Hermione and Her Little Group of Serious Thinkers/The Simple Home Festivals

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THE SIMPLE HOME FESTIVALS


DON'T you just love the simple old festivals, like Thanksgiving Day and Christmas?

That's one thing that Papa and Mamma and I agree about. And this year we had a very simple sort of a Thanksgiving Day.

Of course, it's rather a bore if you have to invite a lot of relations.

But one must always sacrifice something to gain the worth-while things, mustn't one?

And what is more worth while than simplicity?

Simplicity! Simplicity! Isn't it truly wonderful!

Nearly every night before I go to bed I ask myself: "Have I been simple and genuine today? Or have I failed?"

Papa always has two maiden aunts to Thanks-giving dinner. Dear old souls, I suppose, but frumps, you know.

And Fothergil Finch was there, too. I asked poor dear Fothy, because otherwise he would have had to eat in some restaurant.

He tried to be agreeable to Papa's aunts—of course, I suppose they are my great-aunts, but I never felt really related to them—but how could he know how terribly unadvanced they are?

Fothy's only real interests center about Art, you know. And if he had talked of Art it would have been better.

But, as he told me later, he thought he should try to meet my people on their own ground and talk of something practical.

Something with a direct bearing on life, you know.

So he asked Aunt Evelyn what she thought of Trial Marriages.

She didn't know exactly what he meant at first, but Aunt Fanny whispered something to her and she turned white and said, "Mercy!"

Poor dear Fothy saw he must be on the wrong track, so he changed the subject and began to tell Aunt Fanny the plot of a new problem play. One of the sex ones, you know.

"Heavens!" said Aunt Fanny, and began to tremble.

And they drew their chairs nearer together and each one took a bottle of smelling salts out of a little black bag, and they sat and trembled and smelled their salts and stared at him perfectly fascinated.

This embarrassed Fothy, but he thought his mistake had been in talking about anything artistic, like a play, so he changed the subject again. He told me afterward that he felt if he could get onto a really practical subject all would go well.

So he asked Aunt Evelyn what she thought about Genetics.

"What are they?" asked Aunt Evelyn, her teeth chattering.

"Why, Eugenics," said Fothy. And then he had to explain all about Eugenics.

They sat perfectly still and stared at him, and he felt sure he had them interested at last, and he talked on and on about Eugenics and the Future Race, you know, and that led him back to Trial Marriages, and then he got onto the Twilight Sleep.

And, as he said himself afterward, what could be more practical?

But, you know, commonplace people never appreciate the efforts that serious thinkers make for them, and Aunt Evelyn refused to come to the table at all when dinner was announced. She said she had lost her appetite and felt faint.

But Aunt Fanny came. She asked the blessing. Papa always has her do that on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas and New Year s. And she made a regular prayer out of it—prayed for Fothy, you know, right before him; and prayed for me too. It was awful.

And afterward poor dear Fothy said he wished he had talked about Art.

"It's safer," I said; "then people can't get offended, for nobody knows what you mean at all."

"Oh," said Fothy, "nobody does?" And he went away quite melancholy and injured.