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Title: The Hive

Author: Will Levington Comfort

Release date: November 17, 2013 [eBook #44208]

Language: English

Credits: E-text prepared by Robert Cicconetti, Sue Fleming, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team ( from page images generously made available by Internet Archive/American Libraries (



E-text prepared by Robert Cicconetti, Sue Fleming,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
from page images generously made available by
Internet Archive/American Libraries


Note: Images of the original pages are available through Internet Archive/American Libraries. See





The Hive
The Last Ditch
Child and Country
Lot & Company
Red Fleece
Down Among Men


The Hive








... soft gold and deep
fragrance and pomegranate red.



There is much to say. Many have a part in this story of our days. Their work is on the table. Yet no manuscript, no chapter, is a real beginning. One must start a book this way—with a fresh sheet in the machine and tell what he is going to tell about.... First of all, it has to do with the unfolding of the child mind; all the Stonestudy work has been for that, but the brimming wonder of it all is that we have chiefly been employed unfolding ourselves.

No one can begin upon the sweet and sacred story of life to a child without taking a stride nearer into the centre of things, and living it. That's what all telling is about—presently to stop talking and to catch up on conduct. The fairest culture of all is to become artists in life.... Thinking of this, thinking much upon this one thing, we have been lured out of the heaviness of work into the dimension of Play. We tell here about this particular passage.

Also something about the story of Man and Woman, hinting at what is contained in pages of the Book of Life not opened heretofore for the [8]eyes of the many, but preparing now for the eyes of the children of the New Race—a beautiful story, be sure of that, but one that requires art in the telling. No one could bring this story to the lovers and the children of the New Race who had not found out that Beauty belongs to the divine trinity with Goodness and Truth.

Many seers have not held that well in mind, many sages have forgotten it, many saints have not learned it adequately at all. We have to build our own heavens here before we can have them anywhere else. The more of an artist a man is, the more reverent he becomes about perfecting his thought-forms. Just a mention now—that we rejoice to make much of the Beauty side of things in this book; that a thing cannot be beautiful and bad; that Beauty is the next quest of the many, as they escape one by one from the bondage of Gold.

We try to express the Soul of things rather than to delineate boundaries of matter, but a very strong point is made upon the fact that one cannot deal in the spirit until he has mastered to a good degree the coarser stuff that bodies and worlds are made of. We do not care how the young minds aspire mystically, so long as their abutments hold fast in the bottom-lands. A man must not drag his anchor as he climbs the hill; he must unfold line all the way—a line made of [9]strands of himself, woven of his own wisdom, love and power.

Much is made in this book of the fact that we are given pounds for a purpose—that all here below is symbol and intimation of a globe and perfection elsewhere—that we cannot look upon the archetype of gold until we have mastered the imitation in clay.... We come even closer to this precious subject: For instance, we know that it is only from the soul of things that one can see materials—that no one can get a glimpse of the meaning of materials so long as he is lost in the ruck of them. At the same time we do not believe that we have access, even to the lesser grades of mysticism, until we have all the power and force of the material-minded. We believe we must do well that which the world is doing, even the tasks of the average man, that nothing can be missed.

We do not encourage that mystic or poet who requires endowment. If we are to be artists, we believe in supporting our own groups; we have a suspicion that we are not through with conditions, any conditions no matter how hateful, so long as they have us whipped.

We aspire to be writers and politicians and painters and heroes; we aspire to be masters in all the superb productions of life, but we are content to begin with the ground. We are content with poverty, yet we believe that very early as workmen, we are entitled to a fastidious poverty, which [10]is expensive. No possessions—but all possessions. As writers we are convinced that it is necessary to do—and inimitably well—the things that the public wants and pays ten cents the word for, quite as well as to reveal the deeper folds of our growth for which we have to finance publication. We are not sure yet which is the worthier achievement.

Perhaps we speak much of Soul in this book, but we mean nothing more formidable than the better part of every man. This is the Big Fellow who takes us over when we do that which is worth while—in billiards or diplomacy, in art or love or trade. I think it is the Big Comrade which we are really unfolding—the Workman and Player. Much of Soul, we write, because it is the point of our educational drive—to set It free in the child or the young workman, to make It speak or write or play, and not mere brain and hand.

We speak much of love—not as an emotion, not as a sentiment, but as a cosmic force. You will see much more what we mean by this as you turn the pages. It is the most challenging thing in the world. It is the inner white-hot core of the Fatherland that is to be—the great white Democracy of the future....

Democracy—that's the point of inception of it all; that word is the seed. The more you dwell upon it—you know what the Seamless Robe of [11]the Christ means—the more you realise that the Master Jesus was the first Big Democrat.... We have them speak the word softly and thoughtfully here each day—we like to hear the young ones say it. They are apt to know as much about it as you do—for the word doesn't mean exactly what they mean, who have used it most heretofore. It isn't the name of a political party—yet.... It is government of the people by the people, but only to those who see the sons of God in the eyes of passing men. We only ask its magic, not its presence upon these pages.... They're fighting for it gloriously—every hour. The boys here thrill with the boys there. We hold our hands high to them. Some of our boys are there. They are all our boys! Some are waiting the call to go—but there or here, we are pulling together for the real Fatherland, for the adequite fraternity, under the endless and thrilling magic of the word Equality.

... I can say no more splendid word to you than My Equal: I know of no greater adventure than to become one of the Many. It is true that you and I—the best of us, the Immortal within us each, are of one house—that this is but a far outpost of the journey, Egypt if you like, the husks if you like—but that we have arisen and are on our way home to the Father's House.

Canyon, Santa Monica, California.



I North Americans 17
II Quickenings 24
III Conquest of Fears 36
IV The Stuff of Comrades 45
V John's Things 56
VI Values of Letter Writing 70
VII The New Dancing 79
VIII Old Pictures in Red 91
IX Steve 101
X Hejira 111
XI The Spectator 118
XII Tom and the Little Girl 129
XIII The Abbot 139
XIV The Artist Unleashed 155
XV Work in Short Stories 164
XVI Valley Road Girl 172
XVII Beauty 183
XVIII Shuk 192
XIX Imagination 205
XX Boys and Dogs 211
XXI The Man Who Found Peace 219
XXII A Dithyramb and a Letter 233
XXIII The Mating Mystery 241
XXIV Chapter of Letters 252
XXV Romance 267
XXVI The Cosmic Peasant 277
XXVII Résumé 315





The thing called the New Race—the passion of poets, the phantom running ahead and forever calling the dreamer and revolutionist and occultist, is far from a reality as yet among the commonplaces of the world. It is the spirit of everything worth while, but that means nothing to one who has not a breath of it in his own body.... A story went forth from this shop recently in which certain ideals and presences of the new social order were carried through to a cheerful ending. The publisher wrote, "Yes, but what is the New Race?"

It's a fair question, but remember one cannot adequately describe a spiritual thing in terms of matter. It is only possible of portrayal where it has broken through into terms of three-space. First you are apt to get the nearest and most striking picture of the New Race at your own supper-table—the presence of one of your own children, especially if the young one is hard to understand.


Parents and children of all times have found confusion and alarm in each other's ways. But there are rare periods of human history when the difference between two generations has been not a normal and superficial crack, but an abyss. It is so now. The Old has reached its climacteric point of destructivity. All self-passions destroy themselves in time. Fear, greed, sensuality—all are self-destructive. Great human numbers and decadent principles have been recently broken down in the world with a swiftness and abandonment heretofore unrecorded, except in the traditions of planetary flood and flame....

You may watch closely the child under seven who plays in the Unseen, whose companions are not in the room for older eyes; watch the one of fancies and fairies and fragrances which others cannot quite discern. Many a child has been driven with a soul-wound into corroding silence by parents who thought they were punishing falsehood, when they were in reality repressing the imagination—the faculty which master-artists denote as the first and loveliest possession of the creative mind. Too coarse and unlit to see what the child saw, the parents again and again have looked gravely at each other, saying:

"This is a crisis. Our child has begun to lie. We must forget her own feelings and punish her——"

So often it is her—but not always. The boys [19]who are to do the great tasks of song and prophecy and architecture—they, too, dream dreams and see visions and have the rapt eyes of Joan in the forests of Domremy; they, too, are severely questioned by the pharisees; none escape this scourging; they, too, in many cases shall be put to death.

The new ideals of the parenthood, education, romance, are now being introduced and promulgated by pioneers long since emerged from the old litter and humus. Education will mean first of all a turning for power to the Unseen. The quest of the Swan and the Star and the Beloved, are never carried along on the levels and inequalities of the earth—always the uplifted face for the saint and the sage and the seer. Great parents kneel beside their children and beg to be delivered from the heaviness which holds them to the dim shadows, where the child sees face to face. Education will mean finding his intrinsic task for the child—the intensive cultivation of the human spirit from the Soul outward, not alone from the brain inward.

The quest of the passing age was for Gold. The real meaning and symbol and glory of gold, as the highest, smoothest and most finished of minerals, has been lost in the bulkier products and possessions it meant to measure and signify. More and more has gold itself hid away from vulgar hands and been represented by objects intrinsically inferior. We now behold a civilisation [20]destroying itself for commodities and destroying the commodities for which the destruction began.

Gold itself will serve Beauty in the coming age; commerce will serve æsthetics. The lovers of Beauty begin with the sand, with the clay. They love nature from the ground up; they are fervent for light and air, for sun and sky and water, for fruits and grains and bees, for stars and rains and romances. They say such things are holy. Words are inadequate for their loves and appreciations. They find the ways to love God infinite. They see Him in stone and stream; they see Him in the eyes of the deep down men; they see Him risen and inevitable in the eyes of their lovers....

Straight goodness will not do for the New Race, nor straight intellectuality. Artists, singers, painters and idealists will be the heroes of the generations to come, for they will add the quest of Beauty to the unwashed goodness of the saints and pilgrims.

These are but flaring points; one is embarrassed in short space because of a myriad things to say. Free verse is a sign of the New, also the dream of a free world and the planetary patriotism. The immanence of the spirit of all things, is a sign; the sense of the underlying oneness of humanity; not alone the Fatherland, but the Kinterland, where new Fountains are established and sages and masters come for inspiration—all these, like a passing train of wonder, a glimpse of many cars....


I think I can bring the picture in closer by using a few pages of work from one of the young men with me. His name is Steve. I called him The Dakotan,[1] in the book, Child and Country. We've romped and ridden together for three years, and I've known Steve better every day—still far from the end. The rest of the chapter is Steve's writing:


Out of the centuries of moil and mix and fuse of Europe, the orient and the north countries, a gleaming archetype has emerged here which may be called the real North Americans. They are scattered here and there among the younger generation—young people new in name only; in soul they are as old as Zeus. Often they are strangers in their father's house. They blend the mind of the occidental with the soul of the east; splendid firstlings of an untried future. They betray themselves by their genius. Heredity is the first fetich overthrown by them.

From the first they are a law unto themselves. They cast off churches, codes, creeds, schools and parents as preliminary steps in their teens. In the twenties they are prodigies, leaders in the arts or the revolutions. It is their aim to over-reach themselves, not to further a type. Very early they conjourn together in secret and obscure places, revolting against life as it is lived, like a handful of white dwellers in a foreign city.


There is always an alien, intangible something about these people. One senses the double life they lead, their own, and others. Conditions are not yet adjusted for them. They are super-nationalists, the first mark of the new. They are dreamers who make their dreams come true in matter, and first among their dreams is of the planet in one piece. They are naturally intolerant of barriers and partitions. They see ahead a new social order vast and shining as a devachanic vision—the real democracy of the future. They see that the new has come in not to kill, but to build. Theirs will be the spiritual heroics. Yet all this, of the greater patriotism, must not yet be spoken. It only alienates them the more from those they must live with. Their arch enemy is Ignorance, personified so often in their elders.

It is noticeable that these young people are healthier, stronger, swifter, sharper, tougher, bolder and at the same time lighter and finer than the passing generation. They have the new healthiness. They belong to the open and are practically immune to disease. Theirs is the health of sun and wind and spirit—vitality instead of constitution, something the old can never understand. Constitution is weight, solid, ungiving. Vitality is volatile, springy, electric, constantly being given, constantly being acquired, self-refining. Constitution does not change; it accumulates all it can, then begins to die....

The young women of this new Race are open, strong, eye-to-eye, free spoken. They are capable [23]of friendships; they are not adverse to being wholly understood by males. They are not popular with ordinary women, who surmise their superiority but comprehend it not. Deceit, jealousy and such common disturbances evident in the sex are unknown to them. They have character and are lovely rather than beautiful. They are apt to go half way in their love-making, for who should know better when the chosen father of their children arrives.

All of these people are bringers of true love. Love is their philosophy and religion. They listen to the heart as well as the brain. Others think them cruel in their discrimination in mating. They take all or nothing—prodigious riskers, great sufferers, throwing even love's dream on the board to be played for, and laughing as they play. The slightest blight on the loved one is deepest agony.

Perhaps the surest way of discovering these young giants is to search about for the most sorely harassed children. Invariably they are put to it, to break into this day and generation. They fight their way up through all the banked-up ignorance and antagonism of unlit humanity. Often they are solitaires, coming and going with the secrecy of kings and eagles.




A few pages of drift first of all with the younger boys.... There is a lane of Lombardy poplars from the Lake to the interurban car-line—a half mile. It is a lifting walk at any time, but summer evenings are wonderful with all the sounds and scents of a true pastorale—lake-breath and meadow-lands, the whole sky to look at, and the murmuring dissonance of the poplars. Often we walk to the car with passing guests. One evening a guest went away whom we loved very much. A lad of seven, named John, and I walked back from the car alone.

He was ignited. I felt this at last through his hand. I had been thinking about my own things all too long, missing the beginnings of his talk.... He hurried forward in the dusk, speaking in a hushed rapt voice. Because I had missed the first part, I said: "John, I want you to write that—either to-night or to-morrow."


And this is what came in:

The Magic Lane:

It was at dusk. Two people left their tracks in Nature's dust road.

Love is found on that road. It is the road of the mystics.

They leave their love in it; Nature kisses their feet.

Many horses' feet have been kissed on that mystic road.

That mystic road will last forever.

I long to walk upon that road of love.

Love on that road will last forever.

It is all true love.

Our friends have been met on that road of love.

It leads to the Hills of God.

Certain spelling matters have been corrected. We pay little attention to spelling in the work here. The young ones learn by reading and get the proper look of a word altogether too soon in many cases. There was another high moment from John at the same time. The following three lines have stood out from the period with memorable magic:


The soft breath of the Mother came in through the window of vines.


The stars were shining like the face of the New Generation.

My spirit was away in the Hills. A noise at the door brought me back——

John then fell into a psychological tangle which we found little profit in following. By the "Mother" he referred to Nature.... The verse period has passed for the time. Around the age of seven, boys change. Often, as in this case, they are not so interesting for a while afterward. John is coming nine now and is writing "action" stories with all the worn and regulation props and settings. The early tendency will return with a dimension added. All transitions are times of disorder, but they are followed by larger areas and truer fulfilments of order. A cloud falls upon the sanctuary, but when it is dispelled, one perceives a lifted dome, bright with its new cloth of gold.

I am struck every day in dealing with young boys how wisdom and beauty and truth can be inculcated in their lives, without pain and strain to them, and with great profit to the teacher. The young mind is quick to change. It has not grown its pharisaical ivory....

The sanction of a boy must be won on a physical basis. A man must know what the boy knows and go him one better. The man must understand boy points of view, but never expect the boy to be puerile. Parents of the past generations [27]have had the steady effrontery to expect very little from children. "Why, they are only children!" has done more to make for vacuousness and drivel than any other visionless point of view, none of which has been missed. There is a difference in ages, to be sure. The child's mind has not massed for use the external impacts of twenty or thirty years of life in the world, but there is also an Immortal within—a singer, hero, builder, or a teacher possibly, eager to manifest through the child's fresh mind, fervid to bring the mind of the child to its subjection, for the expression of its own revelations. Indeed, the parents themselves are enjoined to become as little children. In arriving at this wisdom and humility, they may suddenly find masters in their own children.

There is also a lad here of seven named Tom. Yesterday I found him beside me on the sand, down by the water's edge. I began to tell him about the Inner Light that we all carry. You can talk over a child's head, if your words are choked with mental complications (which is apt to be second-rate talk, anyway), but you seldom are out of reach of a fine child's grasp when you speak of spiritual things. He was sitting cross-legged, folded hands between his knees—a little six pointed star—head and shoulders the three upper points, knees with folded hands between, the three lower. He was bare from the waist up [28]and thighs down, and brown as the honey of buckwheat.... I told him that the seventh and perfect point of his star was within; that if he shut his eyes and kept very still, putting away for the present all his thoughts about himself, his feelings, his wants and his rights—looking into himself as one would look ahead for a lamp in the night, listening deep within, as one would listen for the voice of a loved friend,—I promised that at last he would see what the three wise men saw—the Star in the East. He need only follow that Star and be true to its guidance to come at last to the Cave and the Solar Babe.... After that I hinted that I would come to his feet and listen.

Tom felt that it was worth trying for at once—shut his eyes, turning all thoughts and gaze within. He held the posture long.... I have marvelled again and again at the quickness with which the child-mind attains to concentration so essential for all original production. The little ones have no mad emotional lists to sort out and subdue; their wants are simple "yes" and "no" in so many cases. Indeed, they are spared the struggle of becoming as little children.... Tom held the posture, until I was actually tense from the strain of waiting and keeping my thoughts from calling his.

It was a picture—sun-whitened hair, long yellow lashes, brown body with a bit of babe's softness left to it, and glorious sunlight. He opened [29]his eyes at last saying that he had the door, where the light was, almost opened, when a fly bit him.

I thought of the perfection of the instance of the mind's waywardness—the coming of the Master spoiled by a fly bite.... Tom will search for his Star every day. It is strange that he is closer to the hill-pastures around Bethlehem, under seven, than for years afterward.

To learn concentration in mid-life after the world "has been put through a man," is an ordeal at best; and yet we are by no means masters of ourselves, nor capable of significant achievement until the brain can be stilled at will of its petty affairs (the first aim of concentration) and becomes the glad servant of the "giant" within.

A little later I saw Tom on the back of a huge black walk-trot saddle-horse of show quality—passing up the Lane at a fast clip, his feet half way to the stirrups, holding on to the saddle with one hand, the bridle-rein in the other. A year or two ago I should have been afraid to permit that, but we manage now to relieve the young ones of a large part of our fears for their welfare. Children have enough to overcome from their parents. Frequently the New Age young people have to master their heredity before they begin upon themselves.

Life is a big horse to ride, so often a black horse. It is well to start children free and un[30]afraid. We do not let them dwell in thought of pain. We do not permit tears. We inform them early that to be sick is a confession of uncleanness, that lying is for the use of cowards only, and that to be cruel marks the idiot.

We are occasionally serious over repeated failures, but we laugh over things done well. Tennis has unfolded marvellous possibilities in the training of will force. Children are shown that there is a mystic quality to all the perfect games—that the great billiardists and tennis and baseball players perform feats in higher space, whether they know it or not. There is the essential ideal first in the making of the athlete as in the making of the poet. The great moments of play require faculties swifter and more unerring than the human eye or hand or mind. Ask the master of any game if he had time to think in pulling off the stroke that won. It is inspiration that he uses quite the same as the poet in his high moments.

Education is the preparation of the mind to receive and answer to inspiration from a plane above. The more you develop merely the brain of a child, the more he is detached from the great principles of being, the more also is he closed to the real, and subjected to the danger of actual lesion and sickness. The more you develop the spirit of a child, or rather give the significant One within an opportunity to come forth and be the child, [31]the more you make for beauty, health, goodness and glory of bodily life.... A lucky day when you start really to associate with your children, luckier still when you undertake the work of teaching them incidental to your own work. Then and there, you begin to realise that children are close to a source of things that you cannot touch. Presently you realise that they are teaching you....

Day after day I have studied and practised the development of the child from within outward. I have seen the capacity to synthesise and assimilate mere mental matters developed in a year, by training the mind from the centre of origins outward, that mental training alone could never accomplish. The mind itself becomes vigorous and avid and capacious and majestically swift. It is trained to express its true self. That is power—that is king-play. This sentence covers the whole matter:

The perfect way to develop the mind of the child is to teach him to sit and listen at the feet of his own master, the Soul.

The right to live and to bring the laughter of power to the days must be won afresh each morning. No two days alike. We make ourselves impossible to children of the New Age by trying to confine them in the laws and rules of yesterday. The young people whom I serve live in a different intensity. Their interest flags if I repeat, [32]if I fall into familiar rhythms. Continually they spur me on. I think, after all, great teaching is the capacity to feel what the younger minds are thinking. If we are too coarse to catch the first warning of their resistance, they slip farther and farther from our grasp.

It would not seem possible to hold American young people with spiritual affairs; yet this is done daily. We call the Unseen—the great gamble. I have shown how all else betrays—how all matter is a mockery at the last—that even love and friendship fail for those who are called to weep and worship wholly at the tomb of the body.... The truth is out: The beginnings of real teaching is in making the Unseen interesting and dramatic.

We dwell upon the mystic white lines which connect all things—the sources of daring and beauty and creativeness. I ask my young people where they were—when they did any rare and improved bit of work, when they felt like great comrades, met some magnanimous impulse, arose to superb instants of play, or when in Chapel the big animation touched us all and set us free. They always answer that they were out of themselves.

That's a secret of the new teaching again—to lift the students out of themselves. Men take to drink or drugs for this same reason: men and women set out on the great adventures, pleasures [33]and quests for this. We hunger and toil for this freedom; we suffer and adore—to get out of ourselves. Mental teachings tie us in more firmly. The teaching here—and no two days alike—is to startle and encourage the young minds to arise and live and breathe in that lovelier and more spacious dimension which at least borders upon the Unseen. The doors open and shut so softly. One does not know he has been out—until he is back with strange light in his eyes and in his hands a gift from the gods.

The essential spirituality of the new teaching must not be confused with religious affairs as they are known and exploited in the world. You cannot teach the New Age religion of the world's kind. It has its own. No dry as dust sage will do. A snort will answer your sanctimoniousness; flexible science will reply to the abysses of your logic.... You must be the consummate artist if never before in your life, to teach the beauty of the soul to youth. The young workers of the new social order will never bring forth their great harvests from your reflected light. You must be spontaneous—you must flood them with pure solar gold; you must show them by your life and your work, how you come and go into the Unseen.

There is no rest.... One commands his disciples to go forth at last. The teacher strides for[34]ward faster when they cling. He tells them one day they must race the gamut to follow him; and the next day he puts another in his place and begs to be allowed a cushion in the midst of the children.... We hold them by setting them free—the first law of love. All unions of the future—in trade and friendship and matrimony—will be founded upon the principle of freedom; and this is the essence of the new teaching—to liberate the children into their larger and God-quickened selves.

No rest and no two days alike.

A Bob White called me this morning across the uncut hayfields at the edge of the lake-bluff.... His two smooth and patient notes seemed to contain the secret of putting off all fret and fear and unrest. He seemed to ask if I had not done this already—had not yet put all boyish and merely temporal things away? "Not yet?... Not yet?" he called the question.

I answered that I would try again, and I set out straightway to be honest once more with the world, with the soil and with myself. I would begin with the clay again to be clean—to rise and think and dwell in cleanliness, to think no thought, to perform no action second-rate—to begin with the Laugh again—the warm laugh of conquest that always opens some inner door to fresh powers—to arise afresh in the glory and gamble of the Unseen.... I returned and saw [35]the young ones one by one—from Tom and John up to the men and women—doing their work. I set about mine with a laugh and called the day good. The teacher knows best who is taught.




An interesting boy of ten and I have been much together in the open weather. We have learned many things, but nothing more important than what a sham Fear is. I do not mean that we take chances or that it is wise to risk life or limb. Fine discrimination is back of all training in the arts of life; still we certainly have found that Fear is a waster and diminisher of beauty and power—and that it can be mastered.

About the most fascinating thing that life has shown me is the way in which fine examples of the younger generation learn the deeper matters of life—matters of self-mastery which make the very presence of a lad significant to a stranger, and which formerly were supposed to be secrets for the sons of kings alone.

"Do you fear anything?" I ask. "Look deep. Listen deep—do you fear anything?... It's like the pain that tells you of a weakness or [37]disease. Fear is an unerring reminder of a task of conquest ahead for you. That which you fear most is the thing to conquer first."

There had been much of this talk of Fear before a laughable personal experience showed me how much I asked.

I crossed a mesa and came to an abrupt drop-off—two hundred feet sheer. It astonished me. I hadn't experienced anything like this quiver of horror for years. All members and muscles bolted at the thought of advancing closer to the edge. I sat down to think it out. It never had occurred before that I wasn't my nervous system, and must not let it get me down.

The more I thought, the more I perceived that I must do the thing I dreaded so. In fact, I had told trusting young people that they were not their bodies, not their emotions, not even their minds—that these must be made to obey. Here I had a chance to prove if I were less in action than talk. I forced my fluttering young self to the edge.... Dizziness—wobbly limbs, fancied shoves from behind, the call of the huge shadowed space below, a queer sense of parting in mid-air, the body thumping down, another and liberated self gladly spurning the ground—all these symptoms of panic followed swiftly.

I held until calm came, and I then could study this little coil of forgotten fears—a civilised mess.... The weakness was absurdly easy to [38]overcome after the will was once aroused. There's no end or limitation to will force when awakened. The greater the man, the more awe he has for this subject. There's a glow that follows conquest of any kind; the mere call of the will to action brings a sense of power in the heart. There is no way more speedily to dispel pain, anger, passion, fear, or any of these tentacles of personality—than to summon the power of will to instant action. The particular matter of this precipice showed me a trick about calling up the force—priceless to me afterward in bigger tests, and for opening the way of self-conquest to boys.

One must decide what one wants to do—then carry it out to the death. Discrimination, art, all culture and knowledge may be brought to bear in making the decision—but after that, it must be carried out—just that.

Fears belong to the abdomen. You can feel them there. They are quicker than thought. Perhaps you had a twinge of nerves over some sight or sound or odour, before your mind could tell you what you were afraid of.... I have often told the young ones here—listening a bit to my own voice—that there isn't anything living or dead, phantom, shell, or living soul, that has got the authority to make the spirit of man quail.

Courage is spirit.


Most people don't care to try to deal with it; they let it have its way.... Do you recall the fears of the dark room as a child—fear always stealing behind—upstairs alone, the rush to the light, almost screaming tension?... I heard a patter of steps the other evening and knew the whole story—a boy of seven. He had been sent upstairs without a light. I sent him back, told him to stay there until he got himself in hand—to stay in the dark and think the bogie down. He was well afterward.

I have known some under-fire work. A man soon gets himself in hand to look straight at a white-fringed trench. Fear of sharks furnished another test. From a child the deep-sea devourers had an exquisite fascination for me—to be cut in two under brine, white belly, backward mouth, black-rimmed, hairy pig eyes, the double-rows of teeth.... Pacific Islanders swim in the same harbour with fourteen-foot scavengers, careless of whole schools of monsters, yet scurry to their boats at the sight of one solitary, different fin. I had seen the so-called, man-eating brutes, "grey nurses," dim grey horrors with dull black spots. A well-fed imagination also came into play.

I went swimming in the surf with a splendid Australian chap—a doctor home from the trenches.... He left me back in the surf lines and started out to sea. I finished my swim de[40]cently in toward North America, and lay on the strand. From time to time off in the sunset I saw my friend's head.... I was glad to grab the beach-comber when he came in.

"It's all perfectly sane and splendid," I said, "and I'm glad to have you back for supper with us, and the billows out yonder are doubtless all that you say, for an afternoon's lie-up, only I venture to ask—what if a grey nurse should happen in from the lower islands?"

"You don't think about them," he said.

That's about all there is to the fear subject. You don't let it get you. There is nothing worth fearing in or above or under the plane of manifestation.... So I tried that out in deep water. The old horrors succumbed like the fear of the precipice, but not so readily, quite. One can imagine keenly in the dim deep; the touch of sea-weed quickens all the monsters of the mind....

There's nothing fit to be afraid of, unless it is the self. When we get the ape and the tiger, the peacock and the porpoise, the lizard and the shark and the carcajou of our own natures mastered, there isn't anything left to do but to tally them off outside, a friendly finish with them all. No menagerie is complete as man's, and each of us favours some species from time to time.

I have thought much about fear. In another place I told how we have overcome inertia; how [41]we developed senses through the hard administry of fear and hunger, anger and the rest. Now, however, these must be overcome.... One of the last physical fears to let go in my case is that for the hangman's rope. I think Roger Casement really wanted the axe in preference to the hemp. Steadily facing a repulsion, it surely vanishes.

The point of it all is that you can teach self-command to the children.... I took a girl of fourteen to my precipice—left her there standing on the very edge. After a few minutes I called. Her face was calm as if she had gazed from a porch....

"Did you feel any fear?" I asked.

"Only yours for me," she answered.

It was very true. I had the thing whipped for myself, but it had been hard to leave her there.

Finally I took the smaller boys out for a test. They didn't know I was testing them. Children haven't the fear of height such as we put on. I recalled a score of episodes of my own boy-days, in which I startled the elders by Sam Patch imitations. Also I have put the young ones through some deep water affairs....

You may not be able to get it quite—but all fear is illusion. Every inner beast mastered makes us stronger. These animals within are our cosmos to rule. We do not know how beautiful they are until we lose our fear for them. Boys and girls [42]here are learning these things and putting them in action.

The kingdom of heaven is also within. Fear, passion, anger, poverty, and the like—all represent areas of our own kingdom not yet brought under perfect cultivation.... After the emotional and physical conquests come the psychic ones—hard matters of mastery pertaining to the heart and mind—to know, to do, to dare, to keep silent—then the finding of the hidden treasures of the subconscious, mystic fleets that sail those dim seas, as yet uncharted for most of us.... After that, the Soul. At last we must be potent enough to stand eye to eye in the presence of the King Himself.

From looking steadily over an escarpment of two or three hundred feet drop, to gazing at the world from the forward cockpit of an airplane at two or three thousand feet, isn't such a long step as you would imagine. The fact is, I was in no way terrified in my first flight, and fear certainly crawled me full length as I stood that time at the edge of the mesa. Our young people have the call to test the new dimension of wings. This zeal corresponds in a unique way with the new education. Intellect stays upon the ground. Intuition is the lifting of the wings of the mind.

I had already begun to make friendly visits to an aerodrome at the edge of the Pacific when the [43]following letter came from the Abbot,[2] who is now seventeen and in New York:

... Perhaps Steve told you that I had a ride in an airplane about three weeks ago. Man! 'Tis the place for me! Next summer, soon as school dissipates, I attach my name to the Royal Flying Corps. The psychic effect of a flight is wonderful—like travelling over a very tall bridge. The Atlantic coast for many miles lay in profile as a map, the roads stretched as thin mathematical lines; forests as darker shadows of the earth; New York as a blotch of smoke and curious patchwork. For twenty minutes we sailed around and around, just as you've seen a gull pinion, then we came to earth; waited until it got dark, then up again.... Lights of the aerodrome lay like jewels upon the earth, but up, up we went, faster and higher, the roar of the propeller providing a steady nervous outlet. I could shout my lungs out—I had to relieve myself of the excess thrill.

Then what should happen? Red, a tiny rim, like the disc of a golden dollar, the sun began to lift up from the horizon again. The higher we went, the higher it lifted, until there it hung, as a golden bulb, a swollen orange off in the mighty stretches,—pure, golden,—while below twinkled the town's lights. 'Twas the fullest, richest, most brimming moment I've ever had. The awe of the cosmos overtakes the heart and lays down its stupendous laws. The distance between sun and 'plane seemed a golden pathway that ever could [44]absorb your flight. I was aware only of worshipping God, and that roar of the machine made one think of the roar of the planets, comets, meteors, all the suns, roa-oa-ring. What a romance! Finding the sun!

... No discussion of the fear element whatsoever in the letter....

The old thrills won't do for the new race. I took a pair of screen-trained young ones to a circus recently and became absorbed at their mild boredom. Alcohol is too slow and coarse for the wastrel tendencies of the modern hour. The sad ones of the new generation use high potency drugs to forget the drag of time and space. A new dimension is required in all things. The young men of the new race make light of our old dreads and are learning winged ways to heaven and to hell.




I wonder if I can make clearer, by turning a few different facets in this chapter, what we mean by friends, comrades, the spirit of things, and love not as an emotion but as a cosmic force. Many days I have faced a Chapel, as I face this day's work, longing to bring in closer the dream of the new social order, yet dismayed by the limitations of words and my own mind, trained so long in the life of the old.... I would begin to talk, drawing the young minds to mine through an intimate revelation of the heart, then presently lose the sense of effort, even the sense of thought—and an hour would pass in the joy of communal blessedness, because we were one.

Man is not getting larger, though he is continually holding more. The human brain, after it reaches a certain age and size, may gain thereafter a conception of the universe without altering the size of the hat-band. There is a continual [46]condensation at work within us mentally and physically. We take the cream of the thing, and throw the rest away. The wiser and the more inclusive we become, the more we take just the spirit of a thing, and leave the bulk and weight behind.

This is true in our every refinement, in the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the books we read and the friends we gather together. We become harder and harder to suit, because bulk and weight are common, but the spiritual extract of anything is slow to appear for us. The wiser the man, the more fastidious he is, and this does not mean that he is a crank. The excellence of fastidiousness is not in eccentricity but in inclusiveness. In the spirit of the thing, he sees all. From the spirit of the thing, he expresses in his own way any part. He can array whole hierarchies of facts from the spirit of the whole, but mainly he leaves the facts in reference-libraries, where they belong and are quickly available, and stores away in his working faculties just a drop of the oil of a subject or a breath from its essence.

There are those who believe that the soul of man is made up of essences of experiences of thousands of lives—yet the refinement of the soul is so spiritualised that the best surgeon cannot find the little organ. He knows the brain, which is made up of the stored experiences of but one [47]life, but because the soul is so small or so diffused, the surgeon is very apt to say that there is no such organ. And yet, we all know there is knowledge and power behind us, which drives us, in our greater moments, to utterances and action entirely without the scope of the brain. We may call this the soul, or the nth power, or the fourth dimension—the name doesn't matter.... Listen, if I write well to-day—I mean well for me—if I rise to the opportunity at all, it will be because I am writing things which my brain doesn't know.

I yearn to make this still clearer.... The rose, which is the highest evolved of flowers, includes all the evolution of plant-life of its line beneath; the same with gold among the minerals. The fact that each is the highest necessitates that. In the same way, man includes Nature and the lower creatures, in that he is the highest. This is easily proven to you when you recall that a child in the womb passes through all states of creature evolution. That period is, in a wonderful way, a review of the evolution of the world.

The mere fact that the higher one climbs, the farther one can see, proves it again. This is a law. The scent of a rose is the sublimate of all plant odours; and the spirit of man is the refinement of all knowledge and experience beneath.

The higher man ascends, the more inclusive. [48]To heal another, the physician must be able to include the other. Evolution is continual refinement—the drawing unto ourselves of the spirit of bulks of matter. I stood upon a bluff overlooking the ocean recently, and a breath of the south wind awakened in my mind the story of one whole summer; others have listened to forest trees or the humming roar of a distant city, or the rush of a great river, and found in them the aggregate of all Nature's sounds in one tone. This is the magic of the spirit of things.

In all philosophy, there is no difference of opinion as to one fact, that man is unfolding a microcosm within himself, including in his consciousness more and more the Idea of the Universe. The cosmic consciousness, which a few have attained, is the actual perception of the externals of the Plan.

The cream of anything includes all the parts. The cosmic mind must include the essence of all arts and experiences and facts. Just as the rose and the man and the grain of dust are potential with all beneath, the highest man, the cosmic intelligence, is potentially the cosmos in containing the Idea of it.

This idea may be contained in and expressed outwardly by some great single, all-including, all-mastering emotion—such as love. And now we are in a region where there can be no difference [49]of opinion; at least I have never heard disputed what is the greatest thing in the world.

There are all kinds of love. The simple man loves simply—himself, his woman, his children and his animals. The love of the cosmic consciousness breaks forth in a deluge upon the race, because it comprehends and includes all beneath. This great outpouring is formed of earth, air, water, fire, sunlight and all winds, all facts, all experiences, all arts, light of the moon and stars and all glowing things under the sun, all sounds and scents and pictures, all ardours, and sympathies and tolerances. Its outpouring is action, and is of itself creative. This is the OM. Such a love leavens and impregnates all things, because it understands and includes all things. It unifies all separateness; it enfolds all intelligence with intuition; it unites all parts.

This brings us to that ancient and unassailable premise of all religions—that God includes every part of the universe in being the spirit of it; that His idea of creativeness is expressed in one great single, all-mastering and including emotion,—which is love. We hear the little children saying it, "God is love."

