Read CHAPTER X - More of the Salon of An Anarchist Woman , free online book, by Hutchins Hapgood, on ReadCentral.com.

“I have been imagining you in Paris,” wrote Marie, “having a delightful, bohemian time. My ideas of Paris are all derived from reading Balzac, who has certainly created the most delightful, gay and mysterious, sad, mystic, sordid, everything one could wish in a city of dreams and realities.

“When Terry brought me ‘Evelyn Innes,’ by George Moore, the other day, I dug into it with zeal and delight, and was surprised and pleased with his subtle psychology, during the first part of the story; but psychology can be carried to the point where it becomes incomprehensible, stupefying and monotonous. I finally grew indescribably weary of the problems of Evelyn’s soul, but I kept on to the end, and then sank back on my pillow exhausted. I think I shall stop reading for a while, lest I have literary indigestion. I’ll try to be satisfied for the time with Swinburne and Shelley. Our anarchistic poet lectured on Shelley, the Poet of Revolution, the other night, and I was disappointed. He did not do justice to Shelley either as a revolutionary poet or as a poet of beauty. I think Shelley should be spoken of with a delicate passion, which our anarchist poet lacks. He tried hard to speak with fervour, but there is no fire in him, and what is a poet without fire? Perhaps it was as well, for what’s the use in casting pearls before swine? For the critics in the audience arose and condemned Shelley because he was a socialist, or because he was not one. Some of these critics seized upon the word libidinous. Oh! there was their clue! The lecturer arose like an outraged moralist to repudiate the scandalous charge of libidinousness. I was so disgusted I vowed I would never go to another meeting.

“I have indeed been going to so many ‘humanity lectures,’ and clubs, such as the Shelley Club, where the divine anarchist B misinterprets the great bard every week to his flock of female admirers, and had been reading so much Swinburne and other sublime things that recently I have had a reaction, and there is nothing now at the Salon except Nietzsche. He is a relief, although I feel that if I were to keep on with him I should go mad. When I feel my brain begin to turn, I start scrubbing or some other stupid thing.

“Though Nietzsche says some very bitter things about women, who have no place whatever in his scheme of things, except perhaps for the relaxation of the warriors, yet there is something dignified in his very denunciation. His attitude toward our sex is so different from that of Schopenhauer, and many other philosophers. They usually take the ’rag and a bone and a hank of hair’ attitude, and are disgusting. But Nietzsche warns men that women are dangerous, and danger, in Nietzsche’s philosophy, is a sublime thing. Also, we must become the mothers of his Overmen.

“Terry, too, is much interested just now in Nietzsche; quite naturally, for Terry is one of those ‘men of resolute indolence’ who will not work without delight in his labour. He talks a great deal just now of a plan to seek some cave and there try to become an ‘Overman.’ I pointed out to him that that was difficult, for to become an Overman he must of course ‘keep holy his highest thought,’ without being disturbed by the struggle for existence, and that, like Zarathustra, he must have an eagle and a serpent to minister to his wants. And I suggested that I might be his eagle, for Zarathustra says that woman is still either a cat or a bird or at best a cow. I prefer to believe that I am a bird, and as such could minister to my sweet Overman. But Terry wouldn’t have it so, and replied that of course I was a bird, in a way, but he would rather have me as a pussy, or as a combination of cat, bird, and cow. I thought that too cruel, so now I am determined to be none of them, but to become an Overwoman, and so be a fitting relaxation for my warrior, my Overman. ’Tis but a step from the sublime to the ridiculous, and I think, in this letter, I have made that step.”

Marie’s moods are many, and in her next letter she wrote in quite a different vein:

“I almost wept when reading your letter about the baby. Perhaps it was because of the line, ‘A little daughter was born to me.’ It recalled to me this Christmas time many years ago when I was a little child and I heard the story of the little Jesus. ‘And unto us a child was born.’ How those words ring in my ears! So vividly come back to me the pity I felt when I heard the story of the poor little infant born to be crucified. It always made me cry out of pity, the pity of it all! And I wonder if we are not all, all of us, born to be crucified.

