, and the 
whole brood of Roman, Greek and Egyptian philosophers pa- 
gans all scouting his beliefs and dreams, and their descendants 
are with us yet. About St. Francis were the millions of gour- 
mandizers and lechers of France, Italy and the European world 
generally (to say nothing of the skeptical Innocent III.), too 
gross to perceive the significance of that which the saint repre- 
sented. Yet St. Francis was little more than a chemical reaction 
against a too-heavy materialism that enveloped Europe noth- 
ing more, truly. He was, as it were, poetry as opposed to the 
grossest and most sodden type of materialistic thought. This 
is equally true of Luther and so many others. Christ the same; 
Mohammed the same. Yet plainly the creative force which we 
worship as God, the underlying chemistry with its cell mechan- 
ism, was as much the maker of the fat sensualists who sur- 



THE REFORMER 209 

rounded and enraged Luther as it was of Luther. It was and 
is in both, and both in it. Else how explain their joint presence 
and conflict, their psychic as well as chemic necessity to each 
other, the one useless without the other no devil no saint, 
and vice versa? I for one am convinced that the Universe, or 
God, or Good, is no more concerned with our saints than with 
our sinners. Both may be essential, no doubt are. Certainly 
both are in it, from it, necessary to it, expressive of different 
moods of it, and as such necessary to each other, in order that 
it or life shall exist, express itself, at all. From this I see no 
escape by any path. 

The great aim of all reformers that of permanently re- 
forming man in his social as well as his religious ways or inten- 
tions, in his lusts after sensuality and the like, from a (in 
their estimation) condition of too great license to one of none 
at all is of course ridiculous. Although always "Justice," 
"Right," "Truth," "Eternal law" are supposed to be involved 
in their commandments or demands, and presumed to repre- 
sent a permanent and unchanging state of perfection of some 
kind the all-good in some direction, and as such to be the 
direct commandments of God Himself what is really, often 
unintelligently, sought is an easement of a too-great social 
swing in any one direction. Not perfection, but a better bal- 
ance, is all that is really sought or ever attained. Yet so 
errant and nonsensical is life, its social or chemic drift mere 
idle rocking of force in one direction or another at times 
that man, for a time at least at one period or another, may 
be made to believe in or at least conform to, even coincide 
with, some current conception of the ideal which may or may 
not be in line with his greatest need, equation, in his affairs 
here or elsewhere at the time which, indeed, may be abso- 
lutely inimical to his mental progress, as in the case of Moham- 
medanism, Shintoism, Christianity and the like. In other 
words, the necessity for obtaining a better equation in one place 
may very well upset a very excellent equation elsewhere. Thus, 



210 THE REFORMER 

while it might be of passing advantage in one country Arabia, 
sa y that a readjustment via the thoughts of a Mohammed 
would be in order, it does not follow that his local "Rights," 
"Truths" and homilies would elsewhere be essential. Yet 
essential or no, an impetus flowing from such a center may 
well disturb a better equation elsewhere. This was illustrated 
when Mohammedanism assailed Christianity in Europe. 

The truth is that what the reformers are always seeking, 
ignorantly or otherwise, is a better balance in things social or 
mental or moral, less accentuated tendencies of any kind 
usually away from the too-gross, although at times away from 
the too-ascetic also, toward which extremes life appears to 
swing at times. And what they do is to identify their meager, 
if equational, perceptions of life with eternal thought or order, 
and to insist that the half of the balance which they represent 
is the whole of it. As a rule they are quite unfitted by ignor- 
ance as well as by the time mood of which they are the expres- 
sion to see that without that against which they war neither 
they nor their divine creator would have the least excuse for 
existing. 

To me, not violent extremes of any kind, although these are 
productive of great suffering at times, but the suave inanity 
which imagines it wants only unchanging good or, on the other 
hand, unchanging evil, is the thing to be feared. Fortunately 
or unfortunately, as one may view this thing, a strictly median 
condition, while excellent as a haven of refuge from extremes, 
is nevertheless never wholly or easily attained in life, and never, 
apparently, seriously desired by it, as an end in itself, and never 
quite satisfactory. Indeed it is the equivalent of nothingness 
and would produce just that if the world sought to persist in 
it. Yet wise Nature is our rescuer in this as in many an- 
other plight in which betimes She places us for ends of Her 
own, for Nature seeks, if She seeks anything, motion, although 
apparently in no straight line. Her mood, if anything, 
is synchronic, rhythmic, pendulumic. She wishes, if one may 



THE REFORMER 211 

interpret Her wishes from what may be seen here, to swing in 
a semi-balanced way between extremes of so-called good and 
evil never all good and never all evil, but a little of both, 
or plenty, in order that there may be contention, strife, some- 
thing to live about and for. These violent extremes of any 
kind ascetic, religious, barbaric, or repulsive which affect 
life and irritate our souls, or the souls of some of us, are not 
at all offensive to Nature in Her entirety apparently. She ap- 
pears to like extremes as well as a median line, the latter as a 
fence or break between them, and will have nothing of per- 
petual anything in any one direction. And life, it seems to me, 
would be more understandable, less disturbing to most of us, 
if in hours of stress of any kind we were able to realize this 
that Nature adores extremes, with always a happy medium as 
the guiding and dividing line to which She can return and on 
which She can fix, as the mariner on the North Star. And if 
some such more liberal conception of God, or force, or life, or 
the creative impulse, could be introduced, it would be better. 
What we really need is a better stomach for life as it is, and 
Nature, in the course of time, may possibly build us such. 



MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE 

"Whom does not love rule? And where is he not Lord?" 

Epiphanes Soter. 

"There is no advisable love unless it is as reverent as it 
is romantic, as permanent as it is passionate." 

George M. Gould. 

"Faithful monogamy must ever be woman's standard in 
love, because only in its still certainty can she fitly pre- 
pare and keep the place for her child" 

Beatrice Forbes-Robertson Hale. 

"Too many have forgotten that love is as much a subject 
of the law of evolution or progressive development as any 
other biologic thing." 

Haeckel. 

N. B. The attached six questions, to which I have ap- 
pended answers, were once submitted to me by an American 
publication for comment or solution! At the time I was unable 
to make an intelligible reply, but having since given the matter 
thought I have answered them, largely for my own satisfaction. 
They are submitted with no faith in any possible fixed solu- 
tion but merely as meat for passing discussion. 



Why is it, when there are so many evidences in favor of 
marriage as we practice it, that so many marriages fall 
short of just the purpose they seem meant to serve? 

212 



MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE 213 

In the first place, are there so many evidences in favor of 
marriage as we practice it? In part the question contains its 
own answer when it states that so many marriages fall short 
of just the purpose they seem meant to serve. Statistics for 
marriage and divorce show that one out of every seven mar- 
riages ends in the divorce court. For every one thus openly 
disrupted, how many others are restrained or concealed for 
reasons of religion, morality, children, society and business 
policy or permitted license? Many a couple agree to go their 
ways separately, doing as they please and shielding each other 
in their privileges. Others drift into a quarrelsome or unhappy 
state from sheer inertia or lack of means or charm or courage 
to establish or create a new condition. Millions sink in the 
slough of despond because they have not strength of any kind. 
Age, poverty, thickness of wit does for them completely. 

Now there is no need, and should be no desire, to evade the 
biologic necessity implied by marriage. Children must be 
brought into the world and reared if life is to go on. All the 
why-fors of this are given in a thousand biologic and anthro- 
pologic volumes, and so no need to discuss them here. But this 
much may be said, that among animals the limits of the control 
of the maternal feeling or instinct are rigidly confined to simple 
necessity. Love seems to disappear as soon as the young can 
possibly walk or fly and get their food proof of its mechanis- 
tic or chemic quality and origin and its lack of any sacrosanct 
and "for eternity" spiritual character. Indeed, under most 
phases of animal life the father is absolutely indifferent to the 
fate of his offspring. In many, perhaps most, animals he seems 
to care no more for his children than if they were moving 
bushes. Certainly he cares no more for his own than for those 
of another, and the idea of any love toward grandchildren is 
absurd. Not even the mother shows this. 

But it is of the greatest interest to note that with the appear- 
ance of humanity and its ideas of home and property (both, 
products of maternal instinct or the chemic necessity in her 



MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE 

for the care of her young) there has arisen a natural extension 
of the scope and control of the family instinct, so that the 
interest of the parents continues into or through adult life. 
Support and protection of the mother continues beyond the 
child-bearing period, grandchildren are beloved, more distant 
relatives are held within the family affection, and the patri- 
archal type of society is established. Since the higher ideals of 
society and civilization have been permitted to arise the aegis 
of love has extended over the nation, and patriotism, with its 
great influence in war and history, has appeared. Finally that 
highest development of humanity, ethics or love of humanity, 
has arisen (still an actual outgrowth and extension of maternal 
instinct or love apparently), as well as the theory of the exist- 
ence of a Divine Father-Mother of humanity and of all life. 

Yes, since the period of the law and the influence of Rome 
and the idea of love, the practice of it by enduring families 
has become rapidly more complex. To the force of sex com- 
pulsion and instinct, never omitted, have been added per- 
manency, monogamy, home-keeping virtues, pedagogy, public 
health, civic and political honor, democracy and a thousand 
such compounds. Has it stood up well under them? Is the 
load too great? Our riotous divorce practices and statistics, as 
well as the so-called sex or prostitution problem, raises a sharp 
question. Does the average strong successful man confine him- 
self to one woman? Has he ever? Does the exceptionally 
beautiful and dynamic woman confine herself to one man? 
Has she ever? Has not fear frightened the weak into a kind 
of rat-like dodging or a sniveling, quarreling, complaining com- 
pliance? It may be and no doubt is true that the so-called 
"building of the future," contemplated by the mechanistic or 
biologic impulse, if by anything, cannot be based on sensuality 
entirely; but the retort may be that Nature never seems to 
desire or achieve a wholesale debauchery any more than she 
desires a cold and narrow monogamy the religionists and 
w ethic-mongers to the contrary notwithstanding. At best she 



MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE 215 

strikes a balance, wishes apparently virtue opposed to de- 
bauchery, and vice versa, for ends of her own. 

But to return. However mechanically and instinctively it 
may have started, Life has since developed the more or less 
gorgeous chemistry of love with which now, if never in the 
past, it is invested. Human beings are apparently capable of 
higher and more enduring synthetic and chemic affinities, and 
this to many has seemed to warrant the second thought where- 
with this interview is prefaced. Yet, for all this higher develop- 
ment, the strain of practical life appears to be too much for it. 
Besides the compulsion imposed by the biologic process which 
draws two people together there is a process of self-evolution 
and variation which seems to conflict with the marriage tie. 
How subtle is that problem which is to keep two people, sub- 
ject to internal and external chemical and physical changes, 
harmonious for the eternity for which they are supposed to be 
linked? Nothing short of this is the theory which the religion- 
ist propounds. The moralist, not bound by religious dogma, 
will make the bond for life only. The philosopher or chemist 
transmutes the bond into a problem and speculates on how 
many weeks, or months, or years, the unstable equation may 
endure. 

In considering the validity of our ideas in regard to mar- 
riage we either accept the current religionistic or moralistic 
theory, or we do not. For those who do there is no problem: 
they must accept their chains and slavery, if so they find 
marriage to be, and make a virtue of their sufferings. For 
those who do not there is the agonizing problem of the need 
of an equation in the matter of change. Somewhere they must 
draw the line, or necessity, increasing age, the difficulty of 
living in a moving-van, will fix the line for them. Again, there 
is a limit to any individual's capacity for change, however 
kaleidoscopic that may be. After all, any individual, male or 
female, however attractive, is but single in quantity, and the 
choice offered to either of a suitable helpmate or companion 



2 i6 MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE 

is not so very large. One may be forever lowering a hook into 
the water, but not all the fishes in the sea may take it even 
if they would. Solomon may have had three hundred wives 
and seven hundred concubines, but it can scarcely be said that 
he needed them or that they got much out of it; and while it 
is conceivable that a man or woman in swift kaleidoscopic 
search, and devoting him or herself strictly to the task in 
hand, might enjoy as many as a thousand or so of the oppo- 
site sex in the course of a lifetime, it can scarcely be con- 
sidered valuable from the point of view of public policy and 
little less than difficult and, as it would seem to one at least, 
profitless from the point of view of the individual himself. 

On the other hand there enters into the matter the very 
serious problem suggested by question IV, which I will include 
and touch on here for a moment only: "Are the children of 
any union better served by successive marriages than by a 
home where parents are held together, even though not by 
love but rather by a sense of duty to their children?" Obvi- 
ously, Nature intended marriage for the reproduction and care 
of children, but I beg to call attention to the fact that Nature, 
or God, or the biologic process, or what you will, is no better 
planner or executor of any given theory or scheme it may have 
in mind than man himself. If this were not true there would 
be no physically imperfect men or women. The student of 
the pathology of sex, as well as of the sources of life itself, is 
confronted by a thousand variations from that happy norm on 
which the moralistic marriage must be based. Nature has not 
provided all its creatures with the capacity for a happy mar- 
riage. Plainly, it has cursed or endowed many of them with 
strange and horrible vices, with vast and self-torturing pas- 
sions, with immeasurable longings and desires, which unfit 
them for the proper fulfillment of the monogamic conception 
of the perfect marriage, hence of the care of the ensuing 
children. What then is to be done? Who is to blame Nature 



MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE 217 

or man? And if Nature is to blame, or God, cannot we charge 
the presumed misery of the children up to Him also? 

Personally, I am not prepared to admit that children are 
made miserable or destroyed by divorce and change. But 
granting that, certainly man is not to blame, for from the very 
beginning he has been crucified upon a rood which is not of 
his devising. He did not institute marriage; it was instituted 
for him, the biologic process having devised it long before he 
appeared apparently. I would gladly have all living creatures 
endowed with every capacity which would fit them for a 
peaceful and contented enjoyment of a moralistic life, if that 
were intended or important, but since in the vast and secret 
laboratory of Nature alone can man be properly outfitted for 
the adventure, and since, obviously, in many cases he is not, 
I submit that the matter of matrimony and the welfare of the 
ensuing children cannot be solved by talk and that Nature 
and its concomitants, change and divorce, must be permitted to 
take their free and unlimited way as they will. The great 
tides and forces of life which burst upon men and animals 
and change them do not always give notice that they are 
about to rise and change things. They rise in their great 
strength, and man, to his bewilderment, finds himself changing 
and changed. Hence I would say that the trouble with mar- 
riage is that in its extreme interpretation it conflicts with the 
law of change, or balance and equation, and hence suffers a 
severe and seemingly destructive defeat. 

II 

What would be the result were we generally to adopt 
Ellen Key's conception of marriage: "Marriage is only 
moral when it grows from an inner necessity, and not from 
outward pressure?" 

Very pleasant, I should say, if logic and ideal syllogism 
ruled in life. The trouble with this world is that no ideal, 



2i8 MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE 

however eagerly pursued, is guaranteed a happy fruition. You 
may lay down your formula for happiness and say : "Thus and 
so being done all will be well," but can you make human 
nature do anything according to any one finite individual 
theory? Man does not make or regulate Nature: Nature makes 
and regulates man, and She makes him any way She pleases 
vile, lovely, strong, weak, simple, complex, and so on. There 
is no one theory that fits all climates or types of people. Life 
would be very dull if this were true. 

But I presume by "inner necessity" Ellen Key means intense 
desire plus a marked affinity of two people for each other, and 
if the union is for only so long as this endures I should see no 
drawback to it whatever. I should say that humanity would be 
much better able to endure the stresses and difficulties of the 
world if they were all so happily mated, and indeed there might 
not be so many stresses and difficulties to endure. No doubt 
we all wish that this would come true, but not all people are 
motivated by either love or passion. They would not marry 
for love if they could but rather for social precedence, material 
luxuries and the like. They accept children as a somewhat 
unfortunate concomitant, and so you have the curious problem 
of whether this state and its results are good, bad or in- 
different in so far as society is concerned. For my part I 
would paraphrase Christ's idea and say: "Render unto Ma- 
teriality the things that are Material, and to Love the things 
that are Love's." Then the world would remain just about as 
it is now. 

Ill 

Would a succession of unions, expressing different 
phases of true love, be of higher value to the individual 
soul and to the life of the race than one unbroken al- 
though loveless marriage? 

My answer to this question, based on my own individual 
temperament, would be Yes, but I cannot help speculating 



MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE 219 

as to the opinions of those whose temperaments are so cool or 
so unemotional that they can put social precedence, material 
comfort, or the general welfare of the state, as they see it, 
above affection or passion. Thousands of people are by tem- 
perament sacrificial, one might almost say masochistic. They 
never put themselves first, and that for the very simple reason 
that their emotions or desires do not compel them so to do. 
The religionist, the moralist and the fanatic, for reasons of 
order or material development, as he sees them, would and 
does look upon love and passion as a disturbing, unsatisfactory 
and almost unnecessary element in life. Passion is sin or weak- 
ness to him, and the individual who requires more than one 
union to express his emotional necessities is either a lunatic or 
a criminal. His first impulse is to drive him out of society, 
to lock him up and reform him by some iron system of train- 
ing; failing this he will shun him and form little communities 
of his own into which the victims of emotion and passion 
must never venture save as thieves steal into a house at night. 
This last is well and as it should be no doubt in his special 
case, but on the other hand he is the type of man who is de- 
termined that there shall be no divorce for others very unlike 
himself, who would make wife-desertion a criminal offense of 
the first order and who would almost punish adultery with 
death if he could. He is a puritan soul. He does not see 
Nature in all Her subtle ramifications and climatic and chemic 
variations, and he helps to make that endless war between 
the so-called light and darkness of life between sin and virtue 
and these special phases of asceticism or temperamental 
coolness are the foundation of all religions apparently. 

Such individuals would argue, for instance, that the child 
of a loveless marriage is as well off as a child of a marriage 
of any other kind, provided he is clothed and fed, washed and 
schooled and thoroughly inculcated with the belief that sex 
is a crime. The less love enters into the child's life at any 
time the better, say they. Children will do better, make better 



220 MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE 

men and women, and make more money, if they do not love 
too much. Thus stands the world, divided between the hot 
and the cold, the stern and the tender, the fools of passion and 
the fools of material order and well-being. Is the one better 
or wiser than the other? I do not know. You may pay your 
money and take your choice, for you cannot well serve passion 
and materiality at the same time. Personally I stand with the 
fools of love, because I think for all their follies and errors 
and Lear-like ends they are happier. 



IV 

// the answer is Yes, are the children better served by 
successive marriages than by a home where parents are 
held together if not by love by a sense of duty to their 
children? 

I would not say that children are, in the main, better served 
by successive marriages due to changes of temperament, be- 
cause I do not know, but I can truly say that I am fairly well 
satisfied, from my personal observation, that they are no worse 
served. In the first place the fate of the modern child is not 
nearly so much in the hands of individual parents as it is in 
those of the state, the public schools and their teachers, the 
newspapers and their editors, the judges of courts and public 
and private citizens generally; for the modern child can almost 
say to-day that the state is both my father and my mother and 
it will take care of me. When it can really say this we will be 
much better off, for we are all going to be happier. The ex- 
tremes of misery in childhood are going to be done away with. 

In the next place it is a part of my personal observation 
that children of warring or troubled homes, where they are 
made to endure them, are worse off than are those who have 
escaped through fracture and been thrown on their own re- 
sources or are assisted by the charity of the state, or relatives, 



MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE 221 

or the citizens of the country generally, to say nothing of the 
love or obligation of one or both of the separated parents. 
There is a deal too much sentiment attaching to the home as 
such to-day, sentiment not justified by facts. All homes are 
not ideal rearing-places for children, by any means. Consider 
the vast factory communities everywhere, too easily forgotten 
by the comfortable intellectual classes, and again the slums. 
The homes in these are, if one were to pay strict attention to 
the moralist, as ideal rearing-places for children as any other; 
yet we know that life offers pits of horror as well as abodes 
of sweetness and light in the guise of the modern so-called 
home. Again, it should be remembered that the home was made 
for man, not man for the home, and when the home fails as a 
vehicle of comfort and aid it should be done away with. It is, 
after all, only wood or stone or plaster, an economic conven- 
ience at best. And, anyhow, where the heart is is home, though 
it be a bed under the open sky or in a new lodging-house 
every hour. And this generalization is not intended to ex- 
clude children either. The children of troubled warring homes 
live in a kind of hell of temperament from which they are 
glad enough to escape as they grow older, and from which 
they evolve the dream of building something better for them- 
selves, for they realize the horror of the thing they have 
endured. 

The basic reason for destroying many a home is that the 
children may not be injured. All life administers its sternest 
reprimands to those who abuse children. Life loves children. 
It really prefers them to their elders the biologic process so 
does. There is a public obligation to them which we all ac- 
knowledge. But this is not to say that all parents should there- 
fore be compelled to rear their children. It may well be 
that they are not fitted economically or mentally or otherwise 
so to do. Their whole duty is, or might well be, done when 
they support them properly. The state should do the rest, for, 
as I have just suggested, most people are not fit to rear their 



222 MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE 

children; and I say this with the greatest respect for the human 
and very charming impulse which causes them to wish to. The 
intellectual standards of the average individual are not much; 
those of the state are in the main better and should and may 
be trusted to do better by the children than any of millions 
of parents. 



Under what circumstance is divorce justifiable? 

When there is inharmony, schism, and in consequence bitter 
contention. I recommend this question, first, to the religious 
dogmatists of all creeds; second, to the anarchists, socialists 
and economic thinkers generally. They represent purely indi- 
vidual, and to them justifiable, points of view. Hence the 
world's collection of dogmatic and radical literature. 

VI 

What is the key to making marriage do its work in the 
world? 

? ? ? ? Unchanging love possibly, or an ingrowing and 
harmonious sense of duty. Without Napoleonic skill or tact, 
however, I fear me much even then, and so would end 
with - 



P. S. To sum it all up I should like to advance another 
theory of mine in regard to the duality of sex. It is quite 
probable that in the beginning (biologically speaking) the 
sexual progenitor of the human race or of evoluted species con- 
tained in itself the full chemical content of what has since been 
evoluted into the so-called male and female. Such being the 
case its chemical responsiveness to the movements of the uni- 



MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE 223 

verse, chemical, physical, spiritual, or let us say emotional, and 
to its immediate surroundings, was complete in itself. It was 
not divided into two sexes and therefore not dependent on any 
alienated portion of itself for its chemical, spiritual, emotional 
or physical satiation. What happened to it individually and 
momentarily was all that could happen to it. It needed no 
complementary organism, no other half, to make its under- 
standing of, its reaction to, life complete. That is not true 
to-day. Man (male or female) appears to be individual and 
complete, but it is an illusion. He is complete and separate as 
an organism in everything save his chemical responsiveness to 
the universe which requires his union, not merely physically 
but spiritually, with his sexual companion to be complete. 
Their union sexually, temperamentally, emotionally, intel- 
lectually and so on is required before a full measure of chem- 
ical responsiveness to life can be attained in either. It 
may seem otherwise in individual cases, but it is 
not so. Such being the case (and a world of biological data 
might be here introduced), you have the amazing spec- 
tacle of love which confounds all theories of life, which 
laughs at death, and, in its fullest expression, defies all human 
theory and understanding, acting as a new non-understandable 
thing, and letting in dreams, emotions, conditions from a 
deeper world than any we know and whereby this shadow 
called existence is resolved, modified, made over into some- 
thing else so that it bears no resemblance to its former state. 
It becomes apparently what it well may be: a dream and an 
illusion of beauty or pain or delight, or all. Evolutionary 
progress seems to be based on this non-understandable, mys- 
terious, idealistic reaction and contact which baffles the most 
searching suggestions and intuitions of the imagination and 
leaves us awed and dumb before the great classics of desire 
and passion. 

