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Anarchists in Greenwich Village

HAVE you ever seen a real live anarchist? Just to be honest, you never wanted to see one. Is it because the B follows the A in the alphabet or because of a close association of ideas for which you are not responsible, you think immediately of bombs? Bombs and anarchists are inseparable in the minds of most of us. Mysterious destroyers of life and of property, merciless men who have pledged their lives or their knives or their guns to some nefarious cause or another, who assemble in cellars lighted with candles or in road-houses which seem uninhabited and in reality are dynamite storehouses and bomb factories — aren't these the anarchists of your imagination? Aren't these the men of whom you think if you read that a king or a prince has been killed by an anarchist or that anarchists plan to blow up the Cathedral on Fifth Avenue?

An anarchist, to you means a criminal and being an anarchist is his crime. Is it possible today to explain Christianity to one who knows the term alone but not its meaning? And just as many denominations, constitute the Christendom of the world, just as many kinds of anarchists are existing. It is not absolutely necessary to go out and kill Jews to earn the title, Christian. Millions of us would not even think it possible that Jews were and are being killed in the name of Christianity. And millions of anarchists today will deny stoutly and firmly that the real anarchists would manufacture a bomb, destroy other people's property or murder a fellow being.

Millions of anarchists? Of course. There are millions among us. Some say they are anarchists and usually are not, and others would be shocked to be called such, yet they really are. It is just like with Christianity, and the same country that shocked Christian civilization with outrages in the name of Christianity put a bloody meaning in the spelling of anarchism. To judge a creed by extreme actions of fanatics cannot lead to an understanding. The religious maniac who is seized by temporary insanity and murders his wife and his children is a mere incident of everyday life and does not cast reflections upon the religious belief which is more or less responsible for his delusion. To take the essence of a religion or a political creed or of anarchism and to compare it with the lives men actually live, with their actions and the results of their actions is a scientific and human way in which to pass judgment.

Some of the biggest men in our public life are anarchists by their actions and they would protest vigorously against being called anarchists. Others confess they are anarchists and nobody would believe them. The men and women whom we are accustomed to call anarchists who are proclaimed as the apostles of anarchism and are supposed to be dangerous individuals recommended to the special care of the police surveillance, are in reality harmless creatures living a conventional life — professional preachers of anarchy, evangelists like Billy Sunday who are passing the plate. They might be sincere, but they surely get their share out of it.

Romance is more essential to everyday life than most of us imagine. Anarchism has all the qualities of romance a twentieth century man or woman could possibly look for. The moving picture screen is their source of information. Here they see the Russian anarchist who sacrifices his life for the sake of the cause. Meetings in cellars, exquisitely dressed society women, girls in rags, aristocrats, drunkards, statesmen, rich and poor, well-educated and know-nothings, all are sitting around the same table, all take the same oath, all social differences seem erased, the motto is all for one and one for all. This romance is so colossal as to be beyond the ken of ordinary mortals. Not the overthrow of the government, not the planning of a murder, interest the hundreds of onlookers; but this comradeship among people who under ordinary circumstances hardly ever would meet spurns the craving for comradeship and equalization of all.

Jack London, who declares himself as a revolutionist says "It is comradeship that all these masses want. They call themselves comrades. Nor is the word empty and meaningless — coined of mere lip service. It knits men together who stand shoulder to shoulder under the red banner of revolt. This red banner, by the way, symbolizes the brotherhood of man, and does not symbolize the incendiarism that instantly connects itself with the red banner."

It is this craving for companionship, for relations free of the masks and limitations necessitated by our society that brings men and women together under the banner of anarchism, at least what they call anarchism in New York. And that longing for adventure and romance plays a big part in these circles is evident in the fact that since the start of the European struggles certain elements, regular habituees of anarchistic circles found a new field in their activities broad in different capacities, or here, working for the benefit and the propaganda of universal peace and immediate help for the sufferers in the war zone.

