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An    Extract    From    a    Novel:    Work    in    Regress.

Prelude to a Strange Meeting:

Chapter 1 : Bowl of Ure.

"He lies to keep his tongue in ure."

He was at work. He had remained in the same crouched position for nearly two hours. In his mind he had traveled far, but from the outside he had remained motionless, wrapped in an urgent, searching look. Up to this point, the he sought solution remained obscured from view. He looked up from his work and peered Holmes-like into the corners of the room searching as it were for a clue. This action began to bring him out of the hibernation that he sometimes felt he sank into when deep in thought. The cells of his body, then, needed oxygenation. He filled his lungs, sipping freshets of air that barely found him from the partly open window.

Outside was the luminous garden that smiled at him, vibrant and bright from beyond the glass. Inside this room of his every object seemed to be covered by a gray film. The light that seemed to emanate from the windowpane itself rendered the room merely visible, and the gray-green of the many shelves stacked untidily with books, monographs and sheaves of paper. It was an atmosphere somewhat somber, somehow stiff, almost formal but never sad. In the midst of this he sat, aware of himself as an object, a ‘character’ in the space: male European of medium height presenting a head indifferently covered with gray, thinning hair. One leg curled round the other, he saw himself just the moment before, pouring over notes made in his monastic hand. In spite of this having returned an acute awareness of the place and time in which he found himself, of the smell and taste and sight of his study, he had lost scent of a track he had been following. The fox had gone to ground.

The answer to his riddle was not clear, or nowhere, or elsewhere to be found. Something did not connect, and that after all was the object of the exercise. Only connect. As he looked up through the almost palpable space of the room, his eye fell on a document in the screen of the computer monitor which sat taking an interminable breath, on a table in a corner of the room turned away from the nearby window. He read.

"Sunday, February 28, 2009 Dear Dr. Lazarus, Herewith the accounts of two subjects. The first is a transcript of the handwritten autobiography of Stefan Olaf Johannessen. The second is the journal of Maria Pierce Catamkin that covers a period of approximately six years, roughly between 13 and 19 years of age. There are some directly relevant documents, such as letters that are included in the text. Background information and some of my notes are provided in the form of footnotes.

I will send you a paper copy of these documents if the need arises. Will the need arise? The psychiatric and social assessments that you have requested will follow in a few days via snail-mail. Yours sincerely, Simian Wicker."

What he knew of the case he had explained in detail in a series of long electronic mail messages, composed over the past eighteen months. They were the fruit of a long period of analysis, trying to see to the bottom of a man and a girl, now a woman of thirty-? They in turn had been the result not only of their parents’ coupling, but an entire campaign of what seemed to him to verge on sedition. A plot composed out of education at home and in schools that seemed to succeed only by chance or perhaps in spite of those engaged in the forming process.

He remembered, while reading Mary Shelley in school, having once pictured himself as Victor Frankenstein dressed in the clothes of a teacher in his school. For a moment, he imagined himself passing electric shock through.... What? Was it vibrant new life, heavy with its curiosity, potential creativity and ingenuity? Was it almost lifeless protoplasm, or merely rotten flesh? And when those questions had been painfully examined, what was the result? He creates a monster that spends the rest of its life engaged in the distraction it its maker. This moment in his adolescence thought left him full of unease, passed by him very quickly. In fact he had only recovered the memory while in analysis. It had been a part of his training for what was to become his life’s work. Perhaps he was in some way trying to put right the wrongs of his Victor Frankenstein, his monster.

The more pressing matter in hand was the breach of security in computing network within the institution for which he worked. An internet which had been created to link a group of men and women who worked and did research in psychology and psychotherapy, who shared approximately the same set of assumptions about the nature of the human psyche, their ability to understand it and their rights abilities to heal it. Intelligent hecklers or curious aliens had accessed that network? There is an assortment of initials and names at the end of certain ‘entries.’ The following signatures are frequent: J.H. and variations on a phrase like ‘Enrage Substrate.’ They are most certainly entities with unusual ideas, these survivors of passage through the firewall. How and why they did not yet know. So far as he knew he was the only member of the group who had detected the problem, or perhaps no one else had spoken for the same reason that he had not yet sounded the alert. Why?

The question of motive was for him of paramount importance, for the intruders were not mere cyber-vandals. Instead of damaging of destroying files, they left what seemed to be spontaneous reactions to the texts that they had accessed. Whether they were ‘memories, dreams and reflections’ or ’sporadic raids on the inarticulate’ or merely electronic detritus was yet to be determined.

As he considered options, his eyes passed (at random, perhaps) from one object in the room to another. The terra cotta owl, Grecian emblem of wisdom, the books; a charcoal black lines in a lithograph of a bird of prey by Elizabeth Fink; sombre blue ties lying ‘in a mazy motion’ on an armchair of red leather. It all seemed sketched in pencil or dusted with graphite. It gave the space an atmosphere of being fixed, like images in a sepia photograph, detached from present time. He remembered that he had had the same first impression of the letters and manuscripts of Johannessen, which were written in a very large, wild, fluid hand: the rushing of smoke-coloured waters that run from a glacier. The old man’s words and the life that emerged from them all felt so distant in space and time, cold and sterile as a fish suspended motionless, lifeless in a cistern.

He had had to counteract his subjectivity. Not because there was anything ‘wrong’ in the constellation of emotions, black holes and all, which were provoked by the presence of the Johannessen texts. No, he had to maintain some distance because there was work to be done that was outside him. That which he had been given to do in life he had discovered with time. It was a magic trick worthy of any Dickensian character: to unravel the rope of human emotions without touching a thread, a fibre – even less a sharpened blade. In this case, as in so many others, his task was to understand more precisely the nature of human alienation was. It was for him to turn the rocks and lumps of ice, numbing to the touch, to locate and identify the sources of life-heat and springs of action. The water was cold, but the fish was not dead? Logically, his eye returned to the words on the screen.