... We awaken the Ideal in ourselves first by imitating the virtues of others. In the earlier days when to me courage meant physical action, men passed in different fields, leaving an imper[50]ishable remembrance. I have often seen the expressions of those I loved and idealised as a boy, live again in the faces of my own children. John T. McCutcheon in Luzon, filling a reel of films, under a volley of fire at Binan, on his knees, working the camera with a whole brigade sprawled behind—gave me one of the finest early building blocks for the courage among men. He also gave me an ideal of cleanliness: One evening, after a vicious day's march, and we were all ravenous, John T. left camp to find a river. There he bathed with government bouquet,—made himself right with himself, even to shaving, before meat and drink. His constraint looked like mastery to me then. Grant Wallace was a big star of that service—ideal in performance of friendship.... Young men at hand now are different. Not one of them lack in grip and grit. They reveal the new thing in courage, the courage that begins where the courage of the soldier ends. These have gone far into the mystery of their own kingdoms—rapidly becoming kings of themselves.

The world doesn't understand them. The Abbot[3] is a sensation in literary matters at Columbia, but unplaced. The Dakotan[3] was said to be unfit for a soldier because he was twenty pounds under weight for his height. He can leap five [51]feet six, run or hike indefinitely, exhaust a cement-mixer, say "stick" in all tongues and "quit" in none. He has the will and wisdom to make himself a new man over night—and yet his Government wants him served up just so, in pounds. There isn't any one loves America more than the Dakotan, whom we now call Steve. Even the young military surgeons will know before long that endurance is a matter of spiritual culture, that courage is spirit—that a man is well because of cleanliness of body and thought and organised will; that he doesn't fail in a pinch because he is evolved; that all the higher forms of life call for speed rather than strength, the levitating force of spirit rather than the gravitating force of flesh, for brain rather than brute.... Comrade stuff is the stuff of souls.... I've studied them long and devotedly. I build my days upon the things these boys show me. Less and less are we different from those who call to our hearts.

These young men do not think themselves out; they are not troubled by misses or personal discrepancies. They simply are themselves. I have perceived that men of dreams and genius and action are in the larger sense free from themselves. The main part of their day's performance is a lifting out of the tangle of emotion and desire, into a large, unrestricted area full of calm daylight, where events and movements are seen in their rela[52]tion to one another, not in separateness and one at a time, an area also where inspiration is momentarily expected to strike. They do not analyse themselves. They do not hear their own voices. They are not dismayed if they falter or drop from the key. The things that most men do with care, and that occupy so much of the days these young men perform automatically.

My own path was upward through an intense self-consciousness—the American, not the oriental way. I lived with myself all the route. I observed outward conditions and events, domestic, civic and cosmic; but at the same time observed their effects upon myself. I did not know until I was adult that there is a big receptivity of consciousness above this—where intuitions play and weave causes and effects together—where the mind is more like a child's than a man's, or more like a giant's, perhaps—where the big faith comes, and the warm laugh comes, and man surpasses himself, but does not know until afterward, if at all.

Warmth flooded into me as I touched this larger consciousness. It became clear as daylight—that a man is at his best only when out of himself. I saw much of my misery and depression was the result of self-analysis. I was a better man when I let myself go utterly. And this was exactly the thing that happened in moments of dan[53]ger, moments of romance and friendship, moments of the self hurling itself outward. Capacity for these moments makes the Comrade, and indicates that love which is not a sentiment, but a cosmic force.

Again, you cannot describe a spiritual thing with these little tools and materials in black and white—just intimations.... If we are sweet enough inside, something of the song will come to us.... Two words suggest it best. The first is Comrade, which has become a silliness in a military sense, yet has a high and holy meaning to all reconstructionists.... I remember when the word first came to me with a thrill, as a young lad going off to Cuban wars. It was burned out of me a few days afterward in a Sibley tent full of regular army soldiers.... I remember the scorn with which I used the word all the years—or avoided using it—until slowly, smilingly, its new dimension opened, hard as a diamond, and as clear—its meaning in work and world and women, its new meaning to Russia and India and China and America.

It seems to say Equality. It's a kind of deep drink of spirit together, a word spoken at the last moment between men—an inner-shrine word, spoken with a smile, and a glimpse into the eternal indestructibility of the human heart. It expresses the love of the world, not as it is felt in [54]the brain, but in the breast of the soul. The New Race has already washed it clean. It goes with a Cause fit to die for. It belongs to men and women who can look at each other with a kind of prayer in their eyes and face death alone and laugh at it.

There's a fury, too, in the word—fury against the world, against things as they are. It stands against the world-darkness now, and for the day that is to be. It means love for the poor, a love for the peasants, a passion to serve and be tender to them, not to drive them into the pits of death—a readiness to die for them without cant, a readiness also to dare to live for them.

Comrade—there's vision in it to strip off the masks of decadent nations, to open wide the sepulchres where the priests are still plotting to crucify the King; its strong magic will uncover the monotonous crimes of commerce.... It signifies the spirit of the young men and women who have already begun with gladness and fire to clear the débris for the building of the New Age.

They will begin with the soil; they will know and love their own hard part. They will begin with the grass, with the rice, with the millet and the wheat, the clean things, the simple and holy things that the peasants love, with the songs that the peasants sing, the songs of the soil and the rivers and snows—to build upon them the new[55] heaven and the new earth.... Above all, there's a laugh in the word—the laugh of youth and power.

The other word is Democracy.




Here are some of John's things, mainly letters to the Old Man. California called hard for the recent winter, and I went out a few weeks ahead of the Stonestudy outfit. John intended to follow within three weeks, but overturned a kettle of boiling water in his lap, and was unable to leave his quarters for three times that period. We all learned better the hard lesson—to wait. The quoted word "Play" in his first letter refers to a little slip of paper which I had pasted upon my typewriter. There has been a big tendency in recent months, in my case, to let down all tension in relation to literary production—the idea being that when one has learned all the laws he is capable of, the time is at hand when it is well to forget them. I have written several times throughout this book of an ideal emergence of Workman into Player. We learn many laws, to learn at last that there are none. We come up through many [57]slaveries to freedom.... I have not corrected all the spelling in John's documents. The point most interesting is how the real voice breaks through the mind of a child of nine from time to time.

Dear Younervers[4] Pal:

We got your letter but it was not like you for it was not type-written. Your old machine here is going grand. I am using it now. It seems that I am with you all the time. Comrad has meant a lot the last four days to me. Comrad is everything in the New Race. Masters will be comrads with every one.

That "Play" has it all, on your machine. "Play" is in all somewhere. It is all like a big page and everything is woven on it. There is a time when Comrads hafto go apart for a little while, but not long. Their thoughts never go apart. They are always pulling together, always weaving in thoughts and things that are the same. It is wounderful—a parting. No sadness over it. It is the best that could come, or it would not. We are held together. The pull of the world is nothing to us.

It is hard to keep high, but we will. Fred[5] and I take a swim every day. I go a hundred [58]and fifty feet. Then we come up and rub each other.

True Comrads have it all. Love from Comrad to Comrad.


I woke up this morning kind of blurred, and got Irving and Steve to come out and clean up the barn. They came and we worked there all morning, and then went in for a swim. It was wounderful, the feel I had when I got some clean clothes on and had the old dog[6] feeling good. He is meditating over what a wounderful world it is now. The stall smells sweet as a hay-stack.

Fred just got here and is working at your desk.

How was your morning? I never had a better one, and its the weary old Sabbath, too.

Send for me soon now. It seems that it was a year since we have been together. We can not do without each other. Send for me Soon. I hold my hand high to you.

Dear Old Magic Fath:

I am at Steve's desk in the guest room. It is the first time that I have touched the keys of a type writer since the night I was berned. It sure does feel good.

It has been much more wonderful to hafto have Patience for the Meeting. It will be twice as [59]great for both. I have needed you so since I have been in bed. In pane and sicknes there is nothing that you need so much as your Comrad.

I felt palms up to everything. It is all good. We love it all. It all was something for us to get. It puts us higher after something comes to us like that.

I have all the pores poring out love to you. We are always together.

Your Side Kiker.

Dear Old Pal:

Fred and I slept again in the Study. It looked like a storm last night, but it did not come. Fred is a real Comrad. I got to his heart last night. I do not know how. The roses have been wounderful the last few days.

How is wounderful Mary? We are all sending Thoughts to you. We have had wounderful full days lately, all heat. The town is howling for rain now; they are never satisfied. We are always ready for anything. It is the best. Our wounderful old mailtrain just crossed the magic lane. I love trains more and more. They have a pull to my heart. We love everything.

I do not feel on erth. I feel in space. Out of the draw of the erth—Free.

Love always in my heart for you. I hold hard for the time that Comrads pull together again for [60]the road, us two. Jane is at my hump all the time—so I will quit.

Dear Old Comrad:

We are close this morning. I can feel your warm wounderful hand in mine this morning. We are one. There is the holy breath—such a great pull of thoughts and work to California. It seems as if all the Comrads were calling me there. Then I hafto think of the one thing—Patience. When you have mastered Patience, you are free. All well here. My sores are getting better fast. I have wanted to work lots lately, since I was in bed, but I could not. I lost so many ideas in bed. Beds are a curse. I love you, Comrad. We need to be together.

Your old Pal.

Sunlight Pal:

A wounderful sun. A little late in getting up. The sun was out full—a wounderful breakfast and a wounderful bowl of roses.

Every morning gets greater. The coming together again gets closer. Separation is a great thing! You find that when it comes. It will be so big and wounderful to come together on the shores of the sea. The trains on the Pere Marquette line have a draw to my heart; the whistle is so wounderful.... To have a bath in the salt water and not in old Lake Erie.... It was [61]another wounderful night with Fred. He has done so much for me this time that we have been away from each other.

He is so wounderful if you can get to him. I think I have got right to him to the heart. I am awful lonesome for you and the sea.

I walked to the train track with Fred this morning. It was like the day you were going away. I felt it was nearing the last walk up the old Lane. Fred has the same feel. It swept over us—a free feel; it was almost too much.

How is your Sisity-list coming? Mine is great. It is hard to get along without you here. Old Abe was drafted, and we don't know when we will see him. The sea and sunlight sweeping in the open door of your work room! We will sure have some grand times. We will get horses and have some more of them Moonlight rides. It will be great to hit the old Tie path Itself—with the[7] Welcome Mulligan and the[8] Onerbel Chas. Lipton under our arms. The smell of the burning bark and a caben in the Rockies! Oh, the open road. Life is Life on the old Road.

That canyon must be a wounder, and the sea and the misty mountains and the brown hills. You have it all. Oh man, that is the country for everything.

I keep high for our meeting, Comrad of the Road.


Prose Settings



The red sunset Died away like the close of a forest fire.

The Dusk ran through the mountains like a scarf of blue.

The Moon and old Jupiter took the Open Road together.

The others came out of the everlasting Blue Deeps.



The man at the camel corral was fixing the camels for the desert. Other men were waiting at the front of the Temple. Another came forward with four camels, a pack-beast and two riders. Then all were off over the Sun Betin Sand.

Nothing but Sand and Harizen. Only the Arab who was ahead on the Old Camel knew the way.

They went on and on over the Everlasting Sand, the Sun Betin Sand.



The great wood is the Pines. The very whiff of them gives you the breath of Nature, the great [63]Mother of the planet, the mother of Love. Her breath is the breath of life and love, and the Mouziek of the world.

Treas (California)

Treas are grate. They are so wild and wounderful. There is so many kinds here. The trea I love best of them all, is the U.K. Liptes. It is fragran; it has the sun and the erth all flowers and the swaying beauty of its great youth. I loved it from the first. It is beauty that stays.

I went up to a grove the other day and along a little lone path—the mist and odor of them lingering in deep shadows. My feet broke the deep silences and a Voice came and spoke soft to me: "If you listen long enough you can hear——" I think it was my Master speaking, for a glow came around me, after He had spoke.

The Song of the Sperit

Life is not any good until you forget your boddy; then you get all the power of living, but you can't do anything that you feel like doing.


All lether has a mystery in it. It is the animal's mystery. The misteks of the other world know it, and try to tell us. I have been told but [64]my mind has not received it. I will hafto wait until it does. I think I will know it all in a fue years. I will tell the rest of the world, if I hear it first. I would like to be the first to hear it.


The whole erth was of stone.

God thought that he would make it something good. He sent the Old Mother Nature down and she spent years and years, but she did not know what to put on it. She went up to God and He took her to a room, and showed her the things that He had to put on the Erth.

They were sperits, so she got them one at a time and brought them down.

In the mean time she was making other things. They were seeds and she planted these and they came up. It was wheat and barley and other things like that. The sperits became people and took them for food, and the old Mother is still putting things and bringing her sperits on the Erth. This world is just about filled.

The Sperit

At night the Sperit goes to see God. It gets fresh to make the boddy fresh every morning. This is what keeps you clean. If you were all clean, you would not die. You go thru a hard [65]life and what is not clean is burned off, and then you are pure to go to heaven. You rest then until you are ready to come and be a saint.


The sun beat hard upon the rocks.

I was alone in the Power of the rocks. Nothing was moving.

I was Alone. My Sperit was alone.

It was the loneliest place in the world.

No animal of any kind, not a bird or a snake—alone.

Nature did not even have cells of thought.

The power of the rocks was holden me there.

A thought came over me that I had never known Home.

All of a sudden Nature spoke, and I was free from everything.

I came back to the Father.


There is a greatness in a man that treats his horse like his brother. A man is a beast when he beats his horse. He is of a lower Brivahen[9] than the horse. The man who says to his horse that he is his equal, is a great man, a master of animals.



When the New Race comes, there will be beauty—real beauty. Down thru the ages people have talked of beauty, but they have not seen it really, yet. It will come with the New Race—beauty in everything—in the body, in writing, in talk, in love. Not love one, but all. The younerverse Lovers will not only love each other, but they will love all. This war is the great clean up of the world. After it is all over, and the troops come all home together, there will be the great New Race waiting for them with open arms—then all will be real beauty.

The Hold Up and the Get Away

... It was the first time Denver Bill had come in without a cigarette in his mouth. They wanted to know why he wasn't smoking, but they didn't ask.

He ordered the same drink and took it fast.... He chucked the chair over, grabbed the tellfon off the table and gave "Hlo."

He said, "Horse up here in five minutes."

It was there.

He was out of town in a minute more.

Denver Bill stopped at a cabin where he had made ponmets[10] to rob a train at 7:45, and it [67]was now 6:10. His friend was there. They jumped on their horses and rode a quarter of a mile. The train whistled around the curve.

There was a shout. Denver called: "Stop that engine!"

It stopped slow.... Bill murdered the engineer, and then flew thru the train of cars. He grabbed the fifty pound gold box and jumped thru the window. A shot rang out.

Bill was pincked.

The man that he had come with played dirt on him because he went off with the gold. Bill crawled across the field and laid in the hay stack.

He rolled the first cigarette of the day.

Letter to the Abbot (from California)

Dear Old Wife:

How are you coming? I was just up over the hill behind us, getting two wounderful qwortz of golden honey. How is your type mill pumping these days? I got a new story in my bean:—Have an old fisherman that takes those forks and goes after crabs—have him find a pot of pearls instead of crabs.—Think if it is done right it would make a wounder.

When will you be out here? We will lead a pack trane over the mountains! Oh, that is the [68]old open road! Pack mules, they mean it to me—a line of mules in the mountains and a couple of saddel horses! That's the life.

I hope you have changed your mind about them airaplanes. I do not like the Idea. But, old man, it is for the best, and nothing is a mistake. Take it as it comes. Write soon, and make the pages fly like dust to me. I need all that I can get.

Last night was our first bit of rain. Slept in an open window where my face was sprayed all night with the wounderful cold drops of spring. When I got up, I was feeling better than I ever did before. I was all relaxed. I lay a long time just in the wounder of the wounderful free air and rain. I got up and went down and washed in more of the soft rain, and ate and went outside to come down to my work shop. I stood in the wind. Everything around me was so wounderful. All the trees and flowers were brighter. The hills were a little damp. The birds were playing and drinking in the rain. The ray of sun was just coming over the hill. I could almost hear the breathing of the grass and erth. It was like a song, the great song of spring and breathing of the world.

That is the way that the new generation will come in after the world is washed and all countries are one. A Boy, young and clean, will come [69]in, whistling and breathing a Song of the New Race.

Your Comrad.


Well, Wife:

Here I am pumping a little more of my vocabulary at you. I think that I will go into the ocean and have a swim. It's dulce on my wounds. What I want to tell you is about an old sea loafer here—a big, black dog. He isn't any kind of a dog—nothing but a world-man-dog, he is. He is a lover of the sea and sand. He goes down with us every day. He is a pal for the road. He can't follow the saddel like Jack, but he can shore be a frend. I have lerned him and he has lerned me. We stick close.

Well, pal of the sea and saddel, I am getting awful lonesome, but I am with you all the time. I need your old paw. I shore keep high for the Spring Coming. We will have a shack back in the hills all alone, and drink tea and talk. Don't it sound good? I won't forget it either, not until we have it. We have planned it for many ages, and we will hafto have it—old pal of the moonlight rides.

I am close and always your Comrad.




Stonestudy particularly is a shop for writers. A man is at his best in writing to the one who pulls the most from him. The thing is to pour out. The pursuit of happiness is a learning how to radiate. Happiness itself is radiation—incandescence.

You say you write to the world. A composite? An abstraction? These will not draw forth your best and greatest.... You pass a thousand faces in the town, and are suddenly torn by one? Do you think that the unmanifested, upon which the thousand faces sleep so far as you are concerned, is capable of bringing out your wisest or tenderest expression, as is this one face pressed against the very window of your habitation?

As a workman, as an artist, as a player, one must give his best, one by one, to individuals first, before he arouses the force to set the table for the world.... It is important for the young writer [71]to answer exactly certain listening attitudes. I think, in a story mood, of the shepherd fires—the endless droning tales of Persia and Palestine—camel bells, bearded men in white hoods, occasional weary movements of women in the tent openings as the evening passes to dead of night. The tale-teller is making his listeners see more or less dimly something he sees—something he has heard and visualised, better yet, something he has lived. The finer his telling the more completely he has lived it. The more listeners pull from him, the more excellent his animation, his art. A speaker, accustomed to give himself spontaneously to an audience, said: "If I don't give you what you want—if I am not at my best to-day—remember it's apt not to be all my fault."

Soil and seed in all things.

We prepare ourselves with much misery and massed experience to tell our story of life. How strange that we should not have reckoned with the fact that all this preparation is only half.... Really, it is as important to think to whom one is writing as what to write about. I've been afield with many young men, soldiers and the like. Their best and highest moments afield were spent in writing home, or possibly to the girl they left under the beeches or sycamores. We should write a myriad or two love letters, before we are [72]ready to write for the world.... By writing and dreaming and travelling and living toward the one, we learn how to focalise our forces. Having done that, we are ready to diffuse, to radiate. Sooner or later the one point will be taken away.

Don't be distressed; it is only for the time. But the love we have learned with one must be turned upon the many. It's all a love story. The whole universe is that. The stillness of the sun in relation to the planets tells the first story of radiation—love a cosmic force, not a sentiment—all one big, brave tale.... The real priest is trained to draw out, to furnish understanding,—inclusion. One can talk well to one who includes him. As professional essayists and story-tellers, we are only beginning to learn that we must talk or write to some one greater than ourselves, to set ourselves free.

The wonderful power of letters begins and ends just here.... Write your story or your essay to one who contains you—to one who draws your best, to one who sets you free. You can ascertain your relation to another by your mood as you prepare to write. The more you practise the art, the more sensitive you are, the more you realise that no two moods of yours are the same, as you write to different people. One draws humour, one irony, one a tendency to exaggerate, another deeply to be serious and reformative. This should [73]reveal the whole secret. Choose your complement for the portrayal of a mood.

The thing we call our style is merely the evidence of that which we have chosen to work toward, plus our particular personality. We should work to that which sets us free. Certainly one cannot be free in another's form. There are fixed vehicles for expression—novel, essay, poem, infinite departments of each, but the fact remains that no workman or artist or player can be utterly himself, who remains in the forms laid down by those who went before, or in forms prescribed by the generation he undertakes to express himself through.

No good workman ever accepts things as they are. To be the workman unashamed, he must be considerably beyond his generation in culture and acumen. He therefore finds the beaten paths—which are the easy paths for the many—the most irksome paths for himself. He grinds long and hideously against the things that are, and thus becomes formidable, since grinding makes the edge. The dullest part of the axe is held the longest against the wheel.

Bit by bit, as the consciousness of the chosen workman expands under years and ordeals, he casts off all the shackles, forms and prescribed nonsense of the trivial and material-minded. He breathes deeper with each unbinding, until he [74]reaches the fair eminence upon which lies the priceless secret of all expression:

That there is no law for the pure in heart.

He reaches this point through many slaveries, and yet a child can be taught the secret. The child must also be taught, at the same time however, that the world is wrong and inferior in all its views; otherwise the child will not have stamina enough to stand against the opinions of all elders of all times, much less those who sit at the same breakfast table. Verily, the thing that Rodin and Balzac and Carpenter and Hugo and Chavannes and Nietzsche and Whitman gave their prodigious vitalities to learn, before their real work began,—can be taught to the child, but the child must find his faith in his own spirit and some true teacher to set him free.

In the later aspirations beyond professional workmanship for the world, the Players achieve that master freedom which detaches itself entirely from causes and effects in materials. They work as do those who are ambitious, yet refuse to tie themselves in the least way to results. They work to their Masters, to the Unseen.... All of which is pure and perfect liberation, but requires one trained in building with spiritual causes and effects. We seek to furnish this training for a few who are ready. It is the way to the inmost and the uppermost in all art and mysticism. We are set free here as expressionists of various kinds [75]by writing or painting or playing to those we hold dearer than ourselves. We wouldn't be writing if we could be with them in the flesh—how clear that is! The fundamental processes of our picture-making are quickened by our yearning. Here we touch an old and curious law, that you must have separation for the true romance.

We learn to mass life into pictures or tones or tales.... All that we do well shortens the grade for those who receive. If they are quite ready, they won't have to make the mistakes we did—mistakes painful at the time, but out of which we make humour now.

A man brings a gift when he brings forth a good tale. He has done something with the worn-out tools of incident and experience which hasn't been done before. To do it well his telling is dependent upon his audience. His telling will be different for each listening group. The greater the artist, the less alike will be his methods of approaching different friends or comrades. Each will bring from him a different tone, a different look to his eyes, a different grip of hand, and different order of unfolding his genius....

The most perfect bits of writing we have from the group of our greatest novelists—is either in the form of letters or parts of work inspired by the influence of a woman's heart—some romantic and one-pointed outbreathing of their souls to one.... The great creative producers rarely [76]found steady human companionship in one woman. No flesh was starry enough to endure their idealisation; the break of their picture was often the shattering of life itself. Experience forces us all at last to take our idolatry from that which changes—to continue our lessons of love toward the Unseen. Lovers of the New Race seem to have learned the agony of trying to find all in each other, of trying to find the universe eye to eye. They realise at once that man and woman are but the two earth points of a triangle; that they safely may rear their passions and their transfigurations only to the pure point of union above....

A man has found something when he cries "Eureka!" He loves something, when he pours out his heart to it. The first great struggle of the real workman is to find a form that contains him—a form of expression that will not maim his dream. It is never the form that has held another, that has sufficed for another artist. A letter is one way to freedom. A writer's style should set him free.

The enduring aphorisms and tablets and discourses of the Masters have been spoken to their beloved few. A man's sealed orders in the world, his occult transcriptions from above the world, come in the form of personal messages. Great documents of the future shall be written this way. [77]We write many personal letters. One of my young comrades has the idea to gather together names of a score of mill-girls in New York or somewhere, and write her heart to them—less to try to help them, than to ease her own heart, to tell her love for them. Radiation—that is happiness. Mill-girls have been a dream of hers. She is full of force to pour out.

Incandescence is happiness. All expression is happiness. Happiness is creative. To work, to express, that is to radiate. The object is as important as the thing that aches to go forth. Choose the form that sets you free. To each his form.

A tireless woman asked how she might serve. Her lover was lost in Flanders. We told her to write to the soldiers—to write her heart out in letters to soldiers—that she would save lives and start great dreams and bring the gold back to many grey mists—to be Mary the Mother, the saint, the dream of the film-eyed fighting men—to love them through the heart of her beloved. That is what focalisation leads to—to draw forth the great energies from our souls, to set us free, first to one, then to the world.

We learn to love the one—in order to give this love to the world. We learn to love in matter for the moment, in order to become consummate artists and players in the soul stuff that cannot die. Again and again, through possessions and [78]personalities—missing, destroyed or moved away—we learn to take the force of our outpouring from the mutative to the changeless—making a divine bestowal at last of a clinging human need—lifting from the idolatry of the flesh, which encloses all pain, to the love of souls which sets us free.




I have found true North Americans. A woman of twenty-seven, a mother (with a mysterious man somewhere) and a girl-child with the calm and power of Joan come again.... I needed a change, was tired of my house and my voice—close to the end of all human interest that morning as I set out for a walk up the edge of the Lake. On and on walking, until I came to the little girl on the shore. She was making a frowning man in clay. She asked me if I were the Crusader, but answered herself while I was hoping to fit the dimension of that fascinating title. She had decided that I wasn't.

North Americans—I think of them so again and again—something great and calm and deep and beautiful, something arrived, at last, from all the fusion—en rapport with nature, children of the light, living and abiding constantly in the essences of sunlight—with the humour and cer[80]tainty of Mother Earth about their ways—the cleanliness of earth and the sweetness of golden light in their house and mind....

Mind you, I had walked forth as one would wade out to sea in the path of the moon—actually yearning for a better land than this.... There on the shore, after hours, was the child—her eyes turned to mine, putting me into the enchantment of the wise—stilling hate and ennui. We had words together, the great awe of life stealing over me again after many days. Her hand stretched forth to take me to her mother (this day called the Lonely Queen, for they live in an enchanted story-book). A climb to the top of the bluff and into the most fragrant and godly lane, a low house in the distance in the shelter of beeches—solitary and isolate beeches sheltering a human house, built for sunshine long ago. Many pages would not tell of the lane and the house, the lawn and the hives.... I want to touch the core of this inimitable pair that took me in—poor but dining upon the perfect foods, so poor that they make and dye the lovely things they wear—a kind of holy handiwork everywhere—perfume of summer in the house and in the heart of it a deepdelved peace where broods a sort of lustrous dream.

The child is but seven—that is, her body and brain are but seven. Her talk with her mother is the talk of a pair of immortals.... Wheat [81]bread and butter for supper, peaches of the mother's canning—a last jar, she said, with comb-honey for sweetening and golden cream on top. It was a repast for the mountain-top where demi-gods stray—all miracles about us, Apollo just putting his steeds away, Vulcan smoking sombre and wrathful in the distance.

Can you see me sitting down to supper in a true handmade house, at the head of a God-made portal to the lake (the lane is nothing less) in a grove of white beeches—lingering gold on the vines at the window, the murmur of hives in the air, and these two mystic presences subduing their radiance to sit with me?... There's a little can of tea that is opened the last thing after the table is spread; the brass kettle begins to sing, and the mother hovers over—a kind of sacred rite, all this—then the dancing water is poured over the leaves and the room softly fills with the air of far archipelagoes. Roses of Ireland and France are in the room. Tearoses—some daughter of poetry must have named them.

... Still I am telling you about things—not about them. I thought I should write you what they are, yet the longer I sit here, the more testaments of their adorable lives appear, but their spirits draw farther apart.... There is never a drone of talk where they are ... sentences and silences, the myriad voices of evening stealing into the hushes between.... I must get down to [82]earth again. I must begin with the grass and the shore and the magic which began when the child turned up to me from the frowning clay....

I should like to report them moment by moment—to make you see, but there is a fixed purpose in this chapter. Sitting apart from them that first night, I contemplated the North America of the future—a kind of dream that nestles within a dream—the Great Companions, superb men and women, the vastness of leisure, the structural verity of joy, a new dimension in the human mind, a new colour and redolence in the light that plays upon the teeming world. Not for years had I been so near to the dithyrambic.... I went out into the dusk and smoked a machine-made cigarette—not for worlds would I desecrate that room. I returned drowsy—opened the casement windows wide to the stars. As I put out the lights, the sense came to me that the little room was as fragrant and sweet as a new-woven basket.

... I awoke to low singing. The room was grey and seemed to lift with me, and the walls to widen. It was as if I had caught the old house just waking from a sleep of its own. The phenomenon of the singing lived in my mind. I don't know the song—a rapid bird-like improvisation possibly—two voices hushed, but a vibration of clear liquid joy. I went to the window. The earth was still asleep—a pearl-grey world [83]of dripping trees in a kind of listening ecstasy—two beings below on the lawn—a lawn that was grey with dew. It was like looking down upon a cloud from the Matterhorn. These two beings—one in a veil of rose, one in a veil of gold—were dancing upon the cloud, dancing bare-armed and limbed, their voices interpreting some soft harmony that seemed to come from the break of day upon the sphere.

It was not for me—yet I could not draw back from the vines. I brought only thankfulness to it—sharing the joy in the dim of a room, in the dim of a mere man's heart. Yet all I could contain came to me from the mother and child. They knelt in the grass, the song more hushed, bringing up to their faces and shoulders hands that dripped with the holy distillations of the night—a wash in dew and day, their song a prayer, their dance a sacred rite.... I should have thought it the gift of dreams, but there was a starry track of deep green across the lawn, where their bare feet had broken the sheen of dew.

... I dwelt with souls—that was the truth. I sat at breakfast with souls, dew-washed, speaking to each other and to me from that long road of life which we lose for a squalid by-way when we put on the garments of the world.... They talked again about what the birds hear in the morning. They said that what the birds sing is their interpretation of the great song of day[84]break—that the earth does not meet her Lord Sun in silence.... And then I knew that the song I heard was their interpretation—think of it—a child of seven eating buttered toast.

And I knew that power is a song—that the singing of the kettle is the song of steam, that the inimitable t'sing of an electric burner when the current first charges through, is the awakening song of steel and carbon to their native capacity and direction. The same is in the heart of a boy when he finds his task—the same is in the order of a master and in the making of his poem.... These two hear it—the song of Mother Earth as the floods of light pour out and over her from the East.

Here was a mother who knew how to play. She had launched somehow into a sphere of her own making—doubtless having found life of the world insupportable. I had thought much about bringing up children, about unfolding the child, and here it was being worked out with brimming joy.... It was all too natural to be called education. It was nature—it was liberation, rather—a new and higher meaning of naturalness.

I was almost afraid to speak. The life here seemed so delicate and delightful that comments would bruise the fine form of it.... They played together—that was the point. Play is a liberation of force—great play is ecstasy. In it one rises to the stillness of production, wherein [85]one bathes in mystery and potency and all commonness is cleansed away. Those who reach this stillness are the great beings of the world.

When we finally open ourselves to any subject, we find intimations of it everywhere. I found presently that all the voices of the New Age had designated the magic of the dance. It seems almost dull to declare that I do not refer now to the dance as it is taught and used and exploited as a social accomplishment, but that in which the personality is subdued and quiescent, quite as absolutely as it is in all great moments of production. One must give oneself. Music carries the sensitive soul into its own mystic region. A rhythm within answers to the external rhythm—the two meet and mate—the fusion is bewildering beauty.

As in all creativeness, the first law is spontaneity.

The great dancers of the future will hear their own music—possibly give voice to it as they give their body to the rhythm. There shall be no exact interpretation of song or sonata—at least, not until absolute genius interprets the exact figure of each tone-set. This is impossible in a world of mutation. Accordingly, one who establishes a series of movements to accompany a certain harmony, misses the meaning of the divine improvisations which is the essential beauty of the New [86]Age dances. One should dance as freely as one called upon to speak. And one will neither speak nor dance greatly by prearrangement or following any arbitrary form.

The very tone of the voice is different and deeper when one is caught in the spirit of spontaneity. The prime object of the new education, which includes dancing, is to set the soul free. Music is one of the master-lures to call forth the sleeping giant.

One night a stranger[11] came to Stonestudy. She said she was called by the way we were doing things, and that she hoped she had something to bring to us.... The next morning at daybreak, down on the shore, I saw stars and circles of young women and girls folding and bending together in exquisite tones of colour and song. Her gift was the new dancing. Over night she had captured the young people, bringing them a new joy in the world. For two or three months she remained with us and has since established classes east and west—life given to the message of beauty. With us her expression and magic has endured.

There is no way more swift to merge in the universal, than by the response to music through movement. Not dancing, which is a response to time in music more than to rhythm, but the actual blotting out of self, a spiritual exaltation [87]which many religionists have sought and few attained.

The means is very simple; nothing strange or peculiar. It is the dropping of the human will so that the music may flow through. One does not move to the music then; one is moved by it. The objective mind ceases to operate and through the larger consciousness absolute Beauty streams. The response to the music may be totally different with several pupils, but where the dancer is really lost to the objective world, the movement is always true and satisfying to those who watch. This is easy for those who are close to Nature and God, but it is fraught with difficulties for those who are over-mental or who have been terribly repressed. In many ways the will is man's highest asset and it requires a supreme effort of the will itself to drop the objective consciousness.

There is a technique of the dance to be sure, but it is designed only to free the body so that it may be a purer channel for the music, and to facilitate the effacement of self. Physical strength, agility, beauty as mere beauty, are never sought, but only the revelation of eternal harmony.

There is rhythm throughout Nature. Man often moves less gracefully than the higher mammals. He has opposed his will to the law of the universe, for centuries abusing his ancient right, but through music he may realise again the harmony of all. The dancer is radiant with the splendour of the [88]infinite and there comes an ecstasy into the spirit, of those who witness the transfiguration—the hush that one feels only before the highest art and purest religion.

It is reasonable to suppose that those who dance must bring back with them into every-day living something of the beauty of those exalted moments when they touch "the white radiance of eternity." Here is natural education, natural religion—a practical mysticism, the merging of self in the Infinite with a consequent fitness for daily living.

So the dancing of the New Age is but a different form of contemplation and production, by which the Soul becomes the creature—for the period achieving that blessedness which is above time and space, and dwelling in that dimension, where goodness, beauty and truth are one.

The new dancing is "in the air." Like vers libre and all New Age realisations and creations, its first essential is freedom. This is the meaning of the word Democracy—equality, liberation. The very spirit of all that is new demands freedom. The deeper one penetrates, the lovelier the folds of this marvellous conception. There is no title for friend or comrade, for child or lover—comparable to the assumption of equality.

Equality—its power sings. It dances. When the last is said and done, we all want the same thing, if we really knew,—goodness, beauty and [89]truth, one at the top. There is joy in the fine new conception appearing now in all the arts—freedom first and last, even to lawlessness at first, but that will right itself more swiftly than smugness, which has had its age-long and hideous trial.... To me, the house in the beeches slowly unfolds it all—the mystery of the cosmic peasantry of the future—that fastidious poverty, that delicate plenty which is perfection. These two, mother and child, mean the new dancing to me, and the New Race beside. I have not dared to go again, because I build incorrigible dreams, and this one especially is dear.... Yet I often recall their loveliness together.

The mother's beauty had turned to loveliness. It had more than the mystic chiselling of sorrow—it had passion, it had humour.... I feel the need of telling you from time to time that I am not rhapsodising, the need of reminding you, how weathered and drab my mind was, when I went up the shore that day. She made me think of grapes and olives and laurel-boughs; she seemed the sister to the child. All about the two were subtle, pervasive, ever-changing tests of the power of the soul. The country people around did not think her extraordinary, much less beautiful. How much is revealed in that? Loveliness requires certain vision, an interpretative spirit, and thus it is protected from the vulgar gaze. These good country people carry upon their faces and [90]hands and persons picture-writing of secret sins and dreamless stolidity, and yet they are scandalised by this woman. You cannot imagine how sweetly it came to me that she had utterly lost the sense that she was outcast.

A lamp burns at her door every evening. I don't suppose it is seen three times a month—yet the lamp burns.... There's a big wooden Cross in the room where they sleep—the child led me to it—a mat of grass before it, kusa grass, who knows?... A great Cross, a much-worshipped Cross, with spike-holes, the broken edges worn smooth.... The child whispered to me that she had been brought (when she was too small to know) and placed on the mat at the foot of the Cross for her mother to find; also that she came when the white clover bloomed.

... It is only this way, bit by bit, that I can make the picture. I have never before been so disturbed by the sense of inadequacy. The light about their heads is all diffused like morning upon a cloud.




There was a period between the second and third year of the war, when it seemed that the guiding, shielding spirits of the planet were slowly being withdrawn—leaving only the mockery of goods, the chaos of multiplied things. But at the blackest, in the very hush of desolation, the new breath stole in upon us, a breath of lilacs on the chill, dank, wintry air. Many now stand arisen, waiting the flash that changes the world.... Five men were gathered in Stonestudy one evening; we talked of our parts, the best we could do in the clean-up. It was hard to look over the barriers at first; hard for an American to accept the fact that he dare not say what he thought, nor write what he thought. It was hard to realise that we were prevented from expressing what we thought, by the very forces that had drawn us into this deep trouble. We who are the distant generation of a party of pilgrims and voy[92]agers who came to America to find a free country, were strange and intolerant at first, when we felt the yoke of Europe settle upon ancient scar-tissue.

We discussed.

A country is superb when one is unconscious of it, we said. One's country should be like one's health, part of the song of life. Suddenly to find the freedom of the past unremembered, the freedom of the future unglimpsed, to hear the loathly low beat of talk from groups of frock-coated Appetites, with heavy half-dead legs and heads like pitching-quoits, settling our sacred future on the basis of steel and coal and margin and murder market; to feel ourselves clutched and borne forward with stub-nailed fingers in the stench of big business; black-garbed shopmen pointing the way to the ports, urging and shouldering other people's children to the ports of the gunboats, advising the efficacy of "Nearer My God to Thee," as a song for sinking ships,—we forgot at first in our own pain that this was merely the body of the Old strained to a cracking point by the resistless growth of the New.

