Terry’s love for Marie was partly
due, as we have seen, to his passion for social propaganda:
that she represented the “social limit”
was a strong charm to him. She, woman-like, always
insisted on the personal relation, and for a long
time his interest in her personality as such, combined
with his social enthusiasm, was strong enough to keep
the bond intact. When, however, his social enthusiasm
paled, and his merely individualistic anarchism became
stronger, his interest in Marie weakened. The
times grew more frequent with him when he doubted the
social side of anarchism itself when this
social propaganda seemed as hollow and as unlovely
as society itself; and when he saw the weaknesses
and vanities of his associates, how far they were from
realising any ideal. Then, more and more, he
was thrown back upon himself, for as his hope in the
new society weakened, his hope in Marie as an embodiment
of it weakened also.
Marie’s sex interests, always
freely and boldly expressed, played, at first, no
part in the growing irritability of their relations.
Marie’s occasional “affairs” with
other men, sometimes taking her away from the salon
for a time, were taken by Terry in silence. Even
when he came face to face with the fact of Marie’s
absence of restraint in this respect, lack of delicacy
and feeling for him, he did not complain. To do
so was against his principles of personal freedom;
and the fling in the face of society envolved in Marie’s
conduct pleased him rather than otherwise; also there
was in him a subtle feeling of superiority over other
men, in the fact that he was without physiological
jealousy, or if not, that he could at least control
Even Marie’s jealousy of him,
whenever he was in the society of another woman, he
took with a patient shrug. Terry’s interest
in other women was not a passionate one: in it
was always an element of the pale cast of thought,
and Marie had no real cause for jealousy. But
Terry tolerantly took it as a feminine weakness and
tried to shield Marie from this unreasonable unhappiness.
On her account he gave up many a desire to talk intimately
with some female comrade. But Marie had no such
tolerance for him. Not only was she quite free
with other men and to the limit, but she often went
into a real tantrum of jealousy. One day she
followed Terry all over town, fearing that he had an
appointment with a well-known radical woman.
Marie often acknowledged to me her inconsistency.
“But, you know,” she would say, “our
principles and ideas do not count much when our fundamental
emotions are concerned.”
This was a true remark of Marie’s,
and I have often had occasion to perceive the great
degree of it throughout the radical world. Men
and women often try in that society to be tolerant;
they give one another free rein sometimes for years,
but generally in the end, the resistance of one or
the other weakens; human nature or prejudice, whichever
it is, asserts itself, and tragedy results. This
I had occasion to see over and over again: how
nature triumphed over the most resolute idealism and
brought about in the end either ugly passion or pathetic
As Terry began to doubt his deepest
hope, as he began to turn away from the ideas about
which his salon was formed, he saw and felt more clearly
the limitations of Marie’s personal character;
and her acts began to hurt him. Perhaps he began
to lose faith in both Marie and the Salon at
the same time.
“I am afraid,” he wrote,
“that the days of the salon are numbered.
I am of the opinion that most of our latter-day radicals
are on a par with our latter-day Christians.
They have grown weary, or wary, of their original
purpose. They seem to think Liberty a beautiful
goddess who will never come: they willingly believe
in her as long as there is no danger of or in her
‘coming.’ How frantically most of
the radicals signal back the ‘waiting’
reply: the track is not clear for the coming
of Liberty! and they do not want to have
“You will be surprised to know
that I have dropped the radicals, with the exception
of Thomson, and I fear he too must walk the plank and
go by the board. I am becoming quite implacable
toward these intelligent people, and the salon will
soon be void of my presence. The spirit of it
has gone already and cannot be revived. That is
why I left my mother’s home because
the spirit of home had gone and why I must
leave the salon. I cannot submit to being a discordant
spirit; therefore I must be a wandering one.
“So I must leave Katie and Marie.