But the great fact, not to be lost sight of, is that love, 
complete chemical responsiveness to the universe, is only at- 



224 MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE 

tained in the reunion of the separated chemical constituents of 
the original asexual individual, and without love or this union 
there is no full chemical-spiritual responsiveness to the uni- 
verse. Man does not soar emotionally into the empyrean 
except in love, and by "in love" I mean when stirred by the sex 
impulse which makes for mate-seeking and union. It does not 
follow that there need ever be physical satiation to complete 
this union. Spiritual pollination can spring from the merest 
accidental contact for a moment with a mate. But the fact 
remains that the greatest, most complete spiritual and physi- 
cal responsiveness to the universe (which after all is a mere 
matter of chemical reaction) springs from this responsiveness, 
which springs from love, and as such our so-called love (desire, 
passionate chemical response, physical and spiritual) becomes 
the most significant fact in the universe as we now understand 
it. For what is the universe without intellectual perception on 
our part, the beholding of it with the eye, the perception of 
it with the senses, the responsiveness to it through the emo- 
tions? 



MORE DEMOCRACY OR LESS? AN INQUIRY 

TN my youth no country was so significant to me as the 
A United States, of course, so wonderful, so fully repre- 
sentative of the natural spirit of aspiration in man, his 
dreams, hopes, superior and constructive possibilities. All that 
America did, could do, had done, was in line with the noblest 
and best principles in Nature, as I then understood Nature. 
And I still believe that this nation might be one of tremendous 
significance in connection with intellectual development, but 
some marked changes will need to come about. 

Plainly, in a material and (socially speaking) internal or- 
ganic way, it has accomplished much, even if thus far its 
intellectual stature has not proved so tremendous. We are, as 
I see it now, a deeply-illusioned people, concerned solely with 
material things when they are really no longer very important 
certainly not as much so as when the land was new and 
without material means and yet we remain almost entirely 
interested in such things when our minds should be beginning 
to grasp the wider possibilities of life still fighting over beef 
and coal trusts and railroads and cables, the mere money 
return involved who is to have the control of them when we 
ought to be intensely concerned with the mysteries of chemistry 
and physics and a more pliable form of government. 

Though my personal feeling once was that America was 
destined to take high rank, if not complete leadership, in the 
intellectual world, I am now not so sure. At this writing it 
looks as though it might retrograde, and that speedily, and 
give place to newer lands newer in spirit, I mean. It may 
not, but the signs are somewhat against it. Our literature has 
plainly developed to the level of the best seller and thea 

225 



226 MORE DEMOCRACY OR LESS? AN INQUIRY 

stopped. Our art is sporadic, and with a few exceptions lym- 
phatic and strongly suggestive of older forms. The futuristic 
dream did not originate here. Our science well, who are our 
American scientists anyhow? Loeb? Carel? Tesla? Bell? 
All foreigners. 

In architecture, markedly allied, I must say, to mechanics, 
in which we flourish, we have done better yes, and in any- 
thing and everything which relates, or has, to mechanics, trade, 
commercial organization. In those things, indeed, we have ap- 
peared to do most astoundingly, although I am firmly con- 
vinced that the boundless and virgin resources of the land 
have had as much more, in fact to do with this than any- 
thing else. We have not had so much to create as to develop, 
and other countries and other financiers their trade geniuses 
have done quite as well if not better in some instances than 
have we. I refer to such concerns and individuals as the Eng- 
lish East India Company, the Royal Dutch Shell, the Allge- 
meine Elektrische Gesellschaft, the Cunard, Allen and other 
such organizations, to say nothing of such individuals as Lord 
Strathcona, Baron Shibusawa, Cecil Rhodes, Lord Cowdray, 
Alfred Harmsworth, Sir Thomas Lipton, etc. 

Indeed the one thing I would like to point out most defi- 
nitely in passing is this: that the by now ingrown idea in every 
average American's mind that all of the most significant in- 
ventions and discoveries, mental as well as mechanical, of the 
last hundred years or more are entirely of American origin is 
not true by any means. Far from it. Those great prime movers 
for instance, the steam engine, the electric motor, and the 
gas engine (as well as its natural child, the automobile) came 
to us from abroad. So did the telegraph, the railroad, radium, 
X-ray photography and what is most remarkable, considering 
that the ironclad came from here every step in steel manu- 
facture. The telephone was invented by a Scot who was twen- 
ty-five years old when he became an emigrant to our country. 

Other countries, so I was condescendingly taught Egypt, 



MORE DEMOCRACY OR LESS? AN INQUIRY 227 

Greece, Rome, France, England, Spain (for a little while) and 
Holland in times past and even approximating our own day, 
had been blessed with some opportunities and had done consid- 
erable toward fulfilling what I was taught was not so much the 
material as the spiritual and moral well-being of man his 
intellectual and therefore his mental and social happiness. 
But nevertheless and never before, however (or since), had 
any country had, or could have, the natural, noble and spiritual 
impulse, to say nothing of the amazing opportunities, which 
America, the United States, was enjoying a vast and fertile 
soil, an equable climate, engrossing varieties of scenery, a 
people given over entirely to industry, frugality and proper 
social and spiritual ideals. In other words America, according 
to my teachers, was destined to lead the world in thought, 
truth, beauty, liberty, justice, industry, and what not achieve- 
ment, among other things. 

Well, consider Greece in its day, faced by or placed in a 
virgin and undiscovered world. To the south and east Egypt 
and Phoenicia, to the north and west darkness, mystery, an 
unexplored world. No ships but oared boats not even the 
trireme at first no compass, no machinery, no implements of 
agriculture, and consider that to-day we quote Galen, Hippoc- 
rates and ^Esculapius, its doctors; Euripides, Sophocles, 
.^Eschylus and Aristophanes, its playwrights; Herodotus and 
Xenophon, its historians; Demosthenes, its orator; Homer, 
Anacreon, Pindar and Sappho, its poets; ^Esop and Helodo- 
rus, its writers; Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and 
twenty others, its philosophers the greatest in all the world 
Solon, Alcibiades, Pericles, Aristides, and ten others, its 
statesmen. Also we marvel at Praxiteles, Phidias and Skopas, 
its sculptors; Alexander, Miltiades and Themistocles, its gen- 
erals; and Archimedes, its mathematician. Nations, like in- 
dividuals, are apparently born with genius, or they are not. 
They think, or they do not ; they are dull merchants and trick- 
sters like the Carthaginians and Phoenicians, or they are not. 



228 MORE DEMOCRACY OR LESS? AN INQUIRY 

America at the present moment, these United States, sug- 
gests nothing so much as the trading Carthaginians and Phoe- 
nicians. We have, apparently, no soul for really great things 
intellectually, and yet we have done a few things, too 
fought wars for our own integrity, invented a number of very 
useful machines the cotton gin, sewing-machine, flying-ma- 
chine and U-boat grown rich and great in size, freed the 
slaves (which England did in her realm without a war), lib- 
erated Cuba (no exploitation since?), struggled with the 
Philippine problem, the Mexican problem, and some others, 
but to no definite end as yet, however. And yet our deeds 
are plainly so incommensurate to our power. For we still 
have with us the Negroes, the clash and plotting of various 
rival sectarians, easily allayed by a truly educated race, the 
growth and almost complete independence of various private 
interests and individuals puritanism run all but mad and to 
the death of genuine intellectuality, artistic or otherwise, etc. 
And yet to the average American it remains a belief or fact 
that within our borders, safe under the control and guidance 
of a human and helpful Constitution or form of government, 
are all the social, commercial and mental opportunities to 
which an ambitious citizen of the world may logically aspire 
freedom to think, to grow mentally and in every other way, to 
acquire tremendous wealth and be a person in whom the in- 
ventive and constructive processes of Nature can take the 
liveliest interest. Indeed, whatever may have befallen him 
socially or economically in recent years, he is still convinced 
that he is absolutely free freer than the constituent individ- 
uals of any other nation, that he is a great thinker and leader 
in things intellectual and that America is the best and most 
carefully administered country in the world, administered en- 
tirely, or nearly so, on his behalf. 

Well, I have no very great quarrel with that as a theory, 
a method of expressing one's private vital force, but is it true? 
In my personal judgment, America as yet certainly is neither a 






MORE DEMOCRACY OR LESS? AN INQUIRY 229 

social nor a democratic success. Its original democratic theory 
does not work, or has not, and a trust- and a law-frightened 
people, to say nothing of a cowardly or suborned and in any 
case helpless press, prove it. Where in any country not dom- 
inated by an autocracy has ever a people more pathetically and 
ridiculously slipped about afraid to voice its views on war, 
on freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the trusts, religion 
indeed any honest private conviction that it has? In what 
country even less free can a man be more thoroughly brow- 
beaten, arrested without trial, denied the privilege of a hear- 
ing and held against the written words of the nation's own 
Constitution guaranteeing its citizens freedom of speech, of 
public gathering, of writing and publishing what they honestly 
feel? In what other lands less free are whole elements held 
in a caste condition the Negro, the foreign-born, the Indian? 

When one considers the history of American commercial 
development, the growth of private wealth, of its private 
leaders the Rockefellers, Morgans, Vanderbilts, Goulds, 
Ryans, et al., indeed all the railroad, street-car, land and other 
lords a, until the war, practically stationary wage-rate, an 
ever-increasing rising cost of living, cold legislative conniving 
and robbery before which the people are absolutely helpless, 
Tammany Hall, the New York Street Car Monopoly, seven 
hundred and fifty-three different kinds of trusts that tax peo- 
ple as efficiently and ardently as ever any monarchy or tyranny 
dreamed of doing I should really like to know on what 
authority we base our plea for the transcendent merits of 
democracy, and I am as good a democrat as most Americans, 
if not more so. 

Government everywhere, in monarchies and republics, as well 
as tyrannies and despotisms, has, other things being equal, 
always kept step with the natural development of the intelli- 
gence of the mass, a thing which has been as much developed 
by the goads of tyrannies as by the petting of republics. But 
could you ever convince a full-fledged American, raised on 



230 MORE DEMOCRACY OR LESS? AN INQUIRY 

Fourth of July orations and the wonders and generosities of 
the American Constitution, of this? For him, of course, liberty 
began in 1776 at Bunker Hill or somewhere near it. Before that 
was no light anywhere. Since then we have gone on doing 
better and better, making all men richer happier, kinder, wiser. 

But have we? Is our land and its progress so absolutely 
flawless? Aside from love of country and individual vanity 
which might make us want to think so, have we not developed 
as many flaws, anachronisms, social and governmental irri- 
tations and oppressions as any other country? I call attention 
to the deliberation and ease with which the trusts organize 
our legislatures, dictate to the jurists of the land, deny even 
the permanence or sacredness of contract when it concerns 
them; rob, pillage and tax to their hearts' content while a 
pitiful mass at the bottom march to and fro wondering where 
or to whom to turn for relief. And, on the other hand, life 
here, as much as elsewhere the struggling mass is as sav- 
agely pushed by necessity as any mass anywhere. Our labor 
unrest is as great, our poverty as keen ; five per cent, or so it is 
alleged, of the population controlling ninety-five per cent of 
the wealth; thirteen per cent of the population illiterate; at 
the top gorgons of financiers as fat and comfortable and dic- 
tatorial as any the world has ever seen and as unpatriotic and 
un-American, in so far as its original theory goes, as may be. 
Worse yet, it is absolutely true that ours is, or was, materially 
at least, a rich land, boundless in its opportunities at first, 
which latter fact has contributed greatly to our optimism but 
not to our comfort. More rapidly here than anywhere in the 
world the rich have divided themselves from the poor, and 
now here as elsewhere necessity and pain are and will remain 
no doubt the goads to comparative ease. Yet the tramping 
American when he utters the marvelous word democracy be- 
lieves that he has it, and when he is not complaining and the 
newspapers tell him so, believes that he is perfectly happy. 

At the same time, considering our aggressive and progressive 



MORE DEMOCRACY OR LESS? AN INQUIRY 231 

financial leaders and heaven forbid (on humanitarian 
grounds, at least) that I should defend them, for a more 
selfish, cruel and undemocratic pack never lived (consider the 
packers, the street-car corporations, the railroads alone, not to 
mention a thousand others) there 'is this to be said, that 
although nearly every crime in the decalogue may be charged 
to them, bribery, perjury, murder, even a total indifference to 
individual welfare (twelve and a half cents an hour, for 
instance, up to six years ago for hard, grinding day labor on a 
railroad or in a canning factory), as well as greed, love of 
power, and lust after it still much if not all of America's 
boasted financial supremacy is due to them and to none other. 
We jeer at John D. Rockefeller at home perhaps, or Morgan, 
but when abroad among envious strangers who is first to 
thrust out his chest and boast of what America has done its 
financial leaders, no less? Who? The average American? You 
know so. Such being the case one often wonders what is to 
be done with a country or a people that can so readily blow hot 
and cold out of the same mouth. Can it be made to follow an 
austere democratic program the sharp, taut socialization of 
everything or will it succumb to autocratic or to financial 
domination, and if so, which? At the present moment the air 
hums with the rival theories. To me the chief problem in con- 
nection with America, if it has one, and as I see it, is that of 
finding itself mentally as well as finding a formula that will 
allow and encourage leadership without submitting to the 
abuses which in the past and even the present the latter 
tends to give rise. For here as much as anywhere else the 
average small American is as much a petty tyrant as may be 
found. Consider only the food profiteer, the small dealers, 
jobbers and wholesalers. And here, as elsewhere, are all the 
petty tyrannies of small and large enterprises in regard to 
wage-earners, the scorns, the brutalities, the exactions. Can 
these be outrivaled if readily duplicated in any autocracy or 
democracy ruled by a dictator anywhere? At the same time, 



232 MORE DEMOCRACY OR LESS? AN INQUIRY 

is it not true that, if the country is to succeed or at least 
progress materially, a place must be made for the selfish, self- 
aggrandizing individual either as leader politically or as 
creator? Will life go forward without some such process or 
opportunities for immense rewards or honors to the indi- 
vidual the right to satisfy his feverish if ridiculous ambition 
for supremacy? Will patriotism, love of country, alone do 
it? Can it be discovered? 

What made Rome great? Senatus populusque Romanus. 
The Senate supplied the leadership, the people the impulse and 
force, which spread the dominion of the shepherds of the Seven 
Hills until it ruled the world from Scotland to the Nubian 
Desert and the confines of India. What is the secret of the 
Roman church's preeminence? Leadership? Autocracy? In 
the early Christian church these were lacking. Think or say 
what you will of its results, but consider it. In so far as the 
early Christians were concerned they were all "brethren," like 
the Russians of to-day and the citizens of the French Revolu- 
tion. Each early Christian community elected its deacons; the 
deacons elected the priests; the priests elected the bishops; 
the bishops elected the cardinals; and the cardinals the pope. 
Before the Catholic church began to attain to its strength, 
however, the process was reversed: the pope appointed the 
cardinal, he the bishop, the bishop the priest. Then the 
deacons were selected by the priest, in certain cases some 
deacons were elective, but then the priest and deacon, ap- 
pointed by the bishop, constituted the majority of the board. 
It was then, and then only, that the Roman church began to 
flourish truly. The ambition of man had full scope, his vanity. 
Apparently the world hitherto has not been able to do or live 
without it. On the authorization basis of leadership the Roman 
church, the most impressive organization in human history, has 
stood for seventeen centuries. 

But take our own Standard Oil Company. Who built it? 
Who used to caution all his lieutenants never to talk, to keep 



MORE DEMOCRACY OR LESS? AN INQUIRY 233 

everything a secret, particularly its prosperity? And has not 
the blessing of cheap oil been extended to all the world? Who 
selected strong, ambitious men and set them to planning the 
monopoly of oil for their personal and private benefit, dickered 
with the railroads and cut the throats of his rivals via the 
rebate? Does his name have to be written here? Call him a 
scoundrel, scoff at autocracy and high and mighty plutocrats. 
After all, can a man or a woman become a safe or dictatorial 
plutocrat without having something to offer which makes his 
plutocracy and his dictatorship bearable? Have mere dull 
tyrants anywhere ever lasted long? Have they ever had brains 
enough? Most of Rome's worst emperors were slain in any- 
where from three to five years. The tyrants of Asia and Africa 
last, if they do, because the people are as dull as themselves, 
or their rule is agreeable to them. 

Every great business corporation, as we know, is built about 
the personality, the leadership, the autocracy, of one man. 
We hear of love of country, of putting the needs of the mass, 
one's country all countries above that of one's personal or 
private needs. There are noble examples no doubt (off-hand 
few occur to me) of unselfish public sacrifice of many, many 
private lives, but are they the rule or the exception? Does 
not the average individual now as heretofore consult his own 
interest, his advantage, his purse, his survival, his fame? 
Once one is large and secure, easy in the possession of fame, 
money, love even, it is possible, of course and even with a 
grandiose air to do generously, to give freely, to seek the 
advantage of the mass. Scarcely any other avenue of personal 
satisfaction remains open. I am not sneering; I am contem- 
plating a possibly chemic, physic or psychic law. Who knows? 

Taking the average individual, with life (necessity, hunger, 
drouths of one kind and another) pressing upon him as fiercely 
as it does, and contemplating America as it is and the world 
as it is, is it not fair to ask whether it is possible to make 
over man his ambitions, his soul, into the likeness of what is 



234 MORE DEMOCRACY OR LESS? AN INQUIRY 

suggested by the average modern democratic or republican 
or socialistic program? Can he be adjusted to it? Haven't 
we just had two thousand years of an attempt in one form? 
Possibly he can, but is it wise that he should? Are not striking, 
centralizing figures more important and, save during extremely 
patriotic moments, when some danger, say, threatens the na- 
tional organism as a whole, is it not extremely difficult to cause 
the average individual to enthuse over a crowd or the needs 
of a crowd? And on the contrary, is it not most pathetically 
easy to cause him to enthuse over a man or a woman to cause 
any of us so to do? It would almost look as though it were 
Nature's way, would it not the love of the mass for leaders, 
for grandiose, grandiloquent figures? Is not life, in the main, 
personal, individual? Think how we insist on identifying God 
as an individual. Will not such leadership as was offered by 
Alexander, Hannibal, Mohammed, Napoleon, Washington, 
Lincoln, always be popular? The leadership of lesser or more 
self-aggrandizing individuals such as, for instance, that of the 
late James J. Hill, of the Great Northern Railway; E. H. 
Harriman, of the Union Pacific; Cornelius Vanderbilt, of the 
New York Central; Jay Gould, of the Missouri Pacific; Jay 
Cooke, of Civil War Finance; Armour, Field, Leiter, Morgan, 
or, to come down to the present moment, John H. Patterson, 
of the National Cash Register; Henry Ford, of the jitney; 
F. W. Woolworth, of the five-and-ten-cent store if never pop- 
ular, still does it not remain necessary? Must not some one 
lead even in the home and all forms of private commercial 
adventure? It may not be an absolutely invariable rule, but is 
it not near enough to make it seem so? I am not quarreling 
with the possibilities of love, generosity, self-sacrifice, public 
and private. We all hope for them, do we not? In various 
minor ways at least, and even in some public and large ways, 
they exist. But how about self-interest, cold, savage and yet 
constructive if feverish self-interest? Has that been abrogated? 
Indeed, ought not we Americans, of all people, learn, and 



MORE DEMOCRACY OR LESS? AN INQUIRY 235 

learn quickly, that autocracy in whatever form you find it 
absolute or otherwise is never real autocracy, not absolute, 
and that on the other hand so-called democracy is never real 
democracy but always something tempered by private autoc- 
racy in a thousand nay, in a million forms? For after all, 
who tells such people as Rockefeller and Woolworth, to say 
nothing of kings and emperors fallible and seeking souls, all 
how, what, why, they must do? how far they may go? 
What to interest themselves in? Consider the fall of the French 
kings, Charles I., the late Czar. They deal with the mass, and 
therefore to a certain extent they must respect it. They cannot 
escape it. It is their fate. At the same time, in attempting so 
to do, to whom do they not listen really for sound advice? 
often to the least of their subjects or hirelings. The stockholders 
in any modern corporation are they any more as to voice and 
weight in that which their money makes possible than the 
people out in the street of a republic or a kingdom with their 
ultimate veto power? They elect a board of directors as we 
elect a senate, or a monarchy, a legislature. And this leader- 
ship perpetuates itself, or at any rate holds things together, 
as does officialdom at Washington, until a leader appears. A 
weak king or emperor is run by strong men, a weak President 
is dictated to by a strong Senate or House. When the Roman 
Senate was strong the dictators were weak, and vice versa. In 
calm, peaceful days leadership is not necessary. It is or may 
be a disturbing factor. But when changes are coming, when 
Nature is brewing a storm then. So life, with its endless brew- 
ing of storms and leaders, ought to give a hint to republics or 
democracies or corporate organizations. 

And, having said so much, is it not plain that room must be 
made always for the leader, the passing autocrat, if you will? 
Must he not be given if he have brains the right of initia- 
tive and power, for after all is he not also a slave to life, 
chance, labor, the time-spirit? It is to be assumed, of course, 
that men shall demand first that he command their admiration 



236 MORE DEMOCRACY OR LESS? AN INQUIRY 

and loyalty, as he certainly will if he is a real leader. Rome 
admired her Caesar, France her Napoleon; Germany evidently 
liked her Kaiser, France her Clemenceau, England her Lloyd 
George. They thought them, apparently, necessary and great 
leaders. In our contest with Germany we perhaps, for one 
nation, were fighting to make her dislike something which she 
'craved and needed, could not probably very well do, without. 

The trouble, as I see it, is that too often, in spite of all the 
current palaver and enthusiasm of some for special individuals, 
we have too little real or popular leadership. Middleweight 
idealists and theorists are too often at the steering-gear here as 
well as elsewhere. In this country we have the crowd, the 
extraordinarily well-educated (or we think so) and disciplined 
crowd, willing and eager for leadership. But what leadership? 
As it stands, all democracies are organized with elaborate sys- 
tems of checks legislative, executive which are intended to 
and do tie the hands of all possible leaders, until a very, very- 
great emergency arises. In the ordinary run of days and events 
only the ordinary politician or parlor-diplomat need apply. 
But when an extreme necessity calls, these minors must give 
way, but does the true leader always appear in time? Will he? 
Did the Allies have a truly able anti-Teutonic leader in the 
recent great struggle? Joffre? Asquith? Lloyd George? 
Kerensky? Wilson? Nicholas Romanoff? 