Emma Goldman has a national reputation. She is a professional anarchist. She is doing it year in and year out, like an actress playing the big circuit. Did you ever meet Emma Goldman, did you ever see her? You could never believe all the things you have read of her. Her home life is very similar to that of any other woman who is lecturing and writing. I saw her sometime ago as hostess to many thousands of her followers and admirers. It was at the anarchist's ball, Red Revel, they called it. It was red all right, but not the red that stands for dynamite and shooting and murder. It was the red Jack London speaks of, the red of comradeship. They danced and laughed and were happy and if anyone would want to call a gathering of young men and women like that dangerous, it wouldn't be safe to attend an opera performance or to enter a subway train. But London claims there are ten million anarchists in the United States. That would make one to each ten persons we meet.

The anarchists in New York drink mostly tea. They are men and women like you and me. They work for their living. Of course they would rather prefer not to work but so would every one of us. Anarchism is in eighty out of a hundred cases, the only luxury of their lives. There are certain places in our metropolis which are known to the elect as anarchist meeting places. But mighty little anarchism do they talk about. They usually plan something. Something that any other club or any other society could plan also — an outing, a picnic, or a dance. They attend lectures and musicals and spend their time as a whole, just as uselessly as most of us do after working hours.

Old Greenwich Village is the home par excellence of anarchism. On Bleeker Street still stands the building where the Chat Noir used to open its doors every evening about seven o'clock and shelter revolutionists of all nations. Here is was that the man who subsequently killed King Humbert of Italy, predicted in the presence of many his deed. But nobody took his utterances seriously, because he was known as a fanatic whose fanaticism bordered on mania. The Chat Noir closed her doors long ago. "Mazzini's" is today in the same building. "Anarchists" assemble there every night and have dinner, anarchists from lower Fifth Avenue who arrive in their limousines, have a footman to open the door of their car. They talk anarchism. Here are bits of the table conversation: An elderly lady in black silk evening dress, deep decoltee, diamonds in her ears, around her neck and on six fingers, to a gentleman in evening dress. He is immaculate like his shirt front: "I went to Emma's lecture last night. Isn't she a dear? She spoke about those darling children of the Colorado miners and she really made me cry. I'm so sentimental. I remember the time the pastor spoke about the poor Chinese and how they haven't even rice for their little children. It affected me so I could not attend Mrs. K.'s reception and she hasn't forgiven me yet." At another table. Two men, the one looks rather prosperous; the other fellow looks like an artist. "I say," he says, "this fellow Berkman makes me sick. Imagine a man being fourteen years in prison and living the balance of his life in telling his fellowmen of his experiences in prison." A fat Italian plays on the harpsichord. Everybody eats roast chicken and drinks red ink and enjoys being in an anarchistic place.

In a basement nearby is an Italian place. Rough-looking individuals sit around small wooden tables. It would amuse you to understand the conversation of these "anarchists" about the last letter they received from home and when the long expected Anita is coming over to become Antonio's wife.

In the houses of Mystery on Washington Square are bushels of anarchists living. They write anarchism and they draw and they paint anarchism and eventually it appears in print. You can see it on the newsstands or on the book shelves in the bookstores.

Let us cross Fourteenth Street and enter that mysterious house on Fifteenth, between Fifth Avenue and Broadway. It looks like a monastery and was one, about sixty years ago. It was later a gambling house, a house of ill fame, and its rooms are utilized at present as studies. It is property of the Van Buren estate, and the renting agent doesn't bother to send collectors if his tenants do not pay promptly. He knows that if they do not appear themselves, little good will it do to send collectors. Let us walk past the beautifully carved wooden doors of the ancient monk cells and enter Hippolyte Havel's abode, right under the roof. Hippolyte Havel is the anarchist of New York. He looks the part. He was one of the lieutenants of Emma Goldman in the beginning of her career, he was delegate to numerous international anarchistic congresses in Europe and in America. He knows everybody in the "movement" and everybody knows him. What does he think about anarchists and anarchism in New York?

