Hermione and Her Little Group of Serious Thinkers/War and Art
WAR AND ART
THIS war is going to have a tremendous influence on Art—vitalize it, you know, and make it real, and all that sort of thing. In fact, it's doing it already. We took up the war last night—our Little Group of Advanced Thinkers, you know—in quite a serious way and considered it thoroughly in all its aspects and we decided that it would put more soul into Art.
And into life, too, you know.
Already you can see on every hand how much serious purpose it is putting into lives that were merely trivial before. Even poor, dear Mamma—and really, it would be hard to imagine a more trivial person than Mamma!—is knitting socks.
She is going to send them to the Poles. She wanted to send them to the Belgians.
But I said to her, "Positively, Mamma, you are always behind the times! Don't you know the Belgians are going out and the Poles are coming in?"
And, you know, it's been months since really Smart People have knit for the Belgians. The Poles are quite the thing now.
It's strange how great movements keep going on and on from mountain peak to mountain peak of usefulness like that, isn't it?—changing their direction now and then as evolution itself does, but always progressing, progressing!
That is one wonderful thing about evolution—it always progresses.
When one thinks it over, one grows more and more conscious that the human race owes a great deal to Evolution, doesn't one?
What could we have done without it?
It's as somebody said about something else one time—if we hadn't had it, you know, it would have been necessary to invent it, though for the life of me, I can't remember who it was or what he said about it. Although likely it was Madame de Staël. We took her up once and it developed that she had said a most surprising number of things like that—things, you know, that would be quite quotable if you could only remember them.
Isn't memory a wonderful faculty, though!
I've always intended to go in for developing mine systematically and scientifically.
But I've never done it because I always forget whether I should order the book-shop people to send home a work on numismatics or a work on mnemonics. One of them is about money, you know, and the other is about memory. And once when I was shopping and thought I had it right it turned out—the book did, when I got it home—to be all about air and things. Pneumatics, you know! Wasn't it perfectly ridiculous?
But, of course, one learns by one's mistakes.
Have you seen dear Nijinsky?
We were discussing him last evening—our little group, you know—and decided that while he has more Personality than Mordkin he has less Temperament, if you get what I mean.
One of the girls said last evening, "Mordkin is more exotic, but Nijinsky is more esoteric."
And another said, "One of them shows intellect obviously mingled with spirit, but the other shows spirit occultly mingled with intellect."
Fothergil Finch said, "They are alike in their differences, but subtly differentiated in their likenesses, n'est-ce pas?"
Fothy has a simply delightful faculty of summing a thing up in a sentence like that, but it makes him very vain if you show you think so; so I put him in his place and closed the discussion with one remark:
"It is all," I said, "it is all a question of Interpretation."
And, quite seriously, when you come to think about it, it usually is, isn't it?