"While little biographical information is required beyond that which is given in Johannessen’s deposition, it should be noted that the subject was born in a small Icelandic village near the volcanic mountain, Heckla. His psychiatrist, Professor Serge Arnset Abus has suggested it, by whom this account was ‘commissioned’, that he may have acquired some of the traits of that uncertain place. I for one do not give and weight to the professor’s comments. While his students find profound therapeutic insight in his every word, I am less inclined to be impressed. I cannot accept his method of obtaining the document. A process almost of coercion. Support could have been provided in other subtler, more therapeutic ways. S.W."

Stefan Olaf Johannessen, his story.

(Add map) "Both my mother and my father loved me much more than they did the other children. I attach the last letter I received from my father.
April 25, 1924 My darling boy,
I thank you with all my heart for your letter. But it distresses me that my letters do not reach you. They get lost via the mails, it appears, perhaps because you are so much moving around the country. If you had received my letters you would have told me what I asked you to let me know, namely, if your health had improved in San Francisco. Also I desired to know whether the doctor you consulted employs medicine or drugless healing, and if he improved upon your health and made the condition of your nerves better. Then I ask you, my darling boy, to let me know. Also if he can cure cancer and tuberculosis. Then tell me what medicine he uses or advice he renders.

In the year 1919 I saw a copy of "ögbergL" containing a beautiful poem in English of your mother, a dedication to her memory it was. My darling boy, please send me this poem in Icelandic translation. The weather is bad just now. A shortage of hay threatened for awhile. But there is a prospect of warmer weather now. My daughter, Stefania, with whom I now stay, asks me to bring her best regards to her darling brother in America. Our cousin, Anna, has been bedridden throughout the winter.

My health is not good now, I am rather impatient now; I must be in bed, because of an accident I suffered. I crushed my side badly, and have had to be in bed since. Such is unusual to me, as you know, but I have been obliged to be in bed since the said accident happened.

My darling boy, there is not an evening but that I think of you. Yes, my last thought in all these years has been of my sentimental, frail darling boy in America.

I kiss you in spirit, as I would kiss and embrace you, my darling boy, if you were with me now and I thank you for your faithfulness and love for me, and I wish you the best I could wish anyone on this earth.

Your sincere,


He was then eighty eight years old. He told me that his last thought every night was of me, the baby of the family. The account, which you will find below, has been written since my receipt of this letter. It has been written partially out of a desire to disburden myself of so many of my troublesome memories that haunt me still. It was written partially as a result of the encouragement and financial help which I have received from Professor Serge Arnset Abus who, having chanced to meet and talk with me, took an interest in my case."

"I begin this incomplete and very small sketch of my life by a brief mention of my ancestry. I have the good luck of being the child of parents who were physically healthy and mentally well balanced. Insanity and such diseases as epilepsy, apoplexy and cancer have been entirely absent in my family. A first cousin of mine, a very brilliant girl died from tuberculosis. Apart from that, my relatives have reached mature age. Many in my family have lived to old age and so longevity seems to be a characteristic of my kinfolk.

There are a number of exceedingly intelligent people amongst my relatives on the mother’s side. One of her brothers had in him the material for a brilliant career as a writer. But he froze to death in a blizzard while still a very young man. It was said that he lost his way in the snowstorm because he was intoxicated, his tendency to indulge in strong drink having been induced or accentuated by disappointment in love. My great grandmother’s brother was the greatest historian and writer of his time in that part of the world. His son became a linguist and lived abroad most of the time. Another relative is a writer of historic drama. There in still another writer, a woman whose writings are mournful. She was married to a man in a high position that had and insensitive soul and, it would seem a low mind. This is a story too common and tedious to be retold. Let me just say that this woman, like so many others was unhappy.

I resemble both my parents in appearance. But in characteristics I am much more like my mother – though essentially I differ very little from either of them. My father was of both Icelandic and Karelian Finnish stock. He was powerfully built. He was a capable farmer. He was rather prone to read books. His favourite was the Kavala. This was the source of all the wonderful story tellings which I shared with my father when I was a small child. But neither he, nor any of my relatives on the father’s side had much of the emotional and, for want of a better word, ‘artistic’ traits – thus my father’s phrase ‘my sentimental, frail, darling boy’–which have played so big a role in my dreams. My daydreams have enveloped me like a fog all my life and kept me from properly appreciating that which you, with your scientific education, would call reality."

"The first sensation that I can remember is my gazing at the brilliance and the beauty of the stars. I gazed and gazed at these tremendously entrancing points of dazzling, twinkling light – gazed until the full-grown people thought it was odd. And I wondered why they did not gaze and gaze too at these fascinating eyes of the heavens – eyes of incomparable charm. Also the lofty mountains, the large river the brooks, hopping, as it seemed, down the slopes, the small cascades in these brooks, the multicaylixed flowers and roses in some parts of the home–field and elsewhere – flowers growing wild, were objects of my very early attention. The mountains had belts of perpendicular rock and they inspired me with awe and wonder and seemed to hold fascinating power, so I gazed long hours at them. But the murmur of the brooks, the din of their cascades and the music of the river, resembling deep sighs, fascinated me more still. My earliest impressions of the beautiful and grand in nature were almost as strong and even more replete with dream-reverie than they have been ever since. But what was the naked beauty of nature compared to the mystic but tremendous power of love! I say "mystic", for that was what love was to me then. It has been so ever since.