Presently we grew kinder.... In a way, the Old was the grim stepmother in whose house we learned how not to do most things; in whose kitchen we learned cleanliness, because of the vile example of her organic sloth; in whose walled garden we learned the peril and the passion of Quest, because we loathed her long snor[93]ing of afternoons; from the death of whose sects and schism-shops we set forth to find the unity of life; from the obscenity of whose loves we came into the first great cleansing hatred of ourselves....

No hatred now. Hatred is part of the Old. It has no part to unsteady the hands of the reconstructionists. This New Race has come up in strong soil. The Old nourished and fertilised all its vitalities. The new green beneath the litter of dead leaves cries out under the decay, "You are stifling me!" but the plan of it all is wiser, for there is warmth still in the humus of the old to protect the new and the frosts may not be finished.

More and more as the sense of big cleansing and chastening came home to us, the everlasting principles of reason and order and beauty also appeared out of the chaos and the pain.... They were saying in Europe that this war was a war without morale. We believed it would be a war with morale before the destruction was finished. One of the cleanest dreams we had was that America would bring, with its guns and knives and instruments of flagellation, something of the almighty spirit of the human heart to light the blackness where the Pale Horse has passed. That's all morale is, and war without morale hasn't any cause or effect on the constructive side, [94]and will continue to destroy itself against itself as all such forces do in their madness.

If any one concludes that we were a group of religionists gathered in Stonestudy that night it will be well to point out that this planet will be a whole lot more religious before war ends, and no one will be louder about it than the trade-mind everywhere.

War brings death, and death enforces the faith of the human heart, and faith is one of a trinity (as we learned in Sabbath School and variously since) that inclines the heart of man to God. You take a loved object from the Seen and place it in the Unseen (thousands each day the soldiers pass) and faith is born of the agony of separation. The human heart forces a bridge across the abyss from the Seen to the Unseen. It's the old story of the bereaved turning to God. Saints are thus made—thus tenderness and purity come to be.

Within the next ten years there will be heroisms before our eyes—heroisms such as seers and saints and sages have dreamed of as the consummation of the human heart. And those who have lost most and mourned most will read the eternal joy of the Plan from the Book of God's Remembrance.

When you see the remnant of a race of people crying out that there is no God—then you begin to know what war means. When a country has [95]given its tithe of human blood, or one in five is gone—then you begin to know what an Austrian woman meant, when she spoke of the "horrible grinding of war and the answer of the women to man's cries of pain afield." ... When peace brings a worship of materials and a dulness that cannot look beyond existing institutions—the end is war, and after that a sitting in black upon the ground.

We didn't know what death meant before this war—but many have learned. The very word death has the sweetest sound of all uttered names to many a lonely heart to-day. We didn't know enough about death. We had the habit of thinking this was all. The end of such thinking is war, and after that, a sitting in black upon the ground.

When your heart is cleft in twain and one part stays on this side, and the other over the dim borderland—there's a straining of eyes into the Unseen, a picture making out of the creative materials of human spirit. Life of the soul begins again—out of pain—always out of pain.

We have not yet learned to accept life from the higher masters, Joy and Beauty. We still learn through Pain. We forget the meaning of death, even as we gather our things of death about us, and war comes along to remind us again. Always those who answer to Master Pain must look to death to find their relation to God. The faith that [96]comes with peace at last to the human heart, is energised by a love that crosses the abyss of life and death.... A grand old teacher, Master Pain. When we know all his lessons, and take his hand from our shoulder, and touch it to our lips (for we shall know well his wonderful work when the time comes for us to part with him), then we shall find that he is not a black man at all—but a Sunburnt God....

Four at a supper table—a little child, its young mother, and the old father and mother of a grown son, who has just died for France. The old man's eyes roved from the child to its mother, back to the old woman, and lingered there, something rough and deep and wise in his look. The child suffered vaguely. There was much suffering in the house.... The young mother asked coldly if they could feel him in the room. Then just as coldly she asked if there were a God. Then she ran from the room with a cry like a night animal. The silent child began to weep. The old man and the old woman stared at each other and wondered what their daughter-in-law meant about him being in the room.

A picture of the chastened world.

The child turned from the strange, sad human beings to the fairies that played upon the peasant hearth. The child's mother had rushed forth into the twilight to find a vision or a memory or a [97]breath of God. The old man and the old woman looked so long at each other in the darkness—that the soul of the son of their flesh stood for one healing instant between them. Thus the enduring figures of the Unseen reveal themselves to those who have suffered to the end.

The nations are but names to fight for. These battle-lines are for humanity's soul. If America is fighting for humanity, let it be with surgical calm and healing in her hands. Hate spoils everything.

The babe knows a room; the child knows a house and looks out into a street; the youth learns the street and then the city; the young man learns his country, but the man should learn the world. You can never be the great lover of America by hating the rest of the world; no human mind can see what is best, what is even good for America, when the interests of other countries are forgotten. No man's country ever suffered because he turned his love and service to the feet of humanity.

The few who brought the real American impartiality to the European war in the first months, found themselves in the midst of the most challenging chaos that ever reared its head to the light. Profound and tragic impressions followed each other. It became icy clear that the greater nations, as well as the pawns of the Balkans and the [98]Levant, were puppets alike, churned together in a great planetary cleansing. Every partisan path was found to be increasingly crooked the farther one advanced—and a sheer descent at the last. Any national point of view used to dupe the people into greater destructive energy, proved in itself, no matter how sincerely offered, as short-sighted and ill-founded as the hatred of two soldiers who meet between trenches and discover, as they gore each other to death, that their only basis for hostility is a different colour of coat.

Studying Europe in those dark days, the unprejudiced eye was in danger of having some truths torn down with the host of illusions. It was hard to hold fast to the fact that there was anything magic or holy about nations at war. Indeed, they seemed entities formed of groups of greedy men who wanted their way—in the main, groups of leaders devoid of vision and the spirit of fraternity, and careless of the welfare of the people, quite the same as many great commercial organisations.... The real enemies of any people are groups of men who want things for themselves. The real issue of the war has nothing to do with entities of this kind, nor with alliances of such entities, but with the painful groping consciousness of the peasant mind—its slow and torturous awakening to the fact that royalty in its utmost pomp and glow does not enfold God.

The people must learn before they can be free. [99]Hitherto they have been duped by the nations; and the nations are now being duped by each other; but there is a greater plan at work—using men and nations alike,—a plan to do away with boundaries and hatred and preying, to strike the spear from the hand of man and leave it free to help his neighbour, to establish democracy in the place of imperialism, and fraternity upon the solid footings of the earth in the place of separateness and strife.... The new volume of human spirit already has been opened. We felt it that night in Stonestudy before lights out,—the first beauty as of a song across still waters.

An American correspondent going home from the field in Europe "the long way around," met an old Persian Master on the road to Damascus. With the sage was his nearest disciple, also a Persian; in fact, the young man was so loved that he had been changed from discipleship into sonship. This young Persian became very devoted to the American. They stood together for a moment in silence, when the time for parting came. The old Master drew near and said:

"It is good to see you place your hands together. To me it is a symbol of the marriage of the East and West, for the East and West must mate. Long ago the East went up to God and the West went down to men. The East has learned Vision and the West has learned Action. These two [100]must meet and mate again for the glory of God and the splendour of earth. The East has lifted its soul to the hills and held fast to its memory of the Father's house. The West has descended into the folds of the valley, and won from agony and isolation its efficacy in material things. And now the mystic is looking down and the materialist is looking up. Soon their hands shall join—like your two hands in mine—and there shall be great joy in the Father's House."




Steve and I were camping together for a few weeks on the Southern California strand. One morning he looked up from the pages of a book in his hands and remarked:

"This fellow is one of us."

The book was Youth, by Joseph Conrad.

"I haven't read a book for a long time," Steve added. "There are three stories in this. I've read only one—Heart of Darkness—in fact, I haven't finished that.... You have to fall into this Conrad and be his—to get him. You let your mind open into a cup, and presently after six or seven pages, you find it brimming. If you fall into him deep enough, you get almost what he sees—not quite though. No reader ever does. But you get something intense, fascinating, a restlessness, a terror. You find that all your somnolence and inertia has caught fire."

There had been a ten minutes' rain at dawn. The smell of the tropics moved over the sterile [102]sand. It was cool, but there was no wind. The day promised heat. We had been up in Canada for the winter, and it was hard to believe that hot sunlight was free. A broad quilt of gulls and plover sat together on the shore waiting for the drying light or for the mist to rise, or the tide to ebb....

Steve resumed:

"He tells about a boy who loved maps—who used to look for hours at the continents—thrillingly attracted to the darkest places, the patches still unprotected. There was one heart of darkness with a river winding through. He doesn't tell you the continent or the river, but there were elephants there. He should have called the story Ivory.... Years afterward, the man, worn to the bone from the world's lies, sets out to penetrate this deepest black of the planet. He reaches the river and follows it for endless days, but the world has arrived. Some nation is there colonising for Ivory—you don't know which. The story is told like that—unplaced in time and space. Really it doesn't matter what particular imperialistic tendency is at work. The fact is, he climbed the river into the ghastliest chaos....

"You get the deep green of the heart of the continent, the mournful brooding leafiness—the natives herded and distracted, more afraid of the blast of a river-steamer's whistle than of any kind of violent death. Death was familiar to [103]them. They were chained to labour, cast loose to die. Vultures swept the sky waiting for their limbs to fall still. There was the salty pester of fever in the air—men foolish with fever and heat—a haze of flies—white men burning out inside—oxidisation of human souls—a steady and hideous beat of death—devils of hate and violence and acquisitiveness—clerks making entries of Ivory—a nation's young men running through the jungles for Ivory—carloads of bright glass beads and painted calico for Ivory—all standards of life and career-building set upon Ivory—murder for that—lives lost, tribes shattered—the leafy heart of a fresh continent seared with the civil flame of greed—commodities dumped in river beds—mails that men would die for torn open by vandal hands—waste, perversity, nothing clean-cut even of crime, the horrible non-initiative of the middlemen.... All this told with patient exactitude, but with indescribable intensity; told by a master-hand that trembles; with the control that one can only know who is sensitive enough to tremble. You feel a big man bending forward to make you see something that all but killed him to find out. You feel him scarred and sick, his heart leaking, because he found it all so hideously and stupidly rotten. It's a little picture of a trade war—that's the point—the war of middlemen—middlemen turning to rend each other.... Heart of darkness—after that the light comes."


Steve opened and shut his fingers in the sunlight. The warmth was sweeter every minute.

"This fellow sees it all," he went on. "He's done a big job for me—for anybody who gives himself to the book. There's something immortal about being a workman like that—about any workman. That's why one wants to cast a weep after the passing hordes of middlemen. They can't do work. They don't even see the fog of human agony they've painted the world with. They are it. It is the old against the old. It's all about Ivory. They crucify for fossil."

Steve was lighting up.

"This Conrad brought back to me to-day a bigger love for the workman. The starved and scorned inventor gets the best of it, after all—not in Ivory—but he builds something in himself. He quickens something in himself that goes on in freed consciousness when the body falls. No, I don't insist that anything goes on in any particular way, but the deep moments of work somehow show a man that the best of him here is but a nexus between a savage past and a splendid future.... It's wonderful to be alive to-day. I believe there are secret agencies at work behind all the governments—that they are one at the top. I don't mean detectives, not intelligence or espionage bureaus. Potent, mystic, infallible forces. It doesn't matter. Some person or some group is holding the plan of the New Age.


"We're learning life as never before—plucking the deeper fruits and mysteries of pain. But one must go apart from the crowd to see. One must cease to be a partisan. The real seer sees the whole, not the part. All the war-lands are in pain. One sees only the part, when one is in pain. Not one man out of a million sees it all. A few Russians see it all—a few in China—a few in India. Romain Rolland sees it all. This fellow, Conrad, sees it all.... It's a pity if America doesn't soon get the full picture. It's worth seeing——"

Ocean and sunlight and mountains. The world was a brimming cup. If a man could take all the beauty there was for him, he could never die.... We went over to the post-office of the little town. The business men of the place were coming in. The first mail had just been distributed.... Grocers, butchers, the hardware man, the real estate men, the man who ran the newspaper, fishermen, barbers, lawyers—mainly fat and pleasant—children on the way to school.

They were short-breathed and short-armed. They dressed in wool and wore heavy dark hats. I had never noticed before how short-armed the race of tradespeople are. Labourers and peasants are not so; painters and musicians have a tendency to be long-armed. I mentioned this to Steve.

"The middlemen," said he. "They are tight[106]ened throughout—ligaments contracted—contraction taking place in the deeper weaves of mind, a drying up of the deeper sources of life. Contraction, self-centering—that's what madness is. A man must sing, or weave, or build or make bricks. The ways of competitive life are paltry ways. They hide their ways from one another, and afterward from themselves. They pluck no fruits; they contrive no short cuts; they do not become intimate even with the commodities of the earth—the very things they worship and pare margins from. They eat infamously, filch from each other.... It's all here—all that Conrad pictured in the heart of darkness. These are the sick, the maimed, the blind of the earth. They live in the realm of fear, pain, anger, desire. These are the war-makers.... Their arms are twisting and shortening in to their navels——"

Sunlight streamed in through the open doors of the post-office. Motors going by drowned the soft rustling from the sea. The hell of the outer world trickled in through bits of conversation. Everybody had read the morning paper at the same time. No one thought of telling anything that his neighbour did not know.... Europe was starving—the President was ill—railroads in strike, coal famine, prohibitive cost of staples—France cracking with the dry-rot of exhaustion—England ... a voice—Germany choking in her own blood.


The tradespeople of the little town by the sea gathered in their bills and orders and advertisements and hurried back to their shops. Nothing astonished any more. There were no words for the world's woe—no ears for lamentations—no mind but to buy cheap at the right time and sell dear all the time. We walked back to the shore.

"I once saw a little town on a hill-side," Steve said. "A grand boot-maker was there, and a man who made clocks with such tools as he had—big noble clocks that ran unvaryingly eight full days. Another man made furniture—perfect woods from the forest drying in his kilns and sheds. There was a sweet smell about his shop. There was a weaver and a potter there. The days were long and singing, full of labour and peace. No one multiplied by mechanical means. Every artisan had his apprentices. The age of the apprentices will come back—with a new dimension added——"

"Switzerland or dream?" said I.

Steve smiled. "They are starting communities all along this coast," he said. "Many are on the quest of the town I saw."

We sat down upon the sand again. The sun was higher. White clouds brooded in heaven's own daylight; white wings moved upon the sea, I was thinking about Steve and all he had said. What Conrad pictured in the dark continent [108]existed here in one of the cleanest small towns of America—an earlier stage of the same malignant disease. From the broad and beautiful vantage points of democracy and fraternity—every shop here was a lair, the products, exposed and secreted, a spectacle of moral decay and insensate devouring; every schoolhouse a place of dismal enchantment where competition was not only taught but enforced. Steve knew deeply well when he spoke, that the creative artist, the producer of every real and true and beautiful thing, comes into the power to express himself, in spite of such education, not because of them.

One can laugh at all mediocre men occupying seats of the mighty and calling their dead gods to witness that they are right—but one who knows that the intrinsic gift of each child is the one thing in sunlight to be promoted, turns away a bit dismally from the spectacle of the standardisation of the child mind—from the wholesale manufacture of middlemen by school system.

Steve loves America. I know of no one who loves America more. He doesn't rise and cheer when the orchestra plays a questionable bit of verse and tune in a movie-hall where imagination is being put to death—but he believes in the vision of the Founders of America. He believes in the spaciousness and splendour of the American spirit; that the dream of a few mystics will tri[109]umph at the last, and that the many will follow the dream of the few. He does not believe that the voice of the middlemen is the voice of God.

It's hard to credit, but this young man does not hate one country to love another. He loves America because the dream of a new heaven and a new earth has a quicker chance for breaking through into matter here than elsewhere. He perceives the tissues of the senile and the obscene breaking down in America, under intense civil and martial and moral processes. He believes that this breaking down is essential before the building begins. He believes that the future will be built upon the thoughts of men who are great enough to stand apart from the dumas, from the cabinets and the senates, just now. As Steve sees it, all partisans have to do with the parts, and the parts of the partisans have to do with the Old, which is destroying itself—sense against substance, limb against limb, organ against organ.

The young men of the New Race are born of a mating of the East and West. They are naturally intolerant of partitions. Steve is one of these. He isn't a spirit alone. He is a body and brain. He has stayed awake through the full night and day. He sees the planet in one piece. He has crossed all the rivers. He knows the young men of America. He is one of them. He loves America because he knows the rest of the world. He has friends among the Chinese young [110]men—among the young men of Russia and India. He says that all three have greater obstacles to overcome in getting the dream through, than we of America—that everybody will be singing it after the wreckage is cleared away.

"America, Russia, India, China—they are lands, not pavements," Steve declared.

He was looking across and to the south. The sun was a glory about us—all the background a tentative, swiftly passing thing, all but forgotten now, stilled by the rustle of the long, low white lines of the sea.

"The New Age will redeem all the broad lands," he said, with a trace of a smile—"lands for meadows and fields and gardens—meadows for milk, fields for wheat, gardens for honey—the New Race is particular for the perfect foods—foods for the giant and the child—broad lands for the toilers—the great sea coasts for the dreamers.... It's all a matter of taste," he added.




We found we were a bit tied in the Middle West, caught somewhat whether we liked it or not, in the meshes of possession. Steve and I had liked it much out on the Southern California strand.... When one reads in the earlier book,[12] the stress that we put on building that big stone house on Lake Erie; this felicitous hejira may disconcert.

The fact is, we wearied of possession. We found ourselves yearning for that beauty which is unconfined. We were athirst for new things, a different break of seasons and taxes.... The world was so full of people who could build and buy and own and insure, that we decided we should be doing the things that the others could not. We were glad to have built the house for the other fellow. We had to do it. We learned how to run it well, in and out—but it was a [112]stone house. When a man builds a stone house with walls eighteen inches thick, he must leave a hole to get out; also he must be sure that he isn't building on his own chest.... In true Hive spirit, we renounced at the highest moment of possession.

The crowd cannot be seen by one who stands in the crowd. On the same basis a man cannot see the relation of his house to the road or garden from the inside of the house. The world must be regarded from outside to be seen as a whole. The New Race is determined to see it so. This outside is none other than the mystical viewpoint of all world artists and builders.

One does not know what friends are, until one discovers that the secret of friendship is not in getting but in giving. No one knows what love is until he reverses all the laws that the many follow now. I do not mean lawlessness. I mean the higher law that is found at last by the quester after goodness, beauty and truth. We have to finish with the world as it is before we set out in quest of a better country.... We found that we had to become active servants of a finer ideal than householding at its highest. We determined to do more than to dream this ideal; we set about to make a better country. At worst, we work for our children.

It came to us many times before we moved [113]that we were forever done with things as they are; that we had come to the end of show and property-measure and hoarding; to the end of the love of self which destroys the vision for friendship; to the end of domesticity which holds one's neighbour as prey or rival; to the end of civic identification, or relation with any federated commonwealth, which fancies its existence threatened by the prosperity of other political bodies. No heat about it.

We came to the edge of the Lake in vanloads; we went away with bags.... I turned from the eastern distance on the bluff, on one of the last days, and looked at the vined study and the big stone house, the elms so strong and green about it. I remembered the early picture of all this. It began from Stevenson's Treasure of Franchard, many years ago,—how old Dr. Duprez went out in the morning and tried grapes and plums with the dew on them, sniffing the perfumes of his own yard, dwelling in his own orchards.

I remember one day before building that the man came to us about the young trees. He had pictures of them in books—blooms and fruits of such colours that nature would never be guilty of—all the fruits I heard of as a boy—white grapes that never grow in this country, purple ones that grow whether you care or not....

The trees were coming on now, many with [114]ripening fruit. The grove of elms was a matter of collateral, as the bank would say. The break-water had caught up thousands of yards of sand. It worked—the old struggle of wasting banks forgotten until a greater storm. The honeysuckles that were planned to climb the bars of the study windows, had to be trimmed now for any light at all. The wistaria trailed admirably and imposed upon the front the sense of years.

... We had planned to have all the fruits; some of the finest were now in flower. We came with many clothes, underwear and outerwear, wool and dark things. We left with a few light effects in our hands—to find a place where white garments might be worn in peace. We came with a great idea of food—game and fishes, meats, poultry, many cans and vegetables and desserts. We went away with a taste for graham bread and butter—a spread of honey, a glass of milk. We came with a fear of disease for the children, fear of colds, fear of losing something, or having something taken away, doubtless having the fear of death and accident. We went away with a clear idea of what death is and the advantage of it, children and adults alike.

Young children rode the horse that had a reputation for being wild-spirited and very much a man's mount. We had seen the deep places of the Lake fill with sunshine. We came with para[115]sols and awnings and protections against the sun. Most of us would like to have worn nothing but a breech-clout had the town permitted; and the only time we had found the world hard to bear, was the long grey Spring days of rain.

Sunlight—it is closer to God and happiness and manhood and every delight than words can suggest. The more you know of it, the more you need; the more you love it, the more its mysterious excellence unfolds. I know what sunstroke is, and what the sickness from heat is. It's a vile state of the body, or vile clothing that stifles the body. When one is well and has learned to come back to the Father of Lights—there is no fear in his heart. I used to wear a helmet and dark glasses, but no more—eyes stronger than ever. I look for the sun in the morning and stare up from the sand into his face at high noon. There is nothing the matter with sunlight. The sadness and the sickness is with those who bring their quilts and cloaks to hide it from their flesh....

It's all in synthesis. The end of bulk possession is pain.... We started in with many flowers. We ended with roses. It's all in the tea-rose.... By careful selection of thoughts over a little period, we can come into the joy of flowers in other people's gardens. There are brave men who allow you to walk in their orchards; and there are many who work hard to raise fruits for a price. [116]There is much joy, if you really look at it, in building a house for another fellow.

We start with the brute materials—beginning with the clay itself. Our cultivations become more intensive through the years. All life is so. We take the extract of a thing at last—a shelf of books where formerly we wanted a roomful—somebody's else little rented bungalow, where formerly we wanted an estate. We realise, at last, that there is an essence to be obtained from the extract, an oil from the essence—a spirit at last from the oil. The whole story is in that—synthesis. Slowly, at last, we begin to set ourselves free. We descend into matter; learn its lessons and laws, rise like a plant through the darkness to the light, integrating force to meet and cope with the new and lighter element. I held up seven little books in one hand—weighing no more than a new novel.

"It's all in these," I said to the Chapel. "One could put these in his bag and have it all."

... And then at last, I went down alone and empty-handed to the shore, meditated on God with sun and sand and flowing airs.... All matter is scaffolding which falls away. A man thinks he builds a house for himself, but no sooner has he put on the last tile than death or the open road calls. He chooses his climate and grows out of it. He thinks he must possess, that he must hoard against a rainy day, and he gathers the stuff [117]of death about him. If he cannot rise, death covers him for the time. Dr. Duprez didn't speak of the care of his orchard, or his garden. It was all story to me. Dear R.L.S. He didn't dream of the work of the hand necessary to keep up an orchard, and have a connoisseur's joy for a few summer days of the year. He didn't tell of the parasites, the sprinklings, the arsenates and pumps, nor of the little winged migrators that sit on the hills, waiting for the potatoes to come up. The call comes to possess nothing. It had better be answered.




Some of us here have swiftly reviewed certain old slaveries, that we may set free the children of to-day.... They do not have to make the same mistakes we did. I, at thirty-nine, say to those ten and twenty and thirty years younger:

"Start where I leave off. I do not relieve you of pain or error or shortsightedness, of passion or pleasure, or anything that arouses or wears down body and soul. Only this I ask you—don't make the same mistakes I did. Let me give you the answer to a few petty and pestiferous lures. I can put you right on them. Begin now to learn your lessons by doing things wrong at first, a holy way to get somewhere, but be a pioneer in your evils; be daring and fastidious and full-powered and discriminating in your faults! Above all, be impersonal in them as soon as possible. Let the winds of the world breeze through. It's all a Laugh."


Every process of the world to-day is designed to take away that adorable love and listening of the child to its own soul. Streets, schools, trade, neighbours, houses in rows, priests, pastors, charlatans, all standardise. A thousand teachers in technic for one in the spirit of things; ten thousand teachers of the health of the body (and every one wrong) for one who shows the way to the single and sacred fountain of youth; innumerable voices lifted in fly-dronings of instruction, how to fill the bin and the brain, the bank and the bourse—how to have and to hold and to die holding, and to bury oneself in the midst of—for one who laughs and plays and dares to watch the world go by.... At last to be the Spectator!

I tell you now from much living that there is nothing here in the world that is worth fighting for, but the glad tolerance of events, sheer, laughing joy in the Plan.... Every time you adjust your life to the standard of the world, you are doing something that is beneath your soul, and you will suffer for it, and be forced to retrace. Dress for the world, and the world will find its flaws in you. Work for the world according to its specification, and it will defile you. Enter into any of the competitions of the world and your face and your hands and task will be constricted by visible and invisible impediments and barriers, less than the real of you in every detail. Search [120]for health according to the laws of flesh alone, and it will elude you at every point, showing you all vanities and pits and pains. Search for beauty of face and body, and it will be the first thing taken. There is nothing in the world but to make the human divine—that is the job we are here for.

To cease to hold is the beginning of invincible attraction; want nothing and the treasures of the world are yours. You cannot have health until you are ready to give up life here. Cease to cling, and that which was a body held apart from you, is suddenly a winged creature returning.... There is nothing here but the love story, and the power of that must be spiritual. The madonna of the future will look up, not down at the head upon her breast. Man must overcome mammon; Woman must overcome the mammal. The lovers of the future will look a little time in each other's eyes and much above to a Third who will come nearer and nearer for their adoration.... The friends of the future will sing in their Partings; they shall know the spirit and the breath of camaraderie which knows no death.

There is a tendency on the part of our young associates to be extravagant in their speech. Much that they see is beyond their capacity decently to express. A group of us was looking down from a high balustrade. Flowery vines were woven [121]intricately against the face of the stucco below. We became conscious of an incredible whirring, so low that it was difficult to hear, and yet so intense as to give the thought of a distant seismic disorder. It was the invisible wings of a humming-bird, flashing from cup to cup in the vines below. The child standing next to me said:

"The sound has texture."

It expressed something very real to me; yet there is not power in words to portray the exact feeling. All the objects of nature have their spiritual dimensions also for those who dwell much in the Unseen. These unusual children see the material object merely as an outpost for a challenging mystery; while, to the material mind, the outpost is all, and the lavish adjectives and expressions of the former are deplored as gush or affectation. As a matter of splendid truth, the most marked and potent of all adjectives and expressions are pitifully inadequate to express the lustre and radiance which begins at the point where three dimensions end.

The Valley Road Girl came into the Study one day, saying that this chapel book should be called The Hive. We all thought it a wonderful name to work toward, yet the unfolding of possibilities has been steadily interesting since that day.

The inner sanctuaries of occult literature commend the students to look to the bees. The pattern of much that man has still to unfold from [122]his own soul, for his personal and communal uplift, is already expressed in the hive. There is a period of larva, and a period of wings to each cycle. Such matters call to those of spiritual discernment. One feels on the verge of great revelations for humanity, beyond the thing called death, as he studies this miniature model of a great democracy.

The most fascinating love episode I ever read was the Nuptial Flight in Maeterlinck's Life of the Bee. The majesty of winging to the sun, the falling back of the weaker-winged suitors, the commanding isolation of sun and sky, fusion under the mighty beat of the wings of the queen, the broken body of the male, the mother's return to the shadow and the labour of the generative wheel—magically, it all opened a vista to the great renunciations, the great passions and aspirations ahead for the human soul, great fusions of the future, marriages truly made in heaven, the inevitable trinity of all matings—the drama of love and death.

For her one high noon flight in June, the queen toils through years. She brings back from that superb instant the swarming cities of the future. On and on, she unfolds her fecundity in the dark, a prodigious and Herculean labour; from the human standpoint a task of intolerable pain and monotony. The queen's labour is scarcely more difficult than the tasks assigned to the hosts of [123]workers, which appear to be denied any separate episode of emancipation. Yet, equally with the queen, they share the communal spirit; and no one who has stood among the hives at the end of a long summer day, and heard the song of bounty and deep-hearted content, can deny the peace that dwells among the myriad of skilled artisans, each with his perfectly appointed task.

Bees appear to remember the light, while working at the opposite side of the wheel. Men, as yet, are detached, lost in the heresies of self and strife. Only a few visionaries have peered beyond the petty reach of the optic nerve, to perceive that this, which we make so much of, is but the hell-portion; that this appearance of ours in pounds is a mere dressing up in materials of earth to endure the dark and low vibration of the wheel's most downward sweep. These few visionaries, always singing the joy of the other arcs of the cycle, somehow keep the dream alive,—the dream that appears already to be the essential blessedness and magic of life in the hive.

All mysticism seeks to teach us this single point which the bees seem to have learned so well—to transcend time and space in labour; to put off the sense of separation and strife, to hearken to the soul's own song of equality and sufficing days. We must be pushed to the last reaches of pain before we learn this secret. We have to penetrate [124]the darkness before we earn this flash which swings wide the portals of joy.

Joy is the most potent thing in the universe. The bee-queen mother weaves race after race of progeny out of the incredible dynamics of an instant's joy. Each cell that she fills with life is a living fragment of her nuptial feast. Fusion is ecstasy, parturition is pain. The many become one; that is heaven. The one becomes many again; that is earth and hell. Integration and diffusion—the same story told in the hives and ant-hills, in the strolling winds and swinging seas, in the hearts and marts of men, in matings everywhere.

The original idea was to use the title, The Hive, in relation to the happy intensity of Stonestudy days, but our ideal grew to adapt to the name, because of its revelations in regard to the new social order; the pure and instant abnegation of the self to the community; the active acceptance of the precept: That which is good for the one is good for the many, and that which is good for the many is good for the one.

We cannot lose ourselves long in our own misery when we realise the glory of yesterday, and the more spacious solar adventure of to-morrow. We cannot continue to feel our own isolation when we perceive a brother in the eye of a stranger, when we perceive the sons of God in the eyes of [125]passing men. At length appears the task ahead—the great Fatherland, the Planetary Hive.

I have taken the hint from the new race children, that to transcend pain we must make joy of it. Given the hint, one realises that the masters of all ages have told the same story—how to make light of human shadow, how to make lustrous our own darkness. No matter what science says to the contrary, the quest for the Absolute means the same thing; this is the marriage at Cana, the turning of water into wine; this is the passion of the ancient alchemists, to transmute base metals into gold; this is healing; this is regeneration.

To make joy out of pain is still more: it is power for world's work; it is the light that one carries among men; it is the fire that makes man remembered by his fellows, that makes man significant in any task. It is loss of the sense of self; the death of the lower for the birth of the higher life; the subjugation of three-score-and-ten for immortality; an adios to the hands that cling, for the stride and rhythm of the Great Companions on the long road. It is not for the saint any more than for the soldier, not for the sage any more than for the politician, not for the poet any more than for the parent. It is not piety, it is power. One learns it best from the children. One becomes as a little child in learning it well.


We are learning rapidly these days. These are the days of humanity's passion and pilgrimage. The soul of humanity is passing along the dusty roads of Palestine, for the healing of its own weaknesses, the casting out of its own demons. One who is not carrying a part of the world burdens now, as well as his personal pack, seems forgotten of the gods. It has come to many of us that we dare not take more than a glimpse of our own allotted happiness—that we may not have more than a touch of the beloved's hand in these days of parturition everywhere.

But personally and nationally we shall come to that significant crossing where nothing else can be taken from us, where death seems the highest boon, and Master Pain has driven home his most pointed shaft.

That is the moment of laughter. Driven to the last ditch we turn and laugh. That is the moment of our expansion for a new kind of heroism. One builds from that deep hour.

The ultimate secret is not to identify oneself with that which changes. When these objects shift or break down, or some one takes them away, we suffer the old savage rent. The day comes when we disentangle from the final mesh of possession—cease the idolatry of things; then, and only then, are we rich—possessing the spirit and essence of all things, tallying the universe within according to [127]its objective arrangements with the universe without.

Finally, to master the world, one must learn actually to enjoy the mutation of material things, as one of an audience watches the movements on the stage. No longer torn here and there in the small fury of detached affairs, one laughs richly at the progress of the Play. Possessing the spirit of all things within, he realises that nothing he has can really be taken away. No longer identifying himself with material objects, he is at last in touch with the perfect and changeless archetypes. This dispassion, so difficult to reach, at last extends over all world-forms. One ceases to love bodies; one loves souls. The son at the front, the daughter taken to a different house, the empty seat at the table, crash of finance or romance—all but a passing of symbols—Godspeed and a smile. Bit by bit the valiant reaches that profound and almost divine indifference to the external, having bound himself to the real, the enduring, the inner cosmos.

First passion, then dispassion, then compassion—conquest of pairs of opposites until night and day are seen as separate sides of the same globe. So with pain and pleasure and all fluctuations. Day by day, while learning this great secret, the aspirant is forced to die to the thing he loves most. Day by day the thing that he hates and fears most—for that he must live. At last, loves and hates [128]merge together. One is no longer focalised upon a point, but upon a universe. He arrives at the great silence in himself, the static momentum. He no longer moves with the world—the passing show goes by. He transmutes pain into joy—not lying to the self, but because pain of the body is joy of the soul—joy of union, joy of birth that comes from pain.

At last to be the Spectator! To possess the world, to realise the divinity of others, the ineffable equality of Souls. To have all,—the mothering winds of the hills and the holy breath of the sea; to move and laugh and die with all the world.




The younger boy with us—Tom, now seven, does not find it easy to express himself through writing. He draws well, but that is a talent which I would not recognise so quickly as the expression through words. I mean to send him away to an artist for a time. Tom's imagination is fertile and expansive. He dictates well—wonderful play of colours through his mind. He talked the following to an amanuensis, a year or more ago as he conned over a handful of coloured stones:

"There's a wonderful mystery about stones.... One like a mountain that the fire comes up out of—with white on top ... another like a cap of honey.... Another: this is like a great big mountain, and this is a dog full of food, and he's standing on a dragon, one of those devilish dragons; his tail is curved under him, and a spot on him near his neck. He looks down and he sees the sky, floating. He wonders if he should leap down and get some. There's a great big lake un[130]der him. He thinks he has more power than anything in the world—he's looking for more power. He's wondering where it is. See him thinking.

... Here's a volcano at night—see the force, and then the rain beating down behind it—even see fairies dashing by there. Here's a man with his jaw knocked in. Mystery here—a forest at night. This is like a coloured man that's been in a prize-fight, and he's gritting his teeth because he didn't win; he's got a mug-nose too. There's a fried-cake. Another: Here's 'Agra Falls and fairies dashing, and sparkling stones at night. That's in Japan—that's true, look at all the lanterns up there. There's some India—water dashing over a cliff, another like a smooth cliff, nothing to hurt it, just fairies to fly around it—and a door-knob, and there's a hole where owls live...."

Many interesting things appear in these dictations provided Tom's helper effaces himself sufficiently to permit the boy to forget externals. The remaining pages of this chapter is a sketch of Tom's case written by the Little Girl[13] who furnishes an interesting surface of understanding for the complications of this lad. Incidentally her own development is one of the big winnings of Stonestudy work. The Little Girl is now four[131]teen and this essay will show something of her awakening:


He is seven, restless as the sea, and just as full of mysteries. Many times I have felt a strong spirit in the body, a healer, a great lover, a dear and compassionate comrade. For a time Tom meant India to me. I could see the blue hills and the wide dusty roads, the cows coming home through the dusk, and the little Indian mothers bringing food and their babies to the feet of a withered, white old man in a big Sannysin robe. Always I seemed one of the mothers, and Tom the master. I used to sit at his feet when he was very small, and listen carefully to his wandering, yet deep and wise words. He seemed to unfold many things to me about myself, and in that way helped me as a teacher would, though he did not know.

For a while Tom's quest was in healing—his small hands were always laid upon our hurts, serious eyes staring upwards. It seemed to awaken the past in his soul. Gradually his bent turned to other things. When we went to the country to live, he saw Nature for the first time. Tom was very much at home with the old Mother. He loved the living things that most children fear; the bees and beetles, the blind little beings that live in the earth and the small, red-tongued garter-snakes. He often spoke of a life he had lived with the snakes—of the big ones that used to love [132]him and curl around his neck. I never could help shuddering a little at the thought, but Tom would explain, "They won't hurt you if you love them. Then they will love you too. Snakes feel just what you feel—if you're afraid of them, they get mad."

Again I would think of India—the great cobras that sit before a pure master, opening their hoods to listen to his chanting. Tom knew what purity meant, a deep-down purity like the earth itself. Why should anything hurt him?... He used to hold the bees in his hands and walk through a cloud of double-winged beetles with utmost carelessness. Many times he has led me through a cloud of them, murmuring, "They won't hurt you." Once he disturbed a honeybee in the late afternoon, drunken and senseless on the fragrant flowers. It stung him. He shook it off his hand and said in a disgusted voice, "That wasn't my bee!"