Our Federal Constitution, theoretically at least, gives us a 
crowd government; only, owing to the wholly undemocratic 
character of the American people, this has long since been re- 
placed by money or trust government, the rule of the wealthy 
by right of subornation. And our state and municipal govern- 
ments, modeled on that of the nation, have gone the same way. 
Even such little individuality and leadership for the mass as 
might possibly exist under these conditions is lost or discarded 
nearly every two or four years in the regular and money-con- 
trolled changes of administration. The old and experienced are 
replaced with the new and untried. Perhaps under conditions 



MORE DEMOCRACY OR LESS? AN INQUIRY 237 

as they are this is best. I am not sure. But for efficiency, 
after the manner of the great successful private corporations, 
is it? Personally, I think not not yet, at any rate. As yet 
democracy does not take sufficient interest in itself, is too 
indifferent to its real interests and needs. It is too easy-going, 
not sufficiently self compelling. Every one wants to be his own 
boss and to be a great, undemocratic, individual success, hence 
there is very little true effective organization outside private 
institutions and what they compel in a public way. We make 
no provision for the continuation of leadership even under 
emergency. 

Personally, I think the defect cannot forever go on un 
remedied. Democracy must do at least as well as autocracy, 01 
it ought to shut up shop. And if it cannot obtain the efficiency 
exemplified by the private corporataion it will, and it will 
deserve to. Perhaps our recent sad experiences in meeting the 
expanded demands on governmental efficiency should show us 
how to lay a new basis for that efficiency in modifications oi 
our governmental structure. But will they? What I think ia 
that more autocracy, behind which should be a livelier sense 
of power and control on the part of the people, should come 
into our democracy, or our democracy will really cease to be. 
The present drift toward money control cannot go unchecked. 
Our leaders will either become much more forceful, and the 
mass more watchful and jealous, as it should be, or we will 
have no democracy of any kind. There is scarcely any now. 
Congress should be used more against the President and the 
Supreme Court, and the latter against both, only the judges 
should be plainly responsible to the people, closely and fear- 
somely beholden to them as much so, at any rate, as they 
now are to the corporations and wealth. Both the leaders and 
their weapons the laws should become more vigorous. De- 
mocracy will have to step up, and step lively. Then will it 
be any more of a democracy than some of the older and more 
historic autocracies and monarchies? Will it? 



THE ESSENTIAL TRAGEDY OF LIFE 

The Serpent to Eve, Genesis iii, 3:5: "For God doth know 
that in the day ye eat thereof" (the Tree of Knowledge) "then 
your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as gods, knowing 
good and evil" 

Jehovah to the Serpent, Genesis iii, 14515: "Because thou 
hast done this" (urged Eve to seek wisdom by eating of the 
Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge) "thou art cursed above all 
cattle, and every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou 
go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life; and I will 
put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed 
and her seed; it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise 
his heel" 

Jehovah to Eve, for attempting to obtain wisdom via eating 
the Fruit of the Tree, Genesis iv, 16: "/ will greatly multiply 
thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow shalt thou bring 
forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband and he 
shall rule over thee" 

Jehovah to Adam, because of his following the advice of 
Eve: "Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife 
and hast eaten of the Tree, cursed is the ground for thy sake; 
in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns 
and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the 
herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread 
till thou return unto the ground" 

238 



THE ESSENTIAL TRAGEDY OF LIFE 239 

"Prometheus (forethought), son of the Titan lapetus and 
Clymene, and brother of Atlas, Meno2tius and Epimetheus 
(after-thought), is represented as the creator of man, out of 
earth and water, and his great benefactor, having given him, 
in spite of Zeus who was apparently opposed to it all, a portion 
of all the qualities possessed by the other animals. He also 
stole fire from heaven in a hollow tube, and taught mortals all 
useful arts. In order to punish Prometheus for this, Zeus gave 
Pandora to Epimetheus, his brother, in consequence of which 
diseases and sufferings of every kind befell mortals. He also 
chained Prometheus to a rock on Mount Caucasus, where dur- 
ing the daytime an eagle consumed his liver, which was re- 
stored each succeeding night. Prometheus was thus exposed 
to perpetual torture; but Hercules (strength) killed the eagle 
and with the consent of Zeus, who in this way had an oppor- 
tunity of allowing his son to gain immortal fame, delivered the 
sufferer." 

Smaller Classical Dictionary. 

The significance of these several references to and quota- 
tions from the supposed creative power of the elder pagan 
world is, if anything, that man is a waif and an interloper in 
Nature (or things celestial or intelligent), a machine or toy, 
created by something which desires to use him or work through 
him in some way, with no essential power to make his own 
way and no "right" to seek either knowledge or wisdom, lest, 
in the words attributed to Jehovah, his Creator, in Genesis, 
he becomes "as one of us," a minor god, for instance, as the 
Creator via this phrase writes himself down to be; not the 
Supreme Ruler of the Universe, by any means. And in this 
phrase ("one of us") is contained a hint of a possible condition 
or order in the universe which, since the Christian era, has been 
put aside as untrue, namely, that the Creator of man, our two 
billion two-legged citizens stalking this earth, may be but (to 
use a very crude and yet for that reason understandable de- 



240 THE ESSENTIAL TRAGEDY OF LIFE 7 

scription) a "side-line" manufacturer, as it were, or a lower- 
level competitor for life and pleasure, along with many others 
of his kind Creators or "Gods" or avatars of, let us say, 
mosquitos, flies, bulls, cats, dogs; in other words the specific 
and singular Creator of some one thing as opposed to other 
Gods or powers who might well be creators of other things 
of equal rank. And these "Gods," in turn, should one choose to 
follow the thought, might well be the special product of 
some greater "God" or manufacturer or Creator who is finding 
a rather peculiar expression through them and their crea- 
tions in turn; also the various rivalries which exist between 
man and the lower animals for the possession of the earth 
might thereby be explained or have something to do with that. 
The thought is not new. Alfred Russel Wallace, co-dis- 
coverer with Darwin, Lamarck and Spencer of the theory of 
evolution, has pointed out that "the organizing mind which 
actually carries out the development of the life world need 
not be infinite, need not be what is usually meant by the term 
God or Deity. The main cause of the antagonism between 
religion and science seems to me to be the assumption by both 
that there are no existences capable of taking part in the work 
of creation other than blind forces on the one hand and the 
infinite, eternal, omnipotent God on the other. The apparently 
gratuitous creation by theologians of a hierarchy of angels and 
archangels, with no defined duties but those of attendants and 
messengers of the Deity, perhaps increases this antagonism." 
He then proceeds to develop a theory of his own in which (I 
quote) "the vast, the infinite chasm between ourselves and the 
Deity is to some extent occupied by an almost infinite series 
of grades of beings, each successive grade having higher and 
higher powers in regard to the origination, the development and 
the control of the universe." He goes on to show how this might 
be done by them all to the one end: namely, the creation and 
preparation of man via experiences here, persumably for a 
higher place in the control of the universe at large, always 



THE ESSENTIAL TRAGEDY OF LIFE 241 

under the Supreme Ruler of course and his lesser, yet in so far 
as man is concerned greater, agents. In other words, under 
these sub- Gods. 

The idea is interesting only it does not, although it may be 
too much to say that it cannot, explain the endless bickering 
and chaffering in the universe at large, the utter failure of 
various movements and types here on earth and apparently 
elsewhere, the astonishing selection of so minute a mote in the 
material universe as this particular planet for the purpose 
of working out a higher type of assistant or worshiper of God 
Himself. It may be true, but the idea is a little fantastic and 
suggests the labors of an ignorant and yet hopeful being en- 
deavoring to account for himself, his presence, in the best way 
he can. 

To my humble way of thinking, the ancient Greeks and the 
various theogonies of the ancient pagan world (Egyptian, Chal- 
dean, Hindu) were at least as plausible in their apprehension 
of a troublesome disorder. The Old Testament and all other 
forms of ancient pagan literature suggest the general and very 
natural conception, based on the evidence of life itself, that 
various gods were or are contending via various forms of life 
(animal, vegetable and mineral) for some form of expression 
here on earth, and that the various things which they make 
(or the one thing which each makes, its image and likeness 
perhaps) is opposed to all others here. Pagan thought reeked 
with the feeling of contests between gods or creators or con- 
trollers of this, that and the other, and in the Sinaitic inter- 
pretation of life just quoted we see something of the same 
thing; also in what small consideration man was held by his 
alleged special Creator. Evidently the conclusion reached by 
the thinking elders of the pagan world was that man, in so 
far as his own special Creator was concerned, was viewed with 
sinister opposition by the power which made him. It did 
not want him to amount to anything. Indeed he was very, 
very plainly conscious of the inimical attitude of Nature, or 



242 THE ESSENTIAL TRAGEDY OF LIFE 

rather man's especial God or Creator, toward him. He was not 
as yet deluded by the Christian phantasm that man is made 
in the image and likeness of his Creator, who is highly con- 
siderate of him, and that the world was made for man, or that 
because of faith, good deeds, special forms of self-abnegation 
and self-effacement he is to be reserved to eternal bliss here- 
after although there is no especial reward for him here and 
now. And this is excellent indeed as illustrating a force or 
forces of a creative turn which might wish to use man as man 
uses any other minor implement for the accomplishment of 
any purpose he may have, but not very complimentary to 
him as an illustration of his own free and creative powers. 

And, curiously, modem chemistry with its various tropisms 
helio, magnetic, stereo and chemo together with its legal 
part, physics, does little better by him. Already they tend 
to show that he is merely and, what is worse, accidentally so 
an evoluted arrangement of attractions and repulsions, ar- 
ranged by chemicals and forces which desire or cannot escape 
whorls or epitomes of complicated motions and emotions or 
attractions which take the odd forms presented by men and 
animals. 

But aside from this the most effective illustration of the 
essential nothingness of man is his plain individual weakness 
here and now as contrasted with his mass ideals and the huge 
vanity or tendency toward romance which causes him to wish 
to seem to be more than he really is or can ever hope to be. 
For plainly every life, in the last analysis, however useful to 
an assumed and carefully directing Creator, or however suc- 
cessful from a momentary analysis it may appear, is a failure. 
We hear of that curious thing, "a successful life." It is in the 
main a myth, a self-delusion. How could there possibly be 
success for a watery, bulbous, highly limited and specially func- 
tioned creature, lacking (in the case of man, for instance) 
many of the superior attributes of other animals wings, a 
sense of direction, foreknowledge and the like and manufao 



THE ESSENTIAL TRAGEDY OF LIFE 243 

tured every forty years by hundreds of millions, cen- 
tury in and century out, made apparently not in the 
image and likeness of anything superior to himself but in 
that of an accidentally compelled pattern, due to an accidental 
arrangement of chemicals, his every move and aspiration anti- 
cipated and accounted for by a formula and an accidentally 
evolved system long before he arrives, and he himself born 
puling, compact of vain illusions in regard to himself, his 
"mission," his dominant relation to the enormous schemes of 
Nature, and ending, if "life" endures so long, in toothless 
senility and watery decay, dissolution. And in addition some 
have scientifically placed the creative as well as the generative 
period of man between his twentieth and fortieth years 
twenty years! Others generously extend it to fifty and even 
sixty. Few venture to carry it beyond that. At seventy old 
Nestor drools and repeats his fables of his few years and many 
troubles. At fifty, even forty-five, most men are busy re- 
counting the deeds, adventures and creations of their earlier 
years! 

To me the most astonishing thing in connection with man 
is this same vanity or power of romanticising everything relat- 
ing to himself, so that whereas in reality he is what he is, a 
structure of brief import and minute social or any other form of 
energy, left by his loving Creator to contest in the most drastic 
and often fatal way with thousands, one might almost say mil- 
lions of inimical powers and only significant really in so far as 
he or it is interlocked with others in some larger unity, either 
(for illustration) as a soldier in an army or its delegated com- 
mander or as a delegated or acknowledged representative of 
some moving or mass or race impulse, still he has this astonish- 
ing power of viewing himself as a tremendous force in himself, a 
god, a hero, an enduring and undying figure of glory and 
beauty as significant almost as the Creator Himself, in whose 
image and likeness he is supposed to be madel 

The wonder! The beauty even! 



244 THE ESSENTIAL TRAGEDY OF LIFE 

Sometimes I think all this is the almost inevitable result of 
something inherently weak but with one clear power: that of 
visualizing or perceiving strength in other things and so, by con- 
trast, its own weakness; and, by reflex action merely, attempt- 
ing to salve itself against its own ineffectiveness by imagining 
itself to be that which it may never be: a victor, a Colossus 
bestriding the world, an undying potentate, ruling forever, and 
so gaining strength to go on. For individuals are never mas- 
ters in any remarkable way. They merely and at best borrow 
or direct the energies of many, and in the main to no important 
result to themselves. A Napoleon slaves and starves to the end 
that he may die on St. Helena and bring considerable profit to 
many who never heard of him and care not at all. A Caesar 
toils endlessly at organization and the development and preser- 
vation of Rome, only to be stabbed to death in his fifty-sixth 
year, practically unrewarded. A Hannibal slaves for Carthage, 
enduring endless hardships, only to die by his own hand. The 
category might be extended indefinitely. And yet the world 
is full of laudations of the powers of men, their satisfactions, 
their vast, vast rewards and glories; while so many decayed 
steles and temple doorways, and data unending, bear testi- 
mony to their utter material and subsequent spiritual futility. 

And when I say this I wish to make it perfectly clear that I 
am by no means confusing the race with the individual, or vice 
versa. What a race may do, and what man may, are two very 
different things. The race, representing the totality of active 
creations and pushed on by dynamic forces from below, may 
be, and in so far as one can guess is, a huge success. The God 
or force or forces using man in various aspects here and now 
(two billion men at the present moment) may be and no doubt 
is finding self-expression through and in him and may well be 
tremendously satisfied with the result. But in what way does 
that, or can it, add to the comfort or bliss of the particular in- 
dividual? Endlessly repeated, an oyster-like copy of every 
other man that has ever been, a mere minute portion of some- 






THE ESSENTIAL TRAGEDY OF LIFE 245 



thing the significance or import of which he can not even sur- 
mise. And within the race itself one need only think of the 
various types preacher, actor, lawyer, doctor, merchant, thief, 
writer, poetic, artist, prize-fighter, all very much alike and all 
repeated and repeated ad infinitum to see how impossible the 
idea of individuality is. The very idea of extreme individu- 
ality, even under the most special and favored circumstances, 
is seen to be all but an impossibility. We are at best, even in 
our arts and highest forms of special adaptations, copies of 
things which are and have been as common as pig-tracks 
generals, philosophers, statesmen, society grande dames and 
the like not exempted. Over and over and over we appear r 
one and all, even our exact gestures, smiles, glances. Who has 
not seen it in so short a space as three generations? And we 
speak of individuality, of special destinies! 

Herein lies the pathos, and this is the outstanding fact, that 
man is essentially a creation or mechanism, accidental or not 
as you wish, of a force or forces which in so far as any one can 
determine is or are, far more than he in his wildest flights of 
fancy suspects, the thing which he most craves to be, indi- 
vidual, enduring, but of which he is only a part and of which 
he is constantly seeking more life. The thing which makes 
and repeats over and over ad infinitum and is two billions of 
men, or anything else into which it chooses to form itself, may 
be thought of as having life, personality, success and the like, 
but as for individual man or any of its minute atoms! Indeed 
man might as well think of the minute atoms of his internal 
mechanism as having success, fame, a great life or future, as 
himself. His day, like theirs, is measured by a minute frac- 
tion of time and labor and energy, and so is nothing. Quite 
obviously there is something which is to man what man in 
his entirety as an individual is to the least ion or molecule of 
his inner cosmos: a thing of so vast a magnitude comparatively 
as to be as far outside his reckoning as must he be to the ion of 
his inner body. And as for size or force and import, that 



246 THE ESSENTIAL TRAGEDY OF LIFE 

which creates him is as far above him as he is above the ion. 
Indeed, although man, in his capacity or proportion as an 
individual and as contrasted with the least of the electrons 
of his being, is beyond computation for size, yet viewed again 
in contrast with his external world he sinks into a mere fum- 
bling, briefly-ended mote and tool. Like the ion of his inner 
cosmos, in this-vast etheric or ionic something which is out- 
side of him and which we see blazing as worlds or suns or ex- 
isting as immeasurable space, he is too minute and too brief to 
be discussed. Even the great earth which he treads with so 
much pride is to this external thing quite as minute as man's 
electron is to him; and yet his relationship even to this is 
almost as nothing. For on this so minute thing which, side- 
really speaking, is as nothing, he appears nevertheless, insect- 
wise, by the billion every forty (or whatever the average 
life of man may be) years, to say nothing of innumerable other 
forms which have the ion or the molecule as the base of their 
material presence or structure. Still he permits himself to 
believe that he is something, and in facing all has the stupen- 
dous or fortunate ignorance to write himself down as Lord, 
Master, Great Guider of Things Terrestrial! 

One of the things which might modify this supreme romantic 
estimate of himself, if such a thing were either desirable or 
possible, would be an even slightly technical examination of 
the process by which he arrives, as well as the extreme sim- 
plicity of the mechanical and chemical formula by which, 
throughout endless ages, he and all his fellows have been 
created. There is no longer any vast mystery about it; we are 
even getting relatively close to the secret, or could if we were 
permitted to go on undisturbed for a period by wars, let us 
say, or religious and educational illusions and furies (put for- 
ward by what? How brought about?), a persistent inherent 
mass opposition to thought and change in man himself. What 
subtle force ever invented that as a race quieter? 

As biologists and anthropologists present man and his allied 



THE ESSENTIAL TRAGEDY OF LIFE 247 

species, the original type structure on which all are more or less 
modeled is not so wonderful: two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, 
two feet and two hands or four feet, two of them antecedents 
of the present hands ; or two feet and two wings, the latter suc- 
cessors of former feet; a lung or air-breathing system, not un- 
like that of any tree or plant; a root or arterial system, modi- 
fied to meet various conditions and situations as in birds, fishes, 
moles; a nervous or sensory system of an allied character no 
marked diversity in anything indeed, and all brought about by 
the inescapable chemical and physical reactions and compul- 
sions of seemingly blind forces, as Crile and Loeb have shown. 
Even now chemists and physicists are at work upon the bal- 
ances and equations involved in the mechanical and chemical 
construction of man, the leverage by which he moves, the com- 
binations which control his form or aspect, as well as the 
chemical combinations which can induce motion or self-pro- 
pulsion. Even as to his so-called thought how close are the 
Behaviorists to the material mechanics which produce it? His 
thoughts also are apparently little more than compelled reac- 
tions of one chemical upon another which he can no more 
escape than can he his form or motions. The one unsolved 
mystery apparently is why a machine so easily made and con- 
trolled should be able to speculate as to the reason for his 
being or to worry over it. 

And yet just here another interesting fact stands out, and 
that is that whether or not he is a machine, Nature, or his 
Creator, appears to be quite definitely opposed to his finding 
out about himself or even to his delving into the matter, and 
throughout recorded science there is no evidence of the least 
willingness on the part of Nature or the life constructing forces 
to yield a single fact of any kind without a struggle. Man has 
fumbled and stumbled, dying by billions in one erroneous way, 
or another, until at last, by mere chance apparently, he has 
stumbled upon one helpful fact or another. It is as if the fable 
of Prometheus or that other of Adam and Eve were true. The 



248 THE ESSENTIAL TRAGEDY OF LIFE 

seekers after knowledge of any kind have almost invariably been 
fought or their work brought to nothing, and even where man 
has apparently proven victorious or where he has seemingly been 
aided only that has been yielded which has tended to further 
him as an ignorant and yet useful machine, never as a thinker. 
No one who has tended to throw a clear light on the internecine 
struggles of Nature Herself, Her cruelties and brutalities, has 
prospered. If one doubts this he has only to consider the 
fumbling, haphazard progress of man, his warring notions as 
to his source and import, his strange aberrant evolution and the 
persistent and discouraging hindrances cast in the way of his 
intellectual evolution; i. e., the rise of impossible and even ridic- 
ulous leaders and religious theories Christianity, Shintoism, 
Mohammedism and the arrival of such dark figures as Attila 
(self-styled "the scourge of God"), Alaric, and Mohammed 
with his houris' dream, upon the scene of fairly acceptable in- 
tellectual conditions. The deaths of endless prying inventors, 
their pursuit by the religionists in darker ages, the periodic 
rise of -isms and world-sweeping folderol, political and other 
notions, all seem to point to but one thing: Nature's indiffer- 
ence if not opposition to man's tendency to develop intelligence 
and desire to know if such a thing can be assumed, for it 
cannot be proved. For since when has the dulness of the mass, 
or man, his ignorance or indifference, apparently calculated 
and conditional, not stood their ground against the overtures 
of intelligence, science, the arts, philosophy? Nothing flour- 
ishes on earth so well as vain theory. Energetic thought is all 
but taboo. False dreams and false hopes are invariably en- 
couraged by apparently some chemical or mechanical .condi- 
tion in the so-called brain of man himself. It is scarcely L > 
much that he dare not as that he cannot. 

And if he should but stop to consider this cloak-and-suit- 
model repetition of himself previously suggested, this system or 
pattern after which he and all the endless decillions which have 
preceded and will follow him are made, do you suppose h i 



THE ESSENTIAL TRAGEDY OF LIFE 249 

could exact anything which suggested individuality or personal 
persistence as a spirit or thought self-generated thought out 
of it? Is one button wiser or much more important than any 
other, or at all more likely to outlast another spiritually? Is 
it in any way essential that it should? The original model 
for the button might be important, but as for the endless 
copies! Indeed in the whole program of repetition, in so far 
as man or any of the animals or insects or of matter itself is 
concerned, there is but one ray of light or hope, and that is 
that the ion or electron of which all and everything appears 
to be composed may after all be the only true base or unit 
of expression of the so-called controlling spirit or force or 
forces of life, not the various contesting combinations of them, 
and that this ionic sea or mass, while controlled by the neces- 
sity of division and recombination, if it wishes to express itself 
at all ("The Kinetic Theory," J. C. Vogt), is still so large and 
so involute in its creative processes as to be necessarily more 
or less indifferent to any form of ionic self-expression or com- 
bination that might occur under or with it. So that the mere 
fact that groups or volumes of itself (ions) should combine for 
any purpose or generate themselves into any special forms of 
life (via combination, of course) suns, planets, animals, races, 
nations, and their special developments again might be to 
it a matter of absolutely no consequence. What matter if the 

' : electrons of some minute part of itself should organize and set 
up some special sun or planet or race of individuals, so long 
as they did not prove troublesome to the rest of the ionic sea? 
Supposing there are vast galaxies of self-generated suns in 
space endless space, composed of but a part of the total ionic 

OP mass so long as they are a mere negligible nothing to the to- 
tality of enduring force; what of it? If such were the case it 
is entirely conceivable that anything might arise for a time, 

'any system of suns or race-life on suns or planets, and also the 
domination of one organized group of ions over another, but all 

01 subject nevertheless in the course of time and according to some 



250 THE ESSENTIAL TRAGEDY OF LIFE 

equational and inescapable law to the totality of primary ionic 
or universal force. 