If I could make a living I would work for it, as I
did when I thought so. But I shall never work or
toil rather for sheer subsistence except
behind the bars. I am driven to be a parasite,
for honest living there is none. The time is up,
and I must leave. Several years ago I ruined
whatever robustness I had by tending bar so that Katie
might knock down some three hundred dollars. At
one meal a day and a place to try to sleep, I think
that she and I are about even; she also thinks so,
though she never says so, to me. She is willing
and able to take care of Marie, for she has five hundred
dollars in the bank and a great love for the girl.”
Terry, sometimes terribly frank, is
extremely reticent about Marie; and the account of
their misunderstanding comes mainly from her letters:
“I have had such a bad misunderstanding
with Terry, or he with me, I don’t know which
it is. My God, but women can be brutal, though!
You ought to read Jack London’s ‘The Call
of the Wild.’ You might substitute women
for dogs. Some years ago I was a feast for the
dogs (women), and now I see much of this same fierce
brutality in myself, and poor Terry is feeling it.
I have been away with a man, and Terry somehow feels
it much more keenly than ever before.
“And yet I love Terry:
surely if I ever knew what love means, I love him
and have loved him always. Though I am the most
brutal person on earth, I am so without intention,
without knowing it even, at times. And I am so
tired that sometimes I have no feeling for anything,
not even for Terry, and he does not understand that.
I feel out of harmony with every one just now.
It is hardly indifference, rather a terrible weariness.
Perhaps my recent reading of Nietzsche has helped to
give me a feeling of weary hopelessness. And
then, too, the spirit of our salon is gone; I don’t
know exactly why. Even Terry has changed very
much in his feelings and ideas. He is not much
interested in the things he used to be absorbed in.
He is more cynical, especially of social science, and
yet he seems to me to be making a very science of
looking at things unscientifically. He seems
to be holding his emotions in check, is less impulsive
than ever, and is losing much of that delicacy of feeling
and expression which was so admirable in him.
“I too am growing cynical, and
I hate to do so. I should like to accept people
at their apparent value and not always look for motives,
as I am getting more and more to do. I should
like to approach everything and everybody with a perfectly
open heart, as a child does, but I find that I no
longer do that, that I am always prejudiced. I
am sure that this is due to Terry’s influence,
for he more and more excludes everything: nothing
is good enough for him. He passes up one person
after another and he has no joy in life. His
personality is so much stronger than mine that I am
like a little thin shadow, weaker than water, and he
can always bring me around to see his way of looking
at people and things.”
This note in Marie protest
against Terry’s tendency to cut out the simple
joy of life grew very strong at a later
time; now, however, it was only suggested, and played
no important part.
Indeed, the idea of his leaving her
was to her an intolerable thought; and yet there is
many a letter which suggests the approaching dissolution
of the salon and of their relation. They were
both, at times, terribly tired of life: with
no strenuous occupation, the word of Nietzsche and
of world pessimism, of excessive individuality, tortured
their nerves and made everything seem of no avail.
Work takes one away from life, is
a buffer between sensitive nerves and intensest experience.
Strong natures who for some reason are dislocated
and therefore do not work, or work only fragmentarily,
come too much in contact with life and often cannot
bear it; it burns and palls at once. So it was
with Terry and Marie. Without either work or children,
they were forced into strenuous personal relations
with one another and into a feverish relation with
“I feel so depressed,”
she wrote; “so many things have happened this
last year which seemed trivial at the time, but have
had big results, while other things which seemed events
have turned out to be only incidents, and very small
ones. Thus, a careless remark of mine resulted
in a quarrel between Terry and me which did not lessen
with time, but grew larger and larger, until now the
relations of us two idyllic lovers are anything but
pleasant. And a very serious attack of love from
which I suffered last summer has passed as quickly
and lightly as a breath of wind, while another light
love of mine, which came to me last February, has
assumed large proportions simply because I have been
abused for it by Terry, whom no one could ever displace
in my heart. I was bound to defend my lover from
the attacks of Terry, whom I had always regarded as
above such a common display of irritation in such
matters. So this other man became a sort of ideal
lover in my mind, and all because of Terry’s
opposition. This man had wooed me in a great,
glorious, godless fashion. He was a big man in
the labour world, and he flattered me immensely, but
I should never have cared for him, if Terry’s
nature had not suddenly seemed to weaken....
