Though Terry was back in what was
formerly the Salon, and though the old spirit seemed
at times to be still alive, yet it was more in appearance
than in reality. It is difficult to regain an
emotional atmosphere once lost; and it is especially
difficult to live by the gospel of freedom, when once
the eloquence of that gospel is no longer deeply felt.
Then there is nothing left to take its place no
prosaic sense of duty, no steady habit, no enduring
interest in work. As these two human beings drifted
further and further apart from their common love and
their common interest, the idealistic man became more
self-centred, more unsocial, more fiercely individual,
and the emotional and sensual woman became more self-indulgent,
more hostile to any philosophy anarchism
such as Terry’s, with its blighting idealism which
limited her simple joy in life and in mere existence.
So their quarrels became more brutal,
more abrupt. Both intensely nervous, both highly
individualised, their characters conflicted with the
intensity of two real and opposing forces. A tragic
aspect of it all was that it was due to Terry’s
teaching that Marie attained to the highly individualised
character which was destined to rebel against the
finally sterilising influence of her master. Even
physical violence became part of their life, and words
that were worse than blows. The strong bond which
still lingered held them for a time together, notwithstanding
what was becoming the brutality of their relations.
One day Marie called Terry to his coffee and he refused.
A quarrel followed, in the course of which she hit
Terry on the head with a pitcher, and the resulting
blood was smeared over them both. When calm came
again she said to him:
“Terry, how can we live together?”
“Ain’t we living together? Doesn’t
this prove it?” he replied, grimly.
And this man would use violence in
return and this was the delicate idealist,
the idealist whose love for Marie had at one time been
part and parcel of his high dreams for humanity and
perfection, a part of his propaganda, a part of his
hope: during which period he had been scrupulous
not to use force of any kind, spiritual or physical,
on the girl whom he doubly loved the girl
whom he held in his arms every night for years with
a passionate tenderness due to his feeling of her
physical fragility and her social unhappiness, rather
than to any other instinct.
“Marie,” he said, “did
not fully understand the character of my love for
her. She loved me intellectually and sensually,
but not with the soul. She wanted my ideas, and
sex, and more sex, but not the invisible reality,
the harmony of our spirits. From the day that
I fully understood this, my confidence in her and
in all things seemed to go. She felt that I had
withdrawn something from her, and it made her harder.
She began cruelly to fling the amours that I had tolerated
as long as I hoped for the spiritual best in my face.
It was a kind of revenge on her part.”
Practical troubles, too, lent their
disturbing element to the little remaining harmony
of the three.
“We shall probably be forced
to leave our rooms in a short time,” wrote Marie.
“Our landlord has asked us to leave, without
giving any other reasons than that he wanted a smaller
family in these most desirable rooms! Terry is
indignant, for we have been quiet and orderly, and
Katie has always paid the rent in advance. We
shall certainly stay until the police come and carry
us out and our household goods with us.
“It is true that we have had
unusual difficulty in paying the rent and in getting
enough to eat and smoke; and this has not added to
our good-nature. You have no doubt read about
the ‘money stringency’ in this country.
Times are indeed very hard, thousands of men are out
of a job, and the so-called criminals are very much
in evidence. For a long time Katie could not
find work to do and could not get any of her money
from the bank, so that things looked very ‘bohemian’
around here for a while. She could not get anything
to do in her own line, and finally had to go out to
‘service.’ But this she could not
stand more than a week, for Katie has fine qualities
and is used to a certain amount of freedom, so she
couldn’t stand the slavishness of the servant
life, though she had good wages and nice things to
eat, which Katie likes very much.
“When Katie started in on this
venture she had the proverbial thirty cents, which
she divided up with me Terry had not returned
from his wanderings at that time and I
recklessly squandered ten cents of this going to and
returning from the Social Science League. In a
day or two there was nothing edible in our house but
salt, so I squandered my remaining nickel for bread.
I made that loaf last me nearly four days: I
ate only when I was ravenously hungry, so that it would
taste good, for I hate rye bread. I slept a good
deal of the time. I suffered terribly, though,
when my tobacco gave out, and I spent most of my time
and energy hunting old stumps, and I found several
very good ones in the unswept corners and under the
beds. I even picked some out of the ashcan.
These I carefully collected, picked out the tobacco
and rolled it in fresh papers, as carefully as any
When Katie was temporarily hard up,
that naturally put Terry and Marie “on the bum.”
But they remained “true blue” and did not
go to work, Marie being willing to put up with all
sorts of discomfort rather than try for a job.
“It is a strange thing that
nobody came to our house during these six days.