A little later Tom discovered the Unseen of Nature. I mean that it ceased to be the unseen to him. The fairies opened their mysterious arms, and we saw little of him for a time, so lost was he in their wonder. There was a small rock in the front yard that he used to sit on when he was looking for them. The busy brown gnomes appeared to him first—often rolling pebbles down the cliff, or gathering leaves in their little aprons. Then the tree-nymphs would come to him; so green and fresh and sweet—with bright eyes and coaxing hands. He would follow laughingly [133]what they said and did, always explaining to us later what they meant. And he saw the spirits of the water, far out over the lake, mingled with the sunlight. They gave him much, he said, but he would like to have gone out to them. He said that burning wood unlocked the fire fairies—let them out into freedom and light. He loved to build fires on the beach, watching carefully the leaping and spreading of the flames. The salamanders were responsible for the spreading, he thought, and used to watch their little red hands at work. His eyes seemed to melt as they stared so far and deeply into things—way past the seen into that which is nothingness to most of us. And he would come back slowly as though it were hard to detach himself from the enchantment. Always we kept very still at such a time, for fear we hurry him.

Out of the magic and mystery of that summer, out of the warm nights full of stars and peace, and the days of sunlight spent with the beckoning fairies, Tom's soul unfolded another big quest. The fairies were only the start of the Unseen, though we thought at the time that he saw all that a human being could. At last the Master's voice reached his open ears. He answered immediately.

It began with old Indian philosophy. He heard certain reading in the Study one day, and later asked for the book. It was a little book, written in words of one syllable by a Hindu boy, telling how to reach the Feet of the Master. The [134]next morning I found him on his knees before it in the sunlight. At that time Tom was just learning to read. It was hard for him, but he wanted to be alone with the spirit of it. He handed me the book saying, "Please read this page aloud to me."

The young Master was speaking of Discrimination and Onepointedness. Tom's face filled with the wonder of one who has found the thing he has been wanting for a very long time—for ages perhaps. He said, "If you asked me to go and get you a book, and I went, but instead of bringing the book back to you, I took it to the shore and commenced to read, forgetting that you wanted it, that would be the opposite of onepointedness, wouldn't it?" A little later, he said:

"The Master watches you from the hills, all the way up. He knows all that you do. When you do small things, you are taking Him away from yourself; you are not being the Soul. Each time you do something great and brave, the Master comes a step nearer. When you become your soul, the Master comes all the way down the hill and tells your brain which way to go—tells you the path, the way home. Then you have earned it. You have got to earn everything, everything that comes to you.... I think that the Master comes and takes you away at night, shows you many things—tries to help you. But pain has to teach the brain, and pain is the lack of soul. It hurts your soul to have you suffer. It hurts the [135]Master too, but they both know that you are learning to be their comrade through your pain."

Tom paused. In his eyes there was that wonderful melting again, and a joy so deep and pure that it made my heart sing.

"It is all meant," he added. "All is meant, but men do not know that the Master is watching. For ages and ages the Master waits so patiently for his friend to come."

"His friend?" I asked.

"Yes. Souls are always comrades. The Master is greater than you are only because he has been longer on the path. He started before you did. He has come up through all that we have. Just think how long my Master has been waiting for me, and I have not even found Him yet."

I looked at the little body of him, at the innocence of the eyes and mouth, all untouched by the world—so pure and yet crying out in pain because he had taken so long on the quest.... His eighth year brought Tom into regular boyhood. The young brain, always before silently giving way to intuition, began to speak for itself. This stage is as important perhaps, but not so beautiful as when the hushedness and glowing of the Unseen touches a child. Here we turned from Tom, and the things that creep into the heart of almost every boy of the same age, crept into Tom's heart. He forgot the fairies—they ceased to call. He forgot the wide roads of peace and purity. He seemed to forget that the Master was still waiting so patiently on the hill for him to [136]open and receive. But we knew better than that.

The development of the brain always robs a child of the inner glowing for a time, but it all comes back again with a great dimension added; the instrument is then keen and direct—a power in itself. We turned from Tom—a young brain standing alone, very conscious of itself, is anything but interesting. At the time we were in the turmoil of departure, each of us thinking in different ways about the long journey just ahead, and the wonder of being at last in California. Tom was more or less his own director those days.

He fell into crime, looted the house of a friend, denied everything. He was sent to his quarters to stay until he found himself again. It took a week exactly, but he found a deep happiness in being alone in the little room before he left it. It did him as much good as the long days in the sunlight ever could; he came out pale and wide eyed, and the breath of a soul was in the room when he entered.

One day out of his long week, I went to him. The sun had gone down behind a nest of grey clouds. Dusk had almost deepened into darkness, but there was no light in his room. He sat there, his eyes staring ahead of him, his hands folded tightly in his lap. I walked in quietly and sat down beside him. I was not even noticed; he was lost in his thought. At last I asked,

"Tom, what did you find so interesting in that cheap business?"

"I haven't found out yet," he said grimly.


"Have you been thinking about it?"

"Sure have. Been thinking all day."

"Has nothing come?"

"No, but it's coming soon. It can't take long if I stay here like this, wishing and pulling every minute."

"Of course it can't."

He continued to stare into the darkness ahead.

"What does it feel like, Tom?" I asked.

"Your soul leaves you.... Your soul won't stay if you are going back."

"Going back?"

"Yes. I mean if you have been big and listened to its voice, and then stop. If you are less than yourself after you've been more, your soul won't stay."

"What do you do when your soul leaves you?"

"You walk the Black Path."

He looked a child seraph.

"That path is not interesting, is it?"

"No. You have got to know what it is, got to walk up it a little ways, so that you are not afraid of it any more. When you know a thing, you are not afraid of it any longer. Before you know, it looks all dark to you. Nothing can hurt you when you are not afraid.... It's just the same as with the animals. All the black things that come into you are animals. If they find nothing but love and whiteness inside, they will go away and not even look at you again; but if fear and darkness are there, they get mad and bite."



Leaning forward with a laugh, he added, "You can't cut across from the black path to the white. You've got to go all the way back and start over."



The Abbot is now seventeen. He is doing well at Columbia. Classes and routine there are mere externals. The Abbot is living a life far more real than appears—a life that few men in America have learned how to live. He has actually arrived at the conviction of the unfathomable riches that lie within. Many occultists and a few great artists have a working knowledge of this kind. We hoped the Abbot could remain at Stonestudy, but his parents wanted some letters after his family name as well as before. Our young man was enjoined to make the best of it. As a matter of fact, he is putting on a lot of brain things that work admirably with the inner activity which we made much of in our work together.

In another book,[14] I told of the Abbot's awakening—how we called him from mysterious regions of silence and mystification, to a more or [140]less adequate expression of material facts. Here was a boy almost overshadowed by his own soul at times, inclined to be half out of the body and not altogether present in the mind, when moving among the sordid affairs of the world—a lad who knew the arrangement of planets and the flow of meteoric matter better than the geography of our own continent; who swung very readily back into memories of other lives, mainly monastic, rather than into the episodes of his own kid-days.

I forget just how it was that we first sensed the giant in this boy. In any case, we struck one. The ordinary training that I would give an American youth to breathe the soul of him, was not at all necessary with the Abbot. Rather, pressure was exerted from the first to make him come down into our world, to make him be one of us, to make him see streets and alleys, doorsteps and servant-stairs. They have succeeded better at Columbia in this regard than we were able to do, but the wonder and satisfaction of it all is, that the aroused mystic, the aroused artist, has not receded—but dominates his days and work. I understand that he is considered a sensation in a literary way.

He is not different from his fellows. It is part of our ethics to belong where we happen to be; to do the things that others do, better, if possible, than the customary performance; to begin after that to be our inimitable selves. It is our ideal to move about the world, not to attract attention, [141]to be quiet and calm and efficacious, to be helpful and humorous and wise, to furnish the swift, unerring word or hand or lift in the midst of affairs; to deny ourselves to no one; to hold ourselves superior to no one; to strive laughingly toward the big workmanship, to become Players after the essential apprenticeship, to win the Laugh at last, and that perfect consummation which only comes with utter and instant detachment when the task is accomplished.

The Abbot was sprawled in a Study shadow one summer afternoon, when I suddenly saw him in relation to big sea-tales. Usually we tale-tellers carry our packs. I saw the Abbot with a sea-chest that day. His was not the way of the Arabian fires and the Assyrian camel paths—the word-spinner's usual evolutionary line. He came overseas with his narratives.... I saw him in the next few years making a circle around all the capes, touching all the ports of Asiatic and insular water fronts—a bit of Conrad, a bit of Melville, a bit of Stevenson ... a most sumptuous sea-chest full of shells, corals, coins and trinkets from all the Islands; feather of a woman's fan perhaps, here and there, silks hazy from sea water, crooked knives from Malay Isles, whale-bone and shark's teeth, pearl of the mollusk, a bit of ambergris—just a top tray of the Chest! Deep mystic parchments farther within, a corner [142]for the sacred writings of all the world, a small type mill, a great wad of white paper, the rest mainly traces of a long glide across the ocean floors.

I have learned to go very slow in building a matrix of my own thought about any young man's mind, yet I told the Abbot that day what I saw for him—how he was bound to do the big sea-tales, how we were sick of steam, sick already of the big hydroplanes, sick of all that hurries, all that explodes, all that has the taint of gas; that the world presently would be so sick of noise and explosions and show and speed, that professional soothers would be in great demand, like the Japanese masseurs who wait upon the sleepless; that the sick world would want to read of long, loose, lazy days under canvas, of the few ports left where they haven't set up recruiting offices;—that the world would be in desperate need of sunlight and surf and wide swinging seas—that he must be one of those to usher in the old romance of the sailing craft again.

I told about his sea-chest better than I have told it here, but the Abbot's eyes didn't bulge. Presently, however, he began to grow that way.... His Saturdays and Sabbaths now are spent, not in Morningside Heights, but down among the shipping and across the harbour, where the big world tramps hang out. You will see these things in his letters. I have several of his yarns [143]here, but I am not going to run any of them in this book. They are good yarns, but too intrinsically big yet for the handling of a boy of seventeen. He has too much calibre for his brain so far to carry ten thousand words to superb consummation. I want to spring a big tale presently. I have a lapful of his random letters from days spent down on the water front, and nights under the study lamp:

Dear Old Wasp:

Morning mists over the lake, the Pelee coming up out of them. Just had a night with John and a corking good run of work. We've been watching the sun go down from Lynster's[15] back lately, and breathing the planetary heave under the stars, with the milky way dipping to the lake before us. This inland place is heavy to take. The weight of agriculture is like a blanket over all. It takes three or four pages to bore up through the cuticle. Me for a get-away to the world soon—to feed up on the hum of feet and voices and cars.... Blackbirds are beginning to blacken the mornings and nights again; touch of Fall and Pine-smoke this morning. Real itchings in the ankles—to you! A wonderful synthesis for us all when we meet up again.... I'd like to roam the world with John. He is a grand [144]pal. Could joke over an oven made out of a tomato-can, as well as eat from a banquet table.... #/

A day or two later:

... Black forces strong around Stonestudy last night.... About eight-thirty I rode over on Lynt, to sleep with John. Decided to have a debauch with tea. While I worked on, he gathered the cups and tea and electric tea-kettle together and got things going. He called for me to come and make the tea. He was seated in the big chair with a tableleaf in front of him, and on that was the tea-kettle, boiling.... One leg slipped, and the whole boiling collection went in his lap.... A prince, the way he stood it. The bunch was just coming back from town. Penel' rushed over, and the next was a turmoil right, cries, olive oil, lint, rags, confusion of voices and footsteps—too many people and the little guy sort o' lost his control—but it all came back again. Almost any minute I am looking for the laugh from him. All night I was with him. Penelope, the finished heroine as always. One could see the shades of pain pass over John's face time and again. His nerves jump—but his mouth and eyes are certainly getting a grand hue of steel.... Yours right along.



Hazy summer about. Blue over the lake with shadows deepening in the distance. Crops drying beneath the sun. Leave it at its height—am headed back for Columbia—where I'll let time shape the winds for farther "going."

School is not harmful to one who is himself. I'll take philosophy, and then be over to tell you who stole your washboard.... It is no struggle, no test, for one to be lit among his own as we are. One's depth of listening is best tested in crowds. We've got to separate—go out and change the continents into tablelands of democracy.

War seems settling on the world for years longer, but there is a bigger order coming out of the incredible chaos. Each must see God and worship through his work to shape the master beauty. Every one's art breaks new roads which lead to one place.

Stories are coming freer every day—I've gotten across. Don't know whether it's the best thing for me. But I've done it, and that's what I wanted to know. It is all preparation. Results are beginnings. I look back now on the summer of '14. It was heaven. It was peace. To look at the cottage lights and hear the voices of rowers through the dusk was a breath from God. It was peace, it was relaxation, a deep resting of tissue for turmoil. Depth and mastery to you.


This to John:

The thought of your scarred legs has been with me on the borderland of sleep for many nights, also our hours together on the pine needles. To-night, with the sun falling sadly over the iron mills, I walked along the Heights and cast an eye down into brilliant Harlem. The voices of the bargemen, the wheeze of tugs, the low growl of outpassing vessels, an occasional curse from a freighted barge, came up with the hum of the city. There seemed to be some goddess entwined with sea-weed standing over the ocean of structures. She held a finger to her lips for silence, and pointed to the Lord knows where—well, where I felt a tumult to go, to satisfy some hot quest.... I was lost to the multitude of faces that sent up a passionate and incomprehensible hum ... savour of youth singing in the veins.

Presently a drizzle drove me back to the room.... I reached up and flicked out the lights.... In an apartment across the street lives an old man who always comes to his window at dark and gazes up and down the streets. His head is grey—his eyes are deep and old. The light from his shaded reading lamp falls in a pool of dim yellow about his carpet. Sometimes he turns out the lamp, and leaves the fire-place alone. Sometimes his head falls forward on his chest, and he dreams—I suppose, of boundless seas, for he was once a sea-captain.


His wandering days are over—no more quest. The houses rise to his eyes like one long, bleak, uncrested wave from the Arctic Sea.... He means old days, but we—we must never grow old; we must live and ever be full of creation as the cloud is full of lightning. We must, old pal, ride the deserts, drift over seas; we must spill our work as we go, as night spills its stars from a casket. Fill me up with the Pacific in your letters—the big sunlight—the colour of the mountains where they dip and rise to clouds. I have a dry palate for it all. Fill me—eye and ear and soul.

Yours deep in those scars——

Dear Old Man:

The Hudson is very still this morning; a few battleships have swung out with the tide; gulls seem to be forever passing up and down the river in white eddies; smoke from the factories rises straight and white. The morning sun strikes like a sledge upon the Palisades. How grand that old river is, and how untiring in its endless ebb and flood—almost like a solar system in the serene way it deals with human traffic.

A great new sense of words has come over me lately. At the very birth of language lies a chest of rich obsolete words—quite like a Spanish treasure chest, with its doubloons, bezoar stones and "pots of Arica bronze." The artists go treasure hunting in language, and a few do startle the [148]world with their wealth. The live-long day seems to me now like a shuttle driving back and forth, weaving from soul to matter, a golden fabric.

This word-chest means much to me because it deals with the sea. Lift up the lid, and tucked away in those little drawers lies the seaman's religion in bits of turquoise, in coils of fish line and hooks, in pink sea-shells, perhaps in an old violin, or in a few stray books of Carlyle, Goethe, Dante and Melville's Moby Dick. The point is we all bungle along through our world-term somehow; we have our work and religion and pleasures and tales in a camphor-wood chest with a brass band around it. Sometimes we bring out the violin and make God-awful discords, calling it music of the sea; we brighten people's eyes with our bits of turquoise; terrorise them with the philosophy that Carlyle and Goethe and Moby Dick have given us; we make them feel that endless wroom, wroom, wroom of the ocean that is washing in our souls.

Yes, we must first learn the futility of life before we can live. The war teaches this lesson well, but won't it be great when everybody is singing over his golden shuttle and laughing? Won't it be great when the chastened New Race springs up, like green shoots at the passing of winter? Won't it be great when the world has grown serene and wise enough to sit down beside [149]a blazing bark fire, with the shadows of pine trees about, or near the dim breakers, and consider it profitable to talk about the stars?

... There are times when one feels he must be alone—when he wants to be connected with nothing—when he wants to go to a distant and high altitude, and there boil his pot of alchemy—there, where the air is dust free, and the incense of one's devotion goes straight up. He must listen and listen, until he believes that he hears the stars humming in their courses; then the sun drawing like a magnet, then a crescendo of song up to a deafening roar,—that all things, all stars, are headed towards one point of balance among that whole mass of sapphires we see above.

Man, but the joy of telling tales, of recording the warmth of human hearts, of loving men and their ways—to fill out a morning with that golden shuttle! One has but to sit and the sun on the walls and the shadows in the corners, or if at night, the flame on the stones of the hearth turn to words!... The old sea is full of that. The heart within her breast sounds the footfalls of quest; the ecstasy of life tears in her storm and in still hours she sits in her glitter....

Some day we shall be together on the blessed Pacific coast. We shall have bookshelves and packages of dates, bottles of cream and combs of honey. We shall work with that rugged lunge of mountains in our products; and that endless and [150]insistent wroom, wroom, wroom of the ocean in all. Listen, here is a day as we shall have it:

The sun lifting up the depth of Canyon shall awake us. After we have cooked and eaten of crisp toast and honey and coffee, we shall go to our desks and bring out a most rigid problem in mathematics,[16] and dwell perhaps for an hour in drawing all forces of thinking into play—awaking the mind—shaking off that inertia of body. After that we shall penetrate the thing which we wish to work upon that particular morning. We shall see its functions and logical action, then begin the shuttle and weave back and forth with that pliancy that sees the deepest of metaphysics in an old man lighting a pipe or loitering over a pork-pie. To top the morning, we'll have a meal of milk and dates. The afternoon shall mean an isolation with the books—perhaps on the sand with the sun tanning our backs. Both healthfully and mentally an efflux of soul. At about five in the afternoon comes the humming calm—the poise of mind and soul and body. Another meal of the simple foods and once more, production, as the sun goes into the sea—giving one's soul the might and expanse that the planets use in weaving their ways. Perhaps, at ten or eleven we shall reach up, switch out the electric bulb and open the door. That shall be a day mastered. Side by side, we'll walk over to the cliff at whose base mumbles the [151]mighty Pacific. We shall pass no words—the earth'll be good to feel and smell. We'll honour the still night of stars.

That day is a privilege to earn—our bodies must suffer and become scarred and jostled by the currents of people, and cursed upon by foul mouths. All pleasant presently. We must know the heart of a bartender as we would want to know the heart of the Christ. Do you know that Masefield was a bartender? The secret of the real artist is sanity. One must grow hair the medium length—keep a well muscled and full lunged body—and if chronic fishermen should happen in on us for a meal we must be able to argue that a hickory pole is better for a pound-net than pine; or if a devout pastor—that we would much rather praise God's work outside on the beach....

To Jane:

Your letter this morning after a long, wonderful run of work. This is really the highest day I've had—real rugged work—bronze moving pictures before me—faces—open shirts on sunburnt breasts—and, of course, the eternal sea. Your letter came like a sudden bag of sunlight emptied into a mist. The water became blue and the promontories sharp like ink lines.

And about Steve. I understand all. The draft explains his not writing. And this war—[152]it's like a maelstrom rising higher and higher. Next summer for certain, possibly this Christmas, it means I go. But rather than go as a private I'm going to enlist voluntarily in the aviation corps. Flying only would have as much thrill as doing the climax of a story. That's like the sea. And I'm not panicky or worried about it. I feel in some unconscious way that the balance of the cosmos demands it. God, nobody should drag now! It's just like a marshfire that grows and grows to let the new green shoots come under in spring. It's like a big song. I would not go to fight Germany, or France or England or America. I'd go because it's a cleanser. One must play with the song of many feet and express with the original song. One must flash pictures to the many eyes of their own being. Oh—it's a song, the whole thing! And I'm looking forward to it.

Only the ones such as John and Tom shall escape. Don't you see the joy, the peace, the grandeur in owning a scar, in being bled white? The first year of the war, England was black with mourning. Now, she is white.... The work is on me with talons.

I am looking only at the impossible heights—of a portrayal of life—the rugged life in endless volumes. I have made an oath silently with myself that in three years I shall do a book.... The work comes now just as if I were to sit down before a fire-place with shadows and light around [153]stones, and were to grow interested, with stars low on the horizon like live sparks.

And friends? A foolish question! I mean that I must be alone in the formative thrall of work. I did want your letter. But forget pity. That is a thing that stifles soul. I do not ask, by all the stars, I do not ask for anything. The highest of all things to you all.

And Steve? He has too much of the Song to be trodden or be lost or be ground in mud. You are all friends—but I must be alone now. The work is rising....

To John:

There ain't no sun beatin' in my doorway, and there ain't none of your sacred seas and canyons around; but there is a socialist's riot in the street below—kerosene torches a-going—one shaggy haired enthusiast is standing on a soap box and is wagging his jaw in an athletic way.... How's the fire burning under your type-mill? What's the brand of smoke it gives up—poetry, action, lumps of granite or ladles of ocean? I'm all lit up in this place here—because things are moving—real issues are gathering—and the pulse of living is so close that I can almost feel it occasionally. Last Saturday, went to a place called Rockaway—and oh man—rocks—rugged grey and eroded—surf bitten—gnarled, twisted—and they tossed the sea's white jaws about like bits of cotton. [154]Real sea coast it was—with a little smack in the purple way, her sails bellied, her mouth lapping the brine—an old fisherman browsing around the shores for clams while his wife hauled up the nets, basketed the cod and upturned their boat.

Put an extra stick under the machine and line a few of your aphorisms.




The young workmen here do essays well, earlier than short stories. Longer training is required for fiction. The reason is obvious. Fiction work takes brain. The Stonestudy idea is to set free the greater Artist within. Essays and ethical works are the natural fruits of the inner life of the ages; story-production requires facility and development of the every-day working consciousness. Straight brain is needed to arrange settings, keen development of actual tissue to note and arrange and remember. Also a big working surface of self-criticism must be prepared.

There is a quality of fiction that seems to set free a larger consciousness and to bring with it settings and atmospheres of another age. This sort of phenomenon encourages the idea of the continuity of consciousness—before and after the three-score-and-ten. It may be that the greater the Artist, the more of these veins of syntheticated experience are open to his every-day working mind. [156]That may really be what sumptuous artistic equipment is—the capacity to open up the old loves and scenes and adventures of the long road. Intuition is explained as the use of the result of massed experiences, intellect the coping with one at a time; intuition, a light that flashes from peak to peak, intellect as a running fire up and down from height and vale.

Certainly intellect alone will never make a great drama of life and love, yet action and romance of the present hour draw hard upon one's present life training and the faculties and tastes of his immediate culture—actual brain possession and the ordering thereof. A child can portray superbly well some ancient imprint upon the Soul, even the passages of his own initiations through earth, water, air and fire, his brain not conscious of the real nature of what is coming forth; yet, the same child cannot put the cohering line through a series of episodes occurring under his own notice. Something of this mental grasp is necessary to make the artful effect required in a short tale. The child's mind, in the first place, is trained to listen and interpret the experiences of the larger consciousness; in the second set of conditions, he is forced to rely upon actual brain tissue which requires the training and culture of the years.

Art is composition. The farther you go, the finer the tools. It is difficult to train the fingers to intricate tricks of weaving, or the brain to sort [157]and place the facts and colours and surprises of a present-day narrative or tale, but the soul may be called upon to express through the narrow temples of an awakened child its cosmic understanding, its ordered firmament.

Decades of observation and reporting; firm and verified actuality of knowledge and opinion; to these, added experience and the excellence of order—such is the training of the intellectual artist who times his production to his own generations. He pays the price in pain and subjection to the things that are; he knows well the meaning of labour; often, though he may still laugh as an artist, he has forgotten how to laugh as a man.

My desk here is covered with papers and poems of a beauty this intellectual artist cannot reach, of a freedom he can never know, until he lifts the torch of his consciousness out of and above the brain, making that serve quite as his knees bend and serve. Thinking of these things to-day, the door of the Study opened and the Little Girl gave me her work. She writes things of the larger consciousness without effort, but finds it hard and wearing to narrate the immediate matters of life. To her, the fine short story of the present hour is the great accomplishment, the ideal she is working toward.

With another she goes often to the cities—rambling among the rooming-houses, cheaper restaurants and mills. She means to work in the [158]mills soon—to forget herself and forget us for a time, to be with the harder-lucked girls whom she loves with thrilling passion. She has brought home from these little adventures wonderful stories of the patience and the laughter and the heroism crowding like hidden sacred presences about the duller lives. She brings a humour to the telling of the divine secrets of the poor—the clutching pang for food, the soldier going, his baby coming, the tortured spine, the stunted, the darkened, the wasted—an irresistible divinity about it all—pain impermanent, joy enduring. Back of the lacking eyes and leaking lives, she sees wonders that Zola never saw, that none can see with mere intelligence, that none can dream, who sees only the here and now, who has not learned to laugh at the so-called injustices of men, who cannot see the greater order to come because the present chaos is so devastating.

One may report minutiæ of torments, mass the items of degradation and bring forth a great document of the underworld—but these are mere foundations. The Builders bring the dream, they live the hope, they open the long-road consciousness, they substantiate their visions of better days, bring order and coherence to all the splendid toil of the intellectualist; they raise their edifice upon all that is done.... Here is the Little Girl's work of to-day's writing:



In the night the Master came down to a woman who lay sad and sleepless in a dark house. He came so near that she felt his holy radiance. Her soul breathed; her body ceased to tremble; she felt within his sacred circle. The Master smiled and said:

"Why do you not sleep?"

The woman answered, "I am carried away by thoughts that will not hush. Night after night I lie here so bitterly close to old dreams. I realise that they are not worthy, but my brain is full of them."

The Master smiled again. "There is a way to compel the silence of the brain."

"I have not found it," said the woman.

"Learn to be the soul," the Master said. He suggested a way to begin—then was gone.

The rest of that night the woman thought of his words. Deeper and deeper his words sank into her heart. When morning came, a happiness brooded within; she dressed quickly and went out.... Back of her little house rose the golden brown hills. She climbed, and at the top of the nearest, sat down. The peace and purity and fragrance of the sun-steeped hills filled her soul. For a long time she thought in silence, then slipping off her loose white sandals, said: "I begin with the grass. Yes, I begin with my feet.... How wonderful you are—so ready to obey, to give your service at any time! What would [160]happen if you carried me other than my will? Supposing some day I should be walking fast to the house of my beloved, when you suddenly took me the other way!"

She laughed, and added: "You stay with me all my life, and little by little are carrying me up the shining path to the Father's house. And yet—how strange! I am not you.... And my knees, how wonderful and willing—all limber and full of life—helping me in all ways to do all things—bending gently when I bow in holy communion, expressing joy through free, easy movements, mute, yet strong before pain! There is nothing more wonderful in the world than you. Yet—I am not my knees.

"And you, old heart," she added. "You have endured the keenest pain; you have loved and given yourself, have hated and become black only through pain to whiten again—old heart of many rendings—until all life was tragedy, and you almost ceased to beat. Little heart, sanctuary of the soul—room for his rest.... Yet I am not the heart!

"And the white throat in which the lotus unfolds its mystic petals of light—I am not the throat!... And the mind, stream for the soul's fulfilment—listener, runner, interpreter of light—mate of the soul in all things, ever ready, sparkling with the inner fire,—I am not the mind. You can hurt me no longer. I am free!"

The woman sitting alone upon the hilltop, paused again. "What am I?" she almost cried.


It was as though the hills, the air and the rising sun joined her in the answer—"I Am, ... Longer than the living flame leaps within, I Am. Longer than sun and planets radiate light, I Am. Longer than worlds give birth to form, I Am. I am one with the rocks and the sea, one with the warmth and light, one with the earth, one with Humanity.

"I am Humanity. I Am."

It is only when the Little Girl brings in a bit of fiction that we remember her years. The brain that even now can polish a detached incident, or clip into firing-form a bit of humour of the street, cannot as yet order the narrative to a culminating effect. She is in her brain, which is only fourteen, struggling with the matters of time and space, wherein only lie pain and bewilderment.

Art is long. The training of the hand and intellect requires the years—but not the labour, not the agony, not the mad strain supposed to prepare one for an artistic career by those who believe mental equipment to be all.... The key to this whole discussion is the fact that the brain can be developed more in a year through inner awakening than in a decade by the usual methods of external impacts alone.... The ideal education is the balancing of the without with the within—the tallying of the world without with [162]the world within—the same old story of the kingdom without clearing its correspondences with the kingdom within.

The Little Girl's ideal is to do great stories. They challenge her by their very difficulty. When I see where she stands now, and think of the far ways we elders went to learn the game; when I see what the twenty-year-olds are doing now, how they command their mysticism—a harder task for me than the accomplishment of physical results; when I see the inner bloom and co-ordination and the inimitable surfaces which come to all the arts by the development of the soul life first, the listening for the Master within—I want to get my hands on them all, upon all the young builders of the New Race. I want at once to awaken within them the Spectator—the One who cannot be swung back and forth in the pairs of opposites, who cannot give himself to the partisans, who has glimpsed the Plan and offers it full adoration, who says accordingly that the best possible thing that can happen is the thing that happens next. These are the young Players who will reveal life by living it—portray life as naturally as breathing, whose equipment is not possessions, not even brain possessions, but spiritual en rapport with all, oneness with all life.

I remember struggling for effects. These young people breathe effects. I remember style as a studied attainment. These young people ac[163]knowledge but one style—that is being one's self.... I want to set many of them free from within outward. In their gladness at the finding of themselves, they will go forth to include the world; they will bring to it the compassion which enfolds all, reveals all.... Love the world well and you will understand it. Love the world well, and you will write well to it. Give it yourself, and the world is yours.




The Little Girl sketched this impression of an Indian Summer Dusk:

... Just now the great blue dusk, after an Indian summer day. It deepens and seems to laugh, then all is night. Huge black clouds roll up, promising a storm. Against them, tall, selfish, unafraid, stand the poplar trees. The great Mother of the dusk is singing, the God in Nature is singing, and Nature's belongings, all of them, sing in this magical moment. One feels it all in one's self, feels the glory, the romance, the very core-life of the Universe. The matings too, taking place in the grass and air; the matings of the two streams, the two grains of sand; the matings of butterflies, birds and bees. It all flows through one's body like music and honey and sunshine....

Nothing but space is around me. I feel all hollow inside. Power and beauty and all things [165]else flow through ... and out, like a sieve. My body is far below me, yet it will be taken care of. It does not stumble, nor make any clumsy, unnecessary movement. Finding it alone and forgotten, Rhythm catches it in her gentle arms. Slowly, softly, gently, Rhythm carries it along, the same that carries the deer so swiftly in the forest, the mountain sheep from ledge to ledge and over valleys, and that which waves the trees' long arms so gracefully.... The night moves on its way, the threat of storm is passed. I am back again—an untellable freshness has sweetened hair and clothing. I am all glowing inside.

This was done two years ago. There was a kind of dream story which she recently finished, gratifying the artistic sense entirely, but in a way that ruined it for the general reader. It was all new to her that there could possibly be two ways to regard a bit of workmanship. Five or six story-writers were present for the reading, and out of the fruits of that evening, we surely saw the lesser beauty give way before a greater. We forecasted the readers of the future, who would prefer the more spiritual, more challenging story texture and dénouement.

There has always been The Few—glad to discover the real, answering to interior order and clarity, "straight grain,"—but the fact for enthusiasm now is that the world is being peopled with the awakened. These young moderns are recognising each other from day to day, pulling [166]together for better social order, utilising the wisdom of the East, and the drive of the West—labouring in new paths, daring new leaps, working out philosophies as fresh and ancient as the dawn and, what is straighter to the point, demanding modern books, written out of an integrity to match their own....

Short story writing in America is less a trade and more of an art since Edward J. O'Brien, the poet, took his chair in the flow of the output and began to say which was which. There are a number of people in America who know a good short story when they see one; this is true among those who buy short stories, but editors cannot always buy what they want. A deal of mechanism in a magazine has to be oiled and energised by different kinds of minds from those who paint the pictures and write the tales. O'Brien knew both ends—also he knew that big, unobtrusive part of the market that looks long and pointedly for the real tale.

He is a queer boy—from the bleak fishing grounds north of Boston. He is in no hurry. You couldn't tell if he really wants anything. He doesn't seem to want much—for O'Brien.... After he had his main line and most of the ramifications of his idea laid, he told the editors to send on the stories. Most of them did. O'Brien did a lot of work in a few weeks, did it startlingly well. He started something.... [167]Now, if a writer sits down, suddenly struck with a fine idea for a tale, and this fine idea precludes the possibility of selling it for a high price—the writer dares go ahead and finish the task, because he knows O'Brien will get to the thing in due time, and that if it is really what it seems and the performance of the idea adequate, then the work will not be utterly lost.

As a matter of fact, this is a bit of self-placation, since no work is lost; no one gets the value of a big thing to anything like the degree of the man who does it; no big thing is lost from the world, not even if dropped in a sewer, if it is really important for the world to have it. We are all a bit too heavily handicapped with our own idea of what the world should have from our own shops—at the same time, when we are young, we pant for the quicker return, the answering hail within reason—at least, within time and space. Now O'Brien has come, strangely arrived, his proper phylacteries in place, the touch of tinted haze about his head, the right man.

Back of all, however, is the workman's own spine. That's the best thing to lean on; and when the going is heavy, to learn to do without. We often remind each other in Chapel of the modern artist Cezanne, who moved about his painting for many years, painting the thing, satisfying his soul, and leaving his canvasses around in the fields for the peasants to laugh at or mull over. [168]... They have long since been brought in out of the rain—those canvasses. I forget the incredible thousands his littlest sketch brings now.... But Cezanne got the films out of himself—tallied them off—the landscapes within and without, when it did him most good. It never fails. What was good for the artist is good for the rest of us afterward.

Meanwhile much is still to do in the story world. The big smash of the moving pictures hasn't cleared from our game yet. It will be the cause of greater tales before the end is seen, for you can't portray the realities of romance upon a flat screen. For a time the many thought it was no longer necessary to learn to read, because there was such a torrent of pictures everywhere, but it was only through the pictures that the few has finally managed to realize how marvelously pictorial mere words are, and how few words are required when they are imaginatively driven. One day in Stonestudy we discussed these story and screen affairs, looking ahead somewhat to better times than these. One of our young men, whose story is told in a later chapter, put down the things we talked about. This is Shuk's writing:

A fresh and different vitality is manifest to-day in American literature. At various points around us, dealing with words, colours and the subtler tools, are active young workmen who for [169]the first time, in the fullest sense, may be termed "North American." The first characteristic of this new element, these young flexible and vigorous minds, is that they are workmen—not labourers, not professionals, not primarily artists in anything unless it be life—but workers first, and after that novelists, poets, musicians, painters or politicians. They are not competitors. They have not forgotten the warm side of justice, but they know well the stern face of compassion—they know that it takes Christ and anti-Christ to make a world. They are neither modest nor egotistical, being for the most part busy and intensely alive. This implies their joy.

The great love story has not been written. The few great love stories of the world have to be pieced out by the imagination. We find that we have been told that certain are great love stories, but they do not stand examination. The classic form will not do for the New Age. There is to be a new language—for literary handling. It may be called American, to distinguish it from English in the accepted form. It is to be brisk, brief, brave and ebullient—to meet the modification all must reckon with—the screen-trained mind.

American-mindedness of itself, cannot yet accept a great love-story. It would be called "sentimental" if not lascivious. The average American is an impossible lover, making it incident to business. The real and the sham are equally above him. He would not know when to be exalted or when to be ashamed. He thinks his own [170]passion is evil, and thus makes it so. The great love-story can only be written with creative dynamics, and can only be accepted as yet by the few of corresponding receptivity. There is nothing soft about true romance. Some passionate singer of the New Age will likely appear right soon, his story to have the full redolence and lustre of the heart, his emotions thoroughbred, his literary quality at the same time crystalline with reality.

The big adventure-story has not been done so far. The day of guns, horses and redskins is over. Photoplays have developed these fiction resources to the limit, proving to those writers born to be modern that their full tales can never be shown on a flat surface. There will be undercurrents, overtones, invisible movements, tensions upon the reader, not only from between the lines, but between words. The story-teller of the New Age may handle his theme in words of one syllable, but his tale will have an intensity scarcely to be explained—only responded to by minds which cannot be satisfied by two-plane production—minds which demand more of life than the camera sees.

The real war-story of to-day, even for to-morrow, ought to arrive soon. This is an age for an epic. Some keen and comprehensive mind will arise—a literary genius who will include the patriot, the anarchist, the poet, dramatist, humanitarian, theosophist, dreamer, judge and statesman, even the iciest aces of the air—and tell the story of War, a tale of trenches, kings and arms; blood, heroism and monstrous greed; vast far-reaching [171]causes and the slow, inevitable hell of effects—told from a viewpoint so inclusive that thrones are merely pawns in a Planetary Game.