My mother could write verse and was a very temperamental, emotional woman. She loved music. She loved me to a fault, heaping upon me all the excess of her own frustrated passion for her father. He had been a failed in his not inconsiderable business activities and comforted himself with alcohol and music. He played the piano, the violin and the clarinet. Apparently he played them well and could sing like an angel. He had somehow acquired one of the first gramophones an unheard of and immorally ‘unproductive’ object in the arid and uncultured climate of íkReykjavik, the Bay of Smokes, at that time. He worshiped the voice of Caruso and the music of Wagner (Dates?) and had recordings of nearly all his operas. Consider that at the time recordings were made at 78 rpm and that each vinyl disc, measuring 33 cm in diameter, contained only one side of music lasting only a few minutes. Imagine, then, the number of discs he possessed! My philistine mother had nor room in her farmhouse, nor neither time, nor the necessary interest, indeed passion to house and maintain such a vast collection. Too much was said and done to promote the worshipful remembrance and deification of my grandfather as a mighty cultural patron and connoisseur of the arts, particularly of music. Yet she had at heart no interest in the long, dense ritual retelling of revised Tutonic myth. She was frail and was only sixty two years old when she died. Yet she had no constitutional disease, but she worked too hard which so often is the case when a woman is a wife and a mother, devoted to hospitality and good housekeeping.

Our house was always open to guests and people needy of shelter and food. There was hardly a night but one or more people stayed over night, and at all times during the day neighbours or others stopped for dinner and the coffeepot was on the stove from morning to night. Never did my parents accept any pay for their hospitality, even from well-off travelers or foreign tourists who were surprised at not being permitted to pay my parents. For many other farmers accepted payment for lodging and food at least from cross-country travelers. Although my two sisters were helpful in the house and there were two or three hired girls besides, the work for my mother was very heavy. There was a large household to take care of and she had to see that everyone who came to our house was rendered hospitality. All this required so much cooking and coffee making that went on all the day that my mother was constantly tired and overworked. It hastened her death.

My parents were both exceptionally sincere and honest. Flawless sincerity and honesty I inherited from them: a birth gift like a bright Samuri sword, at once priceless and incomparable yet capable of inflicting great pain, mortal wounds upon all who touch it without respect and proper knowledge. They gave me truth which, in accordance with the biblical promise, has set me free – freed me at times to fret and turn in hell. Any merit in this account lies in its truth telling. I have been told that I could sing tunes, after having heard them once or twice, before I was fully one year old – sing before I was able to talk. My first memories corroborate this. I heard a tune and sang it. I could not help but sing it. I did so without the least effort to try to learn it. I am too old to dance, but I have been given leave to sing of myself: shamed and small.

i sing of Olaf glad and big Whose warmest heart recoiled at war: a conscientious object-or

his well-belovéd colonal (trig westpointer most succinctily bred) took erring Olaf soon in hand; but -- though an host of overjoyed noncoms (first knocking on the head him) do through icy waters roll that helplessness which others stroke with brushes recently employed anent this muddy toiletbowl, while kindred intellects evoke alligiance per blunt instruments -- Olaf (being to all intents a corpse and wanting any rag upon what God unto him gave) responds, without getting annoyed "I will not kiss your fucking flag" straightway the silver bird looked grave (departing hurriedly to shave)

but -- though all kinds of officers (a yearning nation's blueeyed pride) their passive prey did kick and curse until for wear their clarion voices and boots were much the worse, and egged the firstclassprivates on his rectum wickedly to tease by means of skillfully applied bayonets roasted hot with heat -- Olaf (upon what were once knees) does almost ceaselessly repeat "there is some shit I will not eat"

our president, being of which assertions duly notified threw the yellowsonofabitch into a dungeon, where he died

Christ (of His mercy infinite) i pray to see; and Olaf, too

preponderatingly because unless stastics lie he was more brave than me: more blond than you.


Chapter 2 : Odin’s Grin


“All that excess, that teeming ghastly life contradicting the human desire for refrigerated simplicity.
I see his point.”


"We're all different though we may pretend otherwise. We're all strange inside. We learn how to disguise our differences as we grow up."


"What shall I speak of first: my love for womankind, or my love for music? The first I think. I had just passed my sixth year, when early in the following winter a girl almost twice as old as I came to stay for a while in our house. I fell in love with her at once. Although I have been in love with other girls at various times ever since, this first love was the strongest. Thus I suffered an intensity of feeling and pangs of longing such that have never been equaled during all the years of my adult age.

My plight was unspeakable. I did not dare to entrust anyone with this secret, not even my parents. Similarly, I did not dare to confess myself to my brothers or sisters. For a bashful and fear of ridicule and or rejection took powerful hold of me in the face of an object of strong love or desire, in this case the girl herself. To mention it to the hired folks on our farm or to neighbours meant certain ribaldry, was out of the question. This preternatural fear prevented me ever after from boldly voicing my feelings to those many girls I have fallen in love with. That is why I have never, never fully declared myself to any girl in my life! This fear has cut me off from the Eden of happiness."

"And what of the other side of the coin? One need not marry in order to regret at leisure. The regret may, and frequently does come in any case. Marriage is not the oyster that it is cracked up to be, or perhaps it is, for perfectly spherical pearls are rare. Parthenogenesis, or asexual reproduction: it a consummation devoutly to be wished."

"Fear has been my deadliest foe all my life. Fear has no doubt injured me beyond measure. No fear and my life would always have been a happy one. And I owe all my fear to religion. As I have said, my parents me loved me dearly. They were religious. Hence they taught me religion; an induction into the cult of guilt. This ‘religion’, which itself had been inculcated in me from infancy, was aggravated throughout my childhood and adolescence by the teaching and rigid practice of religious dogmas. They were at this point given added impetus by my tremendous fear of telling my secret to anyone. I longed very much to do just that! For it was to me a great, almost unbearable burden. By entrusting someone with this great secret I would, it seemed to me, ease my burden. A beginning of a lifelong longing this was. I have always craved someone to share in my idealistic dreams. But I have never found the one unique SHE-SHARER of my soul.