But on the sixth day, Terry came, and then I had a
good square meal, and he even left me carfare and
some of the horrible stuff he calls tobacco.
Two more days elapsed before Katie returned. Until
then I lived on that square meal. I had ten cents
from Terry, but I was sick of rye bread. On the
day that Katie returned, in fact only a few hours
before, I was foolish enough to visit an anarchist
friend, Marna. I was awfully lonely and thought
a little change would do me good. So I went to
Marna, but got there a little too late for supper.
I must admit I was hungry. I hinted to Marna
that I was, said I’d been in town all day, and
things like that, but she did not catch on and I was
stubborn and wouldn’t ask. Stephen was
there, and for a moment I thought I might eat.
He had not had his supper, and he said that if Marna
was not too tired to cook, he would go and buy a steak.
I tell you, the thought of that steak was awfully
nice and I had to put my handkerchief to my mouth to
keep the water from flowing over. I offered to
cook it for him, but he passed it up. I made
one more desperate bluff and asked him if he would
get some beer for us! And I reached for my purse,
and for one wild moment I thought sure he had called
my bluff and would really take my only nickel, my
carfare home. I nearly fell over with suspense,
but in the nick of time he went out, refusing my money.
And I even taunted him, asked him if he thought it
“When the beer came, I drank
most of it. Beer is a great filler, but of course
it went straight to my head and feet that
is, my head got light and my feet heavy. But
I managed to navigate to the street car and so on
home, where I found Katie, a cheerful fire and a delicious
smell of cookery and coffee.
“Now, I must make you a confession.
During these six days I had some thoughts of working,
the only thing I could think of being a job as a waitress.
But when a vision of ham and pert females and more
impertinent males came to me my courage oozed away,
and I did not even try. I don’t think I’ll
ever work again. Did you ever read Yeats’
story ’Where There is Nothing?’
“I love Marna, as you know,
but when she talks to me about ‘work,’
‘health,’ and the like, I feel like becoming
even more solitary than I am. She says I am not
ambitious! Ye gods, I think I am ever so much
more ambitious than she! I am more ambitious
to live in these little squalid rooms than in the
mansions of the rich. My kind of happiness I
mean ideally is not Marna’s kind;
and I am sure now that if I ever find it, it will
be in the slums. Here I can sit and muse, undisturbed
by the ambition of the world. Blake comes to
me as an indulgent father to his tired and fretful
child and sings to me his sunflower song. If I
were in a castle I don’t think even Blake could
soothe my restless spirit.
“But, unfortunately, even in
the slums one needs to eat. Without warning I
tumble from my air castles because some horrible monster
gnaws at me, and will not let me be, however much
I try to ignore him. That mean, sneaking thing
is hunger. And because I am only mortal, and because
the will to live is stronger than I, I must eat my
bread. I often cry when I think of this contemptible
weakness. I have often tried to overcome this
annoying healthiness of my body. How can people
be gourmands? Even Shelley and Keats had to eat.
What a repulsive word ‘eat’ is! I
would I could eat my heart and drink my tears.
The world is what it is because we must eat.
See the whole universe eating and eating itself, over
and over! If it were not for this fearful necessity,
Terry and I should not, perhaps, have failed in our
“‘The chief thing,’
said Oscar Wilde, ’that makes life a failure,
from the artistic point of view, is the thing which
lends to life its sordid security.’
“But alas! to this sordid security,
or to the care for it, we are driven by our need of
bread. If Terry and Katie and I had never had
this need, we might have become angels of virtue and
insight. But on account of this we never could
really attain freedom; that embittered our souls and
turned us at times viciously against each other.”
Terry’s growing jealousy, which
seemed to surprise Marie, was a sign of the weakening
of his philosophy, as far as it was social and not
purely individual. It may seem strange that after
his real love for her appeared to pass, his jealousy
increased; but this was due to several causes:
if his social interest in her his propagandist
interest had continued, her sexual license
would have continued to feed his passion for social
protest. But when Marie had ceased to interest
him as a “case,” or a “type,”
or a “victim,” the only bond remaining
must be that of the pure individual soul or of the
body. Terry’s lack of sensuality his
predominating spiritual and mental character precluded
any strong tie of the physical kind. So there
remained, as a possible tie, only a close spiritual
relation between two individuals, a soul bond and
this Marie’s character and conduct tended to
prevent. Terry, if they were to be together,
saw that the deeper personal relation must exist,
now that there was no other and so he was
jealous of any conduct which showed in Marie a lack
of sensibility for the deeper spiritual life; hence
the physiological jealousy, which he had not felt,
or had controlled at one time, showed itself.