"To be an anarchist means to be an individualist. To be an individualist means to walk your own way, do the thing you want to do in this life — do it as well as you can. You must never impose on your fellowmen; you must never be in their way; you must help everybody as well as you can; the good you derive through your life belongs, in the first place, to you but you have to share it with the world if the world can benefit by it.

"About throwing bombs and killing other people? No true anarchist could destroy something that is existing. It would mean to deny his own existence, if he should not grant the right of existence to everybody and everything created."

How does that sound for the leader of the anarchists in our city?

To know anarchy, to really know it as it is, takes away its chief attraction; the romance of a melodrama.
                                        Guido Bruno

By Leo Tolstoy

The question whether a human being has the right to kill himself is put incorrectly. To question his right to do it is out of the question. If he can do it he also has the right to do it. I think that the feasibility to kill himself is merely a safety-device. And regarding this feasibility, no human has the right to say that life is unbearable to him. If life is unbearable, one kills oneself, and therefore, no one really has reason to complain about insufferable life.

To every human the chance is given to kill himself and therefore he can choose to avail himself of it. And in fact, he is making use of this prerogative of his continually, killing himself in wars, with liquors, with tobacco, with opium and with vices.

No, it is unreasonable. Just as unreasonable as to cut off the sprigs of a plant in order to destroy it. The plant will not die but just grows irregularly. Life is indestructible — it is outside of time and space and therefore death can only change the form of life; can only destroy its practical proof in this world.

But if I destroy the practical proof of life in this world. I do not know if it will be more pleasant for me in another one, and thus I deprive myself of the possibility to experience all that life had still in store for me in this world and to annex it for my own ego.

But especially unreasonable is suicide because I demonstrate in taking my life that I really did not know my true mission on earth: I evidently am laboring under the delusion that life must mean pleasure to me, but in reality I am placed in this valley of tears and of joys to achieve my self-perfection, and supremely to serve that Cause in whose employ the life of the whole world is.

And hence suicide is immoral. Man receives life and opportunity to live until his natural death, only on the condition that he serves the life of the world. But after using it as he pleases, he refuses to put it at the disposal of the service of the world, at the same second his own personal existence displeases him. And it is quite probable that he was called upon to render this service when he started to dislike life. In the beginning every work seems unpleasant.

In the hermitage Optina for thirty years lay suffering upon his bed a paralyzed monk and was able to use only his left hand. The physician said that he was suffering intensely, but he never complained about his condition. He smiled and crossed himself and looked with pleasure at the holy pictures on the walls and expressed with all means his pleasure to live and his gratitude to God for that spark of life that still was glowing in his poor suffering body. Thousands and thousands of pilgrims visited him and it would be hard to describe all the good this poor cripple did; all the good this man created for the world of whose pleasure he had been deprived.

Surely this man was a greater benefactor to mankind than thousands of healthy people who believed themselves benefactors to humanity.

As long as there is life in man he can work towards his perfection and he can serve the world; but he can serve the world only if he is earnestly working towards his perfection, and towards the perfection of the world.
                                        Translated by Guido Bruno

To My Dear Friend Thomas

IT is night. The wind howls and rattles at my door. The lock creaks and the wood squeaks. The wind wants to wheeze into my ears; "You have betrayed your friend and you have cheated his betrothed."

And the moon is searching for me with its ghost-like light and I draw the shade. I know what it wants: "I just saw your old mother crying on her pillows, crying away her sorrows and her griefs."

And I closed the shutters; soon the sun will come with its clear impertinent rays: "You have stolen from your father hope and honor and he died, and I saw him cursing you on his deathbed."

There is the whiskey bottle at a little table next to my bed laughing at me, temptingly, invitingly, "Come, drink, drink oblivion." and I give it a kick and smash it into a thousand pieces. I don't want to forget.

And the looking-glass seems to look at me pityingly: "I always showed you the truth, but you didn't want to see." I turn it to the wall. I don't want pity.