My parents were not only exceptionally kind, but they were better educated and were better able to bring up children than average parents are nowadays. Yet in spite of this, they could not have the insight into human nature that I have now. They did not know the power of fear over the life of a man as hypersensitive as I, as I know it now. The science of psychology was unknown to them. That is the reason they failed to encourage me to open up the portals of my peculiar child-soul and show them, at least in part, my, dream world. It pertains to this sketch to relate the fate of my first love. All their other children were brought up successfully. Only I failed through fear to make a living; a life. Yes, all the fears I have suffered were caused by religion. Naturally and justly I say with Voltaire, "Ecrase l’enfame!" Kill the Monster, the cause of all real evil. I did not only fear ridicule from these people, I feared misunderstanding, but prejudice more still. Misunderstanding and mistrust has ever since tormented me beyond any words in any language at my command. The word ‘prejudice’ and ‘intolerance’ are the most terrible words in any language.

Yet it was not these things that I dreaded in my parents’ reaction to the truth if I had revealed it. In that case I would have told them of my flaming love for the little girl. I feared something more terrible then that. I feared that they would think that I was crazy or perverted. I even feared that I was crazy! Why? Because I took for granted that only adult folks could fall in love. Nobody tried to find out what was going on in my inner self. Nobody volunteered any information to me, neither then nor at any other time, on the matter of sex. I blame the church’s influence for my lack of this most vital information. My situation was aggravated by the fact that the girl I loved was almost twice as old as I. She was more than twice as tall, and was four times my weight. She looked at herself as a big girl. I could glean and feel her view of me from her words. She saw me as a little boy. In fact she called me more than once the "little pretty tot". This humiliated me unspeakably In the winter the young folks in our house sometimes danced for a while in the evening. Quite often the young folks in the neighbourhood joined us. I learned at once these old country dances, and I danced as much with the girl I loved as I found chance to do. What a heaven of ecstasy! What wondrous enchantment! I wonder how soon most parents will wake up to the fact that a young child may have a secret.

Now jealousy was added to love. This girl was exceptionally beautiful and unusually mature. At a country ball where I was with my brothers and sisters, I noticed that not merely boys of her age, but older boys, full–grown men, coloured and trembled as they swung her around in their arms. My jealousy was aroused to an intense degree. I was on the brink of the abyss of despair. A strong passion to die, to emancipate myself from unbearable suffering, seized me. I contemplated suicide, for I heard people say that this girl I loved was the prettiest girl of adolescent age ever to be met with in that part of the land. To me, as I recall her, she was the most beautiful and charming female I have ever seen.

I suspected that even two of my brothers and a number of young men and boys were struck by her girlish charm. I listened to people talk of her and interpreted it as well as I could. Vague rumours seemed to indicate that some young men in the neighbourhood were already admiring her as young as she was. But I heard people rather discount such rumours, stating that full-grown men could not really fall in love with a girl-child in her twelfth year. I was told that they would have to wait until she was grownup. But they waited hardly that long. Early in her sixteenth year she was engaged to marry. This beautiful girl became betrothed to a very fine young man - very young though he was probably twice as old as she – and everyone for happiness in store for her from that match, save her arrogant father. It appears that he intended to capitalise on her beauty and marry her into a professional family. He succeeded to separate the pair. About a couple of years later she abandoned herself and a child was born. Her father in great wrath demanded to know who the father was. And being told that his hired man was the culprit, he flew up into such mad rage that the excitement and anguish killed her on the day after the child was born. The father of her child who, it was said, had wanted to marry her, emigrated to America and finally committed suicide.

In the meantime I lived long years of yearning. I deliberated on suicide for a while. But the means to do it were not easy. To kill one’s self by hanging I had never heard of. No gun of any kind was there in our house. My little pocket-knife could not sever the thread upon which my life hung, and to butcher knife and axe there was no access. There were no such deep pools in any of the many brooks near to assure me of successful drowning.

But there was the deep, sighing river: sighing always as if in sympathy with my sighing heart. This deep river sang its grand opera of sighs. I listened for hours and hours to this mighty orchestra; its accompaniment to my sorrow. But I was never alone on its banks, where in many places the abyss of death was just below my feet. I could have very probably been able to get as far as the river unnoticed and plunge into depths. But my longing to was not at any time divorced from my dreams of love of the beautiful in nature. This beauty was and is superabundant in the land of my birth. For as I was a great dream-child from the start, I found in my reverie a substitute for happiness in the flesh with the girl I so loved in dreaming. I dreamed for hours, for days, for months, of this queen of my heart. I walked with her amongst flowers, the air above us trembling with song of birds, and brooks and cascades blended with the music of the river that thrilled everywhere. And I told her how I did love her; how I would carry her on wings of love through life; how the stars, and flowers, the birds and brooks, the rivers and mountains: all, everything, everywhere spoke of my absolute love for her."

"Right here I at say that my memories of myself – both my most constant companions and pursuing furies were of my being a peculiar child. I have already mentioned my ability to sing from the very first years of my existence. I believe my song to be more objective than the usual autobiographical account. In this I rely on the truthfulness of my dear mother, whose truthfulness, as indeed that of my father, was infallible and completely accurate.

One example of my ‘peculiarities’, or my escape from my unbearable pain, is my invention of a friendly troll. I must have been no older than about three years old when I remember that I imagined a very interesting man living in a thick wall of turf on the north site of our house. I spent much time talking with this man, brought him some gifts such as toys; and he, an adult – I imagined an elderly man appreciated, it seemed to me, my toys, and whatever I brought him. I once pushed a lump of cake into a hole in the wall and he accepted it with thanks. My parents were no doubt surprised when they learned of this from one of my brothers who had spied on me and told them of the fate of the cake. My toys that vanished mysteriously. They vanished into the wall, did so for the most part without anyone knowing except I, myself. I never thought much of any child-toys. I regarded them as rather a trifle to bother with. I told this man so and asked him to forward them to someone that liked toys. I babbled with this imaginary man in the wall for hours and hours; and sometimes my parents and others stopped to listen. And I heard them say that I was a peculiar boy indeed and that it looked as if there were something wrong with me, in fact that I was a problem, which I doubtlessly was. I sometimes imagine you, dear doctor, have taken over where he left off.