No doubt his increasing nervousness was an added reason nervousness
due to the long strain, physical and mental, which
his life and social experiment had involved.
During these last weeks Marie had
another lover, and was especially careless in not
concealing any of its manifestations. She, too,
on her side, was subject to greater and greater strain.
Terry’s growing loneliness and austerity, his
melancholy and unsociability, his negative philosophy,
all this tended more and more to inhibit her natural
young joy in life and to give it violent expression.
The philosophy of anarchism had increased her natural
leaning to the free expression of her moods and passions,
and now, with weakened nervous resources, she hardly
cared to make any effort to restrain what she called
“Yes, he became my lover,”
she wrote, “and we disappeared for a few days.
Did you ever read George Moore’s Leaves From
My Lost Life? In it is a story called ‘The
Lovers of Orelay.’ My lover and I spent
our few days together in much the same way as did
the lovers in the story. We had our nice secluded
cool rooms and beautiful flowers. I threw my
petticoats over the chairs and scattered ribbons and
things on the dressing table just like the girl in
the story. And we had nice things to drink and
good cigarettes, and had all our breakfasts and suppers
served in our rooms. The little adventure turned
out better than such things usually do; nothing awkward
happened to mar our pleasure in any way, and I’m
glad it happened and is over and done with.
“You may think me a very light-headed
and heartless and altogether frivolous person from
my actions. But I felt so humiliated and so sorry
and so desperate about Terry that I was ready to embrace
any excitement, just to forget that our great relation
had gone. This time it was to get away from myself,
not in the old physically joyous mood and
to get away from Terry’s poisonous philosophy
“This lover of mine was so joyous,
so healthy, so vigorous, so full of life! He
was very different from Terry, and I really needed
him as a kind of tonic. And yet, of course, I
did not care for him deeply at all. In fact,
I want never again to have a deep relation to anybody,
if this between Terry and me must go.
“This profound failure has made
me reckless; Terry is sensitive now, and knows from
my manner and face and the way I express myself just
how I am feeling toward any other man. The other
day an old lover of mine turned up in Chicago, and
this brought about a scene with Terry.
“To explain this episode I must
go back several years. I once knew a Swiss boy,
a typical Tyrolean. The day I met him in Chicago
he had just arrived from his native land, and seemed
so forlorn and lonely and miserable that my heart
went right out to him. He was such a big, handsome
child, too, about twenty years old. He could not
understand a word of English, and no one talked to
him, but me, who, as you know, had parents who spoke
German. He was delighted and told me his whole
life story, how he became emancipated and one of the
Comrades. His eyes sparkled so and his cute little
blond curls jumped all over his head with the enthusiasm
and joy of having found some one to talk to, that I
was quite content to sit and watch and listen.
And he thought me the most sympathetic person in the
“Had I only known the result
of my impulse to say a few words to a lonely boy!
For he did fall in love with me, and in such sturdy
mountaineer fashion that I very nearly had nervous
prostration and he too in trying
to get away from his strenuous wooing. For he
started out to win me in the same style that he would
have used toward one of the cow-girls in his native
Alps. He waylaid me and followed me around everywhere,
just camped on my trail; wanted to carry me away to
some place out West, where there were mountains.
The more I discouraged him, the more lovesick and
forlorn he became, until finally he became the laughing-stock
of the ‘movement,’ and I was chaffed about
it unmercifully. He knew I had a lover, but that
was no obstacle; and he told me several times with
fine enthusiasm that he would not object to sharing
his love with another man! He had read something
about free love, and thought he should like to be
an Overman and superior to petty jealousies.
“Strange to say, my curly-headed
Swiss lover did not ‘insult’ me, as they
call it, though I naturally enough supposed that he
wanted to, but didn’t have enough courage.
But I was wrong, as I discovered later, when I grossly
insulted him! Perhaps a girl is loved only once
in a lifetime in just that way, perhaps not at all,
and I often think I made a mistake in being so cruel
to my boy lover. I might in time have learned
to love him in the right way, but I couldn’t
at that time, perhaps because I was so much occupied
with Terry, my own lover, and with the movement, which
was new to me and very charming, for I had just discovered
“At times I had an immense pity
for the poor boy and would have done anything to help
him feel better. I had not the slightest physical
feeling for him, but I should have been quite willing
to indulge him, if he had asked me. That was
part of our philosophy and my kindness. But he
did not ask me, though he often had the opportunity.