“But I suppose I must congratulate you on assuming the responsibility of fatherhood for the third time. You might long ago have studied pre-natal influences and the rights of the unborn. I hope you have not neglected these sacred duties. It surprised me that you wished for a girl, for not long ago you expressed the opinion that women were soulless creatures without memory! Suppose your daughter should not be an exception, how would you feel then?... You have been very active. As for me, I fear my only activity will be that of a dreamer. I differ from the dreaming class only in one respect and that is, in making confidences, which dreamers never do. They shrivel up into themselves. They usually create their own sorrows, which have no remedy except the joys they also invent. They are natural only when alone, and talk well only to themselves.”

In the same letter she plunges into the gossip of the Salon:

“I don’t blame Scott for his carelessness. The poor fellow has been suffering terribly because of his wife, who has left him and gone off with a new love to a new home. Scott has been quite heroic about it, but he suffers. You know how in our radical society men and women try to deny that they are jealous, try to give freedom to each other. But whatever our ideas may be, we cannot control our fundamental instincts, and poor Scott is now a wounded thing, I can assure you. But he speaks beautifully of his wife even packed up her things for her and escorted her to the new place.

“Scott came here the other night with your friend the journalist, Fiske, who has become quite a part of our little society. I am sorry to say that he is quite sad, too, but for a different reason. The poor fellow seems to be suffering from lack of literary inspirations. He has a habit of asking people what shall he write about. He asks Terry, and even me, and in pity I am trying to write up the old women in our tenement for him....

“I see a good deal of Thompson and his wife Minna. Now that Thompson, who was a famous radical, is more prosperous, he is growing careful and conservative. The glory of her husband is reflected in Minna. I don’t call at their home so much as I did, because I made what they call a break there the other day. I thoughtlessly introduced myself as Miss L to someone of his relatives or relatives’ friends, after she had already introduced me as Mrs. C . And Thompson informed me next day that it was inconvenient to explain such things to conservative people, and that I ought to be more careful in dealing with the unenlightened ones. I suppose I ought to think more of the reputation of my friends.”

Marie likes the Jews of the Salon, many of them, very much, but there are some she doesn’t, as the following shows:

“Things are rather dead in the ‘movement,’ just now. But there is something doing among the Jewish radicals, who, you know, are very important in any radical movement here in Chicago. No wonder things are lively when the Jews have such a leader as Mr. Kohen, whom one might believe to be the long wanted Messiah, destined to lead his race into the promised land, which is evidently Chicago. There was a hot time about three weeks ago in the Masonic Temple meeting when this modern prophet demonstrated to us who were not Jews that they (he and his friends) were the chosen people who would not only liberate themselves but also us from the yoke of capitalist oppression; and contrary to all previous rules, they would do this without any consideration of moneys; all that Mr. Kohen expected in return was due appreciation. I suppose I ought to be grateful to Mr. Kohen, but somehow I am not. I ought, too, to be grateful to our Jewish Madonna, Esther, but there again I am not. Poor girl! she is really the Madonna of the Chicago movement. All the sorrows and troubles of the Salon rest upon her poor shoulders, and she silently suffers, sacrifices and redeems. Then there is little Sara, another chosen one. It is she who is chosen to make men miserable for the good of their souls. She has been very pensive since the great poet B left, for now she has no one to worry about. I suggested to her that she might worry about Terry, if she liked, and she said she would try, with a weary little sigh. It was she who one day explained to me at great length that all love except sensual love was of a transient character. If, she said, man swears he loves you, but does not show any physical interest in you, you can bet that his passion is of that intangible sort that has the radiant tints but also the evanescence of dew!...