Hard over there, on the bureau, the gun gleams at me: "Come. I do understand you, I do love you, I do pity you and I will redeem you."

Tears streamed down my cheeks and I did not shoot myself.
                                        Guido Bruno
January 28, 1908, 3 a.m.

Flasks and Flagons
By Francis S. Saltus

            How swiftly thou canst dissipate all care
            Sweet Circe of liquors, when thou dost steal
            Our fancies from us, and with all subtle zeal
            Make life more rosy-tinct and debonair.

            There's merry madness hidden in the air.
            Gay as the refrain of a Vaudeville,
            When the sweet sorcery, thou canst ne'er conceal,
            Lures us to gentle laughter everywhere.

            Thy very name makes resurrect to me
            The shadowy past of bygone student days;
            The guignols aye, the gay cafes, and lo,
            The blooming fires of youth that used to be,
            And kisses stolen in delicious ways,
            Beneath the ancestral oaks of Fountainbleu!

            The mysteries of the Schwarzwald in thee dwell!
            Thou must be made in hidden fairies' homes,
            Deep in dim glades, where, in the midnight roams
            The sable huntsman on his ride to hell!

            Thy drops must aid red witches to foretell
            Their awful secrets in unholy tomes,
            And in the haunted dusk, the limping gnomes,
            Meeting near somber firs, must know thee well.

            To me, thou art associate ever more
            With beldames' legends of the weird, blue Rhine
            Where white and wanton nixes bathe themselves.
            I see thee luring travelers to the shore,
            While in the gloomy forest near them shine
            The lurid eyes of hell-obeying elves!

Replated Platitudes

It is marvelous how much a man may know and not know enough to know what to do with even a little of all he knows.

He who finds pleasures in giving pleasures to those who know no pleasures need never know need of pleasures that know no sting.

Some think it is sowing wild oats that raises tame men; but it is very sure that raising tame oats sows wealth among even the wildest men who try it

A frivolous fool and her daring dances are not Solomonic incentive to morality.
                                        Julius Doerner

Passing Paris

The most noteworthy occurrence independent of war-events since these began has been the donation to the country by M. Rodin of his life-work. Without anticipated publicity or any kind the news was announced when the contract between the Government and the donor had been duly signed. The arrangement was made in the business-like, straight-forward way of all his sculpture to the State on condition it be displayed in the circumstances and order he has chosen. He undertakes the expense of its presentation at his own cost, the State providing the housing in the eighteenth century mansion in the Rue de Varenne M. Rodin has been occupying these last few years. M. Rodin stipulates, moreover, that he be allowed to continue living there until his death, and that the museum he leaves, comprising also his drawings and collections, bears his name.

M. Rodin, who had of late years added prose to his plastic and graphic expressions, has only raised his voice, or pen rather, on one occasion in comment on the war. He seems to have realized, unlike others, that the time is not for preaching. The few words he has said were to the point, as is everything he says or does. In Rodin are united the qualities of the French peasant and of the master-man. He has the sagacity and shrewdness of the one, the critical gifts of the other. He is sparing of speech like a peasant, lucid like a poet; tenacious and wary like the former, intuitive, tactful, feminine, like the latter. He has a sense, too, of timeliness as his last deed shows, for it is, in its way, a patriotic deed. He was himself timely in his appearance in the artistic cycle; some come too soon, others too late; some fall completely outside of their natural environment. They are out of tune with their contemporaries. Rodin suffered from none of these errors of selection. Some are great artists, but not great, or even good, influences. Rodin's influence has been as vast as his genius. It was necessary, it was welcome, it has borne fruit. And there is no waste in his life. Effort has been proportioned to result, result to effort. He has, as far as can be judged, always given, or been able to give, form to his intentions; he has not aimed beyond or on one side of his possibilities of realization. His qualities have not been strained to the point of becoming faults. His idealism, for instance, has never developed into ideology.