He was quite content to be with me and kiss my hands,
and beg me to love him a little. When he saw
I did not like to have him kiss me so much, he would
grow so sad and forlorn and tiresome. One day
he was at the Salon with others and annoyed me by
hanging about me all the time, until I couldn’t
stand it any longer. I called him into another
room and told him bluntly that I would indulge him,
if that would help him, only he must for heaven’s
sake leave me alone!
“Now, this was a most indelicate
thing for me to do, and I blush as I write of it,
but I was so desperate and possibly a little under
the influence of whiskey a most convenient
and universal excuse and had tried all
other means of ridding myself of this annoyance, even
to slapping his face and forbidding him to come to
the house! When I slapped him, he simply kissed
the hand that smote him, and when I forbade him to
return to the house, he followed me about the streets.
If I told you all the silly and ridiculous things the
youth did or all the mean, brutal things I did to
cure him, you would scarcely believe me.
“Now when I made that abrupt
proposal to him, he blushed to the tip of his ears,
and then grew very angry, and called me an animal and
a beast and said he had loved me because he thought
I was different from that; that he did not want that
kind of love from me. After a while his vehemence
and anger turned to tears, and he kissed my hands and
sobbed out his intention of going away. I was
repentant and very sweet and kind to him while he
stayed, but soon he did go West and I did not see him
again till a few weeks ago, when, one Saturday night,
I found him waiting for me at our rooms. I was
astonished and not too glad to see him, especially
now that Terry is so sensitive.
“When Terry came home, he looked
suspiciously at me and at the poor Swiss, but though
I was quite innocent, I could not turn the poor fellow
away, after he had come so far to see me. But
I did not feel at all friendly to him, and I did not
speak to him the next day, especially as Terry went
away for several days, to give me a chance, as he put
it, to enjoy my love. Then I told the Swiss with
heat that I never wanted to see him again, and he
went away for good.”
Marie, however, seemed about this
time to have lost any sensibility about Terry’s
emotion that she may have possessed. Perhaps it
was because, as I have said, she felt that the relation
of mutual confidence was really broken and nothing
very much mattered. Anyway, she went so far in
her carelessness that Terry could not help coming in
disagreeable contact with what was growing painful
to him, though he would be far from admitting it.
Katie, describing these last weeks,
said that Terry grew more and more jealous and inclined
to violence. He was very imaginative, and saw
in Marie’s eyes “something wrong,”
as Katie put it. Marie could not be expressive
to Terry after an “affair,” and Katie saw
that Terry understood the meaning of this inexpressiveness.
Also, when Terry went away for a day or two, without
an explanation, Marie was equally “imaginative.”
Both were intensely proud, both intensely interested
in their “individuality.” One day
Terry went away, without an explanation, and returned,
after a few days, “pleasantly piped,” as
he put it, sat down and began to undress. It
was dark, and he had no idea that somebody else was
there. But Marie called out harshly, “You
can’t sleep here.”
“I understood,” said Terry.
But Katie replied, “That’s all right,”
and she slept on the couch.
“This kind of thing,”
said Katie, “put them further and further apart.
Terry couldn’t help feeling the sting there was
in it. Marie had done the same before, but it
was in a different spirit. One of the last scenes
was when H was visiting us.
He and Marie were having coffee in her room, and Terry
was in the other room. Marie and H
called Katie to come and have coffee with them.
Terry was not invited and this later brought about
a terrible quarrel.
“But,” said Katie, “it
was not really jealousy, though that was part of it,
that brought about the last break. They calmed
down, but then began to read Nietzsche again, and
I think went daffy over him. Terry tried the
Overman theory on me and Marie. Americans cannot
understand German philosophy.”
Nietzsche’s doctrine of the
distinguished individual being “beyond good
and evil,” a man superior to the morality of
society, his hatred of Christian civilisation and
Christian ethics, his love of the big forcible blonde
who takes his right by his strength only, all this
was congenial to Terry’s character, and especially
so after the weakening of his social philosophy.
The aloofness of the Overman, the individualistic
teachings of Zarathustra, appealed to the anti-social
Terry, to the man who more and more went back to his
egotistic personality, to whom more and more the “communist”
Christian anarchists made little appeal, who more
and more became what is called an individualist anarchist,
with whom there is little possibility of relationship,
who is essentially anti-social, whose philosophy is
really that of social destruction. This indeed
is the anarchist who lives in the public mind a
destroyer. But what the public mind does not
see is that this destructive anarchist is the result
of a lost hope in anarchistic communism, a lost hope
of radical extension of social love, in absolute solidarity.