“I am going to a ball next Sunday night. It’s on the Jewish holiday in memory of the time when poor Moses led the Jews from Egypt and they had to eat unleavened bread. All the orthodox Jews will spend the day praying in the synagogue, without tasting food or drink. They make up for it the next day, though, you bet. The ball is given every year by the radical Jews, usually right in the Ghetto, and nearly always the followers of holy Moses jump on those who no longer follow, and there’s a hot time. Last year the radical Jews, mostly anarchists, had to have police protection! The police are good for something, after all! What should we do without them? We would exterminate each other without delay!”

Perhaps Marie’s temporary “grouch” against the Jews was partly due to the irruption into her Society of three new and attractive Israelites of her own sex an event happening about that time. In one of these newcomers, Terry, it appears, was somewhat interested, and Marie has often admitted that her philosophy of freedom is powerless to overcome her “fundamental emotions.” Writing of Miss B she said: “She is a regular little Becky Sharp, very demure and quiet, and proper and distinguished. All the women hate her, and the men flock about her, for she is pretty and a free lover, of course. She comes once or twice a week to our salon, and then Terry is always present, and they get along famously. She talks of ‘the realm of physics,’ or ‘of biology,’ and I admit it bores me, her voice is so monotonous. She takes evident pleasure in Terry’s society. Perhaps I am a little jealous, but it does not make me feel any different toward him, and that is the main thing, the only thing I really care about....

“I must admit that I grow tired at times of the ‘movement.’ Kate says she has cut it out altogether, and Terry goes to the meetings very seldom. I dutifully attend the lectures, where they talk about the same old things in the same old way, and also the socials and visit the comrades once in a while. But they do get on my nerves sometimes. I prefer to stay at home, in the inner circle of the salon, reading and sucking at my cigarette when I have one. I scrub the floor once in a while, just because of sheer weariness from not doing anything.

“Terry has been writing an article on ‘the general strike,’ but did not finish it. He is like me in lacking energy enough to carry out any plan or purpose unless great pressure is brought to bear upon him either from within or without. I am sure that if he continued to feel strongly about the general strike he would go on to finish it. But he has a great distrust, really, of the ‘labour’ movement and of labour leaders. He believes that all social improvement must come from the workers, but how many difficulties there are! One of the greatest is the lack of good leaders. I myself have not much hope for the workers as long as they remain sheep who are lost without leaders, are dependent and led either by honest men who know not clearly how, where, or why, or by intelligent men, whose intelligence usually takes the form of trickery and self-interest. The intelligent honest ones seem not to be cut out to be leaders, or successful in any way. Sheep are led or driven most easily by those who can make the most noise, and they follow as readily over the precipice as over the road. The slightest thing serves to frighten and scatter them in all directions, in outward confusion and helplessness, unless the burly insistent watchers are for ever at their heels. Leaders of such a herd must often be unscrupulous to have any success, must use their intelligence for all sorts of devices, often cruel and unjust, to keep their flocks from wandering: any means justifies the end, which is the good of the cause.

“Perhaps it is a good sign that people from the higher walks of life are beginning to take notice of the workingman’s problem, and maybe the ideal leader will come from above, but even so I doubt if that will help much. I have a feeling that all movements dependent on leaders must necessarily fail. Of course, I know that the people of the ‘higher life’ fear the stupidity and brutality of the mass of workers, and argue that leaders are necessary to guide and restrain them. This is only partly true; there is hardly any doubt about the stupidity of the mob, but they are not at all so brutal. True, during times of strike they will throw stones and slug strike-breakers, but they are not nearly as brutal as the ‘scabs,’ who are incited, aided, and protected by the employers and police, and who lack the emotional exaltation which often inspires the workers to this violence.

“During the teamsters’ strike I witnessed a scene where the strikers hustled the scabs, overturned several huge wagons loaded with beef, in the centre of one of the poorest districts of Chicago, where the people were suffering from want of meat, but the wretches did not even have sense enough to help themselves from this plentiful store which was left on the street guarded only by one or two policemen. And there would have been no danger of arrest, for the policemen could easily have been swept aside by the rest of the mob. It made me mad. I felt like shouting at them, ‘you fools, why don’t you help yourselves?’ How differently a hungry bunch of kids would have acted!”