In that case such a statement as occurs in Genesis iii. 5, 
would be plain enough. Some self-generated combination of 
ions looking upon itself as a creator in its own right (for a 
period anyhow), and having sub-invented man for some pur- 
pose of its own, self-expression or comfort, or the use of 
other enslaved ions to do its bidding, might say just that 
("For God doth know," etc.) ; and it would be true. 

On the other hand man, via the force of the numbers of the 
ions collected within himself, his race, and by degrees so gain- 
ing in numbers, and so power or intelligence equal to that of the 
ions which had originally enslaved him, might rise and question 
of this other elemental ionic combination its right to lordship 
over him. And again, by reason of laissez faire conditions which 
apparently hold throughout all Nature and force, he would then 
be able to overthrow this higher ionic combination and so set up 
a lordship of his own as in some ways even now he appears to 
be doing. For one need only observe his growing command of 
machinery and the apparently indifferent streams of ionic 
energy everywhere moving, upon the backs of which or to the 
streams of which he attaches his wires and dynamos and engines 
and permits them to do a part of his work for him, in order to 
see how this might be. For if we are not an illustration of one 
ionic combination using another, what are we? And if that 
which is above us is not a combination of ions using us, what 
is it? Science has no other answer. At the same time, of 
course, man would be fought, as apparently he is being fought 
now, attacked and delayed by the powers which hitherto have 
made and are still using him. In that case the remarks of Je- 
hovah in Genesis would be explicable enough. 

And I here venture this prediction, based on this idea, that 
in case man is ever capable of awaking from his dream of 
spiritual enslavement and considers the higher creative reality 
which makes suns and his own immediate God as well, and 



THE ESSENTIAL TRAGEDY OF LIFE 251 

sees also that he is the victim of a purely gratuitous overlord- 
ship of which he is no more than a hypnotic victim, he may 
well be able to invent crawling and winged things with some 
primary system of nervous response and intelligence, quite as 
he was invented in the first place, which will serve him hi some 
dull, hopeless way, just as he himself now serves a higher 
power. Already he has invented most complicated machinery, 
and what else may he not invent? For ions are ions, wherever 
found, in whatever form of life, amoeba, or man or sun, and 
they are everywhere. Obviously they may not rule save in 
combination and by force, one combined group seizing on other 
uncombined and therefore helpless ions so to do, and is that 
not our method in all phases of life here on earth now? But 
once the ions of men finding themselves in combination, by 
whatsoever process contrived, it may not be so easy longer to 
control them. Rebellions may occur, and probably will. The 
great thing seems to be to get enough of them in combination. 
Time perhaps is the great factor in all these things. At the 
same time it might be true, and at present so appears, that 
the generative group of ions which evolved man and all of his 
so-called superior combinations and results here, might be so 
jealous of its own creative skill in this respect that, seeing man 
or his ionic content attempting to gain knowledge of how to 
proceed and do, it might at once set out to undo him. The 
fable of Prometheus and of Adam and Eve may not be so im- 
possible, after all. Yet should his "God" not be able to com- 
pletely destroy him he may yet well imitate his Creator and 
create. 

But will he be allowed so to do? 



LIFE, ART AND AMERICA 

I DO not pretend to speak with any historic or sociologic 
knowledge of the sources of the American ethical, and there- 
fore critical, point of view, though I suspect the origin, but I 
am at least convinced that, whatever its source or sense, it 
does not accord with the facts of life as I have noted or experi- 
enced them. To me the average or somewhat standardized 
American is an odd, irregularly developed soul, wise and even 
froward in matters of mechanics, organizations and anything 
that relates to technical skill in connection with material things, 
but absolutely devoid of true spiritual insight, correct knowledge 
of the history of literature or art, and confused by and mentally 
lost in or overcome by the multiplicity of the purely material 
and inarticulate details by which he finds himself surrounded. 

As a boy in the small towns of the middle West I had no 
slightest opportunity to get a correct or even partially correct 
estimate of what might be called the mental A B abs of life. I 
knew nothing of history, and there was not a book in any of the 
schools which I attended, labeled either history or science or 
art, containing the least suggestion of the rationale which I 
subsequently came to feel to be relatively true, or at least ac- 
ceptable to me. If I remember correctly, in the history of the 
world which was labeled Swinton's, the defeat of Napoleon, 
not his career, was pointed out as having had a great moral if 
not Christian value to the world. His end on St. Helena, not 
the Code Napoleon or the hieratic and ultra-economic arrange- 
ment of his material forces, was supposed to have achieved 
something for society! Similarly Socrates and his death were 
descanted upon as having almost a religious if not a Christian 

252 



LIFE, ART AND AMERICA 253 

import. His death was painted as having been brought about 
by his low private deeds, not his higher moral views. The true 
significance of the man as illustrated by the exact details of his 
life were utterly ignored. 

Because my father was a Catholic and I was baptized in that 
faith, I was supposed to accept all the dogma, as well as the 
legends, of the Church as true. In the life about me I saw 
flourishing the Methodist, the Baptist, the United Brethren, 
the Christian, the Congregationalist, the what-not churches, 
each representing, according to its adherents, the exact 
historic and truthful development and interpretation of life 
or the world. As a fourteen- or fifteen-year-old boy I listened 
to sermons on hell, where it was, and what was the nature of its 
torments. As rewards for imaginary good behavior I have 
been given colored picture cards containing exact reproduc- 
tions of heaven! Every newspaper that I have ever read, or 
still read, has had an exact code of morals by the light of 
which one may detect at once Mr. Bad Man and Mr. Good 
Man and so save oneself from the machinations of the former! 
The books which I was advised to read, and for the neglect of 
which I was frowned upon, were of that nai've character known 
as pure. One should read only good books which meant of 
course books from which any reference to sex had been elimin- 
ated, and what followed as a natural consequence was that all 
intelligent interpretation of character and human nature was 
immediately discounted. 

A picture of a nude or partially nude woman was sinful; 
a statue equally so. The dance in our home and our town was 
taboo. The theater was an institution which led to crime, the 
saloon a center of low, even bestial vices. The existence of such 
a thing as an erring or fallen woman, let alone a house of pros- 
titution, was a crime, scarcely a fact to be considered. There 
were forms and social appearances which we were taught to 
wear, quite as one wears a suit of clothes. One had to go to 
church on Sunday whether one wished to or not. It was con- 



254 LIFE, ART AND AMERICA 

sidered good business, if you please, to be connected with some 
religious organization; and, by the same token, this commer- 
cialized religiosity was transmuted into glistening virtue. We 
were taught persistently to shun most human experiences as 
either dangerous or degrading or destructive. The less you 
knew about life the better; the more you knew about the fic- 
tional heaven and hell ditto. People walked about in a kind 
of sanctified maze or dream, hypnotized or self-hypnotized by 
an erratic and impossible theory of human conduct which had 
grown up heaven knows where or how, and had finally cast its 
amethystine spell over all America, if not over all the world. 

Now I have no particular quarrel with this save that it is so 
impossible, so inane. In my day there were apparently no 
really bad men who were not known as such to all the world, 
or at least quickly detected, and few if any good men who 
were not sufficiently rewarded by the glorious fruits of their 
good deeds here and nowl Success mere commercial success 
was in its way all but synonymous with greatness. Positive- 
ly, and I stake my solemn word on this, until I was between 
seventeen and eighteen I had scarcely begun to suspect any 
other human being of harboring the erratic and sinful thoughts 
which occasionally flashed through my own mind. 

At that time I was just beginning to suspect that some of the 
things which had been laid down to me by one authority and 
another were not true. All so-called good men were not neces- 
sarily good, I was beginning to suspect, and all bad men not 
hopelessly bad. There were things in cities and town which, 
as I was coming to see, did not accord with the theories of 
the particular realm from which I had sprung and seemed to in- 
dicate another kind of human being, different from the type 
among which I had been raised. My mother, as I even then 
saw, admire her as I might, was a mere woman, not an angel; 
my father a mere, mere crotchety man. My sisters and brothers 
were individuals such as I soon began to find were breasting 
the stormy waters of life outside, and not very different from 



LIFE, ART AND AMERICA 255 

all other brothers and sisters, not perfect souls set apart from 
life and happy in the contemplation of each other's perfections. 
In short, I was beginning to find the world a seething, stormy, 
bitter, gay, rewarding and destroying realm, in which the strong 
and the subtle and the charming and the magnetic were apt 
to be victors, and the weak and the homely and the ignorant 
and the dull were apt to be deprived of any interesting share, 
not because of any innate depravity but rather because of the 
lacks by which they were handicapped and which they could 
not possibly overcome. 

And there were other phases which previously I had scarcely 
suspected. The race was to the swift and the battle to the 
strong. All great successes, as I was beginning to discover for 
myself, were relatively gifts, the teachings of the self helpers 
and virtue mongers to the contrary notwithstanding. Artists, 
singers, actors, policemen, statesmen, generals, were born and 
not made. Sunday-school maxims, outside of the narrowest 
precincts, did not apply. People might preach one thing on 
Sunday or in the bosom of their families or in the meeting- 
places of conventional social groups, but they did not practice 
them except under compulsion, particularly in the marts of 
trade and exchange. Mark the phrase "under compulsion." I 
admit a vast compulsion which has nothing to do with the indi- 
vidual desires or tastes or impulses of individuals. That com- 
pulsion springs from the settling processes of forces which we 
do not in the least understand, over which we have no control 
and in whose grip we are as grains of dust or sand, blown 
hither and thither, for what purpose we cannot even suspect. 
Politics, as I found in working as a newspaper man, was a low 
mess; religion, both as to its principles and its practitioners, a 
ghastly fiction based on sound and fury, signifying nothing; 
trade was a seething war in which the less subtle and the less 
swift or strong went under, while the more cunning succeeded; 
the professions were largely gathering-places of weaklings, 



256 LIFE, ART AND AMERICA 

mediocrities or mercenaries, to be bought by, or sold to, the 
highest bidder. 

The individual, as I found, was trying to do one thing: make 
himself happy principally; life was plainly trying to do another, 
or at least what it was doing involved no great concern for the 
welfare of any particular individual. He might live, he might 
die; he might be well fed, he might be hungry; he might, 
accidentally or by taking thought, ally himself with successful 
movements, or he might inherently, by some incapacity or 
fatality of disposition, involve himself in the drifts toward 
failure; he might be weak, he might be strong; he might be 
wise, he might be dull or narrow. Life in the large thrashing 
sense in which we see it to move about us cared no whit for 
him. Why so many failures? I was constantly asking myself; 
so many early deaths, so many accidents, crass and unex- 
plained? Why so many fires? So many cyclones? So many 
destroying epidemics? So many breaks in health or in trade 
or by reason of vice or crime or mere increasing age and mood? 
So many, many individuals going down into the limbo of noth- 
ingness or failure, so few attaining to that vast and lonesome 
supremacy which all were seeking? Why? Why? I persist- 
ently asked myself; and I have yet to find the answer in any 
current code of morals or ethics or the dogma of any religion. 

If you should chance to consult a Methodist, a Baptist, a 
Presbyterian, a Lutheran, or any other current American sec- 
tarian, on this subject you would find (which after all is a dull 
thing to point out at this day and date) that his conception 
of the things which he sees about him is bounded by what he 
was taught in his Sunday School or his church, or what he has 
stored up or gathered from the conventions of his native town. 
(His native town! Kind heaven!) And although the world 
has stored up endless treasures in chemistry, sociology, history, 
philosophy, still the millions and millions who tramp the streets 
and occupy the stores and fill the highways and byways and 
the fields and the tenements have no faintest knowledge of this, 



LIFE, ART AND AMERICA 257 

01 of anything else that can be said to be intellectually "doing." 
Tiiey live in theories and isms, and under codes dictated by a 
church or a state or an order of society which has no least 
regard for or relationship to their natural mental development. 
The darkest side of democracy, like that of autocracy, is that it 
permits the magnetic and the cunning and the unscrupulous 
among the powerful individuals to sway vast masses of the 
mob, not so much to their own immediate destruction as to the 
curtailment of their natural privileges and the ideas which they 
should be allowed to entertain if they could think at all and 
incidentally to the annoying and sometimes undoing of indi- 
viduals who have the truest brain interests of the race at heart: 
vide Giordano Bruno! Jan Huss! Savonarola! Tom Paine! 
Walt Whitman ! Edgar Allan Poe ! 

For after all the great business of life and mind is life. We 
are here, I take it, not merely to moon and vegetate, but to do 
a little thinking about this state in which we find ourselves, or 
at least to try. It is perfectly legitimate, all priests and 
theories and philosophies to the contrary, to go back, in so far 
as we may, to the primary sources of thought, i. e., the visible 
scene, the actions and thoughts of people, the movements of 
Nature and its chemical and physical subtleties, in order to 
draw original and radical conclusions for ourselves. The great 
business of the individual, if he has any time after struggling 
for life and a reasonable amount of entertainment or sensory 
satiation, should be this very thing. He should question the 
things he sees not some things, but everything stand, as it 
were, in the center of this whirling storm of contradiction which 
we know as life, and ask of it its source and its import. Else 
why a brain at all? If only one could induce or enable a 
moderate number of the individuals who pass this way and 
come no more apparently to pause and think about life and 
take an individual point of view, the freedom and individuality 
and interest of the world might be greatly enhanced. We com- 
plain of the world as dull. If it is so, lack of thinking by indi- 



258 LIFE, ART AND AMERICA 

viduals is the reason. But to ask the poor, half-equipped men- 
tality of the mass to think, to be individual what an anachro- 
nism! You might as well ask of a rock to move or a tree to 3y. 

Here in America, by reason of an idealistic Constitution 
which is largely a work of art and not a workable system, you 
see a nation dedicated to so-called intellectual and spiritual 
freedom, but actually devoted with an almost bee-like industry 
to the gathering and storing and articulation and organization 
and use of purely material things. In spite of all our base- 
drum announcement of our servitude to the intellectual ideals 
of the world (copied mostly, by the way, from England) no 
nation has ever contributed less, philosophically or artistically 
or spiritually, to the actual development of the intellect and the 
spirit. We have invented many things, it is true, which have 
relieved man from the crushing weight of a too-grinding toil, 
and this perhaps may be the sole mission of America in the 
world and the universe, its destiny, its end. Personally I think 
it is not a half bad thing to have done; the submarine and the 
flying machine and the armored dreadnought, no less than the 
sewing-machine and the cotton-gin and the binder and the 
reaper and the cash register and the trolley-car if not the tele- 
phone, may prove in the end, or perhaps already have proved, 
as significant in breaking the chains of the physical and mental 
slavery of man as anything else. I do not know. 

One thing I do know is that America seems profoundly in- 
terested in these things, to the exclusion of anything else. It 
has no time, you might almost say, no taste, to stop and con- 
template life in the large, from an artistic or a philosophic 
point of view. Yet after all, when all the machinery for lessen- 
ing man's burdens has been invented and all the safeguards for 
his preservation completed and possibly shattered by forces 
too deep or superior for his mechanical cunning, may not a 
phrase, a line of poetry, or a single act of some half-forgotten 
tragedy be all that is left of what we now see or dream of as 
materially perfect? For is it not thought alone, of many 



LIFE, ART AND AMERICA 259 

famous and powerful things that have already gone, that 
endures? a thought most often conveyed by art as a medium? 

But let me not become too remote or fine-spun in my 
conception of the ultimate significance of art itself. The point 
which I wish to make is just this : that in a land so devoted to 
the material, although dedicated by its Constitution to the 
ideal, the condition of intellectual freedom, let alone art, is 
certainly anomalous. Your trade and your trust builder, most 
obviously dominant in America at this time, is of all people 
most indifferent to, or most unconscious of, the ultimate and 
pressing claims of mind and spirit as expressed by art. If you 
doubt this you have only to look about you to see for what pur- 
poses, to what end, the increment of men of wealth and ma- 
terial power in America is most devoted. Stuffy, tasteless 
houses crowded with stuffy, tasteless antiques, safety deposit 
vaults stuffed with securities, the having and holding of purely 
material values always. In proof of which I may add that we 
have something like twenty-five hundred colleges and schools 
and institutions of various kinds, largely furthered by the money 
of American men of wealth, and all presumably devoted to the 
development of the mental equipment of man (or so we are 
told), yet nearly all set with flinty firmness against anything 
which is related to truly radical investigation, or thought, or ac- 
tion, or art. The inculcation of morality and patriotism are even 
now laid down as the true task and province of the so-called 
schools of higher learning by the educators themselves, or at 
least the presidents of most of the leading institutions not the 
getting of knowledge at any cost, patriotic or other. 

As a matter of fact, in spite of the American Constitution 
and the American oratorical address on all and sundry occa- 
sions, the average American school, college, university, institu- 
tion, is as much against the development of the individual, in 
the true sense of that word, as any sect or religion. What it 
really wants is not an individual but an automatic copy of 
some altruistic and impossible ideal, which has been formulated 



260 LIFE, ART AND AMERICA 

here or elsewhere under the domination of Christianity or some 
other ism. I defy you to read any American college or univer- 
sity prospectus or address or plea which concerns the purposes 
or ideals of these institutions and not agree with me. They are 
not after individuals; they are after types or schools of individ- 
uals, all to be very much alike, all to be like themselves. And 
what type? Listen. I know of an American college professor in 
one of our successful State universities who had this to say of 
the male graduates of his institution, after having watched the 
output for a number of years: "They are all right, quite satisfac- 
tory as machines for the production of material wealth or for 
the maintenance of certain forms of professional skill, but as 
for ideas of their own or being creators or men with the normal 
impulses and passions of manhood they do not fulfill the 
requisite in any respect. They are little more than types, 
machines, made in the image and likeness of their college. They 
do not think; they cannot, because they are held hard and 
fast by the iron band of convention. They are afraid to think. 
They are moral young beings, Christian beings, model beings, 
but they are not men in the creative sense, and the large ma- 
jority will never do a thing other than work for a corporation 
in a routine unindividual way, unless by chance or necessity 
the theories and the conventions imposed or generated by their 
training and surroundings are broken, and they become free, 
independent, self -thinking individuals." 

In this connection I might say I know of one woman's col- 
lege, an American institution of the highest standing, which 
since its inception has sent forth into life some thousands of 
graduates and post-graduates to battle life as they may for 
individual supremacy or sensory comfort. They are (or were) 
supposed to be individuals capable of individual thought, pro- 
cedure, invention, development; yet out of all of them not one 
has even entered upon any creative or artistic labor of any 
kind. Not one. (Write me for the name of the college, if 
you wish.) There is not a chemist, a physiologist, a botanist, 



LIFE, ART AND AMERICA 261 



a biologist, an historian, a philosopher, an artist, of any kind 
or repute among them; not one. They are secretaries to cor- 
porations, teachers, missionaries, college librarians, educators 
in any of the scores of pilfered meanings that may be attached 
to that much abused word. They are curators, directors, keep- 
ers. They are not individuals in the true sense of that word; 
they have not been taught to think; they are not free. They 
do not invent, lead, create; they only copy or take care of, yet 
they are graduates of this college and its theory, mostly ultra 
conventional, or, worse yet, anaemic, and glad to wear its col- 
lar, to clank the chains of its ideas or ideals automatons in a 
social scheme whose last and final detail was outlined to them 
in the classrooms of their alma mater. That, to me, is one 
phase, amusing enough, of intellectual freedom in America. 

But the above is a mere detail in any chronicle or picture of 
the social or intellectual state of the United States. Turn, for 
instance, if you will, to the legislative and judicial phases of 
our Government those grand realms in which only states- 
men and judicial students of our economic and social condition 
are supposed to move and rule, and what do we find? 

As long ago as 1875 Ernst Haeckel, the eminent German 
scientist, complained that the judges and legislatures of his day 
and country had "but a superficial acquaintance with that chief 
and peculiar object of their activity the human organism and 
its most important function, the human mind," and that they 
had no time for anything save "an exhaustive stud}' of beer and 
wine and the noble art of fencing." If that could be said of 
intellectual Germany in his day how much more and worse could 
be judicated of the American jurist and legislator in America 
to-day. The shabby mess which finance and trade rivalries 
make of our laws and our halls of legislation the mental 
equipment of the average politician, his henchmen, the legis- 
lator and the judge the hall boys of finance, and at the same 
time of religious and therefore arbitrary moral dogma which 
they have become, the petty ignoramuses we see on every hand 



262 LIFE, ART AND AMERICA 

legislating for the people or interpreting the laws once they are 
thus formulated! Haeckel wrote sadly of the judges and law 
enactors in his day: "No one can maintain that their condition 
to-day is in harmony with our advanced knowledge of this 
world" and, certainly, in America to-day, fifty years later, 
not a week passes in which we do not read of legislative deeds 
and legal decisions which make a thinking man sigh. Consider 
the slavish acceptance of religious and moral and financial 
dictation from self-interested and equally ignorant people, the 
running here and there to find what is temporarily expedient 
what will satisfy or quiet the public for an hour; what will 
keep them from losing their petty jobs by the politicians and 
legislators and so-called statesmen and judges; the complete 
ignorance of every congressman and senator and state legisla- 
tor and judge and lawyer as to the commonest facts of biology, 
psychology, sociology, economics, and history! One president, 
Roosevelt, admitted that he could in no way understand eco- 
nomics. Yet once the average country or city law student has 
mastered a few hundred paragraphs of law he is ready to hire 
out to the nearest corporation, to legislate for the people, to 
prefix "Hon." to his name and set up in business as a judge or 
a statesman. 

On the other hand, and in the very teeth of all this, no 
country in the world, at least none that I know anything 
about, has such a peculiar, such a seemingly fierce determina- 
tion, to make the Ten Commandments work. It would be 
amusing if it were not pitiful, their faith in these binding re- 
ligious ideals. I have never been able to make up my mind 
whether this springs from the zealotry of the Puritans who 
landed at Plymouth Rock, or whether it is indigenous to the 
soil (which I doubt when I think of the Indians who preceded 
the white) , or whether it is a product of the Federal Constitu- 
tion, compounded by such idealists as Paine and Jefferson and 
Franklin and the more or less religious and political dreamers . 
of the pre-Constitutional days. Certain it is that no such pro- 



LIFE, ART AND AMERICA 263 

found moral idealism animated the French in Canada, the 
Dutch in New York, the Swedes in New Jersey, or the mixed 
French and English in the extreme South and New Orleans. 

The first shipload of white women ever brought to America 
was sold, almost at so much a pound. They were landed at 
Jamestown. The basis of all the first large fortunes was laid, 
to speak plainly, in graft the most outrageous concessions ob- 
tained abroad. The history of our relations with the American 
Indians is sufficient to lay any claim to financial or moral vir- 
tue or worth in the white men who settled this country. We 
debauched, then robbed and murdered them; there is no other 
conclusion to be drawn from the facts covering that relation- 
ship as set down in any history worthy the name. As regards 
the development of our land, our canals, our railroads, and the 
vast organizations supplying our present-day necessities, their 
history is a complex of perjury, robbery, false witness, extor- 
tion, and indeed every crime to which avarice, greed and ambi- 
tion are heir. If you do not believe this, examine the various 
congressional and State legislative investigations which have 
been held on an average of every six months since the Govern- 
ment was founded, and see for yourself. The cunning and un- 
scrupulousness of American brains can be matched against any 
the world has ever known, not even excepting the English. 