I found this man in the wall who was silent and nonexistent to all but my imagination. He was more interesting than people that actually existed, strange though this may appear. And as my imagination progressed I had multitudes of imaginary people, large cities, mighty national a world where time passed free of worry. A society radically better and more pleasant than I have found it to be throughout my life. I could then have council with great man amongst my imaginary nations with honesty and sincerity supreme. It was early in my childhood that honesty and sincerity became dominant powers in the realm of my soul."

"It in characteristic of my very many loves that most of them have begun with suddenness, an instantaneous and powerful flash. It is not too much to say they are like thunder peals and gleaming flashes of lightning out of a clear sky. At about seven years of age my sexual passion flamed up. Being left a lot to myself I speculated on this with disastrous effects. No one showed the way. No one gave me an example. The instinct was so powerful at the start that its expression could not be repressed or prevented. The fact that my love-passion which could be gratified, and my sex-passion, which likewise could not be satisfied came into being so unusually early, caused a start of a lifelong misery : the practice of autosexuality{*}.

I have coined a word. I have used it once before this, autosexuality. This term, a compound of the Greek word ‘autos’ and the Latin word ‘sexus’, is used by me as a substitute for several words meaning a practice of one sex to produce orgasm without contact with or cooperation of the other sex. Because of this unfortunate practice, continuous since I was seven years of age. I think I did not have as powerful sexual desire for this girl as I else would have had. Though strong, this kind of a desire for this queen of a girl, as I have said, not last long. and it; is a fact that I sometimes in such cases, when I was alone in my bed the following night, I turned to autosexual practice as a salvation.

Of course my sexual visions inspired this repeated celebration in secret of my sexual prowess. It was a bittersweet blend of terrific excitement and tragedy and were usually linked with full-waxen, physically adult, female beings. Yet this second girl, for whom my love-passion demanded tender worship and adoration in my heart, was the same age as the first, about twelve years old. Since that time the girls that I have loved have always been younger, much younger. The last girl I loved before writing these lines is only eighteen years old. Why this attachment to nubile pubescence? I cannot answer my question, can you?

My first love tormented me for more than five years, or from the time I was a little more than six years old, until sometime in my twelfth year, a short time before I fell in love for the second time. At about twelve, then, I fell in love for the second time. This second love seized me just as suddenly as the first one did. It was not as flaming with the intensity of passion. Yet it was strong, very strong. This girl was of the same age as I. The girl I first loved surpassed her in physical beauty by far. Neither of them had intellectual beauty, the beauty of the soul, in so far as I am aware. These loves originated in the realm of physical attraction, I an sorry to say, that is the physical attraction of these girls caused my tremendous love to flame forth, flame forth from an inexhaustible source.

I idealised these girls. Not responding to, or corresponding with what my soul has always been seeking, seeking from the first, either subconsciously or consciously. These girls struck me with terrific love notwithstanding. When I reflect on my very many loves I must say that I cannot reason out why many of these passions ever had a cause to exist. A few of my loves, as I later will more fully explain, were distinctly soulful, by which I mean to say emotional.

My first love had greatly interfered with my sleep during these years, while my appetite for foot and drink was not affected noticeably, nor indeed my appetite for coffee and tobacco. Because my appetite for food and coffee and tobacco was very strong, too strong to be affected by melancholy and mental anguish, On the other hand I have never been able to sleep well in all my life

Not even in childhood did I enjoy a deep, sound sleep as a rule. My so called sleep gave me the impression that I had been taken from my day dream world into the chaos of dreams asleep. My thoughts could never be really at rest. And such it has always been since.

This state of things has naturally become worse throughout the years, due to continuous injury upon my nervous system by my abuse of tobacco, by continuous worry ever since I had left home. By vice rather than virtue of the extreme want and deprivation which was the result of my failure in making a living my live has been plagued with hundreds of sleepless nights to be recalled with sorrow, infinite pain irredeemable tragedies. For I had striven to my utmost to do the impossible for over twelve years, that is, to force myself to do work I was unfit for from the start.

When I first saw my second love I saw a woman in the bud. This was the age of her puberty. I saw her well formed bosom; not as developed as on girls of eighteen or twenty of course, but sufficiently developed to suggest to me that she was no longer a child but a woman. I saw a lightness and grace in her every gesture, her every word, and fell instantly in love with, as I see it now, the dancing idealisation of her which I hoarded in my head.

How I caressed her body with my eyes! How my fervent, ‘sensitive heart’ pounded in my chest How I trembled and blushed! And oh, how I fought a half-losing battle against manifestations of my emotions. I feared that people could see how I troubled and how my rushing blood flamed in my checks. I feared, as always, ridicule, prejudice and mistrust.

Being at this point almost twice as old as when I first fell in love I was more assured in my mind, that is, I convinced myself that I was much nearer to "normality" than in the first instance of my love. While at this time, I thought that there might be "really nothing wrong" with feeling as I did yet, at other times I doubted the saneness of the matter in question. And certainly the adult folks would, I deduced, regard my love for this girl as an "abnormal phenomenon", and they would of course have so opinioned overwhelmingly had I told them of my love at the age of six! And so my case had been in the first infatuation, so it was in the second. I did not dare to tell anybody–not even my parents. Thus I had to continue carrying alone the heaviest burden I could then imagine.