Rodin is still the greatest of living artists, not only because he is the greatest artist, but because, simply, he is a world-wide influence. He is in himself a monument of the best in his time and race.
                                        Muriel Cielcovska
Excerpt from a letter to The Egoist. May 1, 1916

            Arch    The Arch

From The Garret Window

Love and Romance
Never before, perhaps has there been an age of romanticism and of self-sacrifice such as ours. And if you doubt it, compare our daily newspapers with the histories and chronicles of yore. Here and there a thrilling incident, a great personage, an extraordinary character, and so singular and so rare that the writer of those histories could not resist penning it down for eternity. The love of a Romeo, the perseverance of a Penelope, the self-sacrifice of a Nathan Hale, the heroism and bravery of a Joan of Arc, are framed in history, being put down as almost abnormal exceptions, proving to the reader and philosopher that this world of old must have been an extinguished crater, and these incidents the sparks that kindle a new feeling among contemporaries.

And then look at our own days, unjustly called realistic and prosaic: called so by pessimists or men who live upon the border line of everyday life; who are incredulous and too prepossessed to read the police reports in our daily papers; who are shams clothed with the dignity that prevents them "from stepping down" into the real life of millions of our fellow men; who take for granted and for truth of our fellow men; who took for granted and for truth the printed word of theoreticians.

Can you doubt that this our age is one of romance, of supreme self-sacrifice unheard of, and of love that come nearer to the love of Christ than the one preached for nineteen centuries in cathedrals and churches?

Read of the Irish heroes who gave their lives because they wanted freedom for their fellow men. While you were riding in elevators and subways and pushing electric buttons they were being shot or sent to a still worse fate — into the doom of prison cells — for the same "crimes" we celebrate our Washingtons and Lafayettes.

Think of the woman who entered the death cell of her doomed sweetheart two hours preceding his execution, and married him as proof of her sincere and never changing love. Think of the one man who plotted and called to his aid a hostile nation; who gathered together an arsenal of arms and ammunition; who organized an army ready to strike for his country's freedom. The work of a Hercules — and he is facing a trial for his life.

Imagine today, this thirty-first day of May, nineteen hundred and sixteen, hundreds of women, part of a crowd of spectators of the Harlem regatta, dressed in all the frolicky and frivolous finery of our time, chanting old-fashioned hymns; crying out from the bottom of their hearts: "Help. O Lord, you are our last refuge," all this on the street while a boy is drowning after an unsuccessful struggle to master the swirl of the waves, and while men are throwing off their clothes and jumping into the flood to save him (as reported in the New York Times of May 31st.)

Think of the millionaire merchant in Detroit. From a worker he rose to be this country's foremost manufacturer. He who had drawn pay for years in his weekly pay envelope is now handing pay envelopes to thousands of his employees and looking after their welfare like no other man in this country. He could justly and rightfully enjoy the fruits of his labor, and he could dream peacefully through the evening of his life. But the sorrow of his fellow man is his sorrow. His love for the world is so great that he must "do something," be it only an effort to prevent further bloodshed and tears and murder. We see him equipping the Peace Ship. It is like a gigantic phantom of the Prince of Peace; like the unhonored messenger of a great and quickly approaching era; like the herald of a long expected "Kingdom of Man" upon earth.

We see him ridiculed and jeered at by his contemporaries. We see him laughed at . . . but he walks his own way; this modern man of romance and of love who wants peace and happiness for all before he enjoys his own; which could be his for the taking.

The dreams of the Arabian Nights have come true, charmed to existence by an Edison. Invention today is the incarnate romance and the imagination come to life of a bygone age.

Daily do men realize more and more that to live means "to give and to forgive." That everything belongs to everybody and that the only way to bring about this idealistic state is to give to your neighbor what you have and what he needs.

Our age is the age of miracles, but we have not time to see them.

We read books or listen to preachers or dig ourselves into a miserable hole beneath the surface of a universe and we call it our own world; we become skeptics and pessimists and haters of men.