But an odd thing in connection with this financial and social 
criminality is that it has been consistently and regularly ac- 
companied, outwardly at least, by a religious and a sex-puri- 
tanism which would be scarcely believable if it were not true. 
I do not say that the robbers and thieves who did so much to 
build up our great commercial and social structures were in 
themselves always religious or puritanically moral from the 
sex point of view, although in regard to the latter they most 
frequently made a show of so being; but I do say that the 
communities and the States and the nation in which they were 
committing their depredations have been individually and col- 
lectively, in so far as the written, printed and acted word are. 



264 LIFE, ART AND AMERICA 

concerned, most loud in their pretensions. Why? I have a 
vague feeling that it is the American of Anglo-Saxon origin 
only who has been most vivid in his excitement over re- 
ligion and morals where the written, printed, acted or painted 
word was concerned, yet who at the same time, and perhaps 
for this very reason, was failing or deliberately refusing to see 
the contrast which his ordinary and very human actions pre- 
sented to all this. Was he a hypocrite? Is he one? 

Your American of Anglo-Saxon or other origin is actually no 
better, spiritually or morally, than any other creature of this 
earth, be he Turk or Hindu or Chinese, except from a materi- 
ally constructive or wealth-breeding point of view, but for some 
odd reason he thinks he is. The only real difference is that, 
cast out or spewed out by conditions over which he had no con- 
trol elsewhere, he chanced to fall into a land overflowing with 
milk and honey. Nature in America was, and still is, kind 
to the lorn foreigner seeking a means of subsistence, and he 
seems to have immediately attributed this to three things: First, 
his inherent capacity to dominate and control wealth; second, 
the especial favor of God to him; third, to his superior and 
moral state (due, of course, to his possession of wealth). These 
three things, uncorrected as yet by any great financial pressure 
or any great natural or world catastrophe, have served to keep 
the American in his highly romantic state of self-deception. 
He still thinks that he is a superior spiritual and moral being, 
infinitely better than the creatures of any other land, and noth- 
ing short of a financial cataclysm, which will come with the, 
pressure of population on resources, will convince him that he 
is not. But that he will yet be convinced is a certainty. You 
need no fear. Leave it to Nature. 

One of the interesting phases of this puritanism or pharisee- 
ism is his attitude toward women and their morality and their 
purity. If ever a people has refined eroticism to a greater de- 
gree than the American I am not aware of it. Owing to a 
theory of the doctrinaire acceptance of the Mary legend pos- 



LIFE, ART AND AMERICA 26$ 

sibly (Mary-olotry, no less), the good American, capable of 
the same gross financial crimes previously indicated, has been 
able to look upon most women, but more particularly those 
above him in the social scale, as considerably more than human 
angelic, no less, and possessed of qualities the like of which 
are not to be found in any breathing being, man, woman, child 
or animal. It matters not that his cities and towns, like those 
of any other nation, are rife with sex; that in each one are 
specific and often large areas devoted to Eros or Venus. 
While maintaining them he is still blind to their exis- 
tence or import. He or his boys or his friends go but 

Only a mentally one-sided nature or race such as the Anglo- 
Saxon could have built upon any such asinine theory as this. 
One would suppose that as they did, so they would have the 
courage to say, or at least cease this endless pother as to 
superior virtue. But no. The purity, the sanctity, the self- 
abnegation, the delicacy of women in America how these 
qualities have been exaggerated and dinned into our ears, until 
at last the average scrubby non-reasoning male, quite capable 
of visiting the gardens of Venus or taking a girl off the street, 
is no more able to clearly visualize the creature before him than 
he is the central wilds of Africa which he has never seen. A 
princess, a goddess, a divine mother or creative principle, all 
the virtues, all the perfections, no vices, no weaknesses, no 
errors some such hodge-podge as this has come to be the aver- 
age Anglo-Saxon, or at least American, conception of the aver- 
age American woman. I do not say that a portion of this illu- 
sion is not valuable, but as it stands now she is too good to 
be true, a paragon, a myth! Actually, she doesn't exist at all 
as he has been taught to imagine her. She is nothing more 
than a two-legged biped like the rest of us, but in consequence 
of this delusion sex itself, being a violation of this paragon, has 
become a crime. We enter upon the earth, it is true, in a none 
too artistic manner (conceived in iniquity and born in sin, is 
the Biblical phrasing of it), but all this has long since been 



266 LIFE, ART AND AMERICA 

glozed over, ignored, and to obviate its brutality as much as 
possible the male has been called upon to purify himself in 
thought and deed, to avoid all private speculation as to women 
and his relationship to them, and, much more than that, to 
avoid all public discussion, either by word of mouth or the 
printed page. 

To think of women or to describe them, especially in our 
printed or publicly uttered word, as anything less than the 
paragon previously commented upon has become, by this 
process, not only a sin but a shameful infraction of the moral 
code. Women are now so good, the sex relationship so vile a 
thing that to think of the two at once is not to be thought of. 
They are supposed to have no connection. We must move 
in a mirage of illusion; we must trample fact underfoot and 
give fancy, in the guise of our so-called better natures, free 
rein. How this must affect or stultify the artistic and creative 
faculties of the race itself must be plain, yet that is exactly 
where we stand to-day, ethically and spiritually, in regard to 
sex and women, and that is what is the matter with American 
social life, letters and art. Imagine a puritan or a moralist 
attempting anything in art, which is nothing if not a true re- 
flection, emotional and intellectual, of insight into life! Im- 
agine! And contrast this moral or art narrowness with the 
American's commercial or financial or agricultural freedom 
and sense, and note the difference. In regard to all the latter 
he is cool, skeptical, level-headed, understanding, natural, con- 
sequently well-developed in those fields; in regard to this other 
he is disillusioned, theoretic, religious. In consequence he has 
no power, except for an occasional individual who may rise in 
spite of these untoward conditions (to be frowned upon), to 
understand, much less picture, life as it really is. Artistically, 
intellectually, philosophically we are weaklings; financially and 
in all ways commercial we are very powerful. So one-sided has 
been our development that in this latter respect we are almost 
giants. Strange, almost fabulous creatures have been de- 



LIFE, ART AND AMERICA 267 

veloped here by this process, men so singularly devoid of a 
rounded human nature that they have become freaks in the 
matter of money-getting. I refer to Rockefeller, Gould, Sage, 
Vanderbilt the first, H. H. Rogers, Carnegie, Frick. 

America I fear can be most aptly pictured as the land of 
Bottom the Weaver; and by Bottom I mean the tradesman or 
manufacturer who by reason of his enthusiasm for the sale of 
paints or powder or threshing machines or coal has accumu- 
lated wealth, and in consequence and by reason of the hap- 
hazard privileges of democracy, has strayed into a position of 
counsellor, or even dictator, not in regard to the things about 
which he might readily be supposed to know, but about the 
many things about which he would be much more likely not 
to know: art, science, philosophy, morals, public policy in gen- 
eral. You recall Bottom, of course, in "A Midsummer Night's 
Dream," unconscious of his furry ears and also of the fact that 
he does not know how to play the lion's part; that it is more 
difficult than mere roaring. Here he is now, in America, en- 
throned as a lion, and in his way he is an epitome of the 
Anglo-Saxon temperament. Bottom is so wise in his own es- 
timation. He never once suspects his furry ears or that he 
is not a perfect actor in the role of the lion or, if you will 
take it for what it is meant, the arts. He is just a dull weaver 
really, made by this dream of our Constitution ("an exposition 
of sleep" come upon him) into a roaring lion in his own esti- 
mation. No one must say that Bottom is not; he will be 
driven out of the country, deported or exiled. No one must 
presume to practice the arts save as Bottom understands them. 
If you do, presto, there is his henchman Comstock and all Com- 
stockery to take you into custody. Men who have come here 
from foreign shores (England excepted) have been amazed at 
Bottom's ears and his presumption in passing upon what is a 
lion's part in life. Indeed he is the Anglo-Saxon temperament 
personified. He is convinced that liberty was not made for 
Oberon or Peaseblossom or Cobweb or Mustard, but for 



268 LIFE, ART AND AMERICA 

bishops and executives and wholesale grocers and men who 
have become vastly rich canning tomatoes or selling oil. The 
great desire of Bottom is for all of us to have furry ears and 
long, and to believe that he is the greatest actor in the world. 
He is bewildered by a world that will not play Pyramus his 
way. Quince, Snug, Flute, Snout and Starveling (all those 
who came over with him in the Mayflower) agree that he is a 
great actor, but there are others, and Bottom is convinced that 
these others are in error, trying to wreck that dream, the Ameri- 
can Constitution, which brought this "exposition of sleep" upon 
him and made him into a lion, "marvelous furry about the face" 
and with great ears. 

Al^s, alas! for art in America. It has a hard, stubby row to 
hoe. 

But my quarrel is not with America as a comfortable com- 
mercial and industrious atmosphere in which to move and have 
one's being, but largely because it is no more than that, be- 
cause it tends to become a dull, conventionalized, routine, ma- 
terial world, duller even than its reputed mother, sacred Eng- 
land. We are drifting, unless most of the visible signs are de- 
ceiving, into the clutches of a commercial oligarchy whose 
mental standards outside of trade are so puerile as to be 
scarcely worth discussing. Contemplate, if you please, what 
has happened to one of the shibboleths or bulwarks of our 
sacred liberties and intellectual freedom, i. e., the newspaper, 
under the dominance of trade. Look at it. I have not the time 
here to set forth seriatim all the charges that have been made, 
and in the main thoroughly substantiated, against the Ameri- 
can newspaper; but consider for yourself the newspapers which 
you know and read. How much, I ask you, if you are in trade, 
do the newspapers you read know about trade? How far could 
you follow their trade judgment or understanding? And if 
you are a member of any profession, how much reported pro- 
fessional knowledge or news, as presented by a newspaper, can 
you rely on? If a newspaper reported a professional man's 



LIFE, ART AND AMERICA 



269 



judgment or dictum in regard to any important professional 
fact, how fully would you accept it without other corroborative 
testimony? 

You are a play-goer: do you believe the newspaper dramatic 
critics? You are a student of literature: do you accept the 
mouthings of their literary critics or even look to them for 
advice? You are an artist or a lover of art: do you follow 
the newspapers for anything more than the barest intelligence 
as to the whereabouts of anything artistic? I doubt it. And 
in regard to politics, finance, social movements and social 
affairs, are they not actually the darkest, the most misrepre- 
sentative, frequently the most biased and malicious guides 
in the world of the printed word? Newspaper criticism, like 
newspaper leadership, has long since come to be looked upon 
by the informed and intelligent as little more than the mouth- 
ings or bellowings of mercenaries or panderers to trade; or r 
worse still, rank incompetents. The newspaper man, per se, 
either does not know or cannot help himself. The newspaper 
publisher is very glad of this and uses his half intelligence or 
inability to further his own interests. Politicians, administra- 
tions, department stores, large interests and personalities of 
various kinds use or control or compel newspapers to do their 
bidding. This is a severe indictment to make against the press 
in general, but is it not literally true? 

Take again the large, almost dominant religious and com- 
mercial organizations of America. What relationship, if any, 
do they bear to a free mental development, a subtle under- 
standing, art or life in its poetic or tragic moulds, its drift, its 
character? Would you personally look to the Methodist or the 
Presbyterian or the Catholic or the Baptist church to further 
individualism, or freedom of thought, or directness of mental 
action, or art in any form? Do not they really ask of all their 
adherents that they lay aside this freedom in favor of the re- 
ported word or dictum of a fabled, a non-historic, an imaginary 
ruler of the universe? Think of it! And they are among the 



270 LIFE, ART AND AMERICA 

powerful, constructive and controlling elements in government 
in this government, to be accurate dedicated and presu- 
mably devoted to individual liberty, not only of so-called con- 
science, but of constructive thought and art. 

And our large corporations, with their dominant and control- 
ling captains of industry so-called; what about their relation- 
ship to individuality, the freedom of the individual to think 
for himself, to grow mentally? Take, for instance, the tobacco 
trust, the oil trust, the milk trust, the coal trust in what way 
do you suppose they help? Are they actively seeking a better 
code of ethics, a wider historic or philosophic perspective, a 
more delicate art perception for the individual, or are they 
definitely and permanently concerned with the customary 
bludgeoning tactics of trade, piling up fortunes out of which 
they are to be partially bled later by pseudo art collectors and 
swindling dealers in antiques and so-called historic art and 
literature? Of current life and its accomplishments, what do 
they actually know? Yet this is a democracy. Here, as in 
no other realm of the world, the individual is supposed to be 
permitted, even compelled, to seek his own material and mental 
salvation as best he may. Yet one trouble with a democracy, 
in so far as art and individual intelligence is concerned, as op- 
posed to an autocracy with a line of titled idlers, is that the 
latter permits at least the gift of leisure and art indulgence to 
a few and there usually is a central force or group to fos- 
ter art, to secure letters and art in their inalienable rights, 
to make of superior thought a noble and a sacred thing. I am 
not saying that democracy will not yet produce such a central 
force or group. I believe it may or can. .It is entirely possible 
that when the time arrives it may prove to be better than any 
form of hereditary autocracy. But I am talking about the men- 
tal, the social, the artistic condition of America as it is to-day. 

To me it is a thing for laughter, if not for tears; one hun- 
dred and twenty million Americans, rich (a fair percentage 
of them, anyhow) beyond the dreams of avarice, and scarcely 



LIFE, ART AND AMERICA 271 

a sculptor, a poet, a singer, a novelist, an actor, a musician, 
worthy the name. One hundred and forty years (almost two 
hundred, counting the Colonial days) of the most prosperous 
social conditions, a rich soil, incalculable deposits of gold, 
silver and precious and useful metals and fuels of all kinds, a 
land amazing in its mountains, its streams, its valley pros- 
pects, its wealth-yielding powers, and now its tremendous cities 
and far-flung facilities for travel and trade and yet contem- 
plate it. Artists, poets, thinkers, where are they? Has it pro- 
duced a single philosopher of the first rank a Spencer, a 
Nietzsche, a Schopenhauer, a Kant? Do I hear some one offer- 
ing Emerson as an equivalent? Or James? Has it produced a 
historian of the force of either Macaulay or Grote or Gibbon? 
A novelist of the rank of Turgenev, de Maupassant or Flau- 
bert? A scientist of the standing of Crookes or Roentgen or 
Pasteur? A critic of the insight and force of Taine, Sainte- 
Beuve or the de Goncourts? A dramatist the equivalent of 
Ibsen, Chekhov, Shaw, Hauptmann, Brieux? An actor, since 
Booth, of the force of Coquelin, Sonnenthal, Forbes-Robertson 
or Sarah Bernhardt? Since Whitman, one poet: Edgar Lee 
Masters. In painting a Whistler, an Inness, a Sargent. Who 
else? (And two of these shook the dust of our shores forever.) 
Inventors, yes; by the hundreds, one might almost say thou- 
sands; some of them amazing enough, in all conscience, world 
figures, and enduring for all time. But of what relationship to 
art, the supreme freedom of the mind? 

The most significant, and to me discouraging, manifestation 
in connection with the United States to-day is the tendency to 
even narrower and more puritanic standards than have ob- 
tained in the past. I am constantly astonished by the thou- 
sands of men, exceedingly capable in some mechanical or 
narrow technical sense, whose world or philosophic vision is 
that of a child. As a nation we accept and believe naively in 
such impossible things. I am not thinking alone of the primary 
tenets of all religions, which are manifestly based on nothing 



272 LIFE, ART AND AMERICA 

at all and which millions of Americans, along with the humbler 
classes of other countries, accept, but rather of those sterner 
truths which life itself teaches: the unreliability of human 
nature; the crass chance which strikes down and destroys our 
finest dreams; the fact that man in all his relations is neither 
good nor evil, but both. The American, by some hocus pocus 
of atavism, has seemingly borrowed or retained from English 
lower middle-class puritans all their folderol notions about 
making human nature perfect by fiat or edict the written 
word, as it were, which goes with all religions. So, although 
by reason of the coarsest and most brutal methods we as a 
nation have built up one of the most interesting and domineer- 
ing oligarchies in the world, we are still not aware of the fact. 

All men, in the mind of the unthinking American, are still 
free and equal. They have in themselves certain inalienable 
rights; what they are when you come to test them no human 
being can discover. Life here, as elsewhere, comes down to the 
brutal methods of Nature itself. The rich strike the poor at 
every turn; the poor defend themselves and further their lives 
by all the tricks which stark necessity can conceive. No in- 
alienable right keeps the average cost of living from rising 
steadily, while most of the salaries of our idealistic Americans 
are stationary. No inalienable right has ever yet prevented the 
strong from tricking or browbeating the weak. And although 
by degrees the average American is feeling more and more 
keenly the sharpening struggle for existence, yet his faith in his 
impossible ideals is as fresh as ever. God will save the good 
American and seat him at His right hand on the Golden 
Throne. 

With one hand the naive American takes and executes with 
all the brutal insistence of Nature itself; with the other he 
writes glowing platitudes concerning brotherly love, virtue, 
purity, truth, etc., etc. A part of this right or left hand ten- 
dency, as the case may be, is seen in the constant desire of the 
American to reform something. No country in the world, not 



LIFE, ART AND AMERICA 273 

even England, the mother of folderol reforms, is so prolific 
in these frail ventures as this great country of ours. In turn 
we have had campaigns for the reform of the atheist, the drunk- 
ard, the lecher, the fallen woman, the buccaneer financier, the 
drug fiend, the dancer, the theatergoer, the reader of novels, the 
wearer of low-neck dresses and surplus jewelry in fact every 
taste and frivolity, wherever sporadically it has chanced to 
manifest itself with any interesting human force. Your re- 
former's idea is that any human being, to be a successful one, 
must be a pale spindling sprout, incapable of any vice or crime. 
And all the while the threshing sea of life is sounding in his 
ears! The thief, the lecher, the drunkard, the fallen woman, 
the greedy, the inordinately vain, as in all ages past, pass by 
his door and are not the whit less numerous for the unending 
campaigns which have been launched to save them. In other 
words, human nature is human nature, but your American 
cannot be made to believe it. 

Personally my quarrel is with America's quarrel with ori- 
ginal thought. It is so painful to me to see one after another 
of our alleged reformers tilting Don Quixote-like at the giant 
windmills of fact. We are to have no pictures which the puri- 
tan and the narrow, animated by an obsolete dogma, cannot 
approve of. We are to have no theaters, no motion pictures, 
no books, no public exhibitions of any kind, no speech even, 
which will in any way contravene his limited view of life. 
Finally we even contrived a President who was to have no more 
war! A few years ago it was the humble dealer in liquor whose 
life was anathematized and whose property was descended upon 
with torch, axe and bomb. A little later, our cities growing 
and the sections devoted to the worship of Venus becoming 
more manifest, the Vice Crusader was bred, and we now have 
the spectacle of whole areas of fallen women scattered to the 
four winds and allowed to practice separately what they cannot 
do collectively. Also came Mr. Comstock, vindictive, persis- 
tent, and with a nose and taste for the profane and erotic such 



274 LIFE, ART AND AMERICA 

as elsewhere has not been equaled since. Pictures, books, the 
theater, the dance, the studio all came under his watchful 
eye. During the twenty or thirty years in which he acted as a 
United States Postoffice Inspector he was, because of his dull 
charging against things which he did not understand, never 
out of the white light of publicity which he so greatly craved. 
One month it would be a novel by d'Annunzio; another, a set 
of works by Balzac or de Maupassant, found in the shade of 
some grovelly bookseller's shop; the humble photographer at- 
tempting a nude; the painter who allowed his reverence for 
Raphael to carry him too far; the poet who attempted a re- 
crudescence of Don Juan in modern iambics, was immediately 
seized upon and hauled before an equally dull magistrate, there 
to be charged with his offense and to be fined accordingly. All 
this is being continued with emphasis. 

Then came the day of the armed White Slave Chasers, and 
now no American city and no backwoods Four Corners, how- 
ever humble, is complete without a vice commission of some 
kind, or at least a local agent or representative charged with the 
duty of keeping the art, the literature, the press and the private 
lives of all those at hand up to that standard of perfection 
which only the dull can set for themselves. When the White 
Slave question was at its whitest heat the problem of giving 
expression to its fundamental aspects was divided between 
raiding plays which attempted to show the character of the 
crime in too graphic a manner, and licensing those which ap- 
pealed to the intelligence of those who were foremost in the 
crusade. Thus we had the spectacle of an uncensored, but 
nevertheless approved, ten-reel film showing more details of 
the crime and better methods of securing white slaves than any 
other production of the day, running undisturbed to packed 
houses all over the country; while two somewhat more dramatic 
but far less effective distributors of information via plays were 
successfully harried from city to city and finally withdrawn. 

Shakespeare has been ordered from the schools in some of 



LIFE, ART AND AMERICA 275 

the States. A production of "Antony and Cleopatra" has been 
raided in Chicago. Japanese prints of a high art value, in- 
tended for the seclusion of a private collection, have been 
seized and the most valuable of them destroyed. By turns, an 
artistic fountain to Heine in New York, loan exhibits of paint- 
ings in Denver, Kansas City and elsewhere, scores of books by 
Stevenson, James Lane Allen, Frances H. Burnett, have been 
attacked, not only, as in the case of the latter, with the airy 
weapons of the law, but in the case of the former with actual 
axes. A male dancer of repute and some artistic ability has 
been raided publicly by the Vice Crusaders for his shameless 
exposure of his person! No play, no picture, no book, no 
public or private jubilation of any kind is complete any more 
without its vice attack. 

To me this sort of thing is dull and bespeaks the low state 
to which our mental activities have fallen. When it comes to 
the matter of serious letters it is the worst. In New York a 
literary region of terror has been and is now being attempted. 
The publisher of Freud's "Leonardo" is warned before he 
brings it out that he will be prosecuted a work that probably 
has no more defect than that of being intelligent and true. Simi- 
larly, Mr. Przybyszewski's "Homo Sapiens," a by no means 
pornographic work, was at once seized on its appearance and the 
publishers frightened into withdrawing it. This was true of 
"Hagar Revelly," "Tess of the d'Urbevilles," "Sapho," "Jude 
the Obscure," "Rose of Dutchers Cooley," "A Lady of 
Quality," "A Summer in Arcady," and scores of others. 
Imagine banning a book like "A Summer in Arcady" from the 
public libraries! Even "The Sexual Question" by the eminent 
August Forel has been banned and of course all of Kraft-Ebling 
(Freud and Ellis are sold only on the written order of a doctor 
a mental prescription as it were) . Think of it the work of 
a scientist of Freud's attainments! 