Terry, in his very different way, wrote on the same subject:

“I never knew a sincere, not to say honest, labour leader, from business agent up. Poor prolétaire! forever crucified between two sets of thieves one rioting on his rights, the other carousing on his wrongs. Labour plods while plunder plays, thus runs the world away. But if he should take it into his thick head to be his own walking delegate some day!”

This strange master of the “salon,” this poetic interpreter of the philosophy of the man who has nothing, has, in spite of his pessimisms, a profound mystic hope. He wrote:

“That toiling humanity the labour movement to me is a thing so vast, that whatever other movements try to exclude themselves from it, they must be swallowed up in it. All other things are but the shadows cast behind or before the ever-marching phalanx of the unconquerable, the imperishable prolétaire. This is the hope which sends its thrill through us when nothing else can. At the bottom of my heart I know I am living but for one thing, and my life has been nothing but a preparation for this. Of and for myself I have accomplished nothing: for to be ever ready and alert is not accomplishment.... I see a profound hope in the prolétaire, for to him is granted that intense, wistful awareness of his common lot and life with his fellows. His very crowding in factories and tenements, salons, unions, and brothels, brings it home to him. Yes, this very lack of space must remorselessly rub it in, even by dumb, physical close contact. The friction resulting from ten living in one room must make one of them phosphorescent and capable of giving light to humanity. The tenement houses are harmless boxes of lucifers as long as none is ignited. The inhabitants are wofully benighted, but they possess wonderfully the quality of brotherhood, of oneness, hence arises their wonderful psychology and their aesthetics, so full and overflowing with pathos, so piercing, it carries one to that borderland where comic and tragic make marriage.

“This strange crowding in our consciousness of things that do not seem to come from us and yet are of us this clamouring consciousness is what drives me to despair and makes me feel I have not the form or shadow of things, though I may have the substance. Yet I am determined to strain my self-consciousness even to the breaking point; for though I know madness lies that way, there stands my Ideal, beckoning. I must grasp this great common thing which comes from all of us, from us crowded proletarians, and yet is not in any one of us. Together we enjoy and suffer more than any one of us alone. There is, I believe, something deeper than the deepest woe: our racial consciousness is there and we must find it. At moments of great insight we are suddenly made aware of this, the mysterious unity of the Race, but it is flashed and gone and we must await another crisis. It is only in moments of sublime sorrow that the depths of the racial consciousness is heaved up to us. Joy cannot do this, for joy is narrow and wants us to do away with sorrow; but sorrow never wants us to do away with joy. Keats always beheld joy in an external attitude of farewell and this is profoundly and perfectly mystical and real: joy is swallowed up in something deeper, away down in the common racial consciousness. We must all strive to be men beyond essential harm; else, standing blindly before the meaning and destiny of the race, we should go mad. Most of us try to think, intellectuals; fear to abandon ourselves to alarming states of feeling where reason is crowded to the wall. And yet I feel that by abandoning ourselves completely to mere feeling lies our only hope to find the logic of the race that no individual reason can master.

“Let me tell you of something that recently happened to me which shows how strong this race feeling is, as opposed to merely individual or family feeling. I heard that my mother was dying. I had become reconciled long ago, had seen many things more clearly; for if joy is of the heart, sorrow is of the soul, by which we see. I wonder if woman has a ‘lake’ in her heart. I used to think my mother had, and when I called to see her once more, the old love-longing caught me by the throat. My presence seemed to help her some, but, though moved, I had passed beyond the family boundary-line, and was engaged in stripping myself of everything not belonging to the soul. If I wish to be something more than myself, I must be prepared to lose all, even myself. And what is my family and my mother?”