But life weaves its romance continuously.

May one of its myriads of threads entangle you too, one of these days and make you one of the romanticists of our age. One of those who have nothing better to give than love and who do not wish for anything better in return than love.

Nothing but love.

                                        Guido Bruno

Washington Honored (?)
IN a very peculiar way during the last few days, Washington is being honored in the Square named in his honor. Alongside of the pillar of the Washington Arch, facing Fifth Avenue, his full-sized figure is being set up — gradually, day by day. It seems to take more time than one would expect and it is a spectacle unworthy of a dignified patriotic action, exhibited there every day. Is canvas really so expensive that a tent could not have been procured for this occasion to be spread over the marble parts of the statue in order to protect it and the working men from the curious looks of passers-by.

For two long nights the big trunk and the limbs and the head were lying about the Arch much visited by the youth of our neighborhood and by dogs, cats and birds. The head had been covered with wet towels and gave rise to many ungodly comments of people who cannot restrain from an attempt to be witty even at the cost of patriotism and of being blasphemous.

This is the Life
"MONEY-changers corner" in the lobby of the Judson, where the many torch-bearers of literature and of art dwell, was in constant excitement and heated conversation during the past few days. Many pros and cons were raised but the question is still at large.

Corinne Lowe was the bone of contention; not she herself, but a few of her stories. And this is the rumor that had started it all.

Miss Lowe returned recently from a trip to Washington and soon the glad but strange tidings circulated that she had sold to the Saturday Evening Post, five stories, receiving an honorarium of twenty cents for each word or a thousand dollars for each of her five stories.

Considering that these stories are "an inside history" of the late private secretary of Mrs. Hamilton Fish, it seems quite feasible that our distinguished contemporary of Saturday Evening would be willing to buy them at any price.

It is reported they are to appear under the title "This is the Life!"

Be it as it may be, the defender of high ideals on the Ladies' Home Journal, Mr. Bock, will lament the loss of such valuable material for the pages of his journal, which really would have been the right urn for the social remains of Mrs. Fish's secretary.

But this, it is said, is the trump card Miss Lowe played and being a question of "give me my price (twenty cents a word) or the Ladies' Home Journal will give it to me" won her victory.

	COLUMBINE, with eyes of blue, 
	Do you remember when we were new? 
	Your painted cheeks were brightly pink, 
	And your beautiful brows were lined in ink. 
	Why, children cried for the love of you, 
	Columbine, with eyes of blue. 
	Columbine, with golden hair, 
	I loved you then, but you did not care, 
	For fate looked on with an angry frown, 
	And the showman made you wed the clown. 
	You laughed at me then, in my despair, 
	Columbine, with golden hair. 
	Columbine, with staring eyes, 
	Here in the refuse heap we lie, 
	Your tinsel dress is a battered wreck, 
	And your head is broken off at the neck. 
	But I love you still . . . I don't know why, 
	Columbine, with staring eye. 
										Florence Lowe

The Last Hour
By Gustave Flaubert
(Found among his posthumous papers was this unfinished story written January 30, 1837. Flaubert was then fifteen years old.)

I HAVE looked at my watch and calculated how much time there still was left for me to live. I realize I had hardly one more hour. There is plenty of paper on my desk; plenty to write down hastily all the reminiscences of my life, and to summarize the circumstances which have influenced this foolish and illogical intercogging of days and of nights; of tears and of laughter; commonly called the existence of man.

My room is small and its ceiling is low. My windows are shut tightly. I have carefully filled the keyhole with bread. The coals are starting to kindle; death is approaching. I can expect it quietly and calmly while I am keeping my eyes all the time upon the life which vanishes and upon the eternity which approaches.


They call that man happy who has at his disposal an income of 25,000 francs; who is well built, tall and handsome, who lives amidst his family, who visits the theatre every evening, and laughs, drinks, sleeps, eats and digests well. This opinion is old, but therefore not less wrong.