This sort of interference with serious letters and science is 
to me the worst and most corrupting form of espionage which 



276 LIFE, ART AND AMERICA 

is conceivable to the human mind. It plumbs the depths of 
ignorance and intolerance; if not checked it can and will dam 
initiative and inspiration at the source. Life, if it is any- 
thing at all, is a thing to be observed, studied, interpreted. 
We cannot know too much about it because as yet we know 
nothing. It is our one great realm of discovery. The artist, if 
left to himself, may be safely trusted to observe, synchronize 
and articulate human knowledge in the most comprehensive 
form. Human nature will seek and have what it needs, the vice 
crusaders to the contrary notwithstanding. There is no com- 
pulsion on any one to read; one must pay to do so. What is 
more, one must have taste inherently to select, a brain and a 
heart to understand. With all these safeguards and a double 
score of capable critics in every land to praise or blame, what 
need really is there for a censor, or a dozen of them, each far 
less fitted than any of the working critics to indulge his per- 
sonal predilection and opposition, and to appeal to the courts 
if he is disagreed with? 

Personally I rise to protest. I look on this interference 
with serious art and thought and serious minds as an outrage. 
I fear for the ultimate intelligence of America, which in all 
conscience, judged by world standards, is low enough. Now 
comes a band of wasp-like censors to put the finishing touches 
on a literature and an art that has struggled all too feebly as 
it is. Poe, Hawthorne, Whitman and Thoreau, each in turn 
was the butt and jibe of unintelligent Americans, until by now 
we are well nigh the laughing-stock of the world. Where is it 
to end? When will we lay aside our swaddling-clothes, en- 
forced on us by ignorant, impossible puritans and their unedu- 
cated followers, and stand up free- thinking men and women? 
Life is to be learned as much from books and art as from life 
itself almost more so, in my judgment. Art is the stored 
honey of the human soul, gathered on wings of misery and 
travail. Shall the dull and the self-seeking and the self-adver- 
tising close this store on the groping human mind? 



THE COURT OF PROGRESS 

EDITORIAL NOTE: The following manuscript, recovered from one 
of the twenty-seven tombs of Federated Chairmen of the Post Fed- 
erated Period of World Republics, A.D. 2760-3923, recently discov- 
ered in the debris centers of Exomia, Domas and Polos (Central 
Asia), plainly refers to some annual festival or period of congratu- 
lation which, according to the historian, Ruffstuff, who seems to 
have flourished toward the close of that period when the great 
Asiatic and American world floods (the shifting of the boundaries 
of the Pacific) ended the old order, was apparently held, first, at 
some point in Central South Africa; later in Middle Western North 
America, as the then continents were called. The author or drama- 
tist, Theobromo, plainly of some period later than that of the Post 
Federated, when literature of all sorts, owing to the religious view- 
point of the Federation, was non-existent, was plainly familiar with 
records of this great court or festival, now non-existent. (See 
mention in closing paragraph of Moline-Emporia-Sedalia sittings, 
points or places which have not as yet been identified.) The trans- 
lator, Can. Theodore Dreiser, of Cambo, North Dromio, begs to 
explain that owing to the peculiar difficulties of the language then 
used the exact rendition of certain phrases and passages is not 
guaranteed. 

CHARACTERS 

NOXUS PODUNKUS -.Grand Referendunce Chairman of the Fed- 
erated Musnud of the World. 

SHISHMASH HASH HASH : Master of Ceremonies to the Court 
of Progress. 

'Savants 

Moonshees , 

-.. Roctor-Proctors , 

-! Pundits j-One hundred 

Theorists 

Seers , 

277 



< i 



2 7 8 



THE COURT OF PROGRESS 



Of 



fZadkiels . 
Oracles . 
Solons . . . 
Nestors .. 
Gamaliels 
Daniels . 



.One hundred 



Of 



-Dizzards 50 

Zanys 100 

Fuddys 100 

Hoddy-Doddys 100 

Loobies 1000 

Gaberlunzies 1000 

Nizys 5000 



Of Descendant 
Sons and Daugh % 
ters of Ancient 
and Honorable 



Anti-Vivisectionists 

Anti-Vac cinationists 

Anti-Contraceptionists , 

Anti-Saloon Leaguers 

Anti-Vice Crusaders 

Anti-Lewd Book Examiners 

Eugenic Sires 

Free and Accepted Boy Scouts 

Professors of Christian Economy 

Feminists 

Moral Prophylaxers 

Non-Smokers' Social Unionists 

Seventh Day Adventists 

Sabbath Day Exclusivists 

Holy Rollers 

Evangelists 

King's Daughters 

Women Magazine Editors 

Library Protection Association Guards 

Watch and Ward Society Guards 

Prohibitionists 

Federated Philosophers 

Union Astronomers 

Socialists 



50,000 



THE COURT OF PROGRESS 



279 



Of plaster or 
Ossified Speci- 
mens of Ancient 
and Degraded 



'Gamblers , 

Saloon-keepers , 

Bartenders 

Financiers , 

Thieves 

Vivisectionists , 

Vaccinationists 

Philosophers 

Politicians 

Astronomers 

Magdalens , 

'Madams 

Novelists 

Playwrights 

Scenario Writers 

Musicians 

Painters 

Poets 

Cigarette Fiends 

Dope Fiends 

Sabbath Day Breakers 

Pragmatists 

Predatory Rich 

Anarchists 

White Slavers 

Nietzscheans 

Scientists 

Chemists 

Physicists 

Stoics 

Liars 

Dogs 

Scoundrels ., 



One Each 



THE COURT OF PROGRESS 

SCENE: A great plain, filled with a vast multitude of people, 
Tents, pagodas, pavilions, booths, kiosks, scattered over a wide 
area and alive with a swarming mass. Overhead innumerable 
Hags, banners, shields, emblems and insignia of all kinds, as 
well as a welter of decoration and bunting, all symbolic of 



280 THE COURT OF PROGRESS 

peace, prosperity and progress. Innumerable alleyways' and 
passages suggest a maze. In the center, behind a great open- 
square or drill-ground, an enormous pink-and-green pavilion of 
silk, Huttering innumerable pinions and streamers of the most 
variegated hues. In the extreme west of this (center) and fac- 
ing east (to suggest open-mindcdness and a spirit of receptivity 
and progress) a giant Musnud or throne of dried mush, straw 
and the polished grains of the oyster plant, each with its spirit- 
ual, ethical and social significance. This same is richly carved 
and tinted to represent the dawn, while at the top, by a process 
of higher coloring, the fioridity, variety and fecundity of tropic 
life, signifying fullness of development, is suggested. Over this 
a canopy of dried morning-glory vines stained to represent the 
pink glow of dawn and strung with innumerable papier-mache 
flozvers representative of the bursting blooms of perfection. 
Beneath, a large assortment of pillows, rugs, bed-ticks, mats, 
cushions, hassocks and the like, tinted to suggest the variety, 
fecundity, beneficence and generosity of Nature. On these rest 
the one hundred Moonshees, Savants, Pundits, Roctor-Proctors, 
Theorists, Seers, Zadkiels, Oracles, Solons, Nestors and pro- 
found Daniels and Gamaliels, members of the High Court of 
Progress of the Federated Republics of the World for the years 
3913-3923, and representing in themselves the world's farthest 
intellectual reaches as well as its peace, progress, perfection and 
plenty. 

On their heads tall cornucopias of green-and-yellow tinfoil, 
'fluttering with ribbons. On their bodies flowing silk robes of 
green decorated with red, yellow and blue astrologic designs, 
each of special ethical, social and spiritual significance. In the 
center of this company, his body clad in yellow, green and blue 
cheesecloth, his head surmounted by a tall blue cornucopia (sig- 
nifying peace and plenty) , and resting on an immense stack of 
eiderdown pillows, NOXUS PODUNKUS, Grand Referendunce 
Chairman of the Federated Republics of the World and Presi- 
dent pro tern of the Court of Progress of the same. He is very 
fat and restful. Behind and among them, fifty Dizzards in sky- 
blue Heshings, jackets of yellow, and pink coat-scuttle helmets, 
who keep watch and ward by whistling between their teeth and 
laying about them with feather-stuffed clubs whenever the at- 
tention of the Moonshees is desired. Among the audience, one 
hundred thousand already admitted and in their seats, five thou- 



THE COURT OF PROGRESS 281 

sand Nizys in pink fleshings and striped blue-and-grecn shawls, 
each carrying a tin wash-boiler full of orange and lemon souffle 
and doling out the same in ice-cream cones to all who signal. 
The latter are hung around their waists in long strings. 

Before the Musnud one hundred Hoddy-Doddys, Ticklers 
Extraordinary to the Savants, Zadkiels, etc. These are arrayed 
in green fleshings and yellow silk overcoats, and carry yellow 
feather-dusters attached to long blue bamboo stalks. They assist 
the Diszards in keeping the Moonshees awake. About the 
Hoddy-Doddys, ranged in a semi-circle, one hundred Zanys, 
Official Wing-Bag Rattlers to the Musnud. These same wear 
orange-and-green sweaters and running pants of black and 
orange, plus long-visorcd caps of green, and carry pear-shaped 
wind-bags containing dried watermelon seeds, the ethical symbol 
of receptivity, which they rattle whenever the attention of the 
audience is desired. Between the Hoddy-Doddys and the 
Musnud, and at the immediate base of the same, one hundred 
Fuddys, Wireless Telegraph Operators Extraordinary to the 
Court, in green silk uniforms and plug hats, who are busy 
sending out preliminary notices to the world of the assembling 
of the Court of Progress. Beyond the Zanys in the aisles and 
semi-circular passages between the seats, one thousand Loobies 
and one thousand Gaberlunzies, Official First and Second Read- 
ers to the Court, the First arrayed in blue-and-white, the Second 
in green-and-white polka-dot gowns and mortar-boards, and 
?ach carrying about his waist a chain to which is attached all 
the then permitted classics of the pre-Federated Period 
(A. D. 1897- -1927) Hamilton Wright Mabie, Orrison Swett Mar- 
den, Harold Bell Wright, Gene Stratton Porter, Ralph Waldo 
Trine and others from which at all moments of undue excite- 
ment it is their duty to read soothing passages in unison. 

Oufs:-:te the principal entrance to the pavilion, on the Grand 
Concc'iirs?, separate companies or regiments of Descendant Sons 
and Daughters of Ancient and Honorable Anti-Viviseciionists, 
Anti-Vac cinationists, Anti-Contraceptionists, Anti-Vice Cru- 
saders, Eugenic Sires, Feminists, Non-Smokers' Social Unionists, 
.Anti-Saloon Leaguers, Free and Accepted Boy Scouts, Profes- 
sors of Christian Economy, Seventh Day Advcntists, Sabbath 
Day Exclusivists, Holy Rotters, King's Daughters, Waich and 
Ward Guards, Library Protection Association Guards, Union 
Astronomers, Federated College Philosophers, Evangelists, etc., 



282 THE COURT OF PROGRESS 

each practicing their separate evolutions and class yells. A 
giant procession, fifty thousand ttt number, soon to start and file 
before the assembled Pundits and Zadkiels of the Court sitting 
on the Musnud within, is intended to demonstrate to it and 
to the Universe at large, via the assembled audience, the happy 
presence and persistence and strength of the forces of light and 
order and truth, as opposed to the quondam and now all but 
vanished remnants of darkness prevailing in the world before 
the Federation of the Commission-Governed Republics of the 
World. As the principal function of the Court is to catechise its 
adherents and delegates as to the reason for the faith that is in 
them, and to learn as to the present progress of truth, mercy, 
justice, etc. via a series of shrewd and now sacred questions 
(the Post Federated Tablets of the Law) especially calculated 
to bring forth the facts and shame the forces of darkness into 
silence, these same stand ready to answer all such questions as 
to the certainty of the final perfection of life and so to receive 
the approval of the Musnud and the assembled populace. 

Some companies of these same are at present busy executing 
their preliminary maneuvers, walking on their hands, turning 
hand-springs and cart-wheels, whirling as dervishes and whis- 
tling and cat-calling. Others ask and answer each other the 
sacred questions of the Tablets; still others leap, run around in 
a ring, roll in the dust and kick. Still others meditate head in 
hand or stare in fixed absorption at Philosophers' targets fixed 
on posts at different points in the grounds. A general air of 
hope, sequacity, peace, content, well-being, ease, and other forms 
of human satisfaction, pervades each and every section of the 
field. 

Hauled about by varying groups of Descendant Sons and 
Daughters of Free and Accepted Boy Scouts, Anti-Vivisec- 
tionists, Anti-Vaccinationists, etc., all in attractive and unfor- 
getable raiment of cerise, purple, yellow and nile green, are the 
only remaining speciments or images of now all but extinct 
Gamblers, Saloon-Keepers, Financiers, Thieves, Vivisectionists, 
Vaccinationists, Philosophers, Politicians, Magdalens and Pred- 
atory Rich still in captivity or existence. It should be stated in 
passing that all Liars, Thieves, Scoundrels, Lechers, Anarchists 
and the like were finally exterminated during the all-memorable 
Federated Presidency of Bonehead X, A. D. 3409-3427, just five 
hundred years before. Saloons and all forms of illegal as well 



THE COURT OF PROGRESS 283 

as commercialized vice departed this earth some seven hundred- 
years before. The ladies of the Inner High Council of 
Descendant Sons and Daughters of Ancient Thirty-second De- 
gree Anti-Vivisectionists have here (muzzled and chained) the 
only extant examples of a Vivisectionist surgeon of the former 
cult of inhuman experimentalists, captured in Greenland. The 
Federated Union of Descendant Sons and Daughters of An- 
cient and Honorable Vice-Crusaders of the World present in a 
drop-forged steel cage, painted yellow, blue and green, the only 
living specimen of a simon-pure Madam, recently captured in 
the outlying regions of Borneo. In other portions of the field, 
caged and dressed to represent now extinct types of Material- 
ists, Scientists, Philosophers, Chemists, Nietzscheans, Prag<- 
matists, Stoics and so forth, are one hundred volunteers of the 
East South African School of Christian Histrionic Culture, 
freely giving their services for this great occasion. 

SHISHMASH HASH HASH 

(Grand Secretary-Treasurer of the Indo-Ajrican group of 
Commission-Governed Republics, now in federation with the 
rest of the world, and Master of Ceremonies to the Court of 
Progress. He is a tall man, in a suit of red-and-green pa- 
jamas, slightly rubberized and inflated. His ears are pierced 
and hung with blue earrings and his cheeks are adorned with 
yellow lambrequins three feet long. Temporarily he is enter- 
taming himself just outside the stage entrance to the main tent 
by doing back somersaults, but at the sight of five thousand 
Descendant Sons and Daughters of Free and Accepted Boy 
Scouts, Watch and Ward, and Library Protection Guards in 
marching order approaching the main or stage entrance, he 
executes nine hand-springs, three bounds and one back somer- 
sault, landing in front of the Musnud. At sight of him the as- 
sembled multitude stirs and quivers and he-haws with delight. 
The associated Moonshees, Pundits, Roctor-Proctors and 
others stir slightly but continue to snore. SHISHMASH 
HASH HASH, executing a jig-step and tying his whiskers in 
a bow-knot.) Your Referendunces! (At this the fifty Diz- 
zards directly in attendance on the assembled Moonshees o) 



284 THE COURT OF PROGRESS 

the Musnud, each over six feet tall and weighing exactly one 
hundred and twenty-seven pounds, stir the latter to wakeful- 
ness by whistling between their fingers and beating them with 
their feather-stuffed clubs.) 

THE FIFTY DIZZARDS 

Pfs-s-t! Pfs-s-t! Pfs-s-t! (They lay about them 

mightily with their clubs.) 

THE FIVE THOUSAND NIZYS 

(Bearers of orange and lemon souffle to the Court. Be- 
coming greatly excited at sight of the platform Dizzards be- 
laboring the Moonshees and beginning to jump up and down, 
at the same time ladling out cones of green and pink souffle.) 
Refresh yourselves, good people! Refresh yourselves! Ssh! 
Sssssh ! Ssssssssh ! 

THE ONE HUNDRED HODDY-DODDYS 

(Shaking their long-handled feather-dusters and whirling 
about in a ring.) Awake, your Referendunces! Awake! 
Awake! (They tickle the noses, ears, chins and necks of the 
Moonshees, Zadkiels, etc., who stir feebly but continue to 
snore.) 

THE ONE HUNDRED ZANYS 

(Rattling their wind-bags and jigging in unison.) Attention! 
Attention, good audience! Attention! Their Grand Referen- 
dunces of the Federated Musnud of the World are about to be 
awakened! Attention! Attention! (They rattle their wind- 
bags vigorously and roll their eyes from left to right and back 
nine times.) 
THE TWO THOUSAND LOOBIES AND GABERLUNZIES 

(Roaming nervously to and fro, reading.) "At this moment, 
the sun sinking low in the West, the faint West wind stirring 
in the leaves, the pellucid rill tinkling gently so, for a 
heart-beat, he saw her." (Each holds up a restful hand.) 
SHISHMASH HASH HASH 

(Executing three steps to the left and four to the right and 
spinning on his right toe.) Your Referendunces I Most 



THE COURT OF PROGRESS 285 

Worthy and Grand Referendunces! Is the High Court of Pro- 
gress of the Federated Republics of the World now ready to 
receive the reports of the various battalions of Law, Order, 
Peace, Justice, Truth, etc., accredited to this Court? They 
await your Referendunces' pleasure without. (At this another 
herculean attempt is made to arouse the assembled judges of 
the Musnud. The fifty Dizzards who are in direct attendance 
on the Moonshees begin whistling between their teeth and 
striking them with their feather-clubs. The one hundred 
Hoddy-Doddys stir up the multitude in the front rows by 
dusting off their ears and noses with their long-poled feather- 
dusters. The one hundred Zanys rattle their wind-bags, and 
the two thousand Loobies and Gaberlunzies read intently and 
with vigor, each holding up a hand. The five thousand Nizys 
hurry here and there offering souffle to all.) 

THE ONE HUNDRED MOONSHEES, ROCTOR-PROCTORS, 

ZADKIELS, ETC. 

(Stirring slightly and opening their eyes.) Souffle! Souffle! 
(Great panniers of souffle are fed to them, and they relapse 
into slumber.) 

THE FIFTY DIZZARDS 

(Seeing they have the Moonshees partially awake.) Your 
Referendunces! Most worthy Referendunces! The Secretary 
of the Honorable Court desires to know is it ready to receive 
the first division of the assembled Battalions of Knowledge now 
about to report as to the present state and progress of the 
world? (A vast murmur of "Hee-haw!" the $oth century ex- 
pression of approval passes over the assemblage. SHISH- 
MASH HASH HASH executes four more hand-springs, lights 
gracefully on his back and slowly draws his toes up to his 
fingers, thus gradually assuming a standing position, and bows. 
The fifty Dizzards whistle between their teeth and beat the 
Moonshees vigorously with their feather-clubs. The Zanys 
rattle their wind-bags lustily. Fifty of the one hundred Moon- 



286 THE COURT OF PROGRESS 

shees awake and call for more souffle. Five hundred tons are 
at once distributed to the audience, and quiet is restored.) 
[THE MOONSHEES, ROCTOR-PROCTORS, ZADKIELS, ETC 

(Stirring feebly and pushing the feather-dusters out of their 
eyes. In chorus.) What is the question? What is the ques- 
tion? (They sink back heavily on their pillows. SHISH- 
MASH HASH HASH throws four fits and attempts to insert 
his left foot in his mouth, then stands at attention while four 
Dizzards, lifting aloft silk banners on which are pictures of 
keys of knowledge and open books, fall to the ground and get 
up again. The one hundred Hoddy-Doddys tickle the noses 
of the Moonshees frantically. The five thousand Nizys throw 
handjuls of souffle in the faces of the audience and spin on one 
foot. The two thousand Loobies and Gaberlunzies rear and 
plunge, murmuring "Shush/ Shush!" then read.) 
NOXUS PODUNKUS 

(Chief Presiding Rejerendunce of the Federated Court of 
Progress of the World. Sitting up, opening one eye and 
gazing about.) Indeed! You say, do you? Well, let them 
enter I (He collapses again.) 

SHISHMASH HASH HASH 

(Spinning away to the stage entrance, at which the represen- 
tatives of the various forces of Progress are waiting in parade 
array.) Are you ready? Are you ready? (A shout goes up. 
He lifts both hands, and pirouetting gracefully backward toward 
the Musnud is followed by the ist, $i6th, 3727^, 4728^, 
6914^ and 'ji'j&th Divisions of Descendant Sons and Daugh- 
ters of Ancient and Honorable Free and Accepted Boy Scouts, 
Watch and Ward and Library Protection Association Guards, 
King's Daughters, Sabbath Day Exclusivists, Seventh Day Ad- 
ventists, and Holy Rollers in close formation. They are all in 
Empire Nicollet silk, striped with blue bombazine, ruched at 
neck and feet, and carry immense banners of green and yellow 
on which are pictured barred library doors, sealed books, bon- 
fires of questionable or lewd books, and padlocked library 



THE COURT OF PROGRESS 287 

safes. They are preceded by and interlarded with silver and 
gold harp bands in great numbers, as well as a small exhibition 
corps of Anti-Lewd Booh Examiners, carefully examining lewd 
books after the manner of the years A. D. 1885-1921. These 
last carry large red, yellow and green-blue pencils and wear 
horn glasses the size of saucers. They read, blush, and blue- 
pencil as they come. They are preceded by cage-cars contain- 
ing [one each} Ossified Specimens of Ancient Lewd Novelist, 
Playwright and Poet. They pause and stand at attention be- 
fore the Musnud, giving first an exhibition of lewd-book edit- 
ing, then the Free and Accepted and Descendant yell, "Anti- 
Vice I Anti-Vice! Boy Scouts Forever!" after which they clog 
and whistle.) 