Terry does not like to use the word “religion.” But he certainly belongs to the type of the religious man. One of the most marked characteristics of the religious temperament is this abandonment of personal and family ties, this indifference and often hostility to social law, “this emotional devotion to something intangible.” All the anarchists and social rebels I have known have, more or less, the religious temperament, although a large part of their activity is employed in scoffing at and reviling religion as they think the God of theology has been largely responsible for the organisation of social and political injustice. But the deeply religious spirits have often been hostile to theology, as well as to all other complicated forms of society. Here are some religious words:

“There must be some meaning,” wrote Terry, “for all this ancient agony. Oh, that I might expand my written words into an Epic of the Slums, into an Iliad of the Prolétaire! If an oyster can turn its pain into a pearl, then, verily, when we have suffered enough, something must arise out of our torture else the world has no meaning. On this theory, all my pangs are still to come. I too will arise out of my sacrificial self and look back on my former bondage in amaze, even as I now look down on the dizzy slums where I am and yet am not! It cannot be that I came up out of the depths for nothing. If I could pierce my heart and write red lines, I might perhaps tell the truth. But only a High Silence meets me, and I do not understand. In letting myself down to the bottomless, I discovered I could not stand it long enough. I am dumbly dissatisfied. I feel like a diver who has nigh strangled himself to bring up a handful of seaweed, and so feels he must down again and again until he attains somewhere the holy meaning of Life.”

Terry feels that somehow deep in his life he has been crucified, that society has nailed him to the cross:

“I was alone on the cross and with bloodshot, beseeching eyes beheld the world objectively. Yet I was aware of a harmony beyond me, though not in me or around me.”

It is this “harmony beyond,” this religious sense of “something far more deeply interfused” which, ever conscious in the idealist’s mind, makes the concrete vision of everyday fact so ugly, leads to anarchism of feeling profound and constant.

But in this world, which as a whole the heart rejects “my heart,” said Terry, “is the last analysis of all things” the idealist sees things of beauty which constitute for him the elements of perfection, elements which in some future state he dreams may be fully realised in a social whole.

“I saw a fine thing from the window to-day,” Terry wrote, “a thing of sheer delight, the complete transfiguration of a human being. An Italian street labourer came into the yard and sprawled on the grass to eat his own lunch. He was bandy-legged from being coaxed to stand alone too soon. But he had a most wonderful face; all the mobility which toil had banished from his form must have sought refuge in his eyes and his caressing countenance. Catching sight of some children playing ‘house,’ he jumped up and in a most charming way offered them all of his cakes and went back to his luncheon. The children instinctively brought him back some of the cakes, which he not only refused, but offered them the rest of his food. They gathered in a semicircle while he spoke to them. There came something in his face and attitude which I have seen many ‘cultured’ people vainly attempt. He absolutely was one of them; the children stood spell-bound, dazed at the sudden transformation of a man into a child. The imagination that can become one with its object is a high form of unconscious art and rests upon the heart and the mass feeling of the race. The ancient folk-lore and ballads must have arisen from some such fusion as this. How unfair, at least unwise, it is to judge the individual action of the prolétaire, when he is made for action in the mass.”

This vague philosophy and transcendental ethics pass naturally enough, at times, into the feeling of violent revolution, where bomb-throwing, if not advocated, is emotionally sympathetic.

“Just now,” wrote Terry, “there is strong predisposition among the ‘reds’ to resort to Russian methods. It needs only the occasion, which must be waited for, and cannot be created. When the ‘error’ is great enough, the ‘Terror’ will surely rise to the occasion. Were it not for my faith in this, I should be glad to see Humanity lapse back to whence it came.”

In the idealist there is a growing impatience with the world; in his attempt to react even against Nature and some of the necessary qualities of men there is such inevitable failure that no moral revolutionist or anarchist can indefinitely endure the struggle. He is destroyed by his fundamental opposition to the world which he seeks to destroy. Therefore, impatiently, weakly, he sometimes breaks out with a bomb even against his philosophy and his temperament.

