Hermione and Her Little Group of Serious Thinkers/The Cave Man

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THE CAVE MAN


DON'T you think the primitive is just simply too fascinating for anything? We've all got it in us, you know, and it seems like nowadays the more cultured and advanced one is the more likely the primitive is to break out on one.

I have a strong strain of the primitive in me, you know.

I wouldn't take anything for it—it's simply wonderful—wonderful!

It comes over me so strong at times, the yearning for the primitive does, that I just sit with a dreamy look on my face and murmur to myself: "Alone, alone—under the stars! Alone!"

Mamma overheard me saying that the other day and thought I had gone crazy, and she said: "For Heaven's sake, Hermione, what are you thinking about, and what do you want?"

"The stars," I murmured, scarcely knowing that I spoke aloud, "the stars and my Cave Man!"

Mamma was shocked—she says for an unmarried woman to think of Cave Men is simply indelicate.

Mamma is not at all advanced, you know.

She's dear and sweet, but she doesn't believe in Trial Marriages at all.

And I must admit they shocked me when I first heard about them. But that was before I had taken up these things seriously.

"Mamma," I said to her, "it is no use for you to pretend to be shocked. I have a right to happiness. And happiness to me means being alone, under the stars, and walking barefoot and bareheaded in the dew."

"Alone with a Cave Man!" she said. And then she cried.

Tears!—that is so like the old-fashioned woman!

"Mamma," I said, kindly, but firmly, "if it is my destiny to be kidnaped by a Cave Man and taken into the waste places, under the stars, can I avoid it?"

She said I could at least be respectable, and that I was acting like I wanted to be kidnaped.

And, you know, at times I do feel as if that might be my fate, really. I am so psychic, you know, and psychics feel their fate coming on quicker than most people.

I told Mamma that I felt every woman had a right to choose the father of her own children, and she was shocked again. And then she wanted to know what being kidnaped by a Cave Man had to do with choosing the father of one's own children, and how did I know but these Cave Men kidnaped a different woman every year?

But I settled her.

"Mamma," I said, "you are not advanced, and so I cannot argue with you. You wouldn't understand. But if I am primitive—and I feel that I am—whose fault is it? Who did I inherit it from?"

She couldn't say anything to that. She didn't like to own that I inherited it from her. And she knew if she blamed it onto Papa I would ask her how she dared to deny me a primitive man when she had married one herself.

Finally she quit crying and said, pressing her lips together: "Hermione, do you know any of those Cave Men?"

But I refused to answer. I went to my room.

Dissension disturbs the soul's harmony.

One's subliminal consciousness must ever vibrate in harmony with the Cosmic All.

I never fuss when a person disturbs me. I just go into the Silences and vibrate there.

But I kept thinking: "Do I know any Cave Men?"

I think I do—one. He tries to conceal it. But it's his secret, I'm sure.

He has the most luminous eyes!

Like a wolf's, you know, when it gallops across the waste places—under the stars, alone!

And the way he eats! I don't mean that he's noisy, you know. But the way he crunched a chicken bone the last time he dined with me was perfectly wonderful—so nonchalant, you know, and loudly and—and—well, primitive! I'm sure he's one!

I wouldn't go autoing with him for anything—unless, of course, he gave me one of those compelling glances, like Cave Men do in the magazines, you know. Then I'd know it was destiny and useless to resist.