“I have been so uneasy about
Terry lately. He has been talking so much about
joining the criminal class. He seems to be losing
his interest in our movement and to be looking for
some other way of escape, as he calls it. He
says his liberty is only a figment of his mind, that
he has now reached the time for which he had all along
been unconsciously preparing himself. I am, of
course, used to this kind of talk from Terry.
He has been in the depths of despondency often enough,
but nothing ever came of it except a saloon brawl.
He would usually seek Harris; they would break a mirror
or a few glasses in some saloon, and the next day
Terry would have a headache, after which he was usually
content to browse around his philosophy in that mild
and subtle way of his, for a week or so.
“But now Harris is gone, and
Terry does not know any other person quite so strenuous
in the fine art of breaking glasses and barroom fixtures
in general, so, finding no vent for his accumulated
despondency, he may possibly do real things.
I feel so sadly for him and wish I could help him.
The Lord knows I would be willing to break any amount
of glassware with him, but he has not much confidence
in my aim, I guess; women never can throw straight.
In fact, he has little confidence in me in any way
lately, for he never tells me the details of his schemes,
but only throws out dark and terrible hints....
“Truly, something may indeed
happen this time. He is so anti-social. He
positively won’t go out anywhere to meet people,
won’t go to our picnics or socials, and
in manner is very strange, distant, cold, and polite
to Katie and me. One would think he had been
introduced to us just five minutes before. Perhaps
he thinks that Katie and I want him to go to work common,
vulgar work, I mean, for Katie has lost her job and
we are living in the most economical way, for we don’t
know when another desirable job can be found.
Now, Terry really ought to know that I shouldn’t
have him work for anything in the world. I know
that Katie has not said the least word to him, but
he is so terribly sensitive that perhaps he suspects
what she may be thinking.
“Katie is despondent, too, and
nearly makes me crazy talking of her life, past, present,
and future, in the most doleful way. Last night,
after talking to me for two hours about the misery
of life, she made the startling proposal that she
and I commit suicide. ‘For,’ said
she, ’I cannot see anything ahead of me but
work, work, like a cart-horse, until I am dead.
I’d rather die now and be done with everything,
and you had better come with me, for you haven’t
anything, and if I went alone, what would become of
you, such a poor helpless creature; see how thin you
are, I can almost look through your bones! Who
would take care of you?’
“After talking in this strain
for what seemed to me hours and hours, Katie went
to bed and to sleep, and then came Terry from his solitary
walk he usually goes for a walk if there
are any indications that Katie will do any talking and
entertained me by carelessly, carefully hinting at
one of his dark, mysterious plots. Then he, too,
went to bed, and I, too, had forty winks and seventy
But Marie, even in this growing strain,
never failed in her love and admiration for the strange
man with whom she lived. On the heels of the
above came the following:
“Terry is one of those characters
who has not lost any of his distinct individuality.
His is a nature which will never become confounded
or obliterated in one’s memory. The instantaneous
impression of large soul, sincerity, and truthfulness
he made upon me at our first meeting has never left
me. This impression must have been very strong,
for generally these impressions grow weaker, if people
live together so closely as poor people must.
All his faults, as well as perhaps his virtues, come
from the fact that he is not at all practical.
In spite of his experience, he does not know the world,
and is a dreamer of dreams. His wild outbursts
are the result, I think, of his sedentary life.
Sometimes we two remain at our home for weeks without
venturing out, without hardly speaking to each other,
and then suddenly we burst out into the wildest extravagances
A few days later there was a wilder
burst than ever, and Terry left the salon. Marie
“Last week we all had a row,
and Terry has not been seen or heard of since.
