Hermione and Her Little Group of Serious Thinkers/Fothergil Finch, the Poet of Revolt
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Fothergil Finch, the Poet of Revolt
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FOTHERGIL FINCH, THE POET OF REVOLT
ISN'T it odd how some of the most radical and advanced and virile of the leaders in the New Art and the New Thought don't look it at all?
There's Fothergil Finch, for instance. Nobody could be more virile than Fothy is in his Soul. Fothy's Inner Ego, if you get what I mean, is a Giant in Revolt all the time.
And yet to look at Fothy you wouldn't think he was a Modern Cave Man. Not that he looks like a weakling, you know. But—well, if you get what I mean—you'd think Fothy might write about violets instead of thunderbolts.
Dear Papa is entirely mistaken about him.
Only yesterday dear Papa said to me, "Hermione, if you don't keep that damned little vers libre runt away from here I'll put him to work, and he'll die of it."
But you couldn't expect Papa to appreciate Fothy. Papa is so reactionary and conservative.
And Fothy's life is one long, grim, desperate struggle against Conventionality, and Social Injustice, and Smugness, and the Established Order, and Complacence. He is forever being a martyr to the New and True in Art and Life.
Last night he read me his latest poem—one of his greatest, he says—in which he tries to tell just what his Real Self is. It goes:
Look at Me!
Behold, I am founding a New Movement!
Observe me…. I am in Revolt!
Now persecute me, persecute me, damn you, persecute me, curse you, persecute me!
Respectabilities that you are,
You ask me, do you, what I am in revolt against?
Against you, fool, dolt, idiot, against you, against everything!
Against Heaven, Hell and punctuation… against Life, Death, rhyme and rhythm…
Persecute me, now, persecute me, curse you, persecute me!
Slave that you are… what do Marriage, Tooth brushes, Nail-files, the Decalogue, Handkerchiefs, Newton's Law of Gravity, Capital, Barbers, Property, Publishers, Courts, Rhyming Dictionaries, Clothes, Dollars, mean to Me?
I am a Giant, I am a Titan, I am a Hercules of Liberty, I am Prometheus, I am the Jess Willard of the New Cerebral Pugilism, I am the Modern Cave Man, I am the Comrade of the Cosmic Urge, I have kicked off the Boots of Superstition, and I run wild along the Milky Way without ingrowing toenails,
I am I!
Curse you, what are You?
You are only You!
Bah!… persecute me, now persecute me!
Fothy always gets excited and trembles and chokes when he reads his own poetry, and while he was reading it Papa came into the room and disgraced himself by asking him if there was any Money in that kind of poetry, and Fothy was so agitated that he fairly screamed when he said:
"Money… money… curse money! Money is one of the things I am in revolt against…. Money is death and damnation to the free spirit!"
Papa said he was sorry to hear that; he said one of his companies needed an ad writer, and he didn't have any objection to hiring a free spirit with a punch, but he couldn't consider getting anyone to write ads that hated money, for there was a salary attached to the job.
And Fothy said: "You are trying to bribe me! Capitalism is casting its net over me! You are trying to make me a serf: trying to silence a Free Voice! But I will resist! I will not be enslaved! I will not write ads. I will not have a job!"
And then Papa said he was glad to hear Fothy's sentiments. He had been afraid, he said, that Fothy had matrimonial designs upon me. And the man who married his daughter would probably have to stand for possessing a good deal of wealth, too, for he had always intended doing something very handsome for his son-in-law. So if Fothy didn't want money, he wouldn't want me, for an enormous amount of it would go with me.
Papa, you know, thinks he can be awfully sarcastic.
So many Earth Persons pride themselves on their sarcasm, don't you think?
And Papa is an Earth Person entirely. I've got his horoscope. He isn't at all spiritual.
But you can imagine that the whole scene was frightfully embarrassing to me—I will never forgive Papa!
And I haven't made up my mind at all about Fothy. But what I do know is this: once I get my mind made up, I will not stand for opposition from any source.
One must be an Individualist, or perish!