As far as I was concerned I had more than 25,000 francs income. My family was kind to me, I have been in almost all the theatres of Europe; I have drunk; I have slept. Since my birth I never knew the slightest indisposition. I have not a glass eye. I am not lame and I am not hunch-backed - - - and I am so happy that I am taking my life today at the age of nineteen.


One day — I was as I remember, ten years old — my mother embraced me weeping and told me to go out and play under the chestnut trees that bordered the lawn of the castle - - - (Oh! How they must have grown since those days!) I went, but as my Leila did not join me there, I feared she was sick and I went back to the house. Everything was deserted. Big black drapery was stretched over the portal of the house.

I went up to her room. There I met two women who frequently had begged at the door of the castle. They had something lifeless in their arms covered with a white sheet - - - that was her!

They have often asked me since why I was sad.


That was her. My sister! Oh how long and bitter it was! The two black-coated women laid the body in my sister's bed. They strewed flowers over it; sprinkled it with holy water, and later, while the sun was throwing his last reddish rays, which were lusterless like the eyes of a corpse, into the room, and after the day had expired, they lighted two small candles at window panes on a little table next to the bed. They knelt down and asked me to pray as they did.

I prayed, oh! so sincerely and as ardently as I could. But nothing happened - - - Leila did not move! I knelt there for a long time, my head resting upon the moist cold sheet of the bed. I cried, but quietly and without fear. I believed that if I could meditate, if I could cry, if I could rend my soul with prayer and with vows, there would be granted to me a look or a motion of this body of misty form, where was indicated a head, and farther down, the feet. I, poor believing child, had faith enough to think that my prayers would bring to life a corpse, so great was my belief and so great was my harmlessness.

Oh! one cannot express in words the bitterness and the gloom of a night passed at the side of a corpse; praying, crying at the corpse which will not be recalled to life. No one knows what a night full of tears and sobs contains of dread and terror; a night in the light of two dead candles, passed in the society of two women with a monotonous sing-song, with cheap tears and with grotesquely-resounding hymns! No one knows what such a night of desperation and mourning indicts upon the heart: what misery and grief. Upon the youth, skepticism; upon the old man, despair.

The day approached! But after the dawn had broken the two candles were dying out, both women left then and I remained alone. I hurried after them, I clutched apron and I grasped convulsively their clothes!

"My sister," I asked. "Yes, my sister Leila! Where is she?" They looked at me in amazement.

"My sister! You asked me to pray and I have prayed that she may return. You have fooled me!"

"But that was for her soul!"

Her soul? What did that mean? They often had talked to me about God, but never of the soul.

God! That at last I could understand. If they had told me what it meant, I would have taken Lelia's canary, I would have crushed its head with my hands and I would have. "I, too, am God!" But the soul? The soul? What is that was bold enough to ask them, but they left me with no answer. Her soul!

Well they have fooled me, these women. What I now wanted was Lelia, who played with me on the lawn and in the woods, who used to lay on the grass, picking flowers, throwing them to the winds. Lelia, my darling little sister with big blue eyes, Lelia who embraced me every every day after she had played with her doll, with her little lamb, with her canary.

Poor sister! For you did I cry; you I wanted badly. But these barbaric people answered me: "No, you will never see her again; you did not pray for her but for her soul! For something unknown, which is undetermined as is a word or foreign language; for a breath; for a word, for nothing: short, for her soul have you prayed."

Her soul, her soul. I despise it; her soul. I pity her; I don't want to think of her any more. What shall I do with her soul? Do you know what it is, her soul? Her body it is that I want; her look, her life, shortly, her! And you, you have given me back nothing of all this.

These women have fooled me; well, and I have cursed them.

This curse has fallen back upon me. Upon the foolish philosopher who cannot comprehend a word without spelling it; who cannot believe in a soul without feeling it, and who cannot fear a God whose blows he faces, as Aschylos caused his Prometheus to do, and whom he loathes so much that he would not even defame him.