Inclusion is the first business of the writer who is truly allied with the modern element. Propagandists do not fill the picture. Yesterday the wreckers and agnostics—to-day the specialists and onesided enthusiasts—to-morrow, the embodiers, the includers.




The Valley Road Girl, who gave us the title, and helped us to see how the New Race will become in due time the planetary hive, asked not to appear in this book. A letter this morning asks it again. She is in the stress and heat of a series of ordeals, learning what it means suddenly to be parted from friends and the centre of her work. A wise and sensitive young woman—I rather thrill over her sufferings. We don't commiserate; we congratulate, when one is called to a stretch of particularly stiff and solitary going. We know that one must be passionately worthy to take the big-calibred ordeals. There is pain to all births—pain, the precursor of greater joys. Pain is not the expansion of the flower to the sun; that is joy, that comes afterward. Pain is the necessary rupturing of the bud-sheaths before the final unfolding into the new dimension. Pain is within, inarticulate—merely finds a correspondence in some outer cause.

Part of the Valley Road Girl's letter follows:


... It hurt to let that last Lamentation go to you. I thought of the times when I had put up a braver fight, bolstered only with pride. But pride is low now, and still dwindling in the glass. Even the gods withdraw from the pathetic. They love us more when we challenge with doubt than when we implore. The many are God-fearing. They must have some divine power to shift their responsibility upon. They can ask the Flame to cleanse them, but quail at working out their own salvation. I have done some crying out to God, but I am finished. The one good path I have is Work—self-expression every day.

I made another mistake—in looking back. Regret identifies us with the past and impedes progress. Youth is smileless, inclined to regard to-day's struggles as ultimate evil, but gradually we learn that all things pass. To consider everything as in transition, we place ourselves in the very current of growth.... For rapid journeying, we must travel light. We can only carry along the spirit of things—the essence of our joys and lessons. That's what I have from Chapel days.

I blush for many hours since. Sometimes I have felt as if I were on a vast plain and there was no God nor earth nor the quality of love anywhere, but only I—deathless—in long, hideous travail, all life to be tested against this Me!...

How I want to write! Every day more awe enfolds the dream. Days bring me closer to the [174]Town. The war has deepened the hearts of all the young people here, especially the women. Young women are very wonderful to me. They have a certain loveliness of body that comes of girl-whiteness within—thoughtful tenderness about them, and something else, a lightness that may be just youth. It attracts me because I have never felt it.

I do not care if the gods laugh at my ambitions to write. By the very sign that we are victims of matter now, we shall become victors. I want the bottom—down among the deeps of pain, where all the sorrow of the world is my sorrow; all tears, my tears.... I am not ready for the Hive. No compromise. To accept less in one's work than the dream—that is failure.

The Valley Road Girl is eighteen. She has hardly been away from the little town by the lake shore. She is held to it queerly still. I expect her to make the place long-lived in the memory of many novel readers. I see the big book of the country-side about her—a gallery of quaint and curious faces—done with her stern, sweet power. I have seen this big book building about her, as I see the top trays of The Abbot's Sea Chest. These are the days of her sketching and tearing down. Deep draughts of life call to her, deeps of religion, deeps of cosmic memory—and all about is the little town. The meaning has come to her at last. Already she has turned to love the nearest; loving the nearest will unfold the big book and set [175]her free. Six hundred pages I call for—the leisurely vibration, terrible intensity of romantic moments, passion of the fields, the hideous mockery of narrow, brittle lives, the country-wife worn glassy with routine and insane monotony, and the young of the country-side—quick bloom, pure youth falling into coarseness before its form is finished, the real and immortal behind it all. These are her properties. Hundreds of pages have been written and prayerfully destroyed. Thus is she setting herself free.

I have a paper of hers on the spiritual adventures of a smileless child—which I liked much when it came in, more than two years ago. The Valley Road Girl is close to us in all our preparing and building; so that these chapters would be strange without her voice:

... Fire was always terrible, so my first aspirations were caused by fear of hell below. Before that, I had wanted to laugh when told to pray. As I grew, I thought much of the heavenly state, but could find only vague pictures. Recently I asked a country minister his idea of heaven, and he seemed uncertain. He could only assure me that it was a desirable place. Yet children always wonder about their destination, questioning as they journey.

I started early to pray—a grim affair; at first crying out through fear or hurt. God was too awful for such intimacies so I took the Christ figure of the Trinity into my confidence. Just here came a strange transition. It didn't seem sufficient [176]for me to think those prayers: I felt I must state them clearly or my wish might be ambiguous. Even to-day, I find that only expressing a thing simplifies it for me.

If there were acquaintances whose lives were touched with beauty or romance, I prayed for them, but mostly named my wants. I made the discovery that the intensity put forth in holding the image of a desire brings it into the world. Man may call the answer God, but that seems his own power. I have sometimes thought of Will with its divine kindred, Wisdom and Love, as the Three Who stood first before His Face.

To-day we dream, and to-morrow our hands are filled. I remember the early Chapel days when the Old Man would say, "Be careful what you want—you are apt to get it,"—with a great laugh and mystery playing about his words. How truly one comes to realise that. When I started at Stonestudy, the town-people used to ask how we were taught,—if our English and story-structure were principally considered as in the schools. I could only tell them, "Oh, no, not like school!" Then I tried to explain Chapel and they wondered how that manner of education could make us writers. Yet our writing improved with the days. Work, a few weeks old, embarrassed us with its defects.

Then I actually tried to discover just how we were being helped. To a young aspirant, there is [177]awe about an artist; we had come to listen. The same thoughts expressed in homely words wouldn't have quickened us. The Old Man's sentences were rich with figures that clarified everything. We began to see Stonestudy. About this time at home I used to start anything that interested me, "I've got a picture——" Chapel had helped me, as only one can help another, by quickening the imagination.

That was what drew me to the Little Girl—her vivid impression of things. She could make her listener see also. Speaking of children whom school had overwhelmed, she used to tell us of their "lacking eyes" and the world that had crushed them, as the "solid world." ... I think that was the secret of her faith in fairies and Nature's most elusive agencies. I listened doubtfully at first, for school had tampered with my once-ready belief. One had first to trust her words, "If you believe, you will see." And I recalled my early religious experiences, based on "According to your faith, be it unto you."

This is the "really" religion—faith in the hidden world. We conceive its light gradually as the seed pushes its way upward through the soil. All religion that does not make the workshop a Chapel—the place for picturing heaven, is less than we know. I seem to confuse religion with the stimulating of the imagination. It is because they are one to me.

The Valley Road Girl has a beautiful sister who was rather reluctant to come to Stonestudy. [178]She did not think she could ever belong; had no thought ever of writing or taking part in our things, yet none of the young people ever brought us more than Esther. I found the following pages about these two sisters together among the writings of the Little Girl:

... On the floor below lived two girls who came often to visit their beloved friends in the attic. One was a year or so older than the other, and most serious and sober, constantly hunting for her own philosophy and making her own religion, praying for power and vision, fearing lest she fail at the appointed task, suffering over conditions, revolting at times, loving her work and her sister with an everlasting passion. That was the one whom we call the Valley Road Girl.

The other was a perfect giver, born with the thought of her own smallness, unwilling to accept a different point of view on the subject from another. A spirit—wide eyes, frail body, living her life calmly, objecting to nothing, obeying others, loving all, frightening her parents with her absolute goodness. And that was Esther.

When she came at last to Stonestudy, her cushion with the others round the fire had been waiting for many months. For we all knew her; through the Valley Road Girl we knew Esther belonged to us. One Chapel day later, when she remained at home, we wondered how we'd ever manage without her.... Occasionally Esther brought a [179]paper with her and laid it under the black stone—a bit of verse, perhaps a dream, or something deep and mysterious from her soul. One day it was a picture of the Desert, I remember.... Noonday, the white heat of the sun reflected by the sand, the brown of a camel's eyes, the long road to travel—caravans—then night—the sound of low music, women dancing, the red of fires on black oily bodies of slaves.... Esther made us see it all.

There were long days in the woods—spring quickening life in all things. We'd gather moss and violets and talk endlessly, Esther always so free these memorable days, and happy. It was the dance that set her free—her expression through the dance—a dancer's body and soul, her wonderful quality of forgetfulness of self, made her perfect. Literally she could surrender herself to the music, trust it, and be carried in perfect grace and rhythm. We watched her unfold, the beauty of her deepening in every way. Her joy in life grew. She became like a nymph in the pure light of summer....

As was set down in the other book,[17] it was the Little Girl who started these educational proceedings. Less than four years ago I suggested that she remain home from school, and take a stroll with me down the Shore. I was a bit bored [180]at the time, doubtless heavy with the sense of parental care. To my best knowledge, the Little Girl was in no way extraordinary. She does not seem so now. It seemed natural for her to turn in the chapter on "Tom" in this book. I did not think of it as a brimming thing for a child to perform. Incidentally Steve brought in an essay last night on the young lovers and beauty lovers of the New Race, covering matters which I planned as necessary for me to do in this book. Weaving, that's really what a book from the group amounts to—weaving, more and more. From time to time in years to come, I hope to take a few weeks and spin a book.

It is only in matters having to do with actual world-facts that the Little Girl ever reminds us that she is only finishing her second period of sevens. There is no one to whom I go more often for wisdom or consolation. Her comradeship is complete. Others forget the matter of age in relation to her. Her big friendship with the Valley Road Girl overrides four years of growth most formidable in the usual attachment. The soul is out of time and space. The same thing is more emphatically shown in the case of John and The Abbot—nine and seventeen.

The Little Girl reads very little—not nearly so much as I do. She carries no weights. The slightest tendency toward precocity would sicken [181]me of the whole business. This growth and development which I speak of is not intellectual in the acquisitive sense. I take the young minds away from long division examples. One of those a day is plenty. Excessive use of the young brain is dangerous. One should handle brain-tissue with delicacy. One should learn well how to think, so as to escape lesion and avoid rupture of those most delicate fibres. Any strain sounds a warning. The use and development of the brain from outside is only safe so long as the process is joyous. The development of the brain from within is natural and continually felicitous. No two processes are alike—for the Soul perfects the instrument to serve Itself. In due time the brain, thus trained, will bring forth the one perfect and inimitable product. Trained by the world solely from without, its product is a mere standard at best.

I have met absolutely no ill results, not even from the gentle encouragement of the practice of concentration among children. This is stiff brainwork for a time—stiff because the brain must be mastered. But the brain that has learned to listen for the voice of the Master within, is already using the fruits of concentration, and as I have written before, the children master the distractions more easily than developed personalities. One must learn how to think obediently [182]before one can silence the thoughts. One must silence the brain to hear the Soul, but one must be the Soul to silence the brain.

Intellectual children have been brought to me several times. They lack the essential reverence. They wish to show me what they know; their parents goad them into this showing. These are not the new race type that thrills us.... I cannot help you out of a predicament if my hands are full of bundles. I cannot bring to you the one spontaneous utterance that you long for, if my brain is crowded with the things of to-day and yesterday. I place upon the ground my bundles, and give you a hand. I clear my mind of all its recent and immediate acquisitions, and by the very force and matrix of your need (if I am the valuable teacher) I supply, from the infinite reservoir of massed experiences, an intuitional answer that will not leave you as you were.

... God pity the good little brain-pans so heavily piled in public schools, and the brave little memories so cruelly taxed. I want to brush all junk away from them, let their souls breathe, let them become as little children, show them how the greatest workmen and the master-thinkers are great and masterful, simply because they have learned how to become as little children.




We develop through expression. I find these paragraphs among many of the Little Girl's for which there is no place here:

... Everything in pouring out one's dreams and thoughts, one's very soul into words! It is relief, fulfilment; it completes all thoughts and dreams; it gives them strength. They are only half-powers if left unexpressed. In the moments of great outpouring, order forms—the inner order that is lasting and divine, the order that every man must have running rhythmically through him, before his great task can be given him by the Master. If man lives in truth, he lives in order. There is no truth without order—no order without truth. They are one at the top. There are no mistakes in all the Holy Universe.

We speak much of the Master. As every artist becomes significant, I think he is more and [184]more conscious, deep within, of the presence of one whose word is absolute. The great artist isolates himself from criticism—that is, he may listen to the observations of a child or the youngest critic and find values, yet his life is passed in doing things others cannot do, and for which there are no criteria. He loses the sense of all laws at the last, in the great ebullition of his soul—to get its records down. He is not ignited with expression as formerly, because he is expression. His establishment in flesh is for that, and no other reason. His Master nears. I think of Tolstoi so intimately and Carlyle in these things.... We are close, in our best moments, to the Shop Itself. Kipling touched this mystic arrangement in his inimitable L'envoi, "When earth's last picture is painted——"

More and more life teaches us the treachery of matter, as it teaches us how to love. One by one the things we turn to, vanish, leaving us rent and crying out. Thus we learn to turn to the Unseen. We long at last for our particular archetype who embodies potentially the ideal of parent and teacher and beloved. The last tearing torrential love of the flesh is for the mate, the first of our more purely spiritual aspirations for the Master.... The good days of apprenticeship give us the basic ideal of him—the pure workmanship, the love of truth, need for utter comprehension with few words—the love of one [185]another, yet the absolute essential so hard to learn, to cling to nothing in the realm of change—all these are incentives to the quest of the Master. More and more we succeed in turning our love to what we still call the Unseen from old habit. The very love that you turn to the Master builds the path by which he comes to you. He can only appear in your own thought-form....

It comes to us so often that we make our own heavens. So many forget that we require beauty as well as goodness and truth. Not sages alone, not saints alone—but artists, workmen and players in beauty, as well as in love and wisdom. The Master will come to you in your own thought-form; your heaven will fill your own conception. Saints of the elder bigotries will have angels with feathers and peasant feet. Those who have clung so hard to their bodies, must galvanise them again with rheumatism and senility and mortgage-ridden minds.

I tell them here to be careful what they dream—to take all the loves, the safe things, love of child and mother and mate, love of comrades, the passion for dying for another ... to take Nature's perfect things,—the grains, the fruits, bees, stars, devas, poems—majesty of mountain, strength of the field, holy breath of sea—the highest moments of song and thought and meetings ... to take all that is consummate for the thought-form—to build the coming of the Mas[186]ter in that—light from the Unseen—to build for eternity.... The Master can only show you that much of Himself as your own highest picture contains.... This is the practice of his presence, so liberating to the minds of dreamers and workmen and mothers.

Steve has done some thinking on the quest of beauty in relation to the young lovers of the New Race. The rest of the chapter is his writing:

Beauty is the lustre shining from within, because of the sheer intensity of being. It is proof of spiritual battles won, a gift earned by ages of renunciation, martyrdom, and self-sacrifice. It is manifest balance, order and serenity gained from isolation and self-conquest. The glow seen about the heads of saints is really there. It is a splendour not of earth, the same ray from which beauty is drawn.

A certain tragic joy and a terrible serenity, that is mistaken for melancholy, often goes with beauty. It is the result of turning back voluntarily for work in the world, renouncing possible bliss for the service of humanity. Chief among the spiritual victories mentioned, is this turning back, facing the stream of evolution again, and all its cold metal, for new work. So its light is a light from behind—a reflection to the world of the wonders ahead.

Beauty is an indication of the weave of one's [187]higher life, of developed discrimination, material proof of the perfecting ordination of the life, will and emotions. All that is beautiful is good, all that is good must be beautiful. Ugliness is false and fleeting, a confession of sickness and turmoil within. There can absolutely be no great love without a sheer worship of beauty, not for itself, not from the æsthetic standpoint—no temperamental moth-man ethics—but the calm mastery of its inner meaning, which is mastery of life itself.

This does not mean that we must love things merely because they are beautiful, but because of the truth we know to be in them, manifest in their beauty. Also it means that we must never accept a thing merely because it is demonstrated, or seek truth for truth's sake. Beauty is the one lasting criterion.

As soon as we truly see these things, we know the secret of real love, which is beauty's expression. The lover is no longer lover only, but love-master—all domination of the sexes then becomes a slavery of the past. The lover is parent, mate and child in one. Each is also the other's teacher.

At the beginning these lovers give each other complete freedom, knowing that nothing can be maintained that is held; that joyous freedom is its own wise bondage. The finding of the lover is never the end of the quest as in the world. Rather, it is the beginning. Never is there a lying back in satisfaction or inconsequence. That [188]would be failure for themselves as well as their children. Growth is the goal. Growth goes on after the mating at a rate never before approached, for each has been opened, liberated. Every relation is evident alternately in this growth, parent and child, teacher and pupil, master and disciple, madonna and messiah. At certain high moments, the other appears as the Master himself; through his eyes the mysteries of the universe are seen.

The three-ply love yearns to give, knowing that by giving all one gains all. It yearns to protect, to mother, to love failings and make them virtues. It loves the failings as well as the gifts, treasuring all the little humanesses of the loved one, searching them out zealously. Never are they foolish enough to expect perfection at first. Every fault is told point-blank, at any cost of pain or injury to the other. For it is the god-given privilege of each to bring suffering to the other, because he loves that other more than life, more than self, more than happiness, and it is understood that their mutual goal is the priceless heritage, perfection. Nothing short of perfection remains. For this all else, even life, is a paltry price. There is no hiding the truth. This is the supreme test for great loves, great friendships. Both mates are equal. Equality—the word comes to mean more than worship.

This philosophy is justified by the law of sacrifice. That which we love more than life is ours more wholly than ourselves, by the great law. [189]In fact, we cannot belong to ourselves; we must work upon ourselves until we are big enough to cast body mind and soul in the heart of another, without fear. Separateness—the pitiful sense of self, has long been the prime illusion of the world, the cause of all lust, wars and torments. Those who are not great enough lovers to surrender all to their love find pain and disparity throughout. They have yet to learn that all that belongs to the self-willed, only half belongs, for it has not been given its freedom.

In loves such as the New Age is bringing in, true creativeness is touched. In worshipping both the soul of her child and that of her mate more than her own, the mother is given for the moment a beam from the divine shaft from the Creator. For that moment she has over-reached herself. Just so is the new love constantly over-reaching itself in the cause of the loved one, a divine madness the world has not begun to dream of—to belong and to have, to be in and through and around the loved one. Thus to over-reach is to create. The ordinary one must become extraordinary when loved in this god-like manner. To over-reach oneself—that is the cry of the New!... To think or act in any way that will hurt the self becomes impossible then, for the self is truly become the other lover.

Blindness of passion is far from the nature of things in the new loves. Or rather such passions have been washed and redeemed until they are self-governing. There is all the difference [190]between them and the world idea of passion, as between adoration and infatuation. Deep waters and deep characters hold to their channels. Only shallow and frothy currents are loud and turbulent.... Again it is the three in one. How could one hold a mad destroying passion for one in whom the parent child and master are equally dominant? Always the spirit of tenderness is there like an unseen third. Thus passion has become compassion, and the earth love is seen truly for the first time partaking of the nature of the infinite love which holds the universe together. This is the source of calm, of will-lessness.

The elder generation, judging all things from the standpoint of the self will, is dumbfounded. Such iron repression among children is beyond its imagination. The elder generation goes on living sharkish and predatory lives, experimenting with repression after too much getting and taking and licentiousness. It concentrates terribly on repression, throwing up about itself temporary breastworks, developing cruel red rays of personal will which at best is but a defiant pugnacity. Its eyes grow red and voice savage. For the time the gargoyles of the ancient self are locked in the lower room, but they are not mastered. All personal will is but a confession of inordination within. Where there is inner order and beauty, it is not needed, becomes indeed an affront to the most high.

The beautiful will-lessness which marks the re[191]lation of the sexes of the New Order is the key to the freedom of the future. Tiger and ape are transformed into white presences—the mutinous slaves of the earth-self become cosmic servants.




I was talking to a group of young artists in Chicago. There was a boy there who seemed disturbed because the others dared to be natural in my presence, and talk about themselves. I was quite at ease, enjoying myself, and getting altogether as much respect as I deserved.... This lad walked with me to the train. I wanted to take him home. I liked his voice and his hand and his mind. I thought at first that he could not mean all he said, but I was wrong about that. Reverence is sometimes very hard to take, but the one who brings it has the pure surface of receptivity. The boy said, as my train pulled out:

"No, I can't come now. There's a month to be spent at home in Michigan, and a season's playing with an orchestra up in the lake resorts, but after that—say October, I'll come to Stonestudy."

That was exactly what he did. He had it [193]all planned months ahead. It's Shuk's[18] way—a mathematical mind, a crystal mind. The theosophists would say that he belonged to the intellectual ray.... We are always better with Shuk in the room. He comes half way to meet our process of lighting up, which is the devotional process; in fact, Shuk incorporated himself in our ideals in exchange for a year or two of living the life at Stonestudy.... These things never die.

A raincoat, a black bag—these are Shuk's possessions, all weight and measure minimised, even to the kind of white paper which wears best and packs best. Shuk means order. A page of his "copy" is a rest to the eye. There is a finished quality to his sentences. My tendency is to rush into a mental clean-up when he enters the room. I'm not impressing these details as his virtues. Shuk's virtues are cosmic. He will presently be telling the big tales, and telling them fast.

As a group, we are learning to come and go from each other. We have learned well not to lean—rather to anticipate the Law and leave the beloved when the tendency to cling becomes too keen.... There is a time to come and a time to go. I always think of the Master Jesus, leaving His disciples—saying that they would not find the Comforter within, if He remained with them always.

Shuk had much to do in bringing home to us [194]this valuable concept. We had a way of thinking the world would come to us on the Lake Erie bluff. It would. It did. But we were getting fat and baronial; a bit fat of brain, perhaps.... Better than that, the gaunt, lean face forever at the window-panes of civilisation.... Comrades are always together. Big meetings, easy partings. One does not know how close he is to another, until their thoughts spark warm over a lot of mileage—the immortality of it all stealing in through the soft airs of night, perhaps.

I teach the young ones to stand alone at every chance. The idea is to make them penetrate for themselves, as swiftly as possible, the main tricks and illusions of matter; to make them see past any doubt that to be worldly-minded is to be inferior. Still they must see this for themselves. I formally renounced parentage in the case of the Little Girl. I take all my authority from the younger boys at frequent intervals—especially when they have been real mates:

"Don't advise with me," I tell them. "Show what you know about living.... Do it your way. If you begin to botch it, I'll come in and be a regular parent again, but the idea is to set you loose."

These matters come out naturally in relation to Shuk. He'll be surprised to read this. None of the young ones ever adequately credit the fact that I do a lot of sitting at their feet.... We [195]could see the world as one piece better with Shuk in the room. His intense listening pulled my eyes constantly. He wanted to know about stories—about writing stories. His presence made us all better workmen because he was so zealous to become one. I had long been absorbed in the romantic side of world-politics, but Shuk decorated the subject with a new romance.... The farther away a country is, the more we know about it from a fiction standpoint. His mental forms are very strong. Shuk and I have practically covered the same run of thoughts in a morning's work—our machines a mile apart—no prearrangement. But this has worked out so often as to cease to be a novelty. The Little Girl's letters have often crossed with mine, carrying the same spiritual unfoldment—a four days' journey distant....

Another realisation related with Shuk's coming, is that I do not belong as the master of a school in the economic sense. There was much detail at Stonestudy, much householder's management required. I wouldn't have given it up, if I had been unable to do that part, but it was a waste of force—wretched economy for me to take charge of such affairs. We plan to support ourselves, but I cannot run a school, apportion tasks, or puzzle devotedly among the meshes of finance. This part of the work in California will doubtless be taken care of by those who do it well and profit[196]ably. There have been moments when I wanted to go among all the schools—happen in, stay an hour or a week—until the children and teachers forgot me, so I could find my own among the many.... But again it occurs to me that wiser plans than mine are behind it all. Those who are ready, come; numbers will take care of themselves; all we need to do is to make the most of the nearest, and keep up our song in such accord as we can in the midst of the world's sacrificial madness—many girls' voices now, for the war has plucked the boys....

Some of the things of Shuk's which I chose for this book were about the big war and are not profitable discussions now, but with his paper included in an earlier chapter, and one or two small things here, his quality can be seen. This is a letter to the Old Man:

... I haven't ceased to follow the Wars. Big one inside. Tremendous flights, dizzy careenings, impossible falls. Am tramping noisily through the forbidden garden of Books. Am becoming more and more vividly aware of Life, above actuality, beyond sorrow, interior to joy. Vital and thrilling peace to all your endeavours.... Enclosed a paragraph or two on tallying off the world-war within, with the world-war without:

Evil is stupid mixing of good things into in-harmony. Evil is simply ignorance. Ignorance does not fade away, but must be worked out, worn [197]down. War is evil in this process. Man's higher nature is naturally at war with ignorance, manifesting in his lower nature. If man had always kept at this war against the domination of the lower self, he would never have needed another war to jar and jog him along. But man decided, in ignorance, that he had no cause for war with the lower self. This was his first illusion. The next mistake was natural. Man thought he would get rid of evil by killing off the lower selves of other men. All due to his first error in looking outside instead of in.

It's all wrong to think we must leave our own houses in order to fight the greatest battles conceivable. If we do not accept the fight within ourselves, we shall certainly have the same fight, once or twice removed, forced upon us....

Whatever portion of humankind is chastened and quickened by this big field-war and sea-war, is the first fruits of a nobler race. Man has had countless and continuous opportunities of doing this purifying process to himself in privacy and peace; instead, he has consistently, with rarest exceptions, used his will to serve the lesser self, or deal with the lesser selves of other men. Now, in these years, every man who failed, will learn the lesson, because it will be forced upon him. If our wisdom is not so great and old as we hope, if we have in the long past thrown away our chances, then we shall surely go out and fare as the others fare now—in exactly the right proportion.


Killing another doesn't work as a means of self-correction. Hereafter, I'm interested in correcting myself. There is very little outside work left to do. This is a commonplace, of course, yet it reminds me that the highest wisdom is something grandly simple and easy. Murder is an aggravated waste of both time and opportunity.

Yet I am at peace with nobody, not even myself. Peace ought to be more intense than war, and until it is, we shall have to go through many wars to arrive at any kind of peace. Many slaveries is the price of freedom.

One who fears will be brought up facing monster fears, until he learns next time that his personal fears were too petty to mention. One who has greed and envy will surely be made a pawn in a game of greed so colossal that perhaps, in a future time, he will have no interest in neighbourhood greeds, but will have learned to see and to desire the whole world. His greed has been stretched into a passion for dominion; and the most fascinating field for empire he will discover within himself.

So wherever we stand, we can't lose out. We can choose to do good, better, best—but without choosing, nothing less than all right can happen.

The brighter facts are that all these warring energies, whether of men or ordnance, are the force of one God, energies working out of the muddles men made. Man has disturbed the balance. Man now makes a sacrifice in order to restore equilibrium, to release the powers he misused.


The greatest conceivable struggle must sooner or later come between the higher and lower nature of every living thing. Man is now preparing himself, collectively and individually, for this final conquest. His prime illusion seized him when he turned away from his own faults, to correct the faults of his brother. The secondary illusion is that the brother will not be able to care for his own faults. The third is that we must help our brother correct himself. The fourth is that if he won't do it himself, in the way we say, we will do it for him.

The world (and this means me) is just learning the rudiments of war, just finding out how much vitality man has, how much courage, the stupidity of all fear, the size of the globe, the depth and possibilities of the elements, including the human soul; is perceiving more of life and accepting intenser vibrations than ever before on this terra. All this knowledge will go into the True Peace some day. But in these nearby years, men are prayerfully eager to get back "home," where all these godly lessons may be forgotten.

Real War will positively show man that he must remember what he is taught. When he comes "home," he will enlist immediately in the interior struggle with his lower self. His war with other men will train him to fight with the greatest enemy on earth, his own ignorance.

I have already enlisted in this big war. My first victory was in seizing the fact that the world is me and I am the world and nothing to the con[200]trary. The universe rises and falls with me, subjectively. The goal is to make it—objectively.

I am locked with impatience these days.

After that, comes fear.

I may go to the red fields to learn the nonsense about fear. Of course I can theorise it now perfectly, and practise it at periods. But I want it steadily, the non-wobbling wisdom. Already I have conquered some fatuousness in myself. Out of my jubilation I write to you.... Of course, the Many is not a model to follow. The "Many" is a picture in every man's mind, composed of the inferior things that all other men do.... Inclusion—intensity—love—creativeness—these Stonestudy precepts contain all the story. They are certainly the way out and up and over into Life.

Shuk has done a little sketch or two on the big Romance of the new social order:

Humour, universality, the highest good will, he writes, are the symbols that flame from the temple of the New Race.... Everywhere appear children of the renovating, re-vitalising, more cosmic tribe. They are easily recognised. The hope of a full and decent future is with them.

They will do little according to their immediate predecessors, and much by an inner light of their own. Being wise and simple and not destructive, they will gratefully accept all that has proven true for earlier peoples. But they will in[201]stinctively have nothing at all to do with the traditions based on three-score-and-ten, or any other of the unfortunately solid viewpoints that frost the world to-day.

They love the world, have come to claim it whole, to reclaim it from deluded ancestors who were solemnly, from birth, bent upon deeding and selling and stealing and fencing in bits of the planet's surface. Forerunners of this happier race have shown themselves to be masters of materials, true workmen in the solid stuffs; but by their sense of humour they are saved from any impulse to seize and sit upon fragments of earth.

These new ones are born with an urge towards unity. Their task, to set the world in order. Their means, not so much a rearrangement of objects as a very intense activity along the roads of Beauty and Truth, in a co-operation unstudied and normal with the rest of mankind and with the Igniting Principle.

It may be observed that Beauty and Truth are too vague to produce effective action in a solid world. This is invariably a saying of the material-minded, however virtuous they may be. It is they who loudly demand a dull utility over and above Beauty, and apart from it. It is they who have agglomerated the chaos that is in this hour threshing about in dust and blood. Their sober iniquities are the fertiliser to force the seed of the New Race.

It is not a cosmic blunder that the great minds of the world are found in art, including the su[202]preme art of mystic religion—and seldom in the arena of statecraft. The world was never managed from a senate chamber; the cosmos is not guided by a king. When rulers of the past have become great figures, that greatness usually rested upon their gift of poetry, their love of art or wisdom, or some religious quality.

Poems of twenty words have outlived the might of forty wars. A great book is a higher achievement than a sweeping political move. The dullest changeling with an obsession may set his seal upon a war to the death of ten million men, but in the few lines of a true poem are stored the honey of millenniums of human life. A genuine work of art is more potent and practical than any blood-bought wall of tribal separation, more vital and immediate than the doings of armies. To judge of this properly, one need only know both kings and poets.

Of the early kings of Rome, it is Numa who is remembered—and he was in harmony with Celestial Order. Of countless other Roman figures, the average mind turns first to Cæsar, who was a literary man, and whose passion to write outlasted every march of his legions. Greece had kings and statesmen and great generals, yet it is her wise men who stand foremost. The conquering Alexander is famed chiefly because he was the unwitting distributor of Grecian beauty. In fact, Greek history began with Homer, the poet, and American history with Columbus, the dreamer who is still our creditor. The mystics of old [203]China reached for the Torch of Light, and they might have attained a true dominion over the planet, had not their fear-inspired kings built a Wall and gelded the Empire once for all. Gautama Buddha gave up kingcraft in order to gain a higher mastery. Mohammed lived on the Road. Jesus the Christ set free an energy in the world that is only gaining its real momentum after two thousand years—and he firmly refused a material crown.

... A hopeful dream, the poem of an autumn afternoon, the building of a sphinx or a pyramid—these are not subject to time or conditions. They remain.

So the Children who are the hope of the world are not dismayed at the medley of illusions emanating from the so-called ruling class. Emperors and premiers do not get very much done either way; they themselves abandon their own works over night. They are deserving of profound sympathy. They only spread out more manful chaos to be set straight by the master craftsmen—the artists, humorists, vitalists, mystics.... Beauty is the sun-bright flash of the Infinite.

With duty raised to a joy, and pain forgot, the Singers come, the Builders, the Quickeners of man. The Unforgettables of the so-called past were of this stock. Their leisure is deep—of a sort that sustains the finitudes.

All the good goals of yesterday are to be counted as mile-posts. Direction is more impor[204]tant than any imaginable goal; unvarying tendency is more direct and splendid than any creed; the white path of the quester is more precious than a stationary heaven.

The modern children cannot stop on this side of the horizon because they are creators. Life is their religion. Their rites are broad and deep as man, as ancient and reverent as time, as new as dawn.

They do not reject the Vedas. They re-fashion the Upanishads in their own hearts. They study the travels and hopes of Jesus, listen for the divine songs of Orpheus, penetrate the glitter of numbers with Pythagoras, find satisfaction in the Mohammedan thinkers who connected Aristotle with Moses. These names do not belong to the past. The many Buddhas are perpetually modern. Kabir lives to-day in Tagore. Heracleitus and Plato are still living springs.

In just the same sense, the children of the New Race are old as the Pelasgian Zeus, though in point of time they are here for work and play in 1920. But their vitality, reality, beauty, power and achievement—these are affairs of all time.




Many mystics have lost touch entirely with the deep sunken abutments of the spiritual edifice—the footings in matter. They are deeply wise in the mysteries and unfoldments of contemplation, but lose their way like mindless lambs in the world. We idealise a practical mysticism which dares to walk the earth in the heat of the day, dares to contemplate the stars as outposts of the heavenly kingdom, launching the vision at last, not only to the Holy City, but to the Throne of Itself....

Talks with Shuk at Stonestudy had a tendency to make us see the big Unseen politics and diplomacies and rulerships of the planet. Here are a few paragraphs from one of his letters which show the quality:

... Kings and presidents are the most hampered of men. Great generals are silly without their armies. To remove externals from us, to [206]rid our minds of the illusive and the inessential, is simply to clear us for action. Even a gunner, in taking aim, regards the object or enemy as an abstraction, and focuses his whole attention upon his own instrument, his sights. If he actually looks at the enemy, he will not hit him. The billiardist first glances over the entire table, then, to make a true shot, concentrates his full attention upon the tip of his own cue. Perhaps the great leader of armies does not regard individuals or see them as men, but as extensions of his own body, and in time of stress, he has forgotten them completely save as abstract power for his use, and that use he determines interiorly. Even the most material-minded of men, in the crux of worldly and four-square events, sinks into deep and effective cerebration. Can we, who realise this as a conscious and direct principle, do any less?

I think the Guardians are sitting together a little way off, watching with grand interest, to see just how much of a mess mankind can make. Man is always given lavish supplies with which to create works of art that may prove equal in beauty and wonder to the universe itself. Man does not yet see art in these materials.

He must open his eyes before the Powers are able to help him. The Guardians cannot operate against man's will, because their will and his will, including yours and mine right now, are of one piece. The will of the Guardians is better trained and cleaner, because more experienced.... When men cease to shout for different things [207]from the same Father, they stand a chance of getting the Father's attention.

We have had many astonishing hours in Chapel talking about these "Guardians," the arrangements above, as below, one Plan governing all. We do not care to bandy about the name of God a great deal, for we realise that He is most unseen when embodied in matter; that He is apt to be far from the mind that makes familiar with Him in words. Yet all stands for Him, all reveals Him. The farther we can see beyond mere eyesight, the more we realise that He is not standing exactly in person, just outside of the boundaries of matter.

There are hierarchies, so to speak. There are messengers and couriers and charioteers, saints, pilgrims, angels, courtiers, priests and politicians, grades and authorities represented there, such as we find in Matter and Romance here.... Shuk and Steve and I used to hypothecate the existence of a White Council back of all the religious movements of the world. By humour and analogy and romantic speculation, we arrived at the point of view that the world religions are one at the top, and that initiates, illuminati, masters are stationed at intervals to help humanity up the slopes. We conceived the White Council as a centre of wisdom love and power, holding up the cup continually for revelation, guiding and guarding humanity's soul. We glimpsed the fact that the leaders of the [208]White Council might be beyond embodiment—at least in avoirdupois—the holy of all holy men. Only a most pure and potent messenger, we thought, would be permitted to reach this Inner Temple, this Shamballah, compared to which the Vatican is a salon open to the public and the monasteries of Thibet a concourse for pilgrims.

After religion, we realised that there must be an upper centre for all that is represented here below so diversely in politics and nationalism. It couldn't be God Himself back of the dumas and senates, reichstags, diets and parliaments. One does not pass from elevator-boy to editor in chief in a great commercial office. If there were a White Council back of all the religious movements of the world, there must be a Big Mill back of all world-politics—a gathering of directors, venturing to judge the problems of men because they had risen above them.... These men could want nothing material. We perceived them behind armies and thrones, manipulating kings and diplomats and secret centres, in ways that even the closest agents did not understand.

We concluded there must be another centre made up of the master-artists, bringing through into matter (as the world can stand it and as the little human instruments reach up for them), the great delivering beauties of song and story, paint and verse and tale. And this we called the Shop Itself. Sometimes we fancied that it was [209]all too much, even to dream of going there sometime to see the forms, the marbles, the canvases, the manuscripts—the Artists themselves.... And then we realised that, just as all the arts and all the religions and all the political movements were one at the top, that Politics and Art and Religion were one at the next eminence; that the Inner Council and the Big Mill and the Shop Itself were one at the top, just as Wisdom, Love and Power are; as Goodness, Beauty and Truth are; as Father, Son and Holy Spirit are—three in one at the Top, and that was Himself....