NOXUS PODUNKUS 

(Scratching one ear and blinking his one open eye, the while 
the five thousand Nizys distribute souffle and the audience 
cheers vociferously.) Descendant Sons and Daughters of 
Ancient and Honorable Free and Accepted Boy Scouts, Watch 
and Ward Guards, King's Daughters, Sabbath Day Adventists, 
Holy Rollers (whispers to a Dizzard, "Did I get them all 
right?") we have, as you know, as President and Referen- 
dunces of this great Court, founded so long ago by our worthy 
predecessor, Mush Mush I, a certain duty to perform, and that 
is the asking of our regular prepared and revered and revised 
Sacred Questions, the answers to which, given as we all know 
you will give them, constitute in themselves at once a record and 
a testimony to the wisdom, perfection, peace and plenty to 
which our vast Federated Republics and Peoples the world over 
have at last arrived. (Great applause lasting one hour, during 
which transcripts of the proceedings and speech thus far are 
wirelessed by the Fuddys to all parts of the world.) Once, as 
you well know and as we are sorry to remember, there existed a 
certain amount of vice and crime in the world (vast and pro- 
longed boo-ing and cat-calling) less and less, we will admit, 
as the forces of righteousness and order such as we represent 



288 THE COURT OF PROGRESS 

here to-day gained momentum (a second burst of applause 
lasting one hour, during which this portion of the speech is 
wirelessed. The Zadkiels breathe heavily), but plentiful 
enough plentiful enough, I am glad to say Souffle! Souffle 1 
(he sighs and is fed) as well as a tendency, disobedient in 
the extreme, to investigate and study and doubt every- 
thing, from stars to ant-hills, and even to make light of 
the revealed and divine facts of Nature, which as we all know 
are irrefutable and not to be questioned and to which our 
hearts are always and only our best guides. (Enormous ap- 
plause, lasting thirty minutes.) Fortunately for us now, how- 
ever, and happily, and owing, as I may say, to the benign 
activities of those noble workers in the cause of righteousness, 
Mush Mush I, Bonehead V, and Dish Rag III, who flour- 
ished A. D. 1970-2061 in America and elsewhere, the virtues of 
sobriety, justice, truth, mercy, industry and the like were, as 
we all well know, firmly and finally established. (Tremendous 
applause, lasting one hundred and eight minutes, during which 
seven hundred wash-boilers of souffle are consumed. Wireless 
messages are sent to all parts.) Thanks to them and their 
beneficent efforts, we do not attempt to investigate any more. 
(Prolonged cheering.) We do not seek to reason any more. 
(Immense cheering, lasting two hours.) Man, as you all well 
know, has seen the line of his duty and has followed it closely. 
(More cat-calling.) With the greatest care we have been 
able to eliminate not only those besetting vices which scarred 
the face of man with their hideous thoughts, but also those 
equally great vices of curiosity and speculation in regard to 
chemistry, philosophy, physics, astronomy, sociology, political 
economy, those low and evil so-called sciences which once so 
disturbed and irritated and afflicted the human mind. (A burst 
of applause, lasting forty-three minutes.) They have been done 
for, and instead we have strictly and sensibly confined our- 
selves, I am happy to state, to those more acceptable evidences 
of our place hi Nature and our duties, as revealed by those re- 



THE COURT OF PROGRESS 289 

nowned and profound teachers and thinkers, our noble and re- 
vered ancestors, Billy Sunday the Great, he of blessed memory 
(applause, lasting one hour) Ralph Waldensicuss Trinecuss 
of Boston (applause, lasting fifty minutes) Arise-and-Sweat 
Marden (applause, lasting forty minutes) Erbert Goughman 
(applause, lasting thirty minutes) Philip Dugmore Potts 
(applause, lasting twenty minutes) and Edith Whiller Nbx 
Nox (applause, lasting ten minutes) revealers and thinkers 
all, the true forerunners and prophets of our present peaceful 
and happy state. (Prolonged applause, enduring over seven- 
hundred minutes, during which NOXUS and the Moonshees 
snore and the two thousand Loobies and Gaberlunzies read long 
and refreshing passages from the works of the individuals men- 
tioned. The Fuddys sizz at their task.) 

THE ONE HUNDRED HODDY-DODDYS 

(As the applause subsides, feathering the face of the Moon- 
shees.) Awake, your Referendunces, awake 1 (They pole- 
vault in front of the Musnud.) 

THE FIFTY DIZZARDS 

(Whistling between their teeth and striking with their feath- 
er clubs.) Oh, your Very Great Referendunces! Oh! Come 
to! Come to! (They chatter and clog.) 
NOXUS PODUNKUS 

(Batting an eye and being lifted to a sitting position.) Ah, 
yes! Ah, yes! Let me see ... where was I? (A Dizzard, 
prompted by a Fuddy, repeats his last sentence.) Ah, yes I As 
I was saying, these, our revered leaders, taught us. It is to 
them, their patient and enduring labors, their deep, even pro- 
found, cogitations as to life, that we all owe all that we enjoy 
and revere so deeply to-day our peace, our freedom from dis- 
turbing thought, from the besetting vice of questioning or in- 
vestigating. All we have to do now is ask and re-ask and affirm 
and re-affirm our Sacred Questions, so ably asked and answered 
so many centuries since by our noble forerunners, Bonehead V. 
and Dish Rag III. (Separate and prolonged applause at each 



2QO THE COURT OF PROGRESS 

name, during which Podunkus again slumbers, is feathered and 
clubbed and lifted to a sitting position.) Ah, yes! Ah, yesl 
The Questions the Questions. (He fumbles weakly about, 
while seven Dizzards hand him seven engrossed and gold-plated 
copies of the regulation Sacred Questions as made and provided 
for all such occasions. He stares at one feebly and continues.) 
Ah yes! Now I have them! The Questions the Questions, 
on which, as I was saying, are based, as on a rock, all our 
peace, security, freedom from thought; the very, indeed, pil- 
lows I mean pillars of our ease and comfort. The Sacred 
Questions! To be sure! Question One let me see Question 
One Question One (aside "Where is it?" A Dizzard points 
to it.) Question One is most important, the very corner-stone, 
I might say, of our undisturbed security and ease in thought- 
lessness. (Examines it closely.) It reads it reads Ah yes! 
Now I have it! "Have you kept the faith?" That's it. 
"Have you kept the faith?" To be sure! Have we kept it, I 
might say? Almost the most sacred of all our Questions! 
Have we kept the faith? (He mumbles feebly on.) That's it!. 
Have we kept the faith? 

THE iST, 3i6TH, 3727, 4728TH, (fcuTH, AND 7I78TH 
(Standing at attention and in unison.) 
We have, we have! 
We have, have, have! 

(They clog. Immense applause from the audience, lasting 
thirty minutes. The First and Second Readers read toothing 
passages.) 

THE MOONSHEES, ROCTOR-PROCTORS, GAMALIELS, 
ZADKIELS 

(Turning on the other side and imbibing souffle.) Excellent! 
Excellent! Couldn't be better! They have kept the faith! 
Most comforting. Ah! 

NOXUS PODUNKUS 

(Reclining and imbibing souffle.) Charming! Charming! 
Most sweet of them! The dear, dear things! They would 



THE COURT OF PROGRESS 291 

keep anything we asked them to! It is really too wonderful! 
(He sighs.) 

THE FEDERATED SPECTATORS 

(One hundred thousand strong.) Hey! Hey! Hey! Rah! 
Rah! Rah! Federated Republics forever! Long live the 
Court of Progress! (The cheering continues for fifteen min- 
utes.) 

NOXUS PODUNKUS 

(When comparative silence is restored^ and blinking his 
open eye.) Beautiful! Beautiful! It is as I thought! A 
wondrous scene! Now for Question Number let me see 
(eleven Dizzards point to the place) Ah, yes! To be sure! 
(Reads.) Question Number Two a wonderful question a 
deep and subtly devised question a question which, as I may 
say, has done as much as any of the others to persuade us to 
and keep us all in that happy and unquestioning frame of 
mind which, as we all know, we now so wisely seek to main- 
tain Souffle! Souffle! (he imbibes) a question the like of 
which is not to be found in any other sacred code the world has 
ever known and here, my dear fellow-Federationists (he 
raises a hand) t and here is it: Question Two Ah, yes! (reads) 
"Is it not true that all men are now honest, kind, true, moral, 
virtuous and wise?" (He pauses for breath and looks benignly 
about.) 

THE iST, 3i6TH, 372;TH, 4728TH, 6gi4TH, AND 7i;8TH 

(Jigging vigorously.) They are! They are! 
They rarr! rarr! rarrl 
(They walk on their hands.) 

NOXUS PODUNKUS 

Beautiful! Beautiful! Never have I heard such perfect 
teamwork! It is wonderful! Not so, my fellow Moonshees? 

(He turns.) 

THE MOONSHEES, PUNDITS, ZADKIELS, ETC. 

(Turning over and snoring.) Excellent! Couldn't be better! 
They do perfect work! (They each catch a wink of sleep.) 



292 THE COURT OF PROGRESS 

NOXUS PODUNKUS 

(Aroused and scratching the back of his neck, the while he 
eyes them feelingly.) It is too delightful! That I should 
have lived to have the exalted honor of presiding on so wonder- 
ful an occasion! But now for Question Three, my dears- 
Question Three another beautiful question (he fumbles fool- 
ishly about seeking the tablet. Seventeen Gizzards point to 
it.) Ah, yes! Ah, yes! Very difficult to manage all of 
these questions! But here it is! And now for Question Three 
a lovely question! A question lovely! I almost hate to read 
it and have it all over with! (Reads.) "And that all women 
are as pure as driven snow?" (Pauses and gazes about ecstati- 
cally, one hand up.) 

THE iST, 3i6TH, 37*7, 4728TH, 6914^, AND 7i;8TH 
(Executing cart-wheels in circles.) 

Aye! Aye! Aye! Aye! Aye! Aye! 
'Tis as easy to say as Pie! Pie! Pie! 
(They end by waving with their feet.) 

THE FEDERATED SPECTATORS 
Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! 
The world's now safe for ever and a day! 
(An hour of unbroken applause follows.) 

NOXUS PODUNKUS 

(As quiet is once more restored and he is dusted into semi- 
consciousness.) Quite so! Quite so! Forever and a day! 
Ah! And and (he looks about for his tablet and twenty- 
seven Dizzards hand him each a sacred plate.) and that- 
let me see Ah, yes! Question Four! Question Four! Here 
it is! (Reads.) "And that God is always on His Throne?" 
(He collapses from exhaustion.) 

THE iST, 3i6TH, 3727TH, 4728TH, 6QI4TH, AND 7i;8TH 

(Falling fiat on their backs.) 

He is! He is! It is so plain 
Upon His Throne He doth remain! 



THE COURT OF PROGRESS 293 

By day or night, in dark or light, 
We feel His presence shining bright I 

All's well with the world! 
(They roll to and fro in rows of one hundred each.) 

THE ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND SPECTATORS 
(Uproariously.) 

Hey! Hey! What a glorious day! 
Hey! Hey! What a glorious day! 

(The cheering is resumed for fifteen minutes more, during 
which ten vanloads of souffle are distributed.) 

NOXUS PODUNKUS 

(After order has been restored and surveying his associates 
of the Musnud sleepily.) Perfect! Perfect! or nearly so! 
Beautiful! I never saw anything so well done! Never! Such 
order! Such union! But let me see I believe these are all 
the questions to be asked of these divisions, are they not? 
(Looks about him helplessly and yet benignly. The fifty Diz- 
zards all rush together and confer. The Hoddy-Doddys ditto. 
The Zanys ditto. The Loobies and Gaberlunzies bite their 
nails, then rush together and mumble. The Moonshees sit up 
and confer with PODUNKUS. He proceeds.) Ah yes! 
As I was saying! Quite so! Quite so! Since, then, it is the 
opinion of the Associated Members of the Musnud that the 
report of the Descendant Sons and Daughters of Ancient and 
Honorable Free and Accepted Boy Scouts and And- (he reads 
the entire roster) seems to accord with the progress of the year 
as reported to us from all outlying sections of the Federation, 
and it is their wish that it be accepted and offered and en- 
grossed in the records of the Musnud as a true picture of the 
state and progress of the world for this year of our Lord A. D. 
3913, they will signify as much by saying "Aye," contrary, 
"Nay." The "Ayes" have it. The report of these excelling 
representatives is accepted and they are excused. (He falls 
back and into a deep sleep. The Moonshees do likewise.) 



294 THE COURT OF PROGRESS 

THE ONE HUNDRED MOONSHEES 
(Weakly, in their sleep). Soufflel Souffle! 

THE ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND SPECTATORS 
Hey! Hey! Hey! 'Tis a perfect day! 
'Tis a perfect day! 'Tis a perfect day! 
Hey! Hey! Hey! 'Tis a perfect day! 
(They cheer for one solid hour.) 

THE iST, 3i6TH, 372;TH, 4728TH, 6914, AND 7i;8TH 
(Ricochetting and executing triple hand-springs, the while 
SHISHMASH HASH HASH sidesteps and returns to the main 
stage entrance , left.) 

What pleasure, oh! What pleasure, oh! 
To know the world is perfect, so 
That never now by day or night 
Need any one feel fear or fright. 
(They zigzag gaily in ranks of one thousand and exit.) 

SHISHMASH HASH HASH 

(At the stage entrance, surveying one hundred and fifty 
divisions of Descendant Sons and Daughters of Ancient and 
Honorable Moving Picture Censors, Sabbath Day Observance 
Leaguers, Baptist and Methodist Evangelists, and Non-Smok- 
ers' Social Unionists, now ready and in marching order just 
outside the tent entrance. These have arranged themselves 
in battalions of two thousand each and are arrayed in snow- 
white frock coats, bright red silk hats, lavender pants 
or skirts, as the case may be, and carry bright brass drum- 
major batons. Numerous bands of Descendant and Amal- 
gamated Sons and Daughters of Ancient and Honorable Anti- 
Saloon Leaguers and Billysundays are arrayed in pink- 
flowered business suits and silver-green capes, carrying hatchets 
and bearing aloft the portrait of their patron saint, Mrs. Carrie 
Nation, who flourished A. D. 1884-1913, playing on silver and 
tin horns, wind instruments, hew gags and jew' sharps. These 
are preceded by cage-cars containing one each of Ossified 
Specimens of Anciet^t Cigarette Fiend, Simon-pure American 



THE COURT OF PROGRESS 295 

Bartender, Lewd Scenario Writer, Sabbath Day Breaker. The 
bands begin playing "All Hail the Peace Which Now Pre- 
vails!" As they enter, preceded by SHISHMASH HASH HASH 
with his head between his legs and walking on his hands to the 
Musnud, forty thousand members of the audience rise and 
stand on their heads. Another forty thousand sink to the floor 
between their seats and gasp. The five thousand Nizys pass 
swiftly among them administering souffle. The first and\ 
second readers read rapidly. SHISHMASH HASH HASH, 
landing on his feet as he reaches the Musnud and be- 
ginning to jig.) Will the High and Mighty Referendunces 
of the Federated Musnud of the World deign to notice 
these humble instruments of moral intercession here gathered 
from all parts of the world to testify at this great review to the 
blessings of peace, morality, fecundity and other social virtues? 
(As he says this he executes nine flip-flaps, whereat the great 
assemblage bursts into thunders of applause. The fifty Diz- 
zards on the Musnud leap on each other's necks as they whistle 
between their teeth. The one hundred Zanys rattle their wind- 
bags furiously. NOXUS PODUNKUS, being simultaneously 
beaten by four stuffed clubs and tickled by jour feather-dusters, 
while two Dizzards whistle in his ears, opens both eyes and 
looks blandly around.) 

NOXUS PODUNKUS 

(With a fat, ingratiating smile, as the uproar continues.) 
Are we now beholding more divisions of the unconquerable 
forces of Truth, Virtue, Justice, Sobriety and Righteousness? 
Good! Good! (He opens his mouth, which is immediately 
filled with souffle.) 

THE ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DIVISIONS 

(Cakewalking, shamble-shuffling and tossing their hatchets, 
batons, musical instruments, etc., aloft.) Hail I Hail! The 
end of shame! (They sing.) 

'Tis now that we with joy behold 
The earth of virtue yield fourfold 



296 THE COURT OF PROGRESS 

Of truth and right the crop is great 
Indeed, enough the world to sate! 

(Melody the same as "Behold the Power" To be sung with- 
out lining.) 

NOXUS PODUNKUS 

(Scratching one ear and making a supreme effort to think.) 
A charming sight! A charming sight! The world is indeed 
progressing! Allow us to congratulate you, my dears and dear- 
esses! Allow us! Allow us! Perfection is at hand ! It has been 
long in coming, but now, as I might say, it has reached its desti- 
nation. Souffle! Souffle! (A pannier is brought and fed him.) 
As I was saying to those last dear battalions who so gracefully 
testified to our Peace and Progress, Security and the like, it 
now becomes my duty to read from our revered and Sacred 
Questions the compendium, as you know, of all our Knowl- 
edge, Law, Intelligence^ Questions Five, Six, Seven and Eight 
I believe that is the allotted number, is it not? (Thirty-one 
Dizzards nod.) and as I do so will you please answer in unison 
so that all may know the world the universe indeed how 
well we understand, how firmly we know, believe, that which 
has brought us to our present state of peace and comfort, our 
ease of mind and body. (Reads.) Question Five Question 
Five ah yes! Just as I thought! (Reads, one hand up.) 
"There is a God, is there not? We know that, do we not?" 

THE ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DIVISIONS 
(Jabbing their batons into the ground, tossing them in the 
air and then catching them again.) 

There is! There is! We do! We do! 
What joy to know 'tis true, true, true! 
(At this ninety-nine Moonshees, who have risen to a sitting 
position, jail back, murmuring "Splendid! Splendid! Won- 
derjull" The Hoddy-Doddys exclaim the same thing and prac- 
tice at sword-play with their feather-dusters, while the Diz- 
zards play at leap-frog and the Zanys beat each other with 
their empty wind-bags. The five thousand Nizys plunge their 



THE COURT OF PROGRESS 297 

heads into the souffle but withdraw them quickly and ladle 
out cones to the mass. The two thousand Loobies and Gaber- 
lunzies read many enchanting passages as the audience ap- 
plauds, after which the Dizzards resume normal positions and 
lay about them with their stuffed clubs.) 

NOXUS PODUNKUS 

(Scratching his nose and making another great effort to 
think, the while he beats the ratting before him.) Ah, yes! 
That is it! "There is! We do!" It is on our knowledge of 
that that we rest so peacefully, all else being of no importance. 
(Reads.) Question Six (pauses) "He is on His Throne, 
is He not? We know that, do we not?" 

THE ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DIVISIONS 
(Jigging) He is! He is! We do! We do' 
This truth is ever new and true! 

NOXUS PODUNKUS 

(Sinking into his pillows and peacefully closing his eyes.) 
Quite so! Quite so! We need that knowledge to sustain us in 
our present ease. It is so comforting! As I often say, what 
would we do without our dear Questions? (He falls asleep. 
Seven Dizzards and seven Hoddy-Doddys club and feather 
him. He resumes.) And now for ah yes! let me see Ques- 
tion Question (various Dizzards gather about him and point) 
Ah, yes! Seven Question Seven! (Ecstatically.) Let me 
read this to you, this beautiful Question, the answer to which, 
as I so often say, reassures us all so much, keeps us all so 
sweet and content, always. (Raises one hand.) "All is well 
with the world, is it not? We know that, do we not? It is, 

is it not?" Come now, all together One, Two, Three 

THE ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DIVISIONS 
Yea ho! Yea ho! Yea, Bo! Yea, Bo! 
A truer thing we do not know! 
(They fall to the ground and roll rapturously to and fro.) 

NOXUS PODUNKUS 
(As wave on wave of applause sweeps over the pavilion and 



298 THE COURT OF PROGRESS 

bags out the sides and top, leaning forward and opening one 
eye.) 'Tis beautifully said! Beautifully said! A perfect 
answer to a perfect Question! A wonderful testimony to the 
ever upwardness and onwardness of things! It is almost more 
than one could hope for than any one can hope for! And 
now, my dears and dearesses, comes Question (looks at the 
tablet while all the Dizzards lean and point) Question Eight, 
a very, very great Question, a Question which, as I always say, 
has undoubtedly more than any other Question brought us at 
last to this very perfect and peaceful state, in which we rest as, 
I might say, a babe in its cradle, as a a Souffle! (he is fed). 
Here it is: "How is it that we know that God is on His Throne 
and all is well with the world? How is it?" Can't you see 
how important that is, how wonderful? Come now! We must 
have a perfect and compelling answer to this! All together 
One, Two, Three! (Leans forward expectantly, intently.) 
THE ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DIVISIONS 
Our hearts, our hearts, they tell us so 
What is it that our hearts don't know! 
(Each places a hand over his heart.) 

NOXUS PODUNKUS 

(Falling back on seven pillows and taking a deep breath.) 
Beautiful! Beautiful! Even so! And given as it should be! 
Let me hear you say that again, my dears and dearesses! Let 
me hear it again! (They repeat it, waving pink handkerchiefs. 
The audience bursts into deafening applause lasting seventy- 
eight minutes. The Loobies and Gaberlunzies leap in the air, 
turn three somersaults before landing, and fall on their feet. 
Five thousand wirelesses are sent. NOXUS PODUNKUS, fall- 
ing back and strangling with joy.) This is too much! Too 
much! Who can say now that the world has not progressed! 
(He is lifted up, feathered and doused with souffle.) With the 
consent of my fellow Moonshees (looks about him affably at the 
sleeping Moonshees), I will now excuse these very good people. 
(Feeble calls of "Beautiful! Beautiful/" and "Let them be ex- 



THE COURT OF PROGRESS 299 

cused!" from the Moonshees.) You may go, my dears and 
dearessesl You may go! (He collapses.) 

THE ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DIVISIONS 

(Executing a flank movement and assuming an open forma- 
tion five hundred abreast and marching briskly away, twirling 
their batons and wagging their heads.) All hail the power of 
Podunks' name! (They exit. Enter seven thousand Union 
Astronomers and four thousand Federated College Philosophers 
in close formation, all in green knee pants, white spike tail- 
coats and blue silk hats. The Astronomers carry green tele- 
scopes instead of canes. The Philosophers are all chewing tutti- 
frutti. They are preceded by cage-cars containing each one 
Specimen of Ossified and Ancient and Unmoral Stoic, Nietzsch- 
ean f Pragmatist, Anti-Christ, Chemist and Physicist.) 
SHISHMASH HASH HASH 

(Preceding them and climbing up the feather pole of a 
Hoddy-Doddy he has seized.) The Union Astronomers, your 
Referendunces! The Federated College Philosophers, your 
Referendunces! (He leaps and tumbles three times around the 
arena, holding his toes with his hands.) 

THE ONE HUNDRED HODDY-DODDYS 

(Pole-vaulting over the procession as it approaches.) The 
Union Astronomers, your Referendunces! The Federated 
Moral College Philosophers! (The Dizzards give an exhibi- 
tion of feather-club swallowing. The five thousand Nizys each 
juggle nine ice-cream cones in the air.) 

THE SEVEN THOUSAND UNION ASTRONOMERS 

(Marching to "Oh, Believe Me If All Those Endearing 
Young Charms," and doing a hop, skip and jump as they near 
the Musmid.) 

The universe is moral! The universe is moral! 

'Tis as true 'tis as true 
As that a green horse isn't sorrel ! 

(One-half the division stand on their heads, the others on 
their feet.) 



3oo THE COURT OF PROGRESS 

THE FIFTY DIZZARDS 

(Receiving souffle handed up by the Nizys below. In chorus.) 
"The universe is moral! The universe is moral! 

'Tis as true 'tis as true 
As that a green horse isn't sorrel ! " 

THE ELEVEN THOUSAND PHILOSOPHERS AND 

ASTRONOMERS 

(In chorus) Hail ! Hail ! The Comet's Tail ! 
All is well! All is swell! 
Never was there an age like this! 
(They wave their feet or hands, as the case may be.) 

NOXUS PODUNKUS 

(Rising on one elbow and rubbing his eyes.) What! What! 
More? What have we here? The Union Astronomers, you 
say? The Federated College Philosophers? Excellent! A fine 
body of men, indeed! And, as you say, the universe is moral. 
Very, very, very moral. One of the most moral universes I 
have ever known. (Scratches an ear and sinks into his cushions, 
but the nearest Dizzards lift him up.) 