Often I said to myself, looking up at the sun: "Why do you shine upon every day with all this sorrow? Why do you put into the light of the broad day so much of grief and such unspeakably foolish misery?"

Often I said to myself, observing myself: "Why are you here? Why don't you dry your tears while you are crying with one well-aimed shot whose inevitable consequences not even a God could prevent."

Often I said to myself, looking at all the people who are hastening, hunting after a name; after a throne; after the ideal of virtue — all things that are more or less shallow and senseless — looking at this whirl, this glowing lava, this unclean chaos of joy, vice, of deeds, of emotions, of matter; and of passion. "Where to, does all this pass? Upon whom will descend all this badly-odored dust, as it is carried away by the wind? In the grave of what nobody will it be incarcerated?"

And still oftener I said to myself at the sight of the forests of this much-admired nature; of this wonderful sun-setting every evening and rising every morning, which shines equally beautiful on a day rich in tears as on the day of happiness; at the sight of trees, of the sea and of the skies resplendent with myriads of stars; how often have I said to myself in bitter despair: "What is all this here for?"


One thought came to me and that is the only remorse which ever tortured me; never have I felt remorse as I thought that men are not good and not had; not guilty and not innocent; I know that I do not act out of my free will, but am prompted by a moving force, by a universal power, by a faith which is stronger than I am! I shall never mourn about the fooleries committed by my enemy. I also find I should have lived as I am dying; happily and quietly, instead of crying and cursing God, I should have laughed and should have faced Him; I should have killed my tears in laughter. I should have forgotten reality; instead of mourning lost love, I should have been one with life.

I should have lived.
                                        Translated by Guido Bruno

Drawing by Clara Tice

Impressions of America
By Oscar Wilde
(Concluded from last issue)

Among the more elderly inhabitants of the South I found a melancholy tendency to date every event of importance by the late war. "How beautiful the moon is tonight," I once remarked to a gentleman who was standing next to me. "Yes," was his reply, "but you should have seen it before the war."

So infinitesimal did I find the knowledge of Art, west of the Rocky Mountains, that an art patron — one who in his day had been a miner — actually sued the railroad company for damages because the plaster cast of Venus of Milo, which he had imported from Paris, had been delivered minus the arms. And, what is more surprising still, he gained his case and the damages.

As for slang I did not hear much of it, though a young lady who had changed her clothes after an afternoon dance did say that "after the heel kick she shifted her day goods."

American youths are pale and precocious, or sallow and supercilious, but American girls are pretty and charming — little oases of pretty unreasonableness in a vast desert of practical common-sense.

Every American girl is entitled to have twelve young men devoted to her. They remain her slaves and she rules them with charming nonchalance.

The men are entirely given to business; they have, as they say, their brains in front of their heads. They are also exceedingly acceptive of new ideas. Their education is practical. We base the education of children entirely on books, but we must give a child a mind before we can instruct the mind. Children have a natural antipathy to books — handicraft should be the basis of education. Boys and girls should be taught to use their hands to make something, and they would be less apt to destroy and be mischievous.

In going to America one learns that poverty is not a necessary accompaniment to civilization. There at any rate is a country that has no trappings, no pageants and no gorgeous ceremonies. I saw only two processions — one was the Fire Brigade preceded by the Police, the other was the Police preceded by the Fire Brigade.

Every man when he gets to the age of twenty-one is allowed a vote, and thereby immediately acquires his political education. The Americans are the best politically educated people in the world. It is well worth one's while to go to a country which can teach us the beauty of the word FREEDOM and the value of the thing LIBERTY.

Bruno's Weekly, published weekly by Charles Edison, and edited and written by Guido Bruno, both at 58 Washington Square, New York City. Subscription $2 a year.

Entered as second class matter at the Post Office of New York, N. Y., Ootober 14tth, 1915. under the Act of March 3d, 1879.

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