As I have already said, I suffered massive, precocious sexual awakening at the time I was just seven years old. It flamed up into a disaster at the start. Hence all my life has been series of sexual disasters. I had deviated from the sexual expression prescribed by Nature, not from choice, but impelled by an urge entirely beyond control. It was a force entirely new to me and so utterly overwhelming that any feeble attempt that I made to, as it were put is aside or to think of other, more ‘clean’ thoughts was entirely out of the question. It became a pain and a hole in the fabric of my life. It was a source, all at once of grief, of ecstasy, of guilt, of longing and confusion. I had already strayed five years in this barbed but pointless forest. I had no idea how to obtain relief from my anguish. The reader might here ask whether this struggle within myself did not lead to perversity or vulgarity in my passionate feelings of love at this point. It did not; foe As you will have noticed I idealised these girls, my love objects I put them high on a pedestal out of reach. Tanhaüser in the Venusberg wrapped in the cerements of death.

I embraced this girl with my heart and drank the sweetness–the fragrance–of her budding body by gazing at her face: her eyes, her cheeks–her lips. Only then would my eyes take a fond glance at her fascinating bosom, which was like the bud of a flower. I would take no pains to look at her feet or her legs. Not at all! Although such may sound strange here in America, I was not prone to take a look at her legs whatsoever. Indeed her legs were the last I would look at! I notice a youths these days will view a young girl by starting to look at her feet, soon he moves to her legs, his eyes then stroll coolly upward. Mingled with the force of my fervour and longing for this fair girl was a feeling of shame for what I had in secret so often done to my own body. I feared she saw through me, as our eyes met; mine with the fire of my emotion in them, and here ... well, I do not know what to say. I saw nothing of any kind in her eyes to indicate that she responded to my thrilling emotion at all.

Some time after this period I learned, too late, that this girl really wanted me before she wanted anyone else, even the one she married. To think that she saw through me and read my thoughts-what absurdity Physically she was a woman. Mentally she was a child. Measured by the standard of my ideal of intellectuality, she remained always a child. I have never understood women at the time and place I should have done so. I have found their behaviour as regards especially those men that they really want, a mystery. Yes, it has always been a terrible mystery to me, and is more or less a mystery yet. It always will be.

Now the question arises as to what things would be like had I, instead of losing her, married her. I recognise no such a thing as "Fate," as I know no Providence beyond the power of man and the laws and happenings of nature. So I deal here with an inference, a psycho-sociological inquiry, which I am not prepared to answer myself, at least not off-hand as it would here have to be: Would I be happier today if I had married this girl–as she was and always will be with no capacity for absorbing sublime impressions, with no mind, so to speak beyond the preserving animal instinct. I would in that event, have, though, been spared a great sorrow. She was a healthy physical being, a good cook, a mother-looking creature, and would have made a substantial wife in its ordinary material sense. But beyond physical conformity she had nothing–no great note that would chime in, harmonise with the music in my soul, and render me anything for my spiritual needs–understanding, consolation, encouragement. I needed a women to help me to understand myself, and to understand myself I have never boon able to do well–not even yet, though I think now I understand myself a good deal, while in those days I understood myself not at all; and so it continued to be that I understood myself very poorly. Even today I am far from fully understanding myself. Perhaps it is this which motivates me to write these lines.

At the start, and always since, I have wanted and longed for many things in the same breath. This, of course, has had a lot to do with my failure to succeed in anything at any time.

I feared early that my desire to be several things, that is, to be this or that–all in one day, for instance, would cause inconstancy in my marriage–it I did marry. Not that I feared that I would stray into paths of infidelity. The sacredness of the marriage pledge, the holiness of love, was so much by myself honoured and reverenced from the very start, that I had no reason to fear such. Inconstancy was what I feared–only. That was enough to worry me. I feared that I might after marriage fall in love with another woman or women, which would as so a most unhappy situation. There was, of course, the alternative of divorce, but that turn indicated, I saw, some complications which might have had serious consequences, especially if one of the two parties, for instance, the woman, had love that could and wanted to endure. So fear of the stability of my marriage complicated my many worries when I was twelve years old.

I must state at this point that two material passions have dominated me unto this day: appetite for food and drink and appetite for sex. My taste for appetising rich foods has always been very pronounced, in fact, uncontrollable. My sexual appetite has been stronger still. It looks to me easier-but far from easy–to resist a fine meal unless starved, than to resist the sexual urge.

While discussing my great passion for eating and drinking I can say that one of the numerous things that indicated to people that I was a peculiar–perhaps abnormal–was my ravenous appetite for certain foods and utter distaste for others. In a case of a man who claims such soulfulness as I do, it may appear incompatible or strange that I had tremendous appetite for meat and fish and all varieties of animal flesh, while accepting bread and other cereals, such as rice, sago, tapioca, cream of wheat, cornflakes, etc. and later potatoes, and still later oranges. there is not an article amongst vegetables or fruits of any, kind that I can get down my throat. This looks unhappy from a health standpoint. I cannot eat any, kind of vegetables or fruits except potatoes and oranges, which it took me years to learn to get used to. If I succeeded to cram any other particle of this vegetable or fruit diet down my throat I would certainly vomit it and more.

Once in this country I was invited to a supper which exclusively consisted of vegetables and fruits, though neither potatoes nor oranges were included. Wishing at all costs to avoid offending the host by not being able to partake of the food, which he no doubt thought was fit and good enough for anyone, and fearing that by telling him that I positively could eat nothing on his table, I would make myself ridiculous in his estimation, or cause him by so doing to become prejudiced against my person, I swallowed in tremendous hurry and inner fury a horrible thing to me: known as lettuce and some other things. I was so excited, and some so hard with the impossible, that I took little notice of what particular kind of these rebellious articles of food I was desperately trying to get down.

But I could not avert a "scandal" at the table, although my "heroic" effort greatly modified its aspect. There was a twofold difficulty: distaste in my mouth and great displeasure and opposition on the part of my stomach, who quite obviously resented my effort to force these food varieties upon him. He surely considered them undesirable and resisted their invasion all he could, and he had the better of it in the end. After having forced down again every gulp, every gulp having been ejected by my stomach up into my throat, my stomach got convulsive. My mouth filled suddenly. I jumped up like a flash, overturning the chair, and got only as far as the door when a most violent vomiting progressed to consternation and anxiety of the people who had invited me to enjoy and relish this desperate supper. They feared that I had suddenly taken ill, and they thought that a physician ought to be summoned. But I protested amidst my convulsive vomiting against such absurdity so vigorously and vehemently that they desisted from carrying such a notion out.