And then we would rise from Chapel and go out and look at the lake—Steve and Shuk and I.

Finally one day we were told that we had done some right good dreaming—that it was all true. We were advised that it was no affair of ours if other people didn't get it right away; that they would get it.... So we began to put these things in stories. They mean Romance to us. Queerly enough the stories are coming through—one long one especially, called Archer, that shows the downhere activities of the Big Mill and the White Council and the Shop Itself.

I have said it often in this book—that our culture consists of the quantity of properties that we have tallied off—the within with the without. The Kingdom is within, also the King; the Sky and the Nest are one; one are the heavens [210]and the homing heart that finds its peace in the deep vales where the adorable humanities come to be. The inmost and the uppermost are one.

We are where the torch of consciousness is.

We are in the body, or in the mind, or in the soul; we are in time or eternity, or we pass back and forth.... First we tally off the far outposts of the kingdoms without and within; first we are mere sentries learning to become clear-eyed and brave to stand alone—almost outsiders, having scarcely heard of the Kingdom, dimly conscious, but learning to become steady-eyed. Then we are called in a little—called in to become couriers on foot, running to and from among the outer provinces of the kingdom; then messengers to the Middle Countries; then Charioteers to the gates of the City; then ministers to the court of the King....

The day comes at last when we have audience with Him—when we rule with Him, when we become united with Him. From the throne Itself, then we perceive the outsiders, the sentries, the couriers, messengers, charioteers, the winged riders and the deep-down men of the dungeons.... With the fine tranquillity of power, we measure forth to all, reverence, justice and grace.




Children of the new social order love strange creatures; they are passionate about the care and protection of animals, but until they are made to suffer, they are apt to be sceptical about the infallibility of their elders. They are usually forced into silence early. I have noted that their ideas are intrinsically at variance with parental ideas—about purity, sunlight, dancing, foods, religion, odours.... It takes a good man to break a horse or a dog. In a sense break is the word, although I would accomplish it with enchantment rather than a gad.... This is invariable: "When the pupil is ready—the Master appears——" an old occult saying, and another: "The first thing the Master does, is to break the back of his disciple——"

Stiffness of opinion, rigidity of holding to that which one has, preconception, deep-rutted habits of mind—all these are fatal to that swift and [212]splendid growth of the disciple when he first finds his teacher. For days the child is in a bewildering series of changes—made over new each fortnight—reviewing lives of experience—razing the old structures to the very footings for new temples of mind and soul. The child must be ready to give himself—must give himself utterly. The essential reverence is first required; the self is broken for all births; one gives one's self to gain all. I would not try to quicken a child who doubted what I was saying; and yet I have never sought to make myself unerring or infallible. I like to have the young ones make humour of my frailties, and at the same time believe there is something priceless in our better moments together. There is no possibility of front or acting.

I seek to make them practise the presence of the Divine in themselves. I tell them never to do anything alone that they would not do before me. I take away all sense of sin from them. I sometimes congratulate them on being especially close to us, because of mistakes. I seek to set them free in all their ways, stripping the last attraction from evil, jockeying them higher from a humorous and artistic point of view. I show them the banality of many popular and obvious evils, the dulness of paying the price for something off form and of questionable taste.

There is a lot of humour and nobility about a [213]good dog and a good boy together. John has been sleeping for a few nights in a bit of a cabin with an open door. He picked up a friend down on the beach somewhere, the same that he described as "World Man Dog" in one of his letters. I liked the tone of his voice as he talked with this old loafer named Seaweed.... One evening I was sitting on the hill above the cabin, so still that even a bird would have mistaken me for a part of the landscape.

World Man Dog came up the cabin grade. His head was down—thinking. His tail was straight out behind him, as a dog's tail is when very much engaged with his own thoughts. You could see that he was going to keep an appointment; it was evident that he was afraid he might be late. He did not see me, so completely was he engrossed in his own affairs. He went right on up to John's door, entered, gave a look round the shack, first eagerly, then to make sure. His face fell, his body sagged—down he slumped in the middle of the floor—utterly dejected. As plain as day:

"Hell,—he ain't here!"

A real dog trainer is a wise man. I used to raise collies and was around the benches some—watching the champions come and go. One old trainer talked to me:

"Styles change in dogs," he said, "but a good dog doesn't change. He goes on and on. You [214]don't get the good collies here on the benches any more. This year they want the collie so fine that we have to pinch the brain out of his head and break his lung-room in two. Last year we bred for hair, not for body and brain. Look at that one——"

He pointed to an old sire that had three seasons of the bench and blue, a sweeper of prizes. I remember the time when such a head would have started a stealer anywhere. The old collie had not lost form, but styles had changed. A most stupid dog with a straight, narrow head had won—not the shepherd type at all, but the head of a Russian wolf-hound—a bit of the monster left in it, a drugged look in the small black eyes; hysteria there, and not fealty—madness and not soul.

"We breed them for the cities now—for porches and parlours," the trainer added. "Yes, those great collie strains that we have been nurturing for centuries to all that is brave and hard and useful—we are putting the hair of the lap-dog on them now—long silky stuff, not for snow and sleet. The collie walks by himself these days. No, we won't altogether ruin the strain. Many individuals are spoiled, but the race had come too far and too long to be broken down by a few years of fancyfying."

Of course, I was thinking of the children at [215]every stage of the talk—of city people and children. As a race, the city-bred have become too fine. Life has worn them thin—given them the drugged look about the eyes. The race will never get far in the art of living until it comes home to the land and the restful distances and free flowing airs. This is so true that it seems to risk wearing the eye and the mind—to say it again....

It's good to see them—a boy and a dog together in the hills or down by the edges of the land. There was a piece of decent collie in a dog named Jack back on the lake shore. He was long in strength and courage, but a bit shy in obedience. As a work-dog, he was ruined by a man who knew less than he did, frequently the case in bringing up dogs and men—whipped at the wrong time, every forming endeavour in the pup-brain broken by that. He is seven or eight years old now ... a clean dog, a very wise and kind dog, with a sly and quiet humour that seldom is cruel and never falls into horse play—a lover of many children and confident of an open door in many homes.

I remember the dignity and beauty of his first appearance over the bank from the shore, almost timed to our arrival. We were tender to the collie in general, having passed years with them. Jack moved from one to another accepting embraces with a kindliness that mellowed that cloudy day. There was joy about it all. I stood back waiting [216]my turn with much self-control. He submitted to the welcome—to the last detail, and a little later refused refreshments with perfect courtesy.

When we came back the second summer, we found that a bullet had broken Jack's right front leg. He had wintered out at times, had known much pain. It was not that he did not have good friends who would have taken him in, but I think Jack lost faith a bit in the pain and stress. There was grey about his muzzle. One day he sat in the centre of the little Chapel class.

"I'd like to be as good a man as Jack is a dog," one of the boys said.

"You'd be one more man," said another.

The fact is Jack has filled his circle rather well. This thought came to me presently with fuller meaning. I regarded him with knowledge of three seasons. A clean dog, a gentleman, a master of himself, very courageous and slow to anger, impossible for small children to anger—a dog among dogs, but more than dog among men.

"He has filled his circle," I said aloud. "What makes a man look less in these very virtues that Jack has mastered, is that a man's circle is larger, and he has not reached the time of fulfilment as Jack has. If the dog's accomplishments were suddenly lifted from his circle and placed in a larger one, we would not be conscious of the fine integration of virtues that keep us interested now."


Men, lost in the complications of cities, yearn for the simplicity of their early days on the farms; and yet they could not go back. The simplicity they yearn for is ahead. That of the old country days is but a symbol of the cosmic simplicity in store for us. Tolstoi turned back to the peasants, yet the simplicity he craved was not there.

The peasants are merely potential of what the New Race will be; the peasants themselves must suffer the transition—must have their circle widened and feel their little laws and their little sense of order suddenly diffused over broad, strange surfaces. Their cosmic simplicity will appear when the larger dimension is put in order. That which is lovely in any plane of being, is that which is in flower—when it has about filled its present circle. We are not less, intrinsically, because our values are placed in a larger vessel, though we have a renovating sense of our own insignificance. There is an order of small men, so obviously a part of their very narrowness, that it becomes instantly repulsive to larger souls. Many of the latter have flashed off to the end of their tether for the time, preferring chaos, to the two by two neatness of small-templed men.

A secret of growth lies in these observations. We fill a certain circle, restoring a kind of order in the chaos; and then the circle is suddenly widened and that which was our order and mas[218]tery is loose and diffused within the larger orbit. Herein are the pangs of transition. We lose our way for the time in the vaster area, like a man who is unfamiliar with an estate just purchased. There is but one thing to do—to begin to work upon the new dimension. As we work, courage and patience steal in. Presently comes the vision of the completed circle. When this comes, our labour is pinned to a fresh ideal, and we are safe.

In a hundred ways I have found it true that the vision comes in the labouring hours. One may move for weeks about his new estate (or manuscript), planning this and that, but the glimpse of the cohering whole is denied him, until he has actually begun upon the nearest or most pressing task. This is the miraculous benefit of action again. In giving ourselves forth in action, the replenishment comes. The sense of self ceases to clutter the faculties as we bend and toil.

The days that are added to our experience each bring this story in a different way: that the sense of self impedes reality on every hand; that the loss of the sense of self in labour and service renders us instantly quick to the animations of the spirit, without which at least from time to time, a man belongs to the herd, and is lost, like all gregarious creatures, in the will of his superiors.




There is a man here who has found peace. I made a pilgrimage to his house. A boy from the village went with me part of the way up the mountain. The Pacific was presently visible upon the right hand, and a spacious verdant valley on the left. I lingered a moment on the trail, rejoicing in the quiet splendour, and then noticed a vine-clad hut still farther up the slope.

"That's Mr. Dreve's cabin," the boy said.

I learned from him that this man Dreve was well-loved in the village and in the big city beyond; that he was a very different man now from the one who had come here a few years ago; that he was torn and maddened then, cursing God, but too stubborn to kill himself.

"What helped him?" said I, because the boy had paused.

"Well, it wasn't the climate," he answered.


I saw he was wondering if I were worth risking the truth upon.

"Did he fight it out with himself?" I asked carelessly.

"Yes," said the boy, and I now met a fine straight pair of eyes....

There was an old sharp wedge to the story. Dreve's sweetheart had died—the loss twisting him to the point almost of insanity. He had climbed this mountain, it was said, and remained for three days, until the town began to search. The marshal had found him sitting up there, where the shack is now. Dreve was quiet and normal, but confessed himself hungry. He had returned to the mountain soon afterward, and built his cabin. In six months, Dreve was all changed over. He seemed to have a new body and new mind.

"You said he's here four days a week," I suggested.

"Yes, he goes to the city. He has a good business, but has mastered it to the point that several younger men can run it. Dreve only gives two or three days a week to business affairs, though he has been a great worker——"

"He's up there now?" I asked.


"Does he mind strangers?"

"Not your kind."


I thanked him, and added, "Tell me—he means a lot to you, doesn't he?"

"All a man could," said the boy. "I'm going back now."

Dreve was middle-aged, clean-shaven, deep-eyed. Time had been driven to truce in his case. His face showed many battles, but when he spoke, a kind of new day dawned and you looked into the face of a boy. I remained with him three days. We talked of the new magic in the training of children. We talked of the New Age and the great song of joy and peace that would break across the world when troops turned home.

Dreve had something. He seemed to breathe something out of the air that other men's lungs aren't trained for. He seemed to have within everything necessary for a human being, including vision and humour and a firm grasp of the world. He was at peace about God and the world; at peace also about death. Slowly it dawned upon me that this man had walked arm in arm with life to the last abyss, and that life had been forced to confess that she had nothing worse to offer, whereupon the two had become fast friends.

When a man can sit tight and lose everything he formerly wanted in the sense of world possessions; when he has winnowed the last shams out [222]of the things called fame and convention and society; when he has lost the woman who means all the world to him, and still loves her memory and her soul better than the living presence of any other woman; when he has come to realise that death contains everything he wants, yet is content to wait for it—the idea of hell becomes a boyish thing to be put away, and Lucifer returns to his old place as a Son of the Morning.

We stood together in the noon sun. Dreve did not even wear a hat.

"I came here in great shadow and could not bear the light," he said. "But one day I found my heart lifting a little as the sun came out. Then I found that it was really true—that sunlight helped me. The more I thought about it, the more I needed it; the more I loved it, the more its particular excellence for me unfolded. Take anything to the light, and it ceases to be formidable. Sickness is a confession. The time is at hand when schools will teach that. Sickness is a confession of ignorance which is a lack of light. If one is weak he cannot stand the light. Transplanted things must be protected from the light. St. Paul on the road to Damascus did not have enough inner light to endure the great flash from without. Light works upon evil like quicklime—that's why sunlight hurts the sick ones. It is also hostile to the utterly stupid idea of what clothing is for—clothing that thwarts and stran[223]gles every circulatory process of the flesh. There's nothing the matter with sunlight——"

The sun had not only redeemed the physical shadows of Dreve's life, but symbolised the spiritual light which had come to him with the calm and power of the greater noon-day. He did not speak in exact statements of the one who was gone, but that romance, too, was like light about his head. I thought of the wonderful thing that Beatrice said which helped to heal the forlorn heart of her great lover:

"I will make you forever, with me, a citizen of that Rome whereof Christ is a Roman——"

And I thought of the Blessed Damosel leaning over the barrier of heaven with sweet and immortal messages for him who waited below in the very core of earth's agony. In passing, the great lovewomen bridge the Unseen for their lovers, who in their turn give to the world the mighty documents of the human heart. In passing, this woman had become everything to Dreve, so that I, a stranger, felt that he was not alone but twice-powered. All his life was a prayer to her. He brought to her spirit now the greatest gift that man can bring to his mate—the love of the world through her heart.

We had walked down to the ocean. Many young people were bathing in the surf or playing on the strand. It was the presence of Dreve perhaps, but I confess that human beings never be[224]fore looked so wonderful to me—a fearlessness and candour and beauty about the moving groups that was like a vision of the future. All smallness of self was smoothed away in the grand harmony of sun and sand and sea.

"It's a kind of challenge to a war-stricken world, isn't it?" he asked quietly. "Aren't they splendid together—the big boys and girls of California?... Don't misunderstand me. I know the world. I'm not lost in dreams. I know well the darkness of the world. But there are great ones among the boys and girls playing together here. All are on the road, but the great ones of the Reconstruction are already here in the world—playing.

"Great ones play," he repeated. "First we are labourers, then artisans, then artists, then workers—at last we learn to play. That means that we dare to be ourselves, wherein lies our real value to others—when we dare to become as little children.... Hear them laugh.... You wouldn't think this was the saddest little planet in the universe.... Look at that tall young pair of sunburnt giants! She's a Diana, conquesting again. Look at the wonder in his eyes! Perhaps it is just dawning upon him that the man who walks with this girl must walk to God.

"... Oh, yes, I know," he added laughingly, "there is flippancy and a touch of the uncouth here and there—but we have all played clumsily at first."


I continually marvelled at Dreve's remarkable health. His stride up the mountain-side was actually buoyant.

"Did you ever feel that you could live as long as you pleased?" he asked.


"I think one does not learn this until after one has wanted to die. One must live above the body and not in it—in order to make it serve indefinitely—quite the same as you would climb above a street to watch a parade go by."

I put that thought away for contemplation, knowing that it belonged to a certain mystery of Dreve's regeneration.

"You know," he added, "one has to get very tired to want to die. Those young people down on the shore—they want to live. They are not tired. They want to cross all the rivers. They mean to miss nothing down here. They can't see through it all. It challenges them. But the time comes when everything on earth seems to betray. Then you have to turn to the Unseen for the big gamble. The world is learning it rapidly to-day. Look——"

We had reached his hill-cabin.

He turned from the sea to the valley. Night was falling. There was a big moss-rose plant that smelled like a harvest apple, and filled all the slope with sweet dry fragrance. There was [226]a constancy about it, and the great sun-shot hill was blessed with the light and creativeness of the long day. It was like the song of finished labour from a peasant's heart.... One forgot the world, the war, forgot that the holy heart of humanity was in intolerable travail.... The valley that Dreve now pointed to was like an English pastorale. It had the look of age and long sweet establishment in the dusk. My friend was quick to catch the thought in my mind.

"... It is like England," he said. "There was a development of detail in English country-life as nowhere else. I think of cherries and cattle, of strawberries with clotted cream, of sheep-dogs and sheep-tended downs and lawns, of authoritative cookery, natural service and Elizabethan inns.... Everything was regular and comfortable. One forgot to-morrow and yesterday in England before the war. I heard a dog-trainer, speaking of a pup, say, 'He's a fine indiwidual, but his breeding isn't exactly reglar.' ... With a rush it came to me that nothing in the world is regular now. England isn't a soothing pastorale any more—everything changed, demoralised—but only for the present."

The dusk was stealing down from the far ridges. Our eyes were lost in the California valley which seemed to be growing deeper in the thickness of night. Almost as Dreve spoke, I expected to [227]hear vesper bells from some Kentish village. His low voice finished the picture:

"Country roads and sheep upon the lawns, vine-finished stone-work, doves in the towers and under the eaves, evening bells and honest goods.... I think of the ships going forth from England, boys from the inland countries answering the call of the sea and finding their fore-and-afters and men-of-war in Plymouth or Bristol.... You know it is the things that make the romance of a country that endure? All these will come again. All the good and perfect things of the spirit of old England will come again.... Our hearts burn within to think of the yearning in the world for a peaceful valley like this.... Think, if I could take your hand now and watch the sun go down upon a peaceful world ... hear the cattle coming home and sheep in the perfumed mist of evening ... doves under the eaves and the sleepy voices of children.... I think Europe would fall to screaming and tears, and then lose its madness for strife—if the big picture of our valley at evening were placed before the battle-lines as we see it now."

Dreve stared a moment longer. I fancied I saw a bone-white line under the tan, running from chin to jaw.

"A woman was leaving her lover," he added. "It had to be so. Each knew that. Just as she was going, the woman said, 'I forget—I forget [228]why I have to go away.' ... It would be that way with the soldiers, if they could look down upon their own valleys and farms. They would forget war and hurry down, saying, 'I'm coming!'"

I wanted to get closer to Dreve's secret of peace and power. I wanted to tell it. Apparently Dreve wanted me to. Now, there's a price to pay for these big things, but many are willing to pay the price if the way is clear. Dreve had suffered all he could; then something had turned within him, and he found himself in Day again instead of Death.

"It must be told differently," he began. "For instance, if I should tell you that the way is to love your neighbour as yourself, you wouldn't have anything. Whitman said, 'Happiness is the efflux of soul,' which is exactly true, but it didn't help me until I had experience. Happiness is the loss of the sense of self. You can see that clearly. All pleasure-seeking is to forget self. We loosen something inside that sets us free for a moment, and we say we've had a good time.

"There are great powers within. The greater the man, the more he uses this fact. We thought of steam as a finished power until the big straight-line force of electricity was released. We can't explain it, but we have touched certain of the laws which it obeys. The materialist is inclined, as [229]ever, to say that electricity is the last force to be uncorked on the planet, just as he said that the kerosene lamp was the last word in illumination. The occultist declares that there are still higher and hotter forces, touching Light itself, and indulging in the laughter of curves and decoration where the cold monster electricity moves only in straight lines.

"Men have died to tell the story that happiness is radiation, not reflection—that we have it all inside, if we could only turn it loose—that all pain and fear and anger and self-illusion disappear the instant we enter the larger dimension of life, exactly as the moon goes out of sight in the presence of the incandescent sun.

"I was emptied of all that life meant in the world—but something new flooded in. I saw that all was not lost, but that all was greater than I could dream; that all was waiting for fuller and finer expression. I saw that what I could do for you, or for any man or woman or child, brought me a living force of the love I was dying for. It became clear that I needed only to clear away the choking evil of self, in order to feel that I was a part of the tender and mighty Plan,—to touch the rhythm of the Source, from which all songs and heroisms and martyrdoms come.

"It has all been said again and again. There comes a moment usually after much pain when the human mind realises that it is invincible when [230]working with the Plan; that it may even merge with a kind of Divine Potency yet retain itself; that it can actually perform its actions with the help of that mighty fluid energy in which the stars are swung and the avatars are born.

"A cold monster indeed is this electricity compared to the odic force, the dynamo of which is the human will. But the magic of it all lies in the reverse of the whole system of use. This force destroys when used for self, but constructs when it is turned outward. Here we touch the law again that happiness is in radiation—in the loss of the sense of self—in incandescence—"

Dreve smiled at me with sudden revealing charm. "I would say that it was all in loving one's neighbour," he added, "except that it has been said so much.... It is true. You seemed to know it to-day on the shore. You seemed to see the great ones passing there. If the world could only know the joy of seeing the sons of God in the eyes of passing men!"

Night had come. We sat at the doorway of his cabin, a waver of firelight within, stars clearing above the misty sea.

"It's all play when one gets into the Plan—all pain while one resists the Plan," Dreve added slowly. "I used to think that I had a strong will; that I had good will-force, as men go. It was the will of an invalid child. If men could only [231]know the force that is theirs to use when they enter the Stream! One is asked to give up old habits and ways and propensities—but only because they are harmful and impeding. All which really belongs is merely obscured for the time. It returns to you with fresh loveliness and power. One does not give up three-space to understand four-space. The truth is he must rise above the former to see it all.

"It isn't you and I who matter," he said abruptly, after a pause. "These things are for all. I know what comes afterward—to a man or to a nation—when driven to the last ditch of pain. A new dimension of power comes. That's what happens. That's what the New Age is all about. That's what the war means. We shall learn our new chastity. We shall emerge as a race into a more serene and splendid consciousness.... The price—the dead.... I could tell you something about that. One must have prayed for death to know about that. Don't think of that now—only take it from me, or from your own soul, that the big Plan is all right—that They haven't made any mistakes yet—that the loved one is only away for a time—busy—quite right—about the Father's business. Another time for that.

"I can't forget them down on the Shore," Dreve finished. "That was play. It was all a laugh down there. The big forces and the big people [232]are always a part of laughter. The laugh will take you to the throne. The Gods laugh.... There's a laugh that ends pain. There's a laugh that challenges power. There is the laugh of the aroused lover in the world. We shall hear the laugh of the world itself, when the big revelation breaks upon us all that the Plan is good—that the Plan is for joy."




I think we come through at birth with certain sealed orders to be opened at distant points of the journey.... Ten years ago, as I lay one night, ready for sleep, hand lifted to put out the light—my eyes found these lines:

"Listen, I will be honest with you:
I do not offer the old smooth prizes, but offer rough new prizes.

These are the days that must happen to you:
You shall not heap up what is called riches;

You shall scatter with lavish hand all that you earn or achieve;

You but arrive at the city to which you were destin'd—you hardly
[234]settle yourself to satisfaction, before you are called by an
irresistible call to depart;

You shall be treated to the ironical smiles and mockings of those who
remain behind you;

What beckonings of love you receive you shall only answer with
passionate kisses of parting;

You shall not allow the hold of those who spread their reach'd hands
toward you....

'Allons! After the Great Companions, and to belong to them!'"

The thing had come around by India—a quotation from Walt, in a little Hindu book of love and death by Nivedeta. It spoiled my night. I resisted. Some entity connected with the lines seemed to smile patiently. Deep within, I knew they belonged to me; that I should have to realise them, line by line, then live them; that here was a page from the envelope of my sealed orders to be opened after clearance—opened far out on the white water.

They used to strike me as hard lines until the warm laugh came up out of them.... Romance means Not to stay.... Bit by bit, the story unfolds that the Plan is good—that the Plan is un[235]utterably good, that one needs only to rise into the spiritual drift to find that all are God's countries. First the big physical drift, the drift around the world, along the waterfronts, missing none until the laugh comes, until the petty things of life, in no arrangements or combinations, can hold your faculties or even long attract the eye. You know them all.

One must learn the world first; one must not miss the world tricks. The men who have lived most have laughed most. But don't stay too long in the labyrinths. They are passages of pain so long as you give yourself to them. Still you must solve the maze. After that, don't stay—don't stay to pick up threads. There are other mazes, other drifts. I assure you life is rich and brave, but there is nothing so healthy as a laughing discussion of death in one's own mind—the next step of the cosmic adventure ... and to travel light there—not to take our mortgages, our material ambitions, our stone houses full of effects—by no means to take our card-indexes and letter files—to travel light, to pick up the brighter shells by the way—every glimpse ahead showing higher light—a more spacious and splendid prospect.... Why carry our furs and frost-proof igloos for this adventure in the deeper tropics? ... To become as little children—to be open hearted and free handed—to listen, to believe, to make pictures, to see across apparent separate[236]ness, to forget one's self in the daisy fields, to love the light and the land, to fall into ecstatic speculations! You can't do that if you carry the plumbing of your house in mind, and stop suddenly to recall if you turned off the water in the laundry-tubs.

Weigh up your external possessions—weigh them carefully—for their amount is the exact measure of your infidelity to God....

To become as a little child—to know that the forests are filled with other than things to eat—to love the mysteries awake, to love the fairies and the hidden flowers into strange unfoldings—to be fearless and free forever!... The Little Girl writes of her love for it all as it comes:

... I have a half a minute to send my love and strong pull for High Flight. We wanted this to be the magic week of the Home Coming, but it must be best to wait a little longer. Wait, wait—that is the old song of Earth—young waiting—big waiting—holy waiting. I love it. I love the suffering of it. One is great according to how well one can wait. I am loving Earth terribly. It is close to me, with its strange music.

Last night, the Valley Road one and Esther and I were together—touched great white things—talked and laughed and loved until long after three. Each in her way is a power wherever she touches. Each has everything within. Each is pure and wonderfully sweet. We wait, open[237]armed, for you. There are wonders in Muriel—and in others. I dream constantly of the beauty to come. Nature's ecstasy will be bursting forth in fulfilment when our Lovers come home. I'm so glad this morning!

The children learn it so easily. I like to stop in this book and let them say it—the big story of the Seamless Robe, the story of Democracy. The young men say it strongly; and tenderly the young women,—the dream of the mate in their hearts becoming the dream of the Master. They all say it so thrillingly for me in their words and lives—the little boys coming in with their tales of prairie and the deeps; literally it is here out of the mouths of babes.... Dreve found it in a woman, another in science, another in music, another in the open road. Every man is his own way, his own truth and life. It waits for all.... We keep fanning day and night, many of us who work at home—the fanners of the Hive! We cool and harden the great spiritual concept into matter, as the cathedral spires of wax appear and harden in flaky white under the masses of the bees....

I laugh at my own intensity.... It is our one tale, told in essay and story, in different terms for cults and schools, for soldiers and clergy, in verse and prose, with dignity and in slang, but here it runs best out of the mouths of babes ... helping the Big Democrat get his story through.[238]... The rest of the chapter is the Little Girl's:

The Soul Speaks.

I walked through a field. The brown soil was upturned and all the richness of man's labour was in it.... The morning sun was lifting a grey veil of dew up to its heart; the earth was fresh and cool where it had rested. My feet were bare and sank into the soft richness. The field was wide and pure and fragrant and alive. It seemed to sing as the sun grew warm upon it. Ecstatic birds flew close and balanced themselves magically in the sparkling air.

I happened to be just ready to receive the golden loveliness that the old Mother is always eager to give, that morning. She helped me to feel the goodness of all things—the power and beauty of all, and the great, giving spirit.... Inside I felt keenly the presence of Soul—that was the secret. Soul awakened and breathing, Soul waiting and eager, Soul, the holy quickener.... The heart beat peacefully, the brain hushed all unnecessary thought and listened. I lay down upon the sweet ground there—the body relaxed and forgotten.

Then, from the depths within, I heard the sound of the Soul's voice speaking these words:

"This is the appointed time. Long enough have I sat mute and silent in the darkness. We have learned the lesson. The circle of separateness is complete. We are ready to enter a new globe now, a globe much larger than the one we [239]have known, much more wonderful. In it there are greater tests than we ever had before. But the new tests, instead of being painful, are joyous; not separateness is ahead, but union, oneness in all things.... Long have you gone your way alone, down the road of deafness and blind eyes and pain; and not the way I would have led you, though perfectly right, for it was an education. The blindness and darkness of it has taught us what not to do, therefore we know the path.... Ours were not object lessons; always we have learned through opposites.... To learn the great lesson of listening, we talked much. We told others of the paths they should take long before we thought of following our own. We hated all things, to learn how to love; we took all to ourselves, to learn how to give. We did the things of death, to learn life truly.... We have suffered great pain to know the secret source of the everlasting joy. We feared, in order that we may become fearless, and know the mystery of the dark. We chose the road of separateness to feel the ecstasy of oneness and completion at last. We entered the terrible sphere of time and space to transcend both and be free. We took upon ourselves pounds of tiresome flesh, to make of it a golden symbol of the great spiritual beauty and freedom. We asked for everything at first, but through our desiring and brooding, we learned the most wonderful lesson of all—wanting nothing but to give.

"All is for us. The Path gleams before our [240]eyes—the long, sunlit path leading to the Father's house. I go home with my love by my side. By crying out in agony, and by weeping bitterly we have learned how to laugh. The world is needing us; we contain all things. From now on, we live as one in Wisdom, Love and Power."




I thought a great deal about Dreve's love-story in relation to the young people, in relation to the love of humanity, and in relation to the mystical growth of a man denied the mate on earth. In the first place, there must be many great love stories in the coming decades of reconstruction, if for no other reason than that great children are coming in. Such friends and brothers and comrades-of-all-the-earth can only be born through the excellent and adequate love of man and woman. In a recent novel, an old priest of the Gobi tells something of the love story of the future to a young American who is greatly troubled in his romance. I quote three or four paragraphs because this expression in fiction is clearer than I could write it again. Rajananda says:

I have watched your devotion for the woman and it has been a holy thing, my son. You love [242]well. She has become more than earth-woman to you. She has become the way to God. This leads to true yoga. Where there is love like yours, there is no lust. Without these trials you could not have known so soon the love that will bring you in good time to her breast. The ways of easily-wedded pairs sink into commonness soon—the dull and dreamless death. It is those who are kept apart, who overcome great obstacles, who learn the greatest thing of all—to wait—who touch the upper reaches of splendour in the love of man and woman, and thus prepare themselves for the greater union and the higher questing which is the love of God together.

The seer must know the hearts of men. Knowledge of love is the knowledge of God. Love is the Wheel of Life; love is the Holy Breath that turns the Wheel. The seer is far from ready for his work in the world, who has forgotten from his breast the love of man and woman. And then, my son, we are almost at the end of the night of the world. The Builders are coming in to take the places of those who have torn down with war and every other madness of self. These Builders must be born of men and women—the New Race—but of men and women who have learned what great love means.

... Listen, my son: in the elder days men put away their women to worship God. The prophets, the seers, the holy men walked alone, and left the younger-souls of the world to bring forth sons. The time was not ripe for the race [243]of heroes, therefore the mere children of men brought forth children. And all the masters spoke of the love of God for man, and the love of man for man, and the love of woman for her child, but no one spoke of the love of man and woman. All the sacred writings passed lightly over that, even the lips of the avatars were sealed. But now the Old is destroying itself in the outer world; the last great night of matter and of self is close to breaking into light; the time for heroes has come, my son, and heroes still must be born of this sacred mystery—the love of man and woman. So all the priests have this message now, all the teachers and leaders of men, even I, old Rajananda who speaks to you, and who has never known the kiss of woman—all are opening to the world the great story, unsealing the greatness of the love of man and woman.... For the Builders are coming, coming to lift the earth—the Saints are coming, my son—old Rajananda hears them singing; the Heroes are coming with light about their heads and their voices beautiful with the Story of God.... And now I must sleep. I go to my daughter, who waits for you.... Once, before you came, she rested my head and filled my bowl in the stone square at Nadiram. Even now she waits for you in the hills of my country—not far from this place, my son——

In the big expansions of life, in moments of great happiness, or hard-driven by pain—most of us have realised that the higher we rise in human [244]consciousness, the nearer we get to the All. Thousands of people now living have risen, for short periods at least, above the sense of separateness, in which they realised that the finest and most exalted love a man may have is for "the great orphan, Humanity."

The human heart is awakened through the love of one, to the more spacious expression for the world. All life is a learning how to love. The last love of the flesh and the rolling years, before man turns his love from flesh to spirit, is the grand passion of man and woman, yet man does not abandon the woman in turning to Humanity or to the Unseen. Rather, hand in hand, the eyes of the man and woman are uplifted to one star—the Apex of a Triangle perfected.... Yet one must not turn to the Unseen until he has learned the full agony and ecstasy of the seen.

"Love humanity by all means," I tell younger ones, "but learn what love means first. Do not undertake to destroy passion until you have learned its glory and madness. Rather lift passion to adoration, and use it, full-powered, upon that which unfolds forever for your worship. It is not well to kill out a personality until you get one."

Our youthful reconstructionists are apt to stir the community with opinions or actions, which [245]have to do with their own heart stories and the world's romance. They have a way of confounding the seasoned authorities of pastorate and parish, with embarrassing questions in regard to method and magic in the making of two souls into one. These young people may not be modest according to Elizabethan ideals; in fact, the young women are apt to go half-way in the choice of the man who is to be the father of her children, but this is an essential of innate beauty and fastidiousness. More and more the higher types of the new social order are questers for that single and holy mating which brings nearer the dream of the beautiful and heroic in children, and which gives us a glimpse of a future to die for.

The story of Romance cannot be written nor interpreted in life without its hill-rock, named Liberty. There is no man-made law for love. The first business of human beings is to find their own on earth. All makeshifts part away; all short-range systems scurry past; all comets and asteroids cease to be considered, when a pair of suns whip into each other's attraction. And so it is with a true-mated pair. Those who have dreamed long and kept themselves pure, realise here below for a time the raptures of the elect. The new generation has a sense of this; and while its eyes look hard and daringly for its own, its finer examples preserve an integrity for the one until he is found.


The New Race realises that promiscuity is only a lack of taste. To draw the fulness and redolence from a book or a friend or a lover, from any episode or fabric of life, one must search for the true, as well as the beautiful, and the beautiful as well as the good.... Perhaps that tells it best—it dares to love Beauty, this New Race. It means to bring back the beauty of the body as well as to breathe forth the Soul. Its devil and its danger is Paganism. It loves Nature so well that it is in danger of forgetting that the old Mother is not complete in herself, but a manifest of her Lord Sun....

As to the liberty of its loves—the New Race realises that one cannot be held, except by vulgar hands, where that one does not want to stay. A mated man and woman turn each other absolutely free, and the first cry of their liberty is toward one immortal nest. Those firmly caught in the pure dream are content to wait for each other. They do not experiment. They realise the long road of romance—a road so long that the three-score and ten is but a caravansary of the night. They build above the flesh if for no other reason than to come into the greater beauty of the flesh. Renouncing nothing, devoted to austerity only for mystical union, carried away in no abandonment, they seek to achieve that command of the body by the mind, and that command of the [247]body and mind by the Soul, which reveals the ultimate truth—that the plan is for Joy; that the best of all things is for men who have mastered themselves; that chastity is the breath and inevitable answer to self-conquest.

The growth of Romance through an ideal mating becomes a fusion at last of all the loves of earth. Connubial blessedness is therefore more reverently to be promoted than procreation, for upon it depends the loveliness of issue. The New Race acts upon the conviction that the love between man and woman is the holiest of earth expressions, rather than the love of mother and child. The first contains the second.

Still no earth love is the end.... Built through austerity and idolatry, through denial and abandon, through madness and martyrdom, through pettiness and chivalry, through pain turning less and less slowly through the years to power, through a little zone of peace at last (the calm before the greater storm) the fervour of man and woman becomes, in the fullness of time, too strong for earth, and in the final and keenest pain, the administry of a higher force begins.... I mean to tell this in a queer way through the next three or four chapters. Straight statements will not contain it quite—for it is still with dream, as yet. Rather I mean to weave the concept for you—fold on fold—so that at the end you will have it, as they do who have listened in Chapel many days.


Flesh is not integrated finely enough to carry the higher ardours of devotion. If the great saints who have learned to pour out their souls in adoration to the Father should turn back to a mere physical expression, they would blast themselves as well as the object of their madness. The awakening of the higher forces of love lifts the eye of the adorer from the breast to the brow of the beloved—from the brow to the Initiatory Star risen at last to meridian.

A new dimension of love is entered upon. All life tells the story. Watch the big birds lift from the sand to the cushion of wings; watch the airplane quicken its speed until it lifts from the monorail.... Machinery of racking power in a falling house, is that great love which has not yet learned to look above the body of the chosen one.

This change is the last and highest pain of romance—the breaking apart of the temporal, for the story of the long road. Man and woman must go apart for the mastery of self, before they are ready for the higher mating. The great love story invariably crosses the mountains of separation. If we cling too long to the less, nature is outraged, beauty is drained. Brief separations are dangerous, because the lovers build recklessly with ideals and the rarest spiritual materials. Meeting again too soon, they encounter an unmiraculous creature face to face. If they had really completed the journey, finished the task [249]apart, they would have come into that tenderness which loves the human frailties of each other, and which sees the manifest of three-score-ten merely as a garment particularly made for a particular journey.