The last words he uttered were that he should return
for his belongings in a few days. I am dreadfully
sorry about it, especially that we could not have
parted good friends. I realise and always shall
be sensible of the great good I had from him and shall
always think of him with the best feeling and greatest
respect. The parting has not been a great surprise
to me, for it really has been taking place for a long
time, ever since he withdrew his confidence from me,
now months past, and I have been acting with other
men without his knowledge. Nothing mattered in
our relation but mutual confidence, but when that
went, it was, I suppose, only a question of time.
And, at the same time that he withdrew spiritually
from me, he seemed to lose his interest in the movement,
and grew more and more solitary and hopeless.
“I don’t know what Terry
is doing, or where he has gone, and I am uneasy.
I would not fancy this beautiful bohemian life alone
with Katie, and I don’t know what to do.”
“Terry is still away,”
she wrote a few days later, “and my horizon looks
bleak and lonely. I want to be alone where I can
collect my thoughts, but, even when Katie is out,
I cannot think, but sit by the window staring at the
old women hanging up the clothes which everlastingly
flap on the lines tied between the poor old gnarled
willow trees. Poor old trees, their fate has
been very like that of the old women. They bear
their burden uncomplainingly, groan dolefully in the
wind, and shake their old palsied heads. Even
the sparrows, true hoboes of the air, disdain to seek
shelter in their twisted arms. They will die as
they have lived, withering away.
“I try to interest myself in
household affairs, but that is so stale and unprofitable.
Neither can I read: my thoughts wander away and
Terry intrudes himself constantly on my mind.
I may get so desperate that I will seek a job as a
possible remedy: perhaps in that way I could get
tired enough to sleep....
“I have been trying to meet
Terry, but he is as elusive as any vagrant sunbeam.
I feel it would do me a world of good to have a long
heart-to-heart talk with him. If I could only
see him once a week and have him sympathise with me
in a brotherly fashion and hear him say, in his old
way: ‘Cheer up, Marie, the worst is yet
to come,’ I should be comparatively happy and
Several more days passed, and with
the lapse of time Marie’s mood grew blacker.
Her next letter to me had a deep note of sorrow and
regret and remorse:
“Terry has been away since August
thirteenth. He came, while I was out, for his
things. I fear it is his farewell visit; for he
has not shown the slightest disposition to meet me
and talk things over. I have tried in every way
to see him again, but he has thus far ignored my existence.
I had an idea that we two were made for each other,
but I have been an awful fool. Last February,
as you know, I had an affair, if it may be dignified
by even that name, and just for the fun of the thing
I went with this light love to Detroit, and came home
ill, as you already know. I returned to Terry
full of love and regret and most properly chastened
by my illness and disappointment; for other men almost
always disappoint me. But I found him positively
beastly. The way he abused that poor man was
terrible, and I had to defend him, for I know that
Terry was unjust to him. I begged him to blame
me, not the other man, for it was all my doing, but
that only made matters worse.
“I know that some people can
conceal their obnoxious qualities and show only the
sweet and lovely side of themselves. I sometimes
like to see the reverse side of the medal, and I expected
Terry, as a student of humanity and an anarchist,
to welcome any phase of character which might enable
him to understand me more completely.
“I must hesitate in attributing
Terry’s attitude to jealousy, for I have had
some affairs before, and he never seemed to care about
them in the least; indeed, I often felt piqued, and
thought he did not mind because he did not care about
me enough. The following two weeks were, I can
truly say, the most infernal and awful that ever happened
to me, and I wished thousands of times that I might
die, and I did come very close to it. I cannot
describe that hellish time or give you any idea of
Terry’s conduct during those weeks. He
was no longer the calm, philosophical Terry that you
know, but the most terribly cruel thing the mind of
man can conceive.
“Now, I know these are strong
words, and I don’t know if you can imagine Terry
that way, or if you can believe me when I say it is
so. I have thought of it so many times, and I
have come to the conclusion that perhaps while I was
away, he and Harris had a great debauch together and
that Terry must have taken some dope which unbalanced
him for a while.”