Hours later, when I was beginning to feel better I explained the why and wherefore of all this. The people apologised for having offered ma food so revolting to me and were very sorry. I told them that they had no occasion to excuse their hospitality, that they had been doing their best by working on a general principle, namely, that since I was a human being I was likely to be like other human beings.

Where is a person that cannot eat various kinds of vegetables and fruits? There may be persons who do not relish every variety–but where is one that can but eat two, and that only altar years of training? Why, there is only one: myself. At least I have never known any other. My parents, sisters, brothers and everybody except I, liked fruit in my home. No wonder that people said that I was different from everybody else and that they could not understand why I was as I was.

Although the importance of regulated diet is exaggerated, in my opinion, by some exponents–often faddists–of specialised diet, and that a pleasant state of mind and necessary comforts, such as pleasant and happy home-surroundings and freedom from constantly impending sad threatening penury and destitution has more to do with physical well-being, or sound health, than what one eats, unless he is irrational or immoderate in the extreme. I still regard it unfortunate that I cannot eat many foods that would be food for me to eat.

The event I have cited is only singular in so far that it is the only time I tried to conform with the manners and conventions of people at a table or elsewhere. Always I have decided to go my own way–alone as I must–but live my life apart from the whims of set rules of society.

But my unusual taste as regards food occasions discomfort to me at times, and embarrassment to others, and misunderstanding among those that happen to show me hospitality, invite me for a meal. Such moments have many a time caused me worry, when people at whose table I have not sat before, and whose food-preferences I am not familiar with. In such cases I at once fear that they are perhaps vegetarians or at least that the bulk of the food may happen to consist of vegetables and fruits, which means to me that I can not sufficiently partake of that meal. Most private homes, and restaurants and cafes that serve table d’hôte, have deserts made of fruits, which means that I must forego or be without deserts at almost every table.

So much for what people call eccentricity as regards taste for foods. I have merely described it at this length because it is unusual and because it has been one of the factors which induced or "inspired" misunderstanding of people of myself, and helped to heap up around me the deadliest power of evil on earth–prejudice.

I said before that my appetite for food and drink was, and is even yet, uncontrollable. As a young boy I was permitted to eat too much. My parents were so fond of me that they not only let me have my way in over-eating but allowed me very early to drink coffee to excess. As early as eight years old I was not content with one cup of strong coffee at a time. I wanted to drink – and did drink – two or three cups at a time, and repeated this every so often during the day. It would have been perhaps better if I had drunk less coffee although I have never noticed any very appreciable reaction; none comparable at all to that of tobacco. Certainly my immoderation in partaking of too much food was markedly injurious. Far, far worse than coffee was my overindulgence in food. This has been a life-long fault.

Then there was my conspiracy with my brothers for smoking when my parents could not see it, and which I perhaps imitated from them, and which my parents wished to protect me from, and hinder me from learning to practice. However, I succeeded in smoking but little, and after my parents found it out, they warned me not to do it henceforth on account of it being so injurious for people, and especially for little boys. Else they did not try with any harsh reproaches to stop it. But although I liked smoking very much I did not want to do much of it. And for many years I smoked only a pipe or so a day, or I smoked nothing for days and weeks and then smoked two or three pipes a day for some time. But the drug-forming (nicotine being merely a drug, a poison) habit of tobacco did not get actual power over me, insofar as I can best judge, until I was over twenty years old. While coffee may have done me some appreciable harm, I have no satisfactory proof thereof, and while over-eating certainly injured me, I hardly think that my use of tobacco did any harm to me to speak of until after twenty years of age, when I increased its use most unfortunately, and contracted an actual habit through great excess–I smoke day and night, and after consuming, that is, sucking into my mouth the fumes of this deadly weed to the amount of two or three packages every twenty-four hours. That is why I suffered for many years from what was, to the best of my knowledge, acute nicotine poisoning. Now when I have by this time managed to cut my smoking down to only three or four pipes per day, some of this deeply-saturating poisoning lingers in me still. Its symptoms are fullness in the head, drowsiness and so forth. My neurasthenic condition and this poisoning interlap in the way they have manifested themselves.

Although I wish not to be excused whatsoever as regards my immoderation in eating, such an example I had, however, before me always in the land of m, birth. Many people there are great eaters, I am sorry to say, although I must also say, in order to preclude misunderstanding, that this can not be taken as an indication of their morals or culture. No land is better literate. And no land surpasses my Motherland in culture.

My brothers were about as heavy eaters as I, two of them even surpassed and eclipsed me in this folly. My parents ate surprisingly little. My father notwithstanding his powerful physique, his giant shoulders and massive chest. was always a light eater. The chest, that he ate but little proves that immense amounts of foodstuffs are not necessary to bull! up a strong body Though of course a sufficient food is necessary. It is what one can digest, not what one can gulp down that counts. My father ate slowly. I, like my brothers, developed the bad habit of eating fast, obeying but little and gulping down the food. My father chewed thorough, what little he ate. He never had a stomach trouble. But my brothers had. So have I had for many years an! it is no" worse than ever. Constipation, that breeder of many other ills, has been my constant and unfailing companion for man, years and greatly aggravate. my condition.

My parents realised that I ate often too much. I had a violent temper, But my parents would not have shrunk from combating my temper. It was not that. It was their great love that held them back. They loved me so much, so dearly, that they would rather tolerate my immoderation and lot me have my way than to see me dissatisfied. They could not endure to see me sad or angry. Early I thought of marriage–although I have never married in all my life–as a high ideal. I dreamed of marriage crowning my ardent and pure love. But as I referred to before, I was worried over and feared greatly the possibility that my love–strong as it was–might not endure. I dreaded that I possibly might after marriage fall in love with another woman or women. This doubt–this fear–caused me unspeakable suffering. And I could take none into my confidence for fear of ridicule.