There is always wrecking work, before a new and wider circle is entered upon. The time will come when men and women shall learn that the magic of going apart is equal to the magic of coming together. In all birth-times, in all transitions, the consciousness of the bearer is changed—often queerly.... One can endure the primitive and the child in the other's mind; one might adore the great play of passion, and all the art of it; one might never weary of fragrance of throat, or magnetism of hand, the inimitable plays and child things—but the mind is forever the slayer of the real....

Remember, there is not a full union possible on the physical plane. The body is the barrier that separates souls. Those who believe they have all of each other in that which they see and hear and touch—have far to come in the real love story. Have you ever asked yourself what physical passion is? It is a frenzy to overcome separation. This separation was necessary for the diffusion of life. It is the outbreath, the going forth, the great generative plan.... Physical passion does not satisfy the agony of the soul; often it [250]only makes the agony more keen. In the early phenomena of all great love stories, there is encountered that blinding, bewildering need to become the other—to lose identity, to fly somehow into the breast of the other and be no more. This is keen pain of love but also an intimation of greater union.

There was a man who had found much of beauty and power, much of the Burning Desert and certain wonderful touches of the peace of the Hill Country—in his story with a certain woman. She loved him in a way more real than he dreamed. Life had shown him much to scoff at. He had been glad to make the most, merely, of an exquisite playwoman. One day she was down town to meet him, but he left her for a business appointment. That afternoon, about everything he had in a material way was swept from him—much to which his ambition had tied itself for several years. The man was badly rocked. He walked the streets—shocked almost to laughter, to find all that he had held for, and held to, plucked from under.... At length he thought of the woman who waited. The laugh of mockery quickened, because he thought of losing her, too—a worldly-heart who would go with the rest—goods that perish.

He knocked at the door where she waited. It was opened swiftly. He did not need to speak.[251]... She seemed above and around him. There was a great still sweetness he had never dreamed of as a man (and could only remember dimly as a child to his mother), arms of tenderness and healing.... He saw that instant in her eyes that nothing of the world ever did nor ever could really separate them. The queerest thing about it all was, that he used a word he never could use before—a word, as he said, that had been so badly worked by the world that it needed a lot of washing before it was fit for him. Yet it came to his lips—wife—in a way that showed him also a new meaning to the word forever.

This subject of love and mating is only opened. There is much to say in pages that follow, but now, apropos of nothing, if not this theme, there is a chapter of letters. They somehow contain the spirit of many things I have longed to express. Those to whom they appeal will find the last pages of the book richer because of the insert.





We come up through many slaveries into freedom. It is the end of a considerable road to be able to stand against the morning sun, saying: "I want nothing but to give——" ... To be able to say this without an answering laugh of mockery in the heart, where old King Desire sits with his dogs.

To be free—that is to be irresistible. Do you want love? You only spoil it when you stipulate what the return shall be—how the proffering of the return shall be ordered and arranged. The great love is giving; great love is incandescence. One must be radiant to be happy. It is so literally. It is so, fold within fold....

One sees gold, looking up from below, and its attraction becomes eminent among all desires for the time. We pass it by and look down, as the spirit of man should look down upon gold, and it becomes a mineral merely. You can en[253]joy it as you enjoy other people's roses. It bestows itself. Others seek to bestow it upon you.

Hold to nothing in matter. It is slavery. Give yourself laughingly to your work for daily bread without thought of result. Then, and not until then, are you inimitable in your task. Order the performance of your task with mere brain and attach it to your ambitions—you but do what the many accomplish. Your product is multiple, not a perfect cube. It cannot unfold into the Cross. It misses Resurrection. You must be free, even to perform your work in the world. You must be free to be irresistible.... Genius is approach to freedom. It finds its own paths; it cuts itself free from the forms and vehicles of others.

We have known the dark slavery of the opinions of others. Many of us have cast off such bonds, who are still slaves to our own opinions. We learn to stop lying to others before we learn to stop lying to ourselves. Until we are free, we have no opinion that is fit to endure; until we are free, our opinions are coloured and formed in the matrices of personal self, which is subject to death.

It's all so simple. We have to put down what is in our hands to help others. We have to still our own thought to listen to another's saying. We have to silence the self to hear the Master.

This silencing goes on and on in all our work. [254]Pain shows the way.... We must traverse the deserts. We must cross all the rivers. We must see one by one every material thing betray us. This is the Path—money, opinions, ambitions, health, friends, desires, all betray so long as we obstruct their approaches with our own conceptions and our own greeds. We rise one by one above these illusions. The last and greatest is that desire which is born in generation.... All the old reaches its highest perfection in the human love story. All Nature binds one to the loveliness of this tale. It is the way to the Way. Because it is not the Way itself, it appears to end. The great intensities of agony now begin. The soul realises that only the foothills of pain are passed; that here are the mountains, here are the deep valleys that contain the Gethsemanes and timbers for the Cross, and the plan by which the Cross must be morticed and tenoned....

The sea, the mountain, gold, the rose, the child, the peasant's simplicity, the coming of the coolness of evening, the glory of the clay and waterfall, mist and cloud and star, the deep healing winds that come slowly with their heavy fruitage of power from the mountains, the swift winds with the holy breath of the Sea—all these in the breast of the mate.... When this dream is taken, one bleeds, laterally and full-length. One wants to die; thus he overcomes death. He feels the great burden in which all other burdens lose [255]themselves. When he passes this highest series of inland peaks, the distances stretch clear and shining ahead. This the test of faith because you deal with love itself. Your soul, in its earliest advices, tells you that your love of earth is pure.

It is. It is good. It is the highest here.

It is still to be perfected by the races, even by the new races, who must be born bright with its untried magic.... But so long as it is idolatry to that which is subject to change, it is hourly impregnating the life itself with the seeds of pain....

You are called to the love of Souls. Sooner or later you must go. It is the Path. It is the steep path to the Master. You give up all to go this way—and then you laugh to find it all returned in lovelier dimensions. You take your idolatry from the plane of mutation—lift it into the glorious and changeless plateaus of the spirit....

You turn from the Seen to the Unseen.

This is the passage. You are called to go alone a little way—to be worthy of the great Meeting. You carry your gifts of the passage woven into the Seamless Robe of your being. All that impedes day by day you cast aside, as an army making a perilous retreat casts off day by day its impedimenta—until at last you stand naked upon [256]the eminence, and the Voice says, "Be not Ashamed—I am the Beloved...."

Out of slaveries.... We think at first that God is without—at last we look for Him within. We come from the happiness of the Father's House making our great journey, but our Soul's quest continually is for the happiness again. Yet we must not look back. It is failure to go back. That which we have left unfinished, is not behind, but awaiting ahead.

We are slaves to our bodily health until we learn that the body is superbly fitted for obedience to the Soul; that it comes into its rhythm and beauty only when mastered. Indeed the very process of mastery is to lead it to the Fountain of Youth.

We learn that truly to be rich, we must give continually. We learn by the quickenings of our spirit that white lines run from the brows of all creatures to an apex which is God—that God is all. All is God.... All is one. We are one. We are brothers. One house for all at the end of the Road.... We find the King in our own Souls. We learn from that that all men are Kings. We bow to all Souls. All souls are rays of God. We come at last to see the sons of God in the eyes of passing men.

Our passion now is outpoured. That is joy. We ask nothing but to give, to heal,—to permit [257]the spirit of the Healing Masters to flow through us, but first we clear away the obstructions of the self.

Achieving our own chastity, we perceive the potential chastity in every face. We are deluded no longer. The imbecile cannot hide our eyes from the Flame. All purity must be found within. We have no fault with others when we are cleansed. We see the heroes then, the giants, the runners, the singers, the charioteers.

We learn that we can give nothing real away—that all we do for others is service for ourselves. We give pain for joy, time for eternity, the human for the divine—give to receive, give to be radiant. We must be Flame to be fed by the Flame Itself.

We are prepared by every suffering, every humiliation, until the personality bows at last.... Personality is good. It has brought us where we are. Do not kill it out before its work is finished. We do not realise its beauty until we see it mastered—until we see it with the eyes of the Soul. All one story. We learn to love step by step. We love ourselves, our possessions, our children, our friends, our mates, our Masters, our God.... The higher we go, the more perfectly we contain all the gradations.

The last sufferings, the last tests, are so often through the human love story, because all weak[258]nesses are easily shown through that—all our pains so quickly received.... The bright sandals of the Master at last are heard across the Hills. One laughs then, for He brings with Him the beloved we have cried for so long.... Not in the love of desire after that, but the love of giving, the love that casts out fear, that passes understanding, that fulfils the law, the irresistible love of the Christ.


... A wonderful morning—a rare Monday—the highest hold yet—all is ascending. All beings are so wonderful. I sit on a certain bench to work one morning—the next morning cushions are there for me.... I speak a sentence from a book with a word how much it means and how worthy to love—and the sentence is brought to me illuminated on vellum.... They bring the finest fruits—honey for tea, cream for peeled figs, black bread perfectly toasted, the perfection of unsalted butter.... I walk up the mountain to work—and the voice of the gardener is a benediction from the Most High—and I stand for a moment looking toward your sea over the city, and the birds say, "It is time."

There is a pool of lilies at the top, an Alhambran villa, great rose gardens.... I come to [259]the pool—dip my feet in the still waters and I know from that how chill the night has been. I look at the lilies—how far they have opened—and know the time of day. I pray for a moment under a priestly Pine ... and my heart goes out in the new joy we have found—the joy of knowing that one may be the king of the world and the confirmed Son of God—if he but learn the one lesson—to want nothing.

Pool of lilies in the morning sun. (A little lizard is walking along the arm of the bench. My bare feet are quiet, and he wonders what kind of barkless trees they are. He is here and there. One sees his body move, not the members. The sun puts him to sleep.) ... The pool is still as the waters of sleep. The Sea—I think of her always as the emotional body of the world—the old Sea Mother with diamond-tipped emotions. And then I think of the Master Jesus walking upon the Sea and saying "Peace be still" to the stormy waters.... Each Soul must say that to his emotions. We learn to walk upright upon the earth, then to still the waters, then to have dominion over the birds of the air—and last to be seven times refined in the Fire.... Earth, water, air, fire—the first quaternary.... Yes, we are learning to say "Peace be still" to the stormy waters. We do not know how beautiful they are until they obey.


... Out of the still waters in the pure blue starlight, the lily blooms—the lotus on the still lagoons of the Soul.... Naked as a serpent's head, the sealed bud rises from the water in the night.... Out of the power that follows the peace upon the waters—for the blooms of the spirit lift greatly in the tranquillity of the heart that follows the storm—out of the power of peace upon the waters, the lotus rises and waits like a bride in the dawn-dusk for her Lord Sun to brush back the veils and find her heart.

It is only the beginning of heaven we find here. We weary of the world and turn back to the Father's House. We have plucked the fruits of pain—we have thirsted and hungered again and again.... Out of the darkness we have formed the thought, at last, that there must be quenching waters, and somewhere bread to eat that does not perish.... You can say it in a thousand ways. The Prodigal tells the story. He arises and turns back. Evolution has ceased, involution begins again. He is being folded back to the Father with all the treasures of Egypt. He has ceased to diffuse himself in generation, through which he has become an integral part of every fibre of the world, and begins now to call in and synthesise all his spiritual possessions. The processes of diffusion were in pain—the integration is joy again. Each day of the up-slope his step quickens. The more he knows, the more he believes. The more [261]he sees, the larger his faith—the more his treasures, the more sumptuous his order. "Unto him who hath it shall be given."

Again, it is merely lifting the consciousness from time to eternity, from the cramp of space to the flow of the universe—from pain to play—from desire to radiation.... One ascends and at each steps sees farther. Day by day, the work of the installation of the higher powers goes on. We give up nothing but that which impedes the inflow of godly forces. That which we think we want to-day will look as absurd to-morrow as the hopelessness of a child over a plaything broken.

It's a way of loving every step. Thus we heal from the infinite tears of the changes of matter and dissolution, and lift our love to the Masters and the Immortal Gods. We dare love utterly only that which can contain us. If the Masters loved us with all their power, we would fall in the madness of too much light.... Always, they give us all the love that we can endure.... We give our all to them and expand daily, until we know the passion to break ourselves open in ecstasy, like the king bee under the whirring wings of the queen.

In the human body, the diaphragm is the surface of the waters. If our consciousness is below that, we are in generation. To become regenerated is to lift the balance of consciousness above—to rise like the lotus from the face of [262]stilled waters.... It is a quickened vibration. Simultaneously, one lifts from cerebration to intuition—from the time of matter to the spaciousness of Soul—from the light of the camp-fire in the night, to the full day upon the plain—from the son of man to the Son of God—from the pain of loving with desire to the irresistible creativeness of wanting nothing but to give.


... I was watching the pool this morning—fish and frogs and eels under the lily-pads—a slow cold life. They have colour and grace—but eyes of glass. They move so softly down in the dim coppery light.... I thought of the lakes and the seas, the simple cold of all life—the coldest and most rudimentary in the great deeps.... Birds were playing about in the rose gardens, darting in and out of the bamboo clumps and yucca stalks. Humming-birds were continually fanning the trumpet and honeysuckle vines.... I thought of the skylarks—throats that open only as wings beat upward, and the infinite blue harbours where the white gulls flash—the lonely lakes and tarns where the heron cross in the evening and the loon cries at night—the cypress deeps where the flamingoes commune in shaded glory, and the eagles that cross from peak to peak, along the spine of the continents.


... And then, of course, it came to me—the old conquest—how we must lift our consciousness above the face of the waters and put on our wings.... Many have almost finished with the waters of generation—the emotional body of man, the same as the planet.... In the beginning, it was necessary to "go down into the water"—the terms of the baptismal rite. Regeneration is "coming up out of the water." The struggle between the two dimensions is dramatically expressed by the faith, and the lapse of faith, of Peter when he obeyed the Lord, and arose to walk upon his storm-tossed lower self. His supplication as he sank saved him from perishing. Regenerated, he walked with the Lord upon the waters. I remember, too, the saying, "You must be born again of water and of spirit——," the story of regeneration told once more....

It's a lifting from the cold, bloodless vibrations of the creatures of the deep, to the winged passages of air and sun and starlight.... We think that we give up joys of life—we plunge back again and again to the dim cold waters—our eyes blinded at first by the light, our senses frightened by the fragrance and the space.... As if the reflected light of the lower cosmos could compare with the pure radiance above; as if the love of desire could compare to the glory of the outpouring heart—the heart filled with light—the fulness of spirit, the ecstasy of wings.



... The time comes in the progress of spiritual aspiration when the generative impulse begins to manifest within rather than without. Firmly and gently the thoughts are turned to the Image within or above; the tendencies for outward manifestation slowly but surely give way.... This work sometimes goes on rapidly. A hundred times a day the thoughts of earthy attraction are finished with a soul conception, where formerly the mere physical presence sufficed.

Nothing answers thought more swiftly, but in this passage of mastery, if a single desire eludes from the aspirant, he must meet it later in a tearing and cumulative call. Surely at length the mind rises to rule. One's conception changes from the fear, the torment and the red haze, to gentleness and calm, a readiness to know all the mysteries of life—to care for and respect all functions as one only can who has mastered himself.

To cast them out in hatred is failure. That means the hardening. It blights the beauty of the vales and all magic.

When one begins to unfold the wonders of the kingdom within, as one is called to do in the higher and contemplative spheres of the artistic life, there is an increasing joy that makes it easy, more and more, to lift the power of life from the torment and unrest of the generative seas.


One finds his dream of the beloved changed and infinitively endeared to him. Patience, reverence, tenderness comes to the love that once knew only the single passion of a male for the mammal. Even that, in memory, becomes beautiful to eyes of wisdom and calm—all God's plan. One is sensitive all through his breast for the unfathomable sweetness of life and love. He sees the child and the immortal in the mate. He finds that the body is truly sacred because he sees it with love and not with desire. These are good tidings. They make one happy to write them.

There are seven centres of ecstasy in the body. Through the mastery of will and love and action, the life-force is lifted to dwell with and awaken these centres. With each awakening, a new power comes—a new joy—a new hill-range crossed toward the Father's House; with each awakening, the beloved within is quickened in consciousness, and the beloved without is held more dear. The wondrous story of regeneration goes on and on, to the love that seeks to give itself utterly. To love—that is all the Soul asks.

Momentary passion swiftly passes in the increase of spiritual aspiration. Its force is not killed, but used for awakening the higher and immortal principles where real love abides. The hand of the loved one becomes sacred unto tears, and the joy of life is to serve.

The whole body is presently repolarised—the [266]fire sparking upward—the apex of the triangle turned upward—desire of soul instead of desire of the body.... The mating of the mind and the soul is the larger, the cosmic consciousness, awaited so long. This means that the Lord has come into His Temple—the body made ready. It means that the mind and soul are one, the house no longer divided against itself. The lover is ready for the approach of his mate. Each has been cleansed at the fountains apart....

One must be utterly weary of the old. This repolarisation of the generative force cannot come until one has heard with furious passion, in the depths of pain, the call to the higher life, the new quest. Not repression then, but transmutation. One changes gently, often under a mystic administry, but always with growing love for the body and for the world, using the life forces for healing and concentration and the power to listen to the Lord within—the Voice of the Silence.... Upon the illumination of the seven centres by the life force, another mystery takes place. The levitation of the spiritual life overpowers to a considerable extent the natural gravitation of the flesh—the down-pull of years. The result, of course, is the restoration of health to all tissues of the body—the Fountain of Youth starts singing again.... To you.




Affairs like these can only colour and illumine the upper side of the clouds, so far as American fiction is concerned. One might write a real novel of Regeneration, but the field of the story is not now for this; the arteries through which the public is reached by the publisher are not yet friendly to such a novel. We learn at Stonestudy to write what we please, but we are content with still small answers, at least for a time. We have ceased trying to force people to see the thing as we see it. For money to live by, to take our places comfortably in travel or sequestration, we retain the handicraft to write for markets that pay. We keep in touch with the world—that is practical mysticism. We rejoice in the dense pressures and tortures of world traffic. This is very calmly told, as it should be. My young associates learn it easily, performing the actions thereof, but for me, many years were required.


Long ago I wrote a novel about a man and woman coming to a fervent agreement to remain apart for a year before their mating, in order that they array themselves in fuller glory for each other, so that each day each would find the other more wonderful than yesterday. The novel furnished much adventure in the intervening year, otherwise it would have been still-born. What was the real theme to me apparently wasn't noted at all. Yet separation is as essential as companionship for the real Romance. A man who does life in a book must know this much, even if he use his knowledge sparingly. It's all a laugh in the higher workmanship. Romance—each has his idea of that. Each does his best by that. Here's a document of the day from John which gives his idea very well:

Since I was first with Steve and Fred and Irving and Shuk, I have had the great sense of wanting to be out and away from the world—to be with them one at a time. In the Rockies or in the misty isles of the sea! All of them have a different meaning and sense. One will mean the Rockies or the misty mountain, saddels, foamy bits and lathering horses. Another will mean the tarry smell of the hold of a ship, the flapping of sails in the moonlight, and the smell of black coffee coming up from the galleys. Another will mean the sun betin desert—camels, and men stooping over a fire. They are all my comrads.


Fred is a young sea-writer. We are great pals. We yousto go down and lie in the sand, read, talk and meditate; then a little later we would take exercise and a long swim, then rub each other down. They were wounderful days—those. I got right to the heart of Fred, and he did to me. He yousto come over at night and sleep with me. Those were the nights! I got so attached to him, but we had to go apart. He is in New York now, going to college, and I am here in California. It does not seem right for me to be in this God blest place in the Youneverse, and he in the slums of the world, going to college. But it is the Plan, or it would not be this way.

The new race will stay high all through partings; then they cannot last long—for there is nothing to stay away for. When pain leaves, then all will be ready for the road and the great comrads, horses and the road of greatness. It is all ahead. In the great future—all ahead—my comrads—all comrads—the world will be all comrads!

All our days, as tellers of tales, we try to tell, not stories, so much, as what Romance means to us. The very glory of life is that there are no two pictures the same.... To me, Romance means not to stay! It was hard to learn. Not to tarry in the senses, if for no other reason than to know the full beauty of the senses. One must not miss his train; one must not linger after [270]curfew has sounded. There is no grey confronting of misery—like that of meeting one's own commonness catching up.

It's stiff grade work all the way, but there are heroic moments. We learn to take a supernal, rather than a sensuous joy. The most rending of lovers is the most passionate saint.... When Mohammed finally got his morals in working order, the desert was said to be full of slain....

There is something to do with martyrdom in my dream of Romance in later years. All pain and fear has gone out of that word—a singing about it. The name Kuru t'ul Ayn comes to my mind in thoughts of Romance—"Consolation of the Eyes," martyred soon after the Forerunner Bab had been shot in Tabriz. I cannot tell why exactly, save that she had beauty that had turned to loveliness, and many men had looked through the door of heaven in her eyes—some haunting mystery there of beauty and bestowal—the blending perhaps of the love of man and God in the same woman-heart, passion lifted remotely above the common rules of life, transcending every man-made institution.

One of the Little Girl's ideas of Romance is a hill cabin, an open door to the dusk,—baby heads weaving under her hands—warm air coming up from the valleys, but his step not coming that night.... Here is a suggestion from one of her letters:


Have just been out in the garden planting little seeds that will grow big and strong so that they can be put into shining pots and cooked for the Stranger's dinner—tiny carrot seeds. They had to be rolled over and over between the fingers before they could decide one by one to fall into the rich warm earth. Planting little seeds at sunset! Does it not awaken in you something of the old days we spent so close to the soil? Radiant dusk? But you have to look back to see how sweet the purity and simplicity of the peasant's life. The peasants themselves do not know. To-day holy hot sunlight and lilac bloom—could there be a more wonderful day than that? And Chapel so full of power, then a planting of little seeds at sunset. Ah, Mary! I am happy as I dare to be in a world that is choking in its own blood. At least we are open and ready for any work if it is ours. We hold up our arms asking for hard and painful tasks that will fill us with that singing conquest that cries aloud: "None have more pain to hold than we!" ... We are all working toward you, toward that height. You will be waiting for us with open arms out there. We all send white love to you—our waiting Mary!

Peasants and mill-girls, or the dim lacking faces of the passers-by—always these join to the Little Girl's quests and dreams of the spirit. Two brief additional cuttings suggestive of her idea of Romance follow, from the twelve-year period:


The first great vision of the quest must come to a soul over the plough, in the peasant's body—dissatisfaction with self and surroundings. This is the beginning of everything. The person who is content with small things, small thoughts, does not move. His soul stays asleep. With awakening comes hate and anger and much simple blackness. It is just that, which gives him the power to stand up against the ways he has known so long—to stand up for himself—to push the new vague dreams through to life and light. It is all blind at first, but great and brave, too. The call that would come to the peasant would be to the Town—to many men and things, for that is just the opposite from his life. In a simple way he would go to the depths of the worst he could find—to the extreme.

The thing that is holding so many from their own, is contentedness, satisfaction. The longer one holds to this, the lower he sinks, until he is buried in himself.... The questers who have come up into the light, are brilliant, flashing, beautiful. But the souls of the "white torrent" are rushing on through the dark night, a night that grows darker and darker as it approaches the day. Their faces are tragic, drawn, expectant; there is a sort of red-dark cloud that they are tearing themselves through.... Only the poor fat ones! they fill you with sadness because you can not help them and they are not trying to help themselves. They seem to sink almost visibly, farther and farther down, as they laugh and [273]smile, and nod their heads to each other (only to each other). The light around them is really not a light at all—just a colour, a cold, grey-black colour that looks almost dead. You could laugh if they had anything to do with you, any power over you—you could laugh at them and tell them that you were laughing, but their helplessness hurts you. They can only hurt themselves. There is absolutely no humour in their faces nor in any of their movements. They are all sober; they can not laugh inside. Always it is the sign of flight from God to lose the sense of humour. For humour is a great inner glowing—the power to overlook, to forget the meaner things in people and in life. It is a power to forget one's self also, to laugh at oneself.... I see the New Race as a line of Classic Ruffians—a Troop of Mystic Warriors ... singing their glorious song of stern compassion and deep love, filling all with their questing for power and beauty.... I hear their laughter."

She paints the City Street a bit darker in this:

Dim faces, full of blank suffering and of living death. Dark and noisy streets, crowded stores of trade.... Men—little men, following their women, carrying the babies. The mother part of me goes out to those little men. Down the ages, mothering imprints its pain upon our souls. And their women now—with faces wanting, always wanting, everything in them wanting! I have been carried away by these dim hungry faces. I [274]have seen them staring at me with blank surprise. But then they hurry on, and the forgotten babies cry. Hushing them, the women pass—little men following.

... The pain of utter isolation—somehow this means Romance to me, in a deeper fold of being. Isolation—the hate of an undivided people—a man standing alone against his nation, yet loving it better than any of the natives.... I remember in an early story of having the hero do his big task under the fiery stimulus of the hate of London. All this has something to do with the coming of Saviours.

Time approaches for many when the little three score and ten fails longer to hold the full story; one must look out of this sickly warm room of the body; one longs for the mystic death, which is martyrdom.... I tell all this from time to time in tales—but only the children seem to understand....

Romance—I have walked up and down streets and open highways for days and found no man's work challenging, nothing to keep alive my interest. I wanted absolutely nothing that any one else in the world had, nothing that any one could gain. All worldly activities looked diminished and pathetic to me—but under it all—the endless iteration of the Soul: "Here is a man—as much me as myself!" A call in that—always a call [275]in that. One longs to die for that, once and for all.

I crossed the Yellow Sea with a wound long ago. I had missed a battle and was suffering, without the satisfaction of suffering with a bullet wound.... I lay three deep in Chinese coolies in deck passage. I wanted to see some one at home, or I should have dropped overside. In the fag of pain, on the border of delirium, I lay with the deep down men of the world, Chinese coolies in their filth and vomit. I looked into the eyes of the nearest, and saw a brother, not a stranger.... It was ten years afterward before I caught the big meaning of that moment—and that's why I say so often that the time comes when we find the sons of God in the eyes of passing men. That is Romance.

There is more of death and less of days in my dream of Romance now.... I can see a man giving up his woman because she is dearer than his own life to him. I can see a man going to the scaffold for a country that is taking his life and hers. (Always I see him loving his country more dearly than the sober ones of regnancy and war.) ... I see him taking his woman in his hands—half laughing, half crying, their faces upturned—one creature in that moment of parting, as they had never been in street or church, or state.... Romance in that.

I have a line here from the Valley Road Girl:


... Lastly, it came like a commandment to me—to give all to the Coming Generation—to acknowledge the New Race as one's God—remembering always that all Gods are jealous Gods."

It's all in that, our dream of Romance—Democracy, the Planetary Hive.

I am using a short story as the next chapter, because it brings nearer to the centre of the picture certain ideals of romance, workmanship, martyrdom, love and death, than many essays could do. A tale may be a master-synthesis. Perhaps it is just the thing to show you what we mean, as a group,—what we mean about many things. This is not a marketable tale; in fact, it was done with the idea of making a place for itself just here in this book.




A Short Story

When I was a lad I remember hearing some one say he had read a story of love and war. I thought of it just now, as I lay panting a bit in a queer nest for the night in the Galbraudin Foothills—in the midst of an army that had no country yet—a tragic document unfolding in my heart.... A story of love and war—yes, I had seen one. It was written upon the cells of my brain, the deeper parts engraved upon the heart—the old red war with a new dream hovering above it, and the old true love, white as ever, yet a touch of the rose and gold of the new race in its folds. It seems almost my story. Like Job's servant, only I am spared to tell it. Such a little while ago, I thought the tales of love and war all told.

I saw Varsieff first at school, and went to him [278]at once. Literally, I went to him. It was at recess, and I followed at his heels to his room instead of my own. He was not surprised. I was always at my best beside him. He accepted this gift from me. One who learns to give greatly as Varsieff did, learns also to accept the best things with grace. I only left his room long enough to get my bag. Gladly would I have slept at his door, but he asked me in. We were to be mates. Often he assured me that we were men, face to face; that I was not his Boswell, not his disciple, but a man-to-man friend. Yet I knew that my power was not the power of Varsieff, also that I was most powerful when I realised his splendid superiority.

I followed him during all the vacations. He loved the North Country—snow on the mountains, cold night rains, the filled fields and shrunken rivers of summer, the sound and natural things. He said he would find his tropical island when his work was done, but that work meant Russia to him. He was genius. Every one loved him. One vacation time we undertook to walk together over the Torqueval Peaks. He borrowed a guitar at a peasant house there in the mountains, and played for an hour as I have never heard any one play. I had been with him for almost three years and had not known he touched the instrument.

In one of those days of our walking-tour in the [279]mountains an instance occurred of Varsieff's immeasurable tenderness of heart. One golden morning as we walked through a little village, past a vined wicker fence—a huge yellow cat sprang forth from the leaves and caught a bird on the wing. A kind of sob came from my friend at the swift little tragedy enacted in the wonderful morning light. I turned—Varsieff's face was back to its childhood—a depiction of childish horror—all finished manhood erased.

Many times in our talk his sentences formed a poem, which I would rush away to put down. He learned to do this alone afterward. Once I went to his room in Moscow after I had been away several months, and found scattered among clothing, papers, books and tea-things, a set of recent lyrical gems of his. These I gathered together in the little book, now marching around the world.

I smile to remember when I came to learn that Varsieff had other friends as devoted as I. It hurt at first; I could not understand. His big magic then was that he wanted nothing. He used to say that a man is at his worst when he wants anything for himself. The fact is Varsieff in wanting the letter of nothing, really wanted the spirit of all; in wanting nothing for himself in those days, he wanted everything for the world, a new heaven and a new earth, first and especially a new Russia. Then the day came when he wanted a woman. This was altogether unex[280]pected. I thought that Varsieff absolutely had given himself to the revolution—that humanity was his bride.

I was with him when he first saw Paula Mantone—that is but part of her name. It was in Moscow. His voice, as he spoke to me, watching her, had a different and deeper inflection than I ever heard before. She was just a girl—poorly dressed, who had paused to speak laughingly to an old flower-woman.

"Wait, Lange," he said to me, and crossed to her.

It was in the Spring of the year. The morning was very bright. She turned from the tray of flowers and looked up at him. His hands went out to her shoulders. He was searching her face with a queer and tense smile—as one who finds a woman after a few months' separation in one whom he has left a child. Of course, my thought was that he had known her before. She, too, would have slept at his door....

I heard their voices. He asked her name, where she lived, and how he could reach her again. It all seemed trifling to me. Varsieff had never been like this before. The rest of the day he was silent. We walked and dined together, but his thoughts were not for me. For once, they were not for Russia. There was a smile in his eyes, and often he turned back the way we had come. Once he said:


"I had to leave her. It was quite all I could stand. I do not think the world is a place for two such people to be happy in. Possibly, we may be allowed to meet from time to time——"

I was inclined to call this nonsense. A little later he added strangely:

"Yes, it would be dangerous to let go and become merely human in a case like this."

The next three years Varsieff and I were much apart. I do not profess quite to understand the obstacles between him and Paula Mantone. They had loved each other instantly and torrentially. They were much together, yet there was some super-human torture about it. Even if I have a glimpse of the mystery, I'm afraid few will understand. There is something back of each one of us greater than our actions. We are all greater than we seem. It was as if Varsieff and Paula Mantone were only intended to meet here—to meet and quicken each other for a greater giving to the world. I wonder if it is quite true, what he said toward the last: That really splendid lovers may consecrate themselves to each other, but they must also learn to give each other to the world.... In the beginning they tried to lose themselves in each other, and they encountered untellable pain.

At length came the night when Varsieff returned to my lodgings, saying that it was only a ques[282]tion of time when they should find peace. He said he knew they would find peace, for he had already touched it momentarily. I wondered if she were dead, and he caught my thought.

"No, Lange," he said. "I am still to see her from time to time."

Before that first meeting with Paula Mantone in the street, Varsieff had loved Russia and the world, a friend and comrade to me and to many others. All his love had suddenly been called in and directed upon the woman. After the three years, he gave himself to all of us again—but a quickened illuminated man. He had been brilliant to me before that, but the brilliance of phosphorous compared to sunlight now. Varsieff was making some strange spiritual initiation out of his love story. His presence glorified me on the night of his coming—the summer before the war.

"There are four layers to Russia," I remember him saying. "The royalty on top, then the dreamers, then the middlemen, then the peasants. Kings and middlemen go together; dreamers and peasants go together.... Yes, time will come when the dreamers and the peasants truly shall belong to each other. They have been lovers a long time."

I asked him about the other pair.

"The kings and the middlemen will cancel each other," he answered.


Varsieff was the most active man I ever knew, and yet he moved easily as one in a sort of spiritual drift. He was an intellectualist with those who used their heads, a devotionalist with those who used their hearts, a mystic among dreamers, a child among children. Though never known much publicly, he was to my mind the biggest occult force of the new Russia. I doubt if there was another man, unless it was Christonal, who gave more impulse and direction to the revolutionary movement.

The heads of many departments drew inspiration from Varsieff. I have seen him carry himself lightly through a day of decisions and improvements and conceptions, which do not come to the ordinary master of democracy in a year. I have seen him encounter, worked out by others, suggestions and innovations which he himself had made—Varsieff not realising that the thought was his own. He would innocently praise his own work, as carried out by another. The last few months preceding the revolution were the busiest I ever knew. We became new men. We did not leave Petrograd, but prepared secretly for the big unburdening of the soul of a people. The last few days, before the government changed hands, were charged with a wrecking silence.

Christonal's nerve broke. For twelve hours he was in and out of a system of baths and manhandlings, and I was one who stood by. Varsieff [284]smiled it through, his voice calm, his eyes often looking away as he spoke. The leaders of the younger party saw who was the real chief that day, though Christonal is a strong leader.

I was always a good desk man, and was trying to get some order in a bundle of cipher messages in the heat of the night, when Varsieff came and lifted me laughingly by the shoulders, thrusting the messages into one of my deep inner pockets. I thought he was dragging me off to bed, but when we were alone, he said:

"She is near. I can't leave. Will you go to her for me?" ...

He told me many things to say.

I found Paula Mantone after many hours in one of the Registmonten hospitals. She was frail and feverish from much labour, not regularly attached to any nursing staff. The instant I saw her, I realised more clearly what Varsieff had been doing—trying to kill himself with work for the Cause. Clearly, she had lost interest in all but death and service. I had been too much with Varsieff to notice his arrival at the same point, but I saw their joint endeavour through her. It seemed to me like a death-pact.

A new mystery for me. Evidently they had realised they must wait for release in death, but serve meanwhile. The marvel of Varsieff's sending me when he might have come himself, gave me just an inkling of the tremendous power and pa[285]tience which had come to him. Two years, or even a year ago, he would have endangered new Russia for an hour with Paula Mantone.

I could not breathe this rare atmosphere. So far as I knew, there was no woman for me in earth or heaven, but certainly I would not have been able to look over a living woman's shoulder for her mystic counterpart, and long for death to consummate the real mating. But war teaches lovers many wonderful things.

Paula Mantone was a kind of white silence. You had to listen keenly for her step and give your attention to her voice. She was utterly feminine—malleable like gold. Even to me, she was the meaning of love. I had no thought of her being my woman, and yet she seemed spiritually to contain some sister who would answer for me. Soldiers worshipped her. I think each saw his own in her presence. It was the finished magic of the Trojan Helen again—every man's desire, as gold contains potentially all the metals, and the rose the essence of all the flowers....

She was the quietest woman I ever saw. She seemed formed of white cloud—the sun on the other side. That was it—Varsieff was shining on the other side. She answered him, light for light—gold for gold. For the rest of us, she had that white, saintly lustre. And even in that, we found much to make us brave and keep us pure.

Deep within, there was some wonder about [286]Varsieff and Paula Mantone which my brain could not interpret exactly. But the world had suddenly become to me, in her presence, a place of divided hearts—millions of divided lovers around the world. I had only known the shock and misery of war before, and the thrilling roar of comrades, the crash of the wreckers and the songs of the builders ever nearer. Now I heard the still voices of lovers everywhere. In the pressures of air—callings, cryings, yearnings made audible.

It was a new door of the heart that she opened—her particular gift to me. That moment, though I had loved and served Varsieff for years, I knew more thrillingly than ever his greatness, because this woman loved him. To me, to all soldiers, she gave a reflection of that superb bounty. To him she gave its incandescence. Perhaps together they found it too terrible a light for earth, or perhaps they were unwilling to find their fulness of days in a world so charged with agony as these years.

She left me a moment, answering some voice which I had not heard, and stood for several seconds beside the cot of a bearded soldier, her fingers upon his grey-white brow. I did not realise until after she moved, that she was there at the moment of his passing. I thought of it again: She was the white silence. I think the soldier died, believing that his woman was there.


Twenty cots in the place—a low, cold room lit with a handful of candles. The smell of blood and sickness and soiled clothing mingled with the bitterness of iodoform as the chill draught swept through. The peasant soldiers knew only the meagrest care. Their wounds were dressed as often as possible, but there were five times too many cases for the service, and the whole corps was impoverished.

She stood still in the dim distance a moment longer, her fingers touching the brow already cold. Then she seemed to remember that I was waiting at the far door. I was not twenty feet away, and yet in the few seconds required for her to reach me, a sort of vision filled my mind—a vision of the peace that soon would come to the world—the song of fruitful labour sung again, peaceful lands, soft dusks, lit cabins, filled barns, peaceful flocks and up-reaching baby fingers—all with such a queer shock to a male consciousness like mine. And when she stood before me, I felt that the best part of Varsieff was also there. I even fancied his look in her eyes, such as you see exchanged in an old pair who have lived long together. I think that a great love always seeks to make one of two—in different ways than we dream.