I do not think it needs “dope”
to explain Terry’s conduct. Marie, perhaps,
could not understand the possible cruelty of a disappointed
idealist. When Terry began to see that neither
the anarchists nor Marie would ultimately fit into
his scheme of things, when his idealistic hope began
to break against the hard rocks of reality, he was
capable, in his despair, of any hard, desperate, and
“During this awful time I did
not blame Terry, dope or no dope. I considered
it all coming to me, and even wished it would keep
on coming until it killed. But I made up my mind
right then and there that if it was fated that I should
keep in the game, there should be no more ‘affairs’
for me. And so help me God I have not had any
from that time six months ago till
the day Terry left me. And that other man’s
name has not once passed my lips in Terry’s presence,
and when it was mentioned by others when he and I
were there, I grew dizzy and sick.
“In time, these dreadful things
were thought of as little as might be, and Terry and
I became excellent, though platonic friends, a novel
and fascinating relation, wherein sex had no part.
Night after night have we sat around this table, discussing
books and people, trying to penetrate the mystery
of things strange and new to us. I should rather
say that he talked, and I was his eager listener.
Often, after tossing restlessly on our pillows, when
no sleep would come ‘to weight our eyelids down,’
the rest of the night would be spent in reciting poetry,
the inevitable cigarette in one hand, the other gesticulating
in the most fanciful and fervid manner. He would
recite in passionate whispers so as not
to awaken Katie for hours at a time, poems
from Shakespeare to Shelley, and Verlaine to Whitman,
poems tender and sweet, bitter and ironical and revolutionary,
just as the mood suited him. His feeling for poetry
and nature seemed to grow as his hope for human society
“So our relations were ideally
platonic the kind you read about in books.
Nevertheless, some of the old bitterness remained in
Terry’s heart, for at times he became depressed
and melancholy and so sensitive about the least little
thing that I was nervous and in hot water all the
time for fear I might inadvertently say or do something
to hurt him or make him angry. I admit I am not
as placid as I look, and Katie, too, is very inflammable,
so you can understand how tense the atmosphere was
“Not very long ago, at the breakfast
table one Sunday morning, I urged Terry to come to
a meeting of the ‘radicals,’ adding that
he was becoming a regular hermit and that it would
do him good to have more social pleasure. He
turned on me savagely, called me a hypocrite, and a
contemptible one at that, and made a few more remarks
of the kind. After a few days of strained politeness
on both sides I made bold to ask him for some explanation and
I have got it coming yet!
“These are just the facts.
I don’t go into all the little details of our
many little vulgar rows, about the most trivial things.
I am sure, if Terry writes you about this, that his
innate delicacy would never permit him to go into
these sordid details, too many of which I have perhaps
told you. But I am made of rougher stuff than
he. I am never quite as unreasonable as he can
be at times, but I am commoner.”
Terry did, indeed, express himself
in a much more laconic way about the quarrel, than
Marie. On the day he left, August thirteenth,
he wrote me the following note:
“The premonition in my last
letter is fulfilled: the salon knows me no more.”
A later talk I had with both Katie
and Terry throws light upon the precipitating cause
of Terry’s departure on the thirteenth of August.
It was due to Terry’s sensitiveness about his
money relationship to Katie. On that morning
Terry was asleep on the couch, when Katie got up, made
breakfast, and she and Marie asked Terry to join them.
“Not me,” said he.
“I think you have been eating
on me long enough,” rejoined Katie. “It’s
time you got out.”
Katie had never allowed herself a
remark of this kind before. But she had not found
another job and the three had been on edge for some
The remark brought about the climax so long preparing.
“I’ll go,” he replied, “as
soon as I have finished this cigarette.”
“In the wordy war that followed,”
said Terry, “we all three went the limit in
throwing things up to each other. I told Katie
that if it had not been for me and Marie she would
not have had anybody to steal for; that I was eating
on her stealings and mine, too. And then I left.”
Although, as we shall see, this was
not the end of the relation between Terry and Marie,
it was in reality the sordid end of the idealistic