He is led into contradictions. One of them touches upon his feeling of “class consciousness.” Terry at times, as a transcendental moralist, rises above this feeling, but his special instinct as a “labour” man often asserts itself against and in contradiction to his passion for the oneness of the race. In my intimate association with him I sometimes saw that, much as he liked me, he felt that I was of another “class.” In the work which resulted in my book, The Spirit of Labour, I frequently came in discouraging contact with this “class” distrust of me in him and in others. Marie alone seemed free of it, in her relation to me, and yet she wrote:

“I think we have a peculiar sympathy for each other, and yet I realise that in some subtle way there is not that perfect understanding there ought to be. Just think of what extremes we two come from how different our social environment! I know you understand as nearly as is possible for one of your class, and yet I doubt if you can really sympathise with the ideas of anarchism which springs naturally from only one class the labour class. Do you not hesitate sometimes and doubt that all men are worthy of the better things of life, the coalheaver as well as the banker and artist? Even I hesitate sometimes, when I see the coarseness and ignorance of these poor plodders of earth, and when I think of all the really great things that slavery has accomplished. But who knows how much greater things might be, if done freely by free men? When I remember that these poor plodders have never had a chance, I relent and feel so sorry and so hopeless. How often Terry and I have walked along the boulevards, admiring the beautiful homes of the rich. Oh, it used to make me wild! I felt that I belonged to humanity, and yet I could only enter these beautiful homes as a servant, an object of contempt an object of contempt supposed, moreover, to have morals, and religion, too!”

Of “class consciousness,” Terry wrote: “Class feeling has always been a deep problem to me: it emanates from profound depths. This reflection concerns you. Many of your ‘labour’ friends here seem to regret that there were many things they could not tell you; not that they had any conscious lack of faith in you as an individual; indeed, they had great faith in you as a person. Their distrust of you was a class distrust; they dreaded to betray the interests of their class. They felt a fundamental antagonism, not to you as an individual, but to you as a member of your class. From their Social Sinai they enunciate the eleventh commandment, ‘Thou shalt not be a Scab!’, and the other ten commandments do not seem to them so important. But you, they think, cannot feel this commandment as they do, so passionately, so fully. To them, it is the keynote of solidarity; to you, partly at least, a principle of division, of separation.

“No wonder our class the thinkers among them rejects the morality of your class property morality, and the rest meant only to make property morality as strong as a law of God. I made at one time the fatal mistake of the many simple labourers who are organically honest. I spent most of my best life in seeking a solution of our hard lot from those above me. After a loss of many feathers and some brave plumage, but no down, I must in all humility beat my way back to the traditional lost ideals of our organically incorporated class.... Perhaps the most conscienceless class who seek to solve the insoluble is the ‘cultured’ class. But most of them seem to me like artistic undertakers officiating at the ‘wake’ of Life. With their platitudes, their prudery, and their chastity, they make for death. These languid ones desire to have life served up to them in many courses. Greed lies at the bottom of their being, and so they preach content to the masses, though for the workers they have nothing in their shallow souls but contempt. This cultured leisure class has had the time and cunning to perpetrate one great and tragic trick. They have made social falsehoods so complicated that they themselves neither understand nor wish to understand.... Why is it that in all the great authors I detect an air of condescension, marking their contempt for those who make and keep them what they are? With what fine contempt the ‘rube’ is surveyed by the faker who has plucked him! Must I put these classic souls of art in the same category? The art for art’s sake people these make me sick. It is at best an argumentative confusion springing from the fact that in the perfect work of art there is such a fusion of form and substance as to resist dissociation and defy analysis. Perhaps this fact accounts for Tolstoi’s contempt for some of the classic art. It seems to me that most classic art is one of two things: either it smacks of smug content and over-fed geniality or it is permeated with a profound pessimism. The philosophers are worse than the artists; they are the ringleaders of the betrayers of humanity. Art at least makes the atonement of beauty for its mistakes, but this cannot be said of philosophy.