SHISHMASH HASH HASH 

(Excitedly touching his toes with his hands nine times.) The 
Questions, your Noble Referendunce! The Sacred Questions! 

NOXUS PODUNKUS 

(Heavily and benignly.) Ah, yes! Ah, yes! The Sacred 
Questions! It is not intention, but memory, that seems to fail 
me. Quite so the Sacred Questions! (He takes one of fifty 
plates offered him and examines it closely.) Ah yes! Here it 
is! One of the most significant and wonderful questions that 
has ever been planned, I think, to ease our minds and comfort 
us. (Reads.) Question Nine: "Is it not true that the universe 
is ordained for Truth, Justice, Virtue, Mercy, Tenderness, 
Purity?" (His voice trails off in utter exhaustion.) 

THE SEVEN THOUSAND UNION ASTRONOMERS 
(Doing a light come-all-ye and waving red bandana hand- 
kerchiefs.) 



THE COURT OF PROGRESS 301 

It is I It is! We know! We know! 
The stars we see, they tell us so! 

THE FOUR THOUSAND COLLEGE PHILOSOPHERS 
(Masticating their gum vigorously.) 

It is! It is I Hail, loud and long! 
Our works, they sing the same sweet song! 
(Loud and prolonged cheering by the audience. Wirelesses 
are sent to the waiting world. The Dizzards gnaw excitedly 
at their feather-clubs, then do a double-quick clog. The two 
thousand Loobies and Gaberlunzies read many, many soothing 
passages. The Nizys dole out souffle.) 

NOXUS PODUNKUS 

(Biting his nails and crossing his legs.) So! Quite so! The 
stars tell us! It couldn't be different! And now, my dears 
(sighs from weariness), for the Tenth Great Question one of 
those beautiful things that I always love to read and re-read. 
The most important one, I always think, in so far as astronomy 
is concerned, that has ever been devised. A Question so per- 
fect that, when we pause to consider its absolute truthfulness 
and perfection, answers fully oh, so fully! all our astro- 
nomical needs. (Reads.) "Are not the stars maintained in 
their courses in order that man may progress and be moral?" 
(He contemplates a fly which has lit on the end of his nose.) 

THE UNION ASTRONOMERS 

(Juggling their telescopes after the manner of a shillalah and 
doing a come-all-ye.) 

They are! They are! The stars, they say 
That man to truth is on his way! 

THE COLLEGE PHILOSOPHERS 
(Catching hands and dancing around in a circle.) 
The Universe was made for man 
And man for good, by God's dear plan! 
(They slap each other on the back.) 



302 THE COURT OF PROGRESS 

NOXUS PODUNKUS 

(Rolling back in ecstasy and smearing his face with souffle.) 
Lovely! Lovely! "The stars they say!" This certainly is 
the most inspiring session we have ever had! Such unity of 
feeling! Such innate wisdom! Surely the waiting world must 
realize now how completely we have progressed how abso- 
lutely (he sinks to his pillows and is lifted to a sitting posi- 
tion by the Dizzards, who place the tablet in his hand, while 
the Moonshees turn over and murmur "Excellent! Excellent!" 
The wireless operators send out five thousand messages. PO- 
DUNKUS pulls himself together and continues.) And now, my 
dear children and now comes one of the keenest, the most 
searching really, of all the Great and Sacred Questions made 
and provided for these immortal occasions and handed down to 
us by our renowned and dear bygone leaders and saints, Bone- 
head V. and Dish Rag III. Really, when I stop to think of 
their great work for mankind, when (he sinks back and the 
Hoddy-Doddys proceed to dust him off) Ah yes! Ah, yes! 
Question Eleven almost the most wonderful, the most impor- 
tant of all (reads) "How how," so it reads, "do we know 
that, me good men? How? (He smiles and waits expectantly , 
one finger up.) How do we know? That is the famous, the 
keenest and most searching of all the Twelve Sacred Questions. 
How? 

THE SEVEN THOUSAND UNION ASTRONOMERS 
(Telescope to eye and weaving in and out in a wild dance.) 
Our hearts, they tell us! We can hear 
This truth they whisper, year by year! 
(They kiss each other on each cheek.) 

THE FOUR THOUSAND COLLEGE PHILOSOPHERS 
(In chorus, and doing a hop, skip and jump.) 
Our hearts do tell us! We do know 
Besides, our Astronomers do say so! 

(They swallow their gum. The multitude breaks into tu- 
multuous applause, which lasts for one hour, during which one 



THE COURT OF PROGRESS 303 

thousand messages are sent out and five thousand more wash- 
boilers of souffle are consumed.) 

NOXUS PODUNKUS 

(Aiming at the fly and missing it.) Ah! Ah! Could the 
world wish for anything more more enlightening? Our 
hearts tell us! Oh, dear! Our dear Astronomers and Col- 
lege Philosophers stand in absolute accord as to this! Won- 
derful! Wonderful! (Turning to the Musnud.) I am sure 
that you, my dear fellow Moonshees and Savants, must be 
greatly impressed and inspired by this! It is what we all so 
much wish to hear, always! (PODUNKUS rolls over on his 
side, while the Moonshees turn over and murmur "Excellent! 
Exquisitely put I Couldn't be better!" The Union Astronomers 
and College Philosophers now march off singing, "Hail! Hail! 
The Gang's all here!" the Philosophers weeping on each 
other's necks for joy while the Astronomers wig-wag the song 
with their telescopes. The Moonshees, Zadkiels, etc., squeak 
jeebly for souffle. 

(Enter forty-eight divisions of five hundred each of Descend- 
ant Sons and Daughters of Ancient and Honorable Anti-Vice 
Crusaders, Prison Visitation Leaguers, Moral Prophylaxers, An- 
ti-Contraceptionists, Eugenic Sires and Women Magazine Edi- 
tors, in green, yellow and blue burnouses and pink papier-mache 
casques, fox-trotting as they come. An immense banner of 
Chinese silk and Australian wool mixed [symbolic of the gen- 
eral sequacity, tranquillity, plasticity, yet not to say florescence 
or flaccidity which now hovers over all the world} is carried 
before. This same contains a pale representation of a jail, such 
as existed in former centuries when the world was evil, but now 
[in the picture], in order to symbolize the present peace and 
progress of the world, crumbled and covered with vines and 
spiderwebs, while jour angels of peace, one at each corner, hold 
up palms of victory. They are preceded by cage-cars con- 
taining each one Specimen of Ossified and Ancient White- 
Slaver, Gambler, Thief and Predatory Rich. As they approach, 



304 THE COURT OF PROGRESS 

the Loobies, Gaberlunzies, Nizys and Zanys bustle hither and 
thither among the audience, the former reading, the latter call- 
ing for silence and explaining the exact significance of the 
symbol while they ladle out souffle. On and before the Musnud 
the Eoddy-Doddys and Dizzards hover over NOXUS and the 
Moonshees, who have fallen into a sound sleep. Two thousand 
members of the Inter-Federated Association of Inter-Asiatic 
Descendant Sons and Daughters of Ancient and Honorable 
Eugenic Sires approach first, the men wearing green Zouave 
trousers, white silk overcoats and blue shakos. They carry lil- 
ies. The ladies are wrapped in nine layers of pink asbestos 
each one inch thick and carry poisoned hatpins. After charg- 
ing and counter-charging they form a square in front of the 
Musnud, the ladies stacking hatpins, the men presenting lilies.) 
SHISHMASH HASH HASH 

(Tumbling back from the entryway where he has been super- 
vising the general formation of the new division.) Your 
Referendunces! Your Referendunces! Look, oh look! The 
Inter-Federated Association of Inter-Asiatic Descendant Sons 
and Daughters of Eugenic Sires crave the honor of approaching 
and testifying before this great Court as to what Progress has 
done for them! Your Referendunces! 

THE ONE HUNDRED HODDY-DODDYS 

(Ranging in a line and presenting arms with their feather- 
dusters.) 

Oh, never, never has there been 
A sight to equal this, we ween! 

Glorious! 
(They clog, and chatter their teeth.) 

THE MEMBERS OF THE INTER- FEDERATED ASSOCIA- 
TION OF INTER-ASIATIC DESCENDANT SONS AND 

DAUGHTERS 

(Pirouetting and bowing to each other.) 
'Tis six full centuries at least 
Since un-Eugenic weddings ceased; 



THE COURT OF PROGRESS 305 

And now each youth and maid you see 

Is married full Eugenic-ly. 

In us behold the perfect fruitage 

That followed on the former brute-age! 
(They ring-around-the-rosy.) 

NOXUS PODUNKUS 

(Lifted to a sitting position by the Dizzards, tickled with 
feather-dusters, beaten with wind-bags and doused with ice- 
water until he opens his eyes.) What a sight! A beautiful 
sight, I mean! My word! O never, my celebrated and asso- 
ciated Referendunces (he turns to them) have I seen so much 
beauty and virtue! Never! So much modesty! So much 
much everything! Really this is the worst I mean best 
I ever saw! This in itself is a complete refutation of that foul 
charge, once so common, that the world was in danger of not 
progressing. Look! Behold! O Progress, where is thy sting? 
(He* collapses, calling for souffle, but is bolstered up and ice- 
water poured over him.) 

ONE HUNDRED EUGENIC MAIDS 

(In pink Mother Hubbards and green Quaker bonnets. Step- 
ping forward and sinking on one knee, hands on their chins. 
They sing.) 

It is our duty to attest 

How by Eugenics we are blest! 

O 'tis a wondrous art divine, 

Which causes all the world to shine I 

NOXUS PODUNKUS 

(Leaning over the railing and eying them closely.) Really! 
This is the limit I mean almost too much too much! Sweet 
maids! Dear sweet maids! This spectacle of the perfect 
fruitage of Progress under the great moral care of our fore- 
fathers blessed be the name of the ever-to-be-remembered An- 
thony! (he bows, and the audience with him) is all but too 
much! Progress can do no more! I would, if any service 
which the mere sight of you does not render could render 



3 o6 THE COURT OF PROGRESS 

ask you the Twelfth and final Question, but what would be the 
use? How well we know the import of your message, even 
before you speak! How well we know the import of you your- 
selves wonderful creatures that you are! (They bow their 
heads.) This vast assemblage, which in itself is a testimony to 
the value of Eugenics, understands full well that by the prac- 
tice of Eugenics alone all weakness, vice, crime, art, philosophy 
(except that which our dear Union Astronomers and Federated 
Philosophers instinctively know and proclaim) , the need of 
white-slave laws, saloons, the theater all, all have long since 
been done away with, so that we have now the most of 
us, I am glad to say not even so much as an historic memory 
of them. Indeed, as we all know, on this once most unsafe but 
now safest of planets (applause lasting seventeen minutes ) t 
men and women are now as safe and perfect and pure as ever 
our worthy forefathers could have dreamed of or desired. Why, 
to look at you alone is enough! (He sighs and rests.) 

Dear Eugenic citizens and citizenesses, without taxing you 
further with these deep and brain-racking questions, so sacred 
to us all of course, the one message of this great Court to you is 
to go and do as you have always done: think no more than is 
absolutely necessary. Don't tax your brains. This, our great 
Federation of Commission-Ruled Republics, is here to do all 
that for you (the Moonshees stir). The less we know the 
better, as we all know. (Long and loud applause lasting eight- 
een minutes.) In former and darker, and therefore sadder, 
times, there were many who thought differently. But they and 
all those who were a part of them have long since been disposed 
of. (Long and uproarious applause.) And is not, I now ask 
you, the world happier, fairer, sweeter to the eye and the mind? 
(Cries of "Hear! Hear!" and "Yea! Yea!" lasting two hours.) 
Now, dear Eugenic citizens, you need only consider how 
thoughtless you are and therefore how happy in these sweet 
exercises and games such as we see here to-day which contribute 
only to the sustenance, docility and fertility of man, to know 



THE COURT OF PROGRESS 307 

how true all this is. Be thoughtless. Be happy. And by so 
being, as I always think, you contribute and testify to the ef- 
ficiency of Truth, Virtue, Justice, Mercy, Sobriety, Love, Beau- 
ty, Simplicity, Peace (he collapses from sheer exhaustion.) 
Souffle! Souffle! (A bucket of souffle is brought and adminis- 
tered.) 

THE ONE HUNDRED MAIDS 

(Wishing not to tire their noble Referendunces, singing in 
chorus.) 

O, sweet Eugenic thought to know 
That our dear Noxus loves us so! 
(They fall back in the ranks.) 

(Enter fifteen thousand Descendant Sons and Daughters of 
Ancient and Honorable Anti-White Slavers of the pre-Feder- 
ated Period (A. D. 1870-1927), in green-and-white kilts and 
galligaskins, with perukes and billy-cocks on their heads. 
They march swiftly forward, an expression of grim determina- 
tion historically correct on their faces, and pause before the 
Musnud. Over their left arms, after the fashion of the world's 
great Anti-White-Slave Leaders and in accordance with his- 
torical descriptions of the same, hang immense mantles of dark 
green bed-ticking intended to shield naked fleeing white slaves. 
Over their shoulders are carried papier-mache broadaxes of the 
kind known to have been used by all Anti-White-Slavers, male 
and female, in felling the enemy. These they occasionally 
brandish as they walk. At their belts hang lanterns, files, skele- 
ton keys, medicine kits containing concentrated food pills, digi- 
talis and the like, all intended for the rescue and resuscitation 
of overcome white slaves. Their eyelids and mouths are 
painted a bright cerise to give a look of extra vigor and force, 
and as they walk, one hundred abreast, they peer to right and 
left in the most searching and secretive and yet detecting way 
from beneath their hands, and occasionally flash their dark 
lanterns on the surrounding spectators.) 



3 o8 THE COURT OF PROGRESS 

SHISHMASH HASH HASH 

(Leaping up and cracking his heels nine times before de- 
scending.) Your Referendunces! Your Referendunces! We 
have here the only living Descendant Sons and Daughters of 
Ancient and Honorable American Anti- White Slavers the or- 
ganization which in its day gave rise laid the foundation, as 
it were, of our present great and perfect World Federation, over 
which at present your Referendunces are so ably presiding. It 
claims to be the only existing organization that preserves in all 
their purity the customs, manners and instincts of the original 
pre-Federated Anti- White-Slavers of seven and eight centuries 
since. I beg of your Referendunces I beg of you! on this 
very special occasion I know you are tired Will your Refer- 
endunces be pleased to receive them? (He runs swiftly around 
in a ring and falls over three extended feather-dusters. NOXUS 
PODUNKUS groans. The Moonshees moan.) 
THE ONE HUNDRED ZANYS 

(Dancing on before them and rattling their wind-bags.) The 
Anti-White-Slavers! The Anti-White-Slavers! Look! Behold! 
THE FIFTY DIZZARDS 

(Beating the Moonshees with feather-clubs and whistling be- 
tween their teeth.) Awake! Awake! (The Moonshees stir 
feebly and call for souffle. By the aid of a dozen gallons of 
ice-water NOXUS PODUNKUS is once more aroused and now 
surveys the approaching procession, which marches about the 
arena and back to the Musnud.) 

NOXUS PODUNKUS 

(Scratching his left ear and surveying the assembled throng.) 
What more? Oh! Well, welcome, noble citizens! Welcome! 
I see by your brows that you possess the unconquerable love of 
Liberty, Virtue, Truth, Justice, Beauty, etc., so necessary to 
the happy maintenance of our present Federated condition. 
(He collapses and more souffle is administered. Recovering.) 
Stick to it! What supreme comfort it must be to you and your 
exceedingly courageous ancestors to know that our very happy 



THE COURT OF PROGRESS 309 

present condition is almost entirely due to them their noble 
deeds of valor performed in order that we might become so 
so (he coughs). What supreme deeds would not you now, I 
am sure (they brandish their battleaxes) gladly perform were 
it not that fortunately all provocation had long since been done 
away with. (Loud cheering. All the Nizys, Zanys, Noddy- 
DoddySj etc., walk on their hands.) Night after night in the 
wilds of the great cities of those far-off centuries, now so hap- 
pily past, did your forefathers fearlessly and tirelessly seek out 
the enslavers of resisting and lovely womanhood and battle to 
the death with those who would have corrupted our worthy 
sires I mean siresses Souffle! (he imbibes) performing 
astounding and now almost unbelievable feats of valor, felling 
the vile and rapacious enslaver to the plain and chopping him 
to bits, leaving us, their humble descendants, little if anything 
to do save revere and historically represent the marvels which 
they then performed. (Immense and prolonged cheering. Eight 
thousand wireless messages are sent forth.) Literature, by their 
aid, as we all well know, has at last been completely done away 
with. (Riotous applause.) Profane art in all its forms and all 
its seductive wiles has long since ceased. (The audience shouts 
for one hour.) The vile newspapers of ancient days (innumer- 
able swells of booing and cat-calling) , wont to chronicle only 
the private and social vices of unregenerate man, now, thanks 
to the unremitting toil of those who had only the moral regen- 
eration of the world in view, its true spiritual progress (pro- 
longed and enduring applause), chronicle only the sweet mes- 
sages of hope and cheer by which we sustain each other in our 
happy state Souffle! Souffle! (He dips his head in a pan- 
nier. The audience cheers for one hour.) Now we are not 
troubled with politics, armies, or any vile evidences of com- 
mercial strife and contest. (More applause.) Nothing dis- 
turbs us in any way! Could we ask more? (Cries of "Hear! 
Hear!") As I was saying to those dear creatures who just left, 
our beloved Eugenic citizens and citizenesses, we need now only 



310 THE COURT OF PROGRESS 

concern ourselves with the simple arts of peace and pleasure as 
we here see manifest in this great assemblage. On you, there- 
fore, more than on any other group which at this time could 
come before this august Court to testify to the Truth, Peace, 
Virtue, Sequacity and Docility of our present world-realm, de- 
volves, as lineal descendants of these our great sires, the sweet 
task of keeping bright the memory of their great deeds. I am 
sure that you, my dears and dearesses, by maintaining so earn- 
est a stand against all thought of any kind, by persisting in your 
aversion to moral heresies of all sorts and indeed learning and 
science in every form, and by your persistent and industrious 
mutilation and destruction of all profane facts, so long the 
curse of society (loud cries of "Down with all facts/"), will 
succeed I know you will! in keeping the world as fresh and 
pure and innocent as on the day it was made. (Cries of "Yes, 
yes" and "we will, we will" Applause for one hour.) Souffle! 
Souffle! (He is fed.) Cruel, disturbing thought, that one 
great curse of humanity in its earlier ages must never be al- 
lowed to trouble us again. (Immense applause.) And since, by 
what processes of hardy non-thinking only our revered ances- 
tors know, profound peace has at last been reached, I caution 
you, O my fellow-citizens, let not a single irritating disturbing 
fact ever again impinge upon the sweet idealism and mental 
slumber which now reigns. Behold our happy Dizzards! (They 
wiggle their stuffed clubs.) Could any of the so-called and 
boasted mental processes of former ages have produced them? 
(They walk on their hands.) And our dear Zanys! (They rattle 
their wind-bags.) What would our great peaceful Federation be 
without them? (They beat each other over the head.) Or 
our graceful Nizys! (They take up wash-boilers of souffle and 
ladle it right and left solemnly.) The gentility and whole- 
heartedness of their service! (They playfully pelt each other 
with cones filled with souffle.) Or our kindly Hoddy-Doddys! 
(They vault.) What more could humanity desire in the shape 
of perfect and helpful men? (They leap on each other's backs 



THE COURT OF PROGRESS 311 

and fall gracefully to the floor.) When I contemplate these, 
and this great audience (profound applause lasting seventeen 
minutes), and these our assembled cohorts of Virtue, Truth, 
Justice, Mercy (more applause, lasting one hour), come here 
from all parts of the known world to testify to the great 
fundamental truths which have made them so, I (At this 
point the great audience rises en masse and cheers for one hour, 
seventeen and one-half minutes and thirteen seconds. Rival 
groups of Descendant Sons and Daughters of Ancient and Hon- 
orable Anti-White-Slavers, Anti-Vivisectionists, Anti-Contra- 
ceptionists, Bitty Sundays, Eugenic Sires, Anti-Saloon Leaguer s y 
Watch and Ward Guards, King's Daughters, Free and Accepted 
Boy Scouts, etc., rush forward and seize upon the cages con- 
taining the only remaining specimens of Gambler, Saloon- 
keeper, Predatory Financier, Philosopher, Magdalen, Vivisec- 
tionist, Madam, Nietzschean and other early examples of now 
nearly or quite extinct miscreants or papier-mache representa- 
tions of the same, and haul them before the Musnud amid the 
cheering, hee-hawing, cat-calling of the audience. The Zanys, 
Nizys, Dizzards, Loobies, Hoddy-Doddys, Gaberlunzies and 
Fuddys, forgetting their regular duties, spin, squeal, play at 
leap-frog, beat each other with feather-dusters and wind-bags. 
Various regiments of Descendant Sons and Daughters of 
Ancient and Honorable Feminists, Professors of Christian 
Economy, Prohibitionists, Socialists, etc., who have not yet had 
the privilege of parading and testifying before the Musnud, 
crowd the entryways, swarm the aisles and so obstruct the 
peaceful and orderly development of the proceedings of the 
Court that, in view of this and because ordinarily the pro- 
ceedings consume from twenty to thirty days anyhow, so great 
is the anxiety of all to testify to the magnificent progress of 
the world since vice and crime have been done away with, 
NOXUS PODUNKUS, now thoroughly awake and after due 
counsel with the ninety-nine other Moonshees, Savants, Roctor- 
Proctors, Pundits, Theorists, Zadkiels, Seers, Oracles, Solons, 



3 i2 THE COURT OF PROGRESS 

Nestors, Gamaliels, Daniels, etc., also disturbed in their slum- 1 
bers, decides that, all things considered, and notwithstanding, it * 
were as well if the taking of testimony were to be discon-'\ 
tinned for this day, and to this end, after various signs, grunt s^ 
squeals, motions to the Zanys, Dizzards, Nizys, ,oobiesk, 
Hoddy-Doddys, Gaberlunzies, Fuddys, etc., the latter are I 
brought to their senses and through them the audience calmed. J 
(It was then that NOXUS PODUNKUS, speaking for the 1 
Musnud, announced that the proceedings for this day were I 
hereby ended and that the Court stood adjourned until the fol- i 
lowing morning at ten o'clock; after which SHISHMASH 
HASH HASH, as Master of Ceremonies, Chairmaster, etc., led 
the outgoing throng with a magnificent example of rotary 
hand-spring motion. At this point, also, owing to lack of 
space and by reason of the fact that enough is as good as a 
{east, the humble recording Dramatist quits and the curtain 
is hereby draum on this historic scene. For those, however, 
who desire a fuller report of the same, it may be found in 
Volumes MMCCCIH, MMMMMMMMCCCLLVI, Proceed- 
ings of the Federated Court of Progress [Moline-Emporia-Se- 
dalia Sittings] for the years 39i3-'i4-'i5, NOXUS PODUN- 
KUS presiding; SHISHMASH HASH HASH, Secretary and 
Master of Ceremonies.) 



Curtain. 




THE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY 
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA CRUZ 



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