"You came from him?" she whispered.


"How does he look?" she asked.

"He looks like you," I said, for the moment [288]inspired. "He looks like a sun-god, too. He looks with your love into the eyes of soldiers and statesmen and revolutionists, and they find him irresistible."

"Dear Lange," she said. "He loves you, too. You are changed. You have come into the big magic of the revolution——"

"I am Varsieff's friend, first and last—his comrade."

"And mine," she whispered.

"The magic comes from standing between, Mlle. Mantone."

She smiled and bent toward me. She had been like a tall, white flower, but now for a second as she bent closer, it seemed to me that I saw a hint of Varsieff's gold flame on the other side—because we talked of him.

"What did he say?" she continued in a low whisper.

"He said to tell you that he and all your friends were busy, day and night, weaving and binding the Cause into one great fabric. He told me to tell you this—that the work of the Weavers will be given to the world in a day or two—possibly the day after to-morrow. I wish you could have seen Varsieff's face as he spoke to me this last. I remember his words exactly: 'Tell Paula all that I do is for her. That I read and write and dream and breathe through her heart—that she has taught me well to love [289]and wait—that I love the world through her heart.'"

"Anything more?" she asked in a kind of agony.

"He told me to say that only you knew his weaknesses, so far——"

"I love them best," she answered. "A woman always holds a little tighter to the sweet human things of her child.... But he is a teacher, a leader. He must be clean and flawless.... If it were only for us—I should have him, weaknesses and all.... But he is to lead the clean peasants to their promised land——"

Varsieff listened as a desert listens for rain. He caught me by the shoulders when I ceased to speak—as if to shake something more from my mind and heart.

"A man must be half-divine to keep step with that woman," he said.

Then he changed the subject by remarking that Christonal was not half-divine—quite.

"Christonal is ambitious," he added.

"What has he done now?" I asked.

"He has ordered me to take the field——"

That turned on a red light in my brain. Varsieff was not a soldier. I knew instantly that Christonal was not pure—that he wanted personal power more than the good of the Cause. No one knew Varsieff's place better than he did. My [290]friend could only have been ordered to the field for the same reason that David sent the husband of Bathsheba.

After the revolutionary signal went through, Varsieff and I found ourselves in the Galbraudin Foothills with thirty thousand men, and every man of them wanted to go home. Somehow the peasants thought that if they changed leaders, they would march home at once. They were willing to fight their way home; they had felt their own power. Varsieff loved them with a white passion.

"They won't miss, if we are true! They're clean. God love them—they're clean!"

He saw in the peasants the soil for the new earth and the soul of the new heaven.

Germans and Austrians were to the south of our nest in the Galbraudin Foothills, while to the east and north were the big lines of Russian troops as yet unawakened to the principles that moved our ranks. Our weakness was that the peasants thought the war was over.... The cold mountains were in the distance—winter still upon them—a late spring in the Foothills.... In this dramatic lull, our men talked of their ploughing, of their women.

Some one said, "They're enlisting the women and girls——"

It went through the lines like a taint of gas. [291]The men were difficult then even for Varsieff to hold.

You must get the picture. We revolutionists were cut off from the world. The Germans and Austrians sent us messages—some friendly, some derisive. They thought us fools or gods, but waited to see what we would do. The old line of Russian troops all about—just as clean peasantry as our forces—but officered by the straight military class, impervious so far as a body to any shaft of the propagandist.

Varsieff whispered to me that those regular forces were honeycombed with our comrades, but that they were being put to death under the slightest suspicion—that two or three hundred were martyred each day.

The strangeness and horror of it all dawned upon me—the sense of the whole world against us, even America from whom we had drawn the spirit of our courage—a kind of holding of our army for slaughter. Listen, I have seen tens of thousands of troops go down to the pits of white and red, seen their opened veins colour the snows, seen the spots of red on the brown earth turn black. I have seen the boys lean over the trenches and the pools from each throat widen and deepen from one man to another. I have seen a man grab his mate as he fell and say some absurd whimsical thing that the soldier next didn't understand until his moment of death—a little [292]sentence that folded them, not in extinction, but in a new life. All the horrors of death—quantity and quality—yellow and red and white—pure white passings that made a man think of the lilies—all manner of death I had seen, and still it had all been impersonal compared to now.

This was my own heart business. I shared leadership with Varsieff. These lives were in my hands. I wanted to go down among the boys—one by one and say that I was pure, that I loved them—that if they died they were at least loved and not wasted.

I always wondered what those young peasant souls thought about death. Once in a lot of pain when I was just a boy, I wanted badly to die and was deterred from taking my life, because of a counter-desire to get home and see my mother. I think it must be like that with the peasants.

Varsieff saw them in a strange mystic light. No man loved them as he did. They looked like sons of God to him. That's what he saw when they went down to death.

"There are no dreams too fine for them to answer," he whispered. "They are pure—they come from the North like all invaders—glacially pure! We'll warm their hearts—lead them home to God—teach them how to live!"

He was silent suddenly. I asked him to go on and then saw the queerest look instead. Varsieff was torn by the thought, that now as a leader of [293]revolutionists he must teach his peasants how to die as well.... A civilian, I repeat, does not realise this quite the same. In the Capitol, we had worked for a Cause that meant the death of men, but now we were the officers called upon to charge live troops to the fork and the grill. I knew Varsieff to be more imaginative and tender than I, yet I would not have mentioned my qualms, had I known how terribly he was suffering. He caught my hands, whispering:

"You have it, too?"

It was the single hour of weakness that Varsieff had ever revealed to me. I studied his face without speaking.

"I brought them to this," he muttered. "I have always thought of the spirit of things. I was always pure enough, following that dream.... But, Lange, we're a little mad—we who dream.... I had to come here. I had to see this fighting end. Perhaps Christonal knew what he was doing."

I put my arm around his shoulder. We Russians are allowed that.

"I have always thought of the spirit of things," he added, "until I met Paula Mantone. I would have forgotten everything for her beauty, but she remembered our souls.... And now, because I would have forgotten the bodies of these men Christonal sent me here to learn that. We are spirits and bodies, too, Lange. It takes a crowned [294]head to hold to the two ends at once—God, hear 'em sing——"

The ruffians always hushed and choked us when they sang. Something new about it this time, for Varsieff was seeing them across a red stream of their own blood.

"I can't drive 'em into the fire-pits," he muttered. "Why, I'd rather wash and dress 'em. They've got the idea that I am to lead them home. I can't betray that—not even for the Cause!... I never saw it before. They are not herds, not groups—but monads—each a man——"

"We've got to put through the big story," I said quietly. "Thirty thousand is cheap—our little planting out here is cheap, if we can give Russia the new heaven and the new earth—Russia—then America—then the world——"

I was giving him back his own words.

"Thirty thousand lives," he repeated. "Yes, the price is cheap—thirty thousand every day for awhile—your life and mine, Lange—a cheap price to pay for the glory we see in the days to come. But I can't kill these—I think Christonal knew it all the time——"

"You aren't ready for work in the constructive end, if you falter here among the wreckers——" I said.

I knew that no Cause had ever uncovered a more valuable servant than this same Varsieff, though badly out of hand just now. I wasn't [295]making any effect upon him. He looked at me strangely.

"That sounds true—exactly and unerringly true," he said wearily.

There was no quarter possible now.

"I remember your words in clubs and cabinets and in the ante-rooms of the dumas.... You weren't afraid of blood there, Varsieff."

He winced.

"They called you the 'Fire-eater,'" I added, never knowing when to stop. "It's just as straight to-day as it was when you talked there: 'The old civilisation must be washed clean with the blood of the new——'"

His hand came up piteously.

"But their hearts are turned homeward, Lange," he said. "Their eyes are building their homes all over again—eyes turned homeward over the mountains——"

"Turned to God," I said reverently.

"Yes, but taking my word—the word of Varsieff—that God is there——"

"He is there."

"But will He come to them at the last, Lange?... Will He show His face—so they will believe?... When they feel their death-wounds—the blood sliding out, warm and silent—the cold coming in—will they hold to what I said? Will He be there for them?"

"You're shot up, old man, only a bit bewildered [296]to-day. No one knows better than you how great emotional giving of one's self to Cause or Country makes death easy—and quickens the Soul."

Varsieff was ashen.

"I've got to eat all my words! Even you, bring back my words to me. I've talked too much.... Suppose I am a madman——?"

"Then you have no responsibility for what you said," I smiled.

He stared at the tent-wall.

"Varsieff," I said at last.

His hand came out.

"You were pure in all you undertook."


"You wanted nothing for yourself."

"I wanted nothing for me—nothing but——"

"But what?"

"Paula Man——"

"She's a part of you—now. You look like her!"

"I think I'll have to die to see her—Oh, Lange—I'm sick—I'm impoverished, cell by cell, with loneliness——" Varsieff laughed unsteadily and added:

"I remember asking you to say to her—that she alone knew my weaknesses. Now you know them, too."

"She said she loved them.... Varsieff, I have known you a long time," I added after a moment. "I have shaped my manhood, such as it is, after [297]you. I am proud of this—to the end. I, too, care more for you, because of this day—for understanding. To understand—that is everything. I who always listened before, tell you to-day: The dream does hold. The dream is good. Thirty thousand men—even our singing, growling, big-footed, red-hearted thirty thousand—is a cheap price to pay for the new Russia!"

"Do you think Paula would say that?" he asked.

"Yes," I answered, "from the mother-heart of her."

I had spoken, and now I tried to make myself believe that she would have ordered him on. I had to change him, at any cost. A rather questionable way now appeared—to lift him out of himself.

"Listen, Friend," I added. "You are lonely—but you have the heart of a woman pulsing with yours—every beat.... You'd have to be me to know what loneliness means. I'd take all the pain to have a woman like that. There are times when you are half a man, because you are apart from her, but there are other times, Varsieff, when you are twice a man—double dynamics——"

He caught me in his arms. I knew he was healed, but I felt the cad and the cur for bringing his sympathy on myself.... He was looking back toward the cold mountains when I left him, and the look of the woman was in his eyes. [298]That night I dreamed that Paula Mantone came to me with a message for Varsieff, and that she told me some beautiful thing about the child of a king—but I could not quite get it down to brain.

Sedgwick, a brigadier, and technically in command of the thirty thousand, was a straight militarist in training. He looked to Varsieff, the political head, for orders. The day came when Varsieff had no one to look to, for we were cut off from Christonal and Petrograd. We were not long kept in doubt after that as to who were our immediate enemies—not German, not Austrian, but the old line Russian troops hung up to the east of us, the same that had recently occupied themselves making martyrs of the revolutionists in their ranks—two or three hundred a day.

It was a red morning when two of our fliers blew down with the word that our brothers were closing in—that it looked like extermination for our thirty thousand, unless we strode out and crippled them with the first shock. Ten miles to the west the Bundalino Marshes began. We had the secret paths, but it was a wretched fugitive outlook to seek shelter there. As I looked at it, it would never occur to leaders who had brought Russia to the moment of parturition, to break up for a miserable safety in the swamps of Bundalino.


I recall the distant firing of that red morning. My eardrums had not healed from recent months more or less in touch with the artillery. I remember brushing the edge of the lines, as I crossed from Sedgwick's headquarters back to the hut I shared with Varsieff and a servant or two. The peasants were listening queerly and quietly to the far firing.

I passed through the sprawl of pup-shelters, and certain ideas occurred to me: first, that the arrangement of camp was abominable, a pitiful lack of technique shown in this bit of military handling; second, the slow cold conviction that we, as revolutionists, must have all the virtues of the old-line troops to begin with, and to build our real greatness on top of that; finally I drew from the queer attitudes of the men toward me, an intuitional flash that to them the distant firing meant a signal that they were about to fight their way home.

Varsieff was sitting dejected upon a camp-chest when I rejoined him.

"Sedgwick is ready when you are," I said. "He suggests that the men be not kept waiting too long."

Varsieff looked up. His face was livid. His soul had no chance that morning. I thought of the old story of Arjuna standing between the battle-lines, reluctant to join action against his own kindred.


"It's the same here that it was in Petrograd," I announced finally. "The dream holds——"

He shook his head.... "They are just boys—white-haired boys. They want to go home——"

That instant I seemed to see the world laughing at this great man; I saw the end of Varsieff politically.... Superb genius broken down by an intrinsic weakness—as a man who, trying to lead the world, falls for the lure of an actress maid.... I saw all his work of early years—straight, clean, unerring, selfless labour of a man to a Cause—the inspired labour of the past two years when he gave the whole fruit of his quickened heart to the new Russia—the magic of a man loved by a woman great enough to be his divine sculptor and priestess.... It was the thought of Paula Mantone that helped me that instant. Sedgwick was on the path outside. I hurried out and whispered:

"Don't come now. Come back in ten minutes——"

The General paused to let me hear the firing. "But the troops——" he said.

"Give me ten minutes more with Varsieff——"

"The attack may be called——"

"I know, but I need that time."

The old soldier turned back, hating me....

"Varsieff," I said a moment later.



"I've got to tell you something——"

He turned quickly.

"Paula Mantone is near——"


"I saw her last night."

"Will she see me?"

I laughed at him. "Do you think she would want to see you now?... You're a sick man, Varsieff—morally sick. Any decision is better than your present incapacity.... I think she must have sensed your weakness—that she came to bring you strength, for she is your strength."

"Does she love me?" he asked.

"That's a slap in her face to ask that—a woman who gives you her soul's strength—the love of her life. That's lack of faith, my friend——"

"I am whipped. The white-haired boys—they want to go home——"

"You can't wash your hands. You can't say, 'Go home, boys.' They have to fight their way home. First, they have to fight their way to the east out of this valley—against old Russia!... It's the first great battle of the Old and New—first time in the history of the world. We hold the New for better or worse—this little Theban band. You would let us fail and dribble away and slink into the Marshes—you, her lover, whom she calls Boy and Strongheart——"

"What did she say?" he asked fiercely.


"——that I need not speak of her coming unless you needed help. She said you would not need help on account of your own lack of courage—rather that it would be your great tenderness that might defeat our Cause now. She said this was but a last ordeal, hardest of all for Builders, who have ceased to kill...."

"Where did you see her?"

It was all a lie, of course, except I had dreamed of her coming. I invented a place of meeting and added to his question that Sedgwick did not know of her presence.

"I agreed that we were not killers, but I told her that we dared to be cruel to ourselves," I added.

"What did she say to that?" Varsieff asked hoarsely. He had suddenly become like a child—one who dared not go to her, who scarcely trusted himself to speak.

"She said that was the key to the whole matter—that we dare to sacrifice ourselves—dare to inflict pain upon each other because one's true love is the self—"

I was startled and awed at my own words. The idea was unlike anything of mine. It was exactly as if she had told me something of the kind in the dream. Varsieff groaned:

"The glory of her," he whispered. "Was there more?"


"Only that you must not falter now ... and that she would be waiting for you at the end of the day——"

"'In the cool of the evening,' she would say," he muttered.

"Perhaps that was it," I said.

"Nothing more?"

"Yes—but only if you needed it——"

"I do."

"That she never loved you so well as now—that you mean new Russia to her—that she will come running to you in the cool of the evening—either here or on the other side—and something about the child of a king."

His back stiffened. He arose. I saw him splendid again. I drew back in the shadow, afraid that he would see the sweat that had broken out upon me, though the place was cold.

Of course the idea, as I saw it, was to give the old-line troops the fight of their lives—to show the whole of Russia a martyrdom if necessary, thus revealing the temper of the revolutionists. Varsieff had been tempted to let them slip back into the Marshes to save their lives.

We were in the saddle side by side an hour later, and close to the front—the two big lines moving slowly and craftily together. Varsieff looked back at his precious boys, following willingly enough so far.

"It's their white heads that kill me," he mut[304]tered. "They are like children, and that I should——"

"They are all our children," I answered, sweeping my hand in a circle ahead where the troops of old Russia had filled in, waiting to deliver us to death.

"Dear old Lange," he muttered, "I'm glad you know her——"

I wondered what that had to do with his peasant children. Her spirit seemed a blend of his every thought and emotion.... We galloped along the fronts, talking to the different commanders. Some were students, in their teens, faces of boys who loved Varsieff with a love that yearned to die for him immediately, without words, a readiness to leap under his horse's feet.... In a kind of madness, all the mysteries of life seemed to unfold for me that morning, the spirit of Paula Mantone always near because I was so close to her lover.

He talked to the different leaders quite careless if the peasant ranks listened. He told them that the outer world was watching—that new Russia, Poland, Finland, the new Europe, the new World—all depended upon them now. He said they were chosen men—that he would never leave the field except in victory—that he was brother and father and lover to them—that the world would be better for this day. He talked [305]like a man at a bar, or standing among the river-boats, or a father to his sons in the fields.

We rode along the lines as they marched. Our horses lathered and dried and lathered again in the morning sun. I saw my comrade, Varsieff, giving up his soul to the peasants:

"... I, too, have my farm that waits for me—my woman who waits for me—my country, my dream!... I build with you. I stand or fall with you!... We shall be better for this day, my children. This is a day for living men and comrades——"

He filled me with a kind of white flame.

Then the crash. After that, was a moment of silence and gloom like a cloud passing over the sun. Then our eyes began to reap.... A blizzard of hot, stinking metal had broken in front of us—in the midst of our marching and listening battalion. If you have ever felt the mockery and cruelty of raging seas, you can know something of the shock that twisted the core of me that instant. That which had been the white-haired peasants with open laughing mouths and lifted hands, their souls answering the leader who loved them, a song forming on their lips ... now it was as if a carcass had been moved—one that had lain long in the sun, the devastation long continued underneath....

These were my boys. Next to Varsieff and Paula Mantone, I loved them. Now they were [306]down, dismembered, shaking—the air a whir of white to my tortured ears, like a shriek of bewildered ghosts. And here and there, like Varsieff and myself—men standing unhurt in the midst of human fragments, like maggots, shaking themselves to cover.

I wonder if you can understand? It seemed that I still could see the welter of our boys in the leader's face. Also I saw the death of my good friend—the death-stroke of that superb mind—the face of a man, whose soul had vanished.

Both our horses were down, though we were unhurt so far.... A distance of fifteen feet separated us. I called to him. I tried to tell him that he had not failed. I thought I should die before I moved, before I could get started toward him. The staring failure in his face paralysed me. For the time, he was cut off even from the spirit of Paula Mantone.

I had to look down and watch my steps as I made my way to him. I knew some hideous fear that he would fall in that blackness—if I looked away.... There were voices from the ground. None of the parts of men could be still. Lips writhed before my eyes—and words were spoken like little claps of force in thin air.... I caught his opened collar....

"It's all right, Varsieff," I whispered.

"You lie!" said he.

It was like a blow from a man's mother. I [307]had to look into his face before my brain accepted his words. Then I remembered my lie.... The evil of it had not come to me until now, with him breaking down before my eyes.... I saw the look again—that I had seen by the peasant's yard long ago as we crossed the Torqueval Peaks—the look of a frightened child in that face of finished manhood.

I pulled him to me, and led him back toward Sedgwick's staff. I heard myself talking and laughing, jockeying with words.... His head was twisted to the side—his draggled remnant of a mind pulled back to the scene of that havoc. And now, if you please, we were catching the real thing. The old-line Russians were breaking upon us with machines and shrapnel—the old combing and carding that seldom fails.... I saw the cold mountains all about.

Did you ever see a slaughter of drones? Perfect economy it is, from the standpoint of the hive. The work of providing for the future is accomplished—no mistake in the plan. The workers gather from all sides. One by one the big clumsy drones are put to death—wrestling, tugging, stinging, many workers giving themselves to death to carry out the spirit of the hive.... The officers ahead who ordered our brother Russians upon us, thought they were right—those great grey lines ahead, honeycombed with our own precious comrades, all of whom were not yet [308]martyred, as was proved. But they had not found their voice. It looked like straight death they brought to us.

... Ages. I would turn from Varsieff's face to the cold mountains. Something of the changelessness of the beyond and above came to me out of the hideous fluctuation of the near and below. I could not keep Varsieff back. He wouldn't resist so long as I held him, but the moment my hands released, his body would rise like some automatic thing and blindly stagger forward into the pale smoke-charged sunlight. The men who saw him—many who knew what he had been and had heard him speak but a few moments ago—lost their concentration on the battle. He became everywhere the centre of a rotting line. Clearly they had been fighting on his spirit—that, and the thought of going home....

Sedgwick rode up and saw my struggle—beckoned me back, as one in authority would bully a guard in a madhouse.... I obeyed, thinking of the lie I had told. Here were human fragments; the air filled with the shrieks of the fallen—the face of my friend beside me, the face of a blasted mind—all because of that lie of mine.

Then, as I trundled him to the rear, sometimes swinging him from one elbow to the other, I saw a line, as one would draw a bloody finger across his cheek. Then—it was like a monkey-bite in the bone and hair of his eye-brow.... We were [309]in a hail from the machines and the men were falling back.

I think we are half-mad in such moments, or else touched with a divine sanity. In the midst of utter loss, the lines breaking back, the men beginning to stampede—the plan flashed into my mind that I could only save the first lie by a second. If the remnant fell back to starve in the Marshes—Varsieff forever was put from me. Such was my thought. The personal issue was greater than the Cause. I was beside myself—never so little, never so formidable.

My arm slipped from Varsieff who sank to his knees and flopped back at the wheels of a four-inch Sanguinary, bursting hot. I ran back to Sedgwick's staff, leaped into an empty saddle—then rode along the cracking fronts.

"Halt——" I yelled to the faces of the slipping lines.... "Halt—and don't you see you're running from your own Comrades?... They're taking over the Imperialists yonder. Our men have risen in the ranks of the enemy!..."

All along the lines, I yelled it—and it came forth like an inspired message—lie that it was from my angle. For to me, death was better than retreat, with the eyes of the world on our little nucleus of the new order.... My shouts were checking them.

"Our Comrades are coming to us—hold for [310]them!... Don't run away ... they are coming! They are coming to join us, when they clean themselves up over yonder—only a little clean-up first, my children. Hear the noise?"

I don't know how long I rode. I only knew that the fighting death was victory—that there is no propaganda like martyrdom....

They answered at first with a kind of half-hearted halt. I was struck with the silence. A queer thing happened. I saw that I had spoken the truth.... There was firing ahead, but it had no meaning of death to our ranks. They were firing in the air, and some threw down their guns and were running toward us. Presently we saw the tent-cloths hoisted in truce. It was like seeing my mother again—shaking the table-cloth to the birds.

Then I saw their lines and ours running together—yes, Varsieff's new heaven and new earth—saw them running together bare-headed, white-haired peasant boys, hands outstretched, mouths open.... Freedom was an aureola of different sunlight around their heads. On they came like glorious ruffians, seizing their brothers in their arms—the lines folding together like good mates before the Lord.

Then it was like a blast—that Varsieff must see this! A cold blast in the heart—that he must not miss this glory—that my eyes must not dwell [311]upon this great consummation alone! Deep within, I knew my pain was because his head was not lifted to the picture of his conquest. Deep within, I knew that for some inexplicable reason of fate, he was held back like the old Master on the other side of the Jordan—not allowed to enter and witness the beauty of the promised land.

In the midst of that radiant tumult, I ran back to the place that I had left him. It was trampled; the mud was deeper, but Varsieff was not there.... In the midst of the shouting and the glory, I searched for him.... Hours passed, the fighting ceased ... we were a hundred thousand strong, armed, provisioned, hearts turned homeward.... Scores of us were looking for the Varsieff now.

And then I heard my name called, and two young student-officers caught me, one to each elbow and carried me forward, running to where the woman stood ... Paula Mantone. She was standing in the midst of her own people—the sun on her face. And I saw, too, the white look of one who has conquered fear, but the weariness of her eyes was like the presence of death....

"Where is he?" she whispered.

"Oh, God, I do not know——"

"Poor dear Lange—all is well with us.... The boys of two armies rushing together—yes, Lange, this is a good day for us——"

She spoke rapidly, like lines committed—the [312]same death-like weariness in her tones.... She had taken my hand:

"Come, we must find him ... take me to the place where you left him—come quickly——"

It was some distance. We walked at first in silence. It seemed as if I could not live if I did not find out what she would have done this morning in my place. Presently she said:

"I thought he would fail when it came to ordering a charge. He was very brave, they say."

I loved the students who told her that, but I had known too much torture to keep the perfect silence.

"... It was hard for him.... He isn't a killer—he saw only the white-haired boys——"

"My beloved——" she whispered.

"I told him that it was the same in Petrograd as here—that the dream held here—that you would have told him to be strong at the death part——"

She was not listening. She did not answer.

"It was just here. He was wounded a trifle. I left him to stop the troops. They were breaking a bit," I explained.

I had passed the place a dozen times. I remembered by the big Sanguinary—hot when I had let go of Varsieff's arm. The dead had been covered. The big gun was a wreck now—even the caisson with a broken wheel.


Then I realised it had been moved. There was a queer mound under the wreckage. I reached down; my hand felt warmth in the mud. The woman was with me.... I think we moved that mammoth caisson together.... There was no white on him—a coating of mud but warm. We lifted him and the woman's breast covered him from my eyes.... I heard him say her name. I heard him speak of the tropical island they would go to together....

I stood apart—I who had stood at his side so long.... There were seconds when I heard her low passionate whispers—when I watched the arch of her shoulder, the beauty of her bended brow.... I did not see his face again. She held it fast to her and talked somehow out of the world. Then I saw her raise her eyes as she had done that night in the tent. For the first time I realised that he had only kept alive for her coming.... But still I felt he must know the whole story. I did not go closer, but called in half a whisper:

"Tell him how the boys came together—arms out and laughing like brothers. Don't let him go without knowing that—tell him how they threw their guns away and then sat down on the ground together—singing of home and the rivers and the ploughed lands and the women waiting for us——"

"I told him—I told him!" she answered. [314]"You may come to him ... but he—he only waited to see me.... Ah, Lange, you had him so much——"

I looked away. Dusk was falling, the white peaks like spirits.... I had not seen his face again, but it suddenly came to me how it had looked when I saw it before—that which was the bravest and most beautiful face that I knew in manhood—how it had been beaten and bruised under the boots of running peasants—crushed into the mire by the feet of the men he loved so well. For a moment, I was in the red world of rage that this should be, but then the mighty drama of it came nearer, the supreme laughing art of it all—that only the saviours call to them. And I smiled, looking away to the dusk falling on the cold mountains—and I knew that my friend's spirit was as close to us as the body she held against her breast....

Then back in the bivouacs a song began—the men of two armies roaring out a song of the great white democracy of the future....




The end of Varsieff is satisfying to us, and yet I wonder if I can make this sort of romance clear. Martyrdom—they call it a short cut. There is a saying that the soul of a man who dies for something, goes marching on. The Irish become hopeless of their cause, if some one dies for the opposition. All revolutionists have reckoned with this subtlety—no propaganda like martyrdom; all the sacred writings refer to it, our Bible several times, once in the sentence, "Greater love hath no man——"

A deluge of phenomena from "the other side" has come in during the present war, all the old martyrs of nationalism said to be called to the cause of their empires....

What is the romantic haunt that lifts a man to such a pitch of exaltation that he transcends pain, and goes singing down to die?

These are matters much better known among the young dreamers and workers of Russia and the [316]Orient than of America.... Varsieff reveals the child under the man of action; the lover above the intellectualist. His love story unfolds certain passages which we are making a point of in these chapters. The woman, Paula Mantone, represents a loved type in our sort of story-making. She brings, vaguely, at least, into terms the romantic ideal so calling to us in these days. She means more than three-score and ten. Her love goes on and on. She becomes a priestess, in a sense, and conducts her lover through the critical passage of finding his own Soul. External battles then take his body, but she is not altogether bereft. An intuitional woman does not always know what she is doing in her heart story, even when she does greatly. If the physical action had broken different, if the body of Varsieff had not been required in martyrdom, for instance, he might have emerged from the final stress of action in a state of spiritual exaltation, from which, I can imagine Paula Mantone calling him back to the gardens of the senses.... Martyr, priestess, revoltee, but always a woman. Every year of devotion to the feminine in fiction, compels a more fluid, yet more mystic handling.

We have been very close to the young students and poets and players of Russia. In the Fall of 1914 we published the following paragraph:


There[19] are men in Russia who have heard the mighty music of humanity. They will sing their dream and grave their message upon the peasant soul.... Not the Russia of Nicholas Romanoff. His passing and all the princes of his tainted blood will prove but an incident of the Great War. Very low in the west among the red blinking points of the falling constellation, is Nicholas and that Russia. In the east is the Russian novi before the dawn, commanding the dark before the sun.

The young men of India, the young men of China, the young men of Russia, the young men of America—I see them working together in the wondrous story of life, as it reels off in the years to come—mating of the East and West, the planet seen in one piece, the communal spirit of the Hive around the globe.

... I find myself getting up a rather serious intensity over what Romance means, a signal to tame down.... Not to stay—to drain nothing, to leave all cleaner, more orderly and richer for one's tarrying, to glance but lightly, yet with a deep smile of understanding at the torrent of detached and unmatched things which apparently makes the world—to love it all better than those caught in detachment can possibly love one an[318]other—to belong to the many by remaining apart from separate movements—at last to be the Spectator....

One may deal lightly with crowds, but never with man or woman.... One may say he has all that civilisation has for any human creature; he may reasonably be bored by all departments of life, but there is enough for an eternity of reverent study and adoration in the nearest human face. The lovelier the human face, the more easily we can discern the divine in it.... You get nowhere without loving something. This is the hardest kind of material gospel.... We are all incognito—the greater we are, the less perfectly disguised.

First and last our dream of Romance means Motherhood—mysterious enactments that the mere male can never know, no longer the motherhood of the mammal, but the coming of the Guest, the Shining One—the giving of body and mind and soul, no fear, no stipulation, no impeding form of thought—more than that, it means a giving of the child to the world.... The Valley Road Girl expresses it in this sharp, short picture:

Once a woman lived in a dense forest, and had a man-child alone there. As it grew, the woman impressed upon it the greatness of God and the wonder of all things. Then one day, she led him [319]by the forest-paths to the Highway, and left him there.

It means the Madonna who looks up, rather than down, at the head upon her breast.

The creative force is never wasted. Man and woman, in love or lust, are never alone—rather startling, but sooner or later to be accepted. The point of the triangle is either turned downward or upward. The creative force feeds either the abominations of the underworld, or is used in its designed order and loveliness as a point of inception for soul into form.... The mother-nature of the New Race must be quickened by the ideal of the coming of a World-teacher, of development a cycle ahead of this race. Women must partake of this dream in their maternities. It is the light of such an advent, shining upon the upturned face of the mother, that touches the brow of the child with light.

Absolutely the concept of the new Democracy demands the coming of a great Unifier—a focal point for all world movements and interests and aspirations. The story of a Master's coming is the ultimate Romance—the finest story in the world—for that in itself is the story of Regeneration.

The work of this particular volume seems to be ended. Much that is prepared need not be used. Right here is the breathing-space that always comes in a life or a book.... Not to stay.... [320]Some of our boys are off to the trenches; others may go. Part of the original group has been unable yet to follow the centre to the West. Our good Gobind[20] who belonged to the pith of things, arose from one breakfast and went off to join the cavalry. There's a group in Chicago that we see all too little of—a diffusion time truly, but only to make more certain the time of integration again.

There is one who came, changing all. We thought we knew much about the world. We thought mainly that things were settled for us. It was not words she brought, but a subtler quickening. I cannot tell it exactly. There was a day in which I was bored, not satisfied, and another when I was a child again—breathless, questing, listening for some one to tell me stories of another and better country. All that I had done and been and lived was diminished; more, all behind was utterly done, leaving scarcely any criteria for that which was to be.... No inland lake would do after that; we wanted a continental headland, the sweep of the earth and sky—sidereal time, sidereal space. We could only tolerate the quest of the Impossible after she came.

... She came and wrote her book through the summer days and then she went away.... Somehow after that we knew what rains and sunlight meant—what all nature was saying and do[321]ing. At least, we knew better.... Not to stay. We could not follow continually, but at last out of loneliness, the big new laughing wonder of life came to us ... and when we told her, she seemed to have known all the time....

We teach by making pictures. She brought new pigments and freshened all the oils. We loved the tints and half-tones before she came, but she restored us to the virgin beauty of the primal rays. We liked the blends before she came—the blend of rose and gold, but she brought us length of vision and redemption of taste to know the meaning of the Ultimate Red, the red of the Pomegranate, the red of the Inspired Mary, to whose knees at the last all artists and little children find their way—the passionate red of the Quest and the Cross and the Son. She was not surprised when we told her what her gifts mean to us.

An artist gives himself full-heartedly to the emotions. Keen and poignant afterward, is the battle to straighten them out, to comb them down. The mind holds the truth about it all, the spirit sings all around, but the heart holds fast to its agonising play of passion settings.

Desire is like an old King, sitting in the midst of his dogs, a King by the fire in his tower. The Shining Heir is born, but the old King is slow to die. He sits thinking of his old hunts, his rides [322]to kill, old wars and faces at the window.... He rode well; he thought he loved very well; a great name, he was, in the hunts, and in all the games of getting. He meditates now upon his one-time conquests, and forgets his pain. It is his memories that hold him fast to life a little while. But at last the head of old King Desire sinks to his breast, the fire fades from his last memory. The door of the tower room opens, the Shining Prince is standing there, and the criers run through the palace crying aloud, "The King is dead. Long live the King!" Desire has ended; the Bestower takes the throne.

When we told her of this new breath of life which she had brought, our Mary seemed to know all about that, too. She smiled and looked away when we showed her this book (and the inscription to her), so many pages of which she had read before—our dreams for the New Race unfolded in letters to her.

The instant one perceives the inner meaning of Equality, glimpsing the great Seamless Robe of humanity as one;—he realises that what is best for him is best for all others—what is best for the many is his own highest behest.... One must grasp this to know what Democracy means, to know what is behind the word, a meaning which those who use it most haven't dreamed of. You must grasp the spirit of the hive—that winged [323]myriads of golden atoms never stray so far as to break the spirit-cord that binds them into one—that the one knows all, contains potentially all goodness and beauty and truth, that all action, art and thought, come from the spirit of the one—that the fruits of these go back. I love to tell it again and again. I saw it all afresh to-day.

The sun plays tricks with the earth at high noon. One feels superbly well—a kind of seething in the veins. It pulls him away from the great quest for the Father's House, in gusts of Mother Nature's magic. All the fragrance of fallow fields is in the hot light and blowing hay and deathless azure and high noon. Glorious swarms of bees were breaking out from the Spirit of the hive, all one in Spirit at the top—the Spirit brooding at all times over all the workings of the hive.... It was the same with the millions of men who walk the earth, one at the top—all one, coming and going in the Spirit, replenished and replenishing always, learning the fusions here in friends and lovers, each finding his one, and then the new quest together for the Great Companions.

Then it came to me that we are only sick and blind and lame and evil—in the sense of detachment. We must kill that out. Hate spoils everything. Hate binds us to the object. We mustn't despise another's coat. It may have been ours yesterday—may be ours to-morrow. We [324]must kill out the sense of separateness from any creature, for we are destined to become one spirit with him and all others. Something like a cloud—all one, as a cloud is one.

Every morning on the grass—on millions of blades of grass—a globe of dew at the tip of each.... The Lord Sun arises. The dew warms a little and slips down the track of the blade into the root. There it breaks up into infinite fragments. The sun rising higher weaves his warm magic over the fields; invisibly, like prayers ascending, the drops of dew, all diffused into a thousand fragments each, thin as steam, and carrying the perfumes of roses and lilacs and honeysuckles and meadow lands and fallow lands and lake and ocean shores,—like prayers ascending, the dewdrops of yesterday return as one to the cloud. Broken into the farthest diffusion, but not an atom lost. All the richness of earth in essence returning to the Spirit....

The same with bee and dewdrop and man—the same with swarm and cloud and tribe—each fragment and division lifting to a greater, unto the Shining Source at last.... The point of it all is that man is spiritually woven to his brother and to the race; giving himself and his service to his brother and to the race he glorifies the texture and stature of his own soul.

Christmas, 1917.


[1] H.A. Sturtzel.

[2] Fred Jasperson.

[3] These appear in Child and Country.

[4] Universe.

[5] The Abbot.

[6] The saddle horse.

[7] Frying Pan.

[8] Teapot.

[9] Vibration.

[10] Appointment.

[11] Helen Cramp.

[12] Child and Country.

[13] Jane Levington Comfort.

[14] Child and Country.

[15] The saddle horse.

[16] Help!

[17] Child and Country.

[18] Herman S. Schuchert.

[19] Fatherland. George H. Doran Company, New York.

[20] Ben Poteat.




Transcriber's Note

The book contains many words spelt to reflect the accent of the speaker. The spelling has not been changed.

There are two instances of unmatched ending quotation marks. The missing opening quotation marks were not added because their locations were uncertain.

The following changes to printing errors have been made.

ouselves is now ourselves
though is now through
unlifted is now uplifted