“Herbert Spencer, for instance, who represents the high-water mark of a philosophy that will not hold water, pours out the vials of his bottled-up wrath on the poor unfortunates of London who are compelled ‘to make a living’ by tips in opening the carriage doors or holding the horses of the wealthy. He had nothing but loathing for the pregnant girl who tries to break her ‘fall’ by taking advantage of the ‘poor laws.’ For the workingman, who sincerely tries, at least, to settle the ‘affairs of State’ in the pot-house over a mug of ale, Spencer had nothing but contempt; but to the parliamentary people who settle the same ‘affairs’ over champagne and prostitutes, he played the lick-spittle.... The recantation of his ‘Social Statics’ is the worst case of intellectual cowardice on record.... He went down with final contempt for the workers who served him, gave him his daily bread, made his ink, pen, and paper and bound the twenty volumes of his philosophy of falsehood! May his ‘works’ rest in oblivion!...

“In dismissing Spencer, it is worthy of note that the very thing which made him pause in the righting of social wrongs is the thing which will cause the Revolution, namely, the complicated nature of social falsehoods. In recanting his published truth on the land question, he admitted that, although the legal title to land was obtained by murder and dispossession of original occupants, the matter was now too complicated to be dealt with. If this be so, if justice cannot be done because of the difficulties in the way, then all hail to the simplicity and elemental justice of a Red Revolution!...

“Yes, sometimes I feel like the crudest of the revolutionists, although I call myself a philosophical anarchist. Sometimes the jails seem to yearn for my reception, and I question my right to be at large. Nothing but a decreasing cowardice leaves me at liberty. And if I could not do more for my soul behind the bars than I have done in front of them, then I am fit only for durance vile. I, who have out-fasted the very flies till they fled my room, dread but one thing in the life of a prison that I should have no time for reflection and repose! but out of a born anarchist it would make of me a compulsory Socialist, condemned to work for the State a veritable dungeon of disgrace.

“It is not so much that I love life, though as a rule the poor, who are so close to life, worship it in a way that puts all other things to scorn. I know nothing that reaches farther up or deeper down than this. It is only in the gutter that life is truly worshipped. And that is why I search for my last faith there in the gutter, whence all faith really springs.

“And yet to have faith even in the gutter is an act of deep imagination. In the rotting rooms beneath me lives a worker with a family of six girls and one boy. Capitalism has crucified his carcass for fifty years and now ‘laid him off.’ He has been looking for work for the last month. I watch the insanity in his restless, aimless movements, and I feel desperate enough to try to get him a job. Unfortunately, he does not drink; so his pipe, ever in his mouth, is the only obstacle between him and the mad-house, or the poor-house. Every morning at six o’clock, his sandwich dinner concealed in his pocket, he makes a brave show of walking away briskly in his hopeless search for work; for there are too many younger men. His assumed activity is only put on till he turns the first corner, for he tries to conceal his lameness and decrepitude, especially from his wife, who strains her gaze after him. Just before starting off he takes the superfluous precaution to put some shoe-blacking on his hair which shows white about the temples. He comes back after a six hours’ search, about noon, his neglected dinner still in his pocket. He has tramped ten or twelve miles with no open shop for him. He does not blame anyone, but regards it all as an accident that has happened to him in some unfortunate way. He broods over this till I can see it in his eyes; but I don’t dare say anything to him. He is too old, and I might only make his trouble worse. If I were a sculptor I would put him before the world in a material almost as hard and I hope more enduring than itself. His arms never hang down by his side, but seem to be set in the position required by his last job, shovelling. It reminds me of the time, thirty years ago, when I was laid off, and the madness first got in and crouched behind my eyes....

“Yes, I suppose I am mad. It is true that if I cannot have the intellectual red that heralds the approach of Dawn, then I want the red light of Terror that ushers in the Night. My feelings have been clamouring for many years against my cowardly better judgment. I believe some day they will break loose and throw me, as from a catapult, even up against the stone wall of atrocity we call Society.”

Thus the idealist becomes frenzied at times at the incredible difficulties in the way of a total revolt against society, even against nature. We shall see how the absolute nature of his anarchism led Terry further and further along the path of rejection, “passing up” one thing after another, even letting anarchism as a social enthusiasm go by the board and making his continued relation with a human being, even with Marie, a practical impossibility.