Hermione and Her Little Group of Serious Thinkers/Fothergil Finch Tell of His Revolt Against Organized Society
FOTHERGIL FINCH TELLS OF HIS REVOLT AGAINST ORGANIZED SOCIETY
BERTIE GRIGGS—you know Ethelbert Griggs, don't you? He does the text for the Paris fashions for a woman's magazine, and on the side he writes the most impassioned verse. All about Serpents, and Women, and Lillith and Phryne, you know.
Bertie said to me only the other day, "Fothy, you are too Radical. It will keep you down in the world."
"Bertie," I said, "I know I am, but can I help it? I spurn the world! A truly virile poet must."
"Some day, Fothy," he said, "you will come into contact with the law."
I only laughed. Bitterly, I suppose, for Bertie looked at me quite shocked.
"Bertie," I said, "I expect Persecution. I welcome it. All great souls do. I look for it. On one pretext or another, I will be flung into prison when my next volume, 'Clamor, Cries and Curses' comes out."
And I will, too, if I ever find a publisher who dares to bring it out. But they are all too cowardly!
"Fothy," he said, "you Revolutionists are always talking—but what do you ever do?"
I arose with dignity. "Bertie," I said, "I am ready to suffer for the Cause." I turned and left him. I must have been pale with resolve, for he ran after me and caught me by the wrist. But I shook him off.
I was in a desperate mood.
"Curses upon all their Conventions!" I said, as I turned up the street toward Central Park. "Curses upon all organized society!"
I stopped in front of Columbus's statue, at Columbus Circle.
"Fool," I muttered bitterly, "to discover a new world!"
I shook my fist at the statue and went on.
I wandered over to the place where they keep the animals, and stopped in front of one of the monkey cages.
Dear, unconventional little beasts! They always charm my blacker moods away from me! So free, so untrammeled, so primitive!
I smiled at a monkey. He smiled at me. I held up a peanut. He reached out his hand for it.
I was about to fling it to him when I saw a sign that read: "Visitors are warned not to feed the animals under the penalty of the law."
Always their laws! Always their restrictions! Always their damnable shackles! Always this denial of the rights of the individual!
For a moment I stood there with the peanut in my hand just simply too angry for anything!
And then I cried out, quite loudly: "Curses upon organized society! I will break its laws! I will feed the animals!"
Always in times of great crisis I see myself quite plainly as if I were some other person; poets often do, you know; and I could not help thinking of the pose of Ajax defying the lightning.
"I will break the law!" I cried. "So there!"
And with that I flung the peanut right into the cage with all my might, and ran away, laughing mockingly as I ran.
I felt that I had crossed the Rubicon, and that night I sat down and wrote my revolutionary poem, "The Defiance."
What the Cause needs is men with Vision to see and Courage to perform! This is the age of Virility!