I had already fallen in love twice. This made me suspect and fear that I might–unfortunately for myself–fall in love over and over again and again.

My fear of inconstancy in love cast upon me such shadow of melancholy and grief that I have never again emerged out of that shadow. Yet I can reasonably conjecture, I think, that my soul-tearing fear of inconstancy in marriage–had marriage been mine–was for want of understanding of myself by myself. I think, from what I know of myself now, that bad I married those of the girls I have most loved, such marriage would have resulted in constancy on my part. At least had I been married to a faithful and generous wife it is fairly certain that marriage in my case would have been like a well-made and welltuned up radio set, which excludes all noise but the broadcast Grand Opera.

But when I, less than a year or so after falling in love for the second time, fell in love for the third time, my fear of the love situation became worse than a nightmare. This third girl I fell in love with w as a year older than I. Nor did my love for the other girl wane.

So now, early in my thirteenth year, I was in–the precarious and vary uncomfortable and disconcerting position of loving two girls at the same time..

I was in a fire that was, it seemed, burning me up, and yet not consuming me, which is proved by the fact that I can and still do–still fall in love–fell so ardently and forcefully in love a few months ago that I could very little for a couple of weeks particularly because of this. Else, as I have said, I never sleep well.

When will I not fall in love and where? Surely this is not the end of it–my tendency to fall in love will not end as long as I live. I have a reason to believe that.

To add to my difficulty to aggravate and intensify the storm in my soul, the third queen of by heart came to stay in our house for several weeks.. I, thinking of, longing for, and dreaming of both girls in the same moment, so to speak, this one before my eyes from morning to night made me suffer so that sleep was prohibited me sometimes for two nights in succession. I showed plain signs of fatigue. This worried my parents as they thought I was ill. They mistook the signs of my mental anguish–my love-pangs–for indications of disease. It was natural of them to do so. I assured them that consulting a physician was not necessary I feared that a physician would probe into my secrets; and while I was confident that he could not obtain any confession from me, I feared that he might interpret from my face–bluish spots beneath the eyes–and other such signs–imaginary, of course, as otherwise, my secret sexual practices and my love-passion–and I thought I was even yet still too young for love–and that he would make me ridiculous. Truly I often felt like a very sick man these days. Now and then my parents thought that I was not as well as I ought to be. But I did not dare to tell even them of my plight for fear of ridicule.

My love being such a great burden, I did not, nevertheless, find any chance at m, disposal to ease it to any such extent as would lend me any worth while relief. No! Relief could not be mine. We happened quite often to be alone for awhile. Ho. I longed–trembled with longing–to tell her of my love, to open my arms, to kneel at her feet and tell her that with her in my arms I could find peace and joy!

But two powers restrained me at every such opportunity. Each was so strong that either alone would have held me back. Fear of ridicule would certainly have done so–alone, I also think that m, love and longing for the other girl, always forcefully present in m, thoughts and feelings, beside my love for this one, would have held me back–even bad my fear-obsession of ridicule not weighed on me. I considered my love for the other girl so sacred that I thought I would be doing my love for her–even herself–an injustice, by paying this one, now with me, court. It is a difficult and painful matter for a conscientious man to be in love with two or more girls at one and the same time.

Though I hardly would–or dared–to speak even a word of any kind to her alone, I could not possibly refrain from making occasion of reading a short story, entitled "FATE" a sketch of a tremendous love-tragedy in Chaplin’s life, to the folks in our house. Really I only read it to the girl I loved. In the course of my reading I became thrilled into unutterable excitement. My audience seemed to listen attentively–the girl I loved included. But my voice trembled so much, I felt the blood so burn in my cheeks, and the tears so welled out of my eyes, towards the close of the story, that the last few times I read, I read in great haste almost inaudibly even to myself. In extreme dread of having made myself ridiculous I flung the book away, shot a glance at the girl I loved and ran out of the house. My glance at the girl revealed to me that she was slightly redder in her face than usually. That was all. Else I had flown up to heights of ecstasy, without making an impression on her as far as I could then see.

I sometimes made also an occasion of reading to the people in our house the moat thrilling and beautiful love poems I knew of. Actually I only read them to the girl I loved. I heard some say something to the effect that it was rather strange that I read these poems at this particular time. My recitations increased my excitement terrifically. I was sweating all over, my heart pounded in my bosom, and my face was like a blaze, as I felt it now and then with my burning hands, from fear of making myself ridiculous. It was as if the delivery of these hot poems caused ever to surge in my always ardent blood. Once upon finishing a poem I happened to look at her. She was smiling. I feared that I had made myself woefully ridiculous. I ran out, slamming the door in my haste, and strolled about the home field for awhile, trying desperately to collect myself. Then the girl came from somewhere and told me that she liked the poems all right, which I had recited, but that she could not understand them very well, So that was it.

When she left I was glad. Surely I missed her. But being too bashful and fearing ridicule by boldly confessing to her my love, I saw I was better off with her absent. I did not see her much after that; and some months afterwards my love for her waned and my love for the girl number two on my long list of, for me, unfortunate loves, reigned alone on the throne of my heart.

Often my mind reverts with infinite sadness to the next episode of m, life. Irresistible spells of despondency, darkened with bleak remorse, with ice-cold regrets–a funeral hymn of longing, have come over me–more so of later years–because of frequent recalling of the time when I was with a girl that truly loved me, but whom I then could not love. Since then I have loved her, that is, throughout the years I have loved her memory. And if she were young and fair with me now I surely would love her.

A very little later than at the time I have Just been writing of, this girl–less than a gear older than I–came. She was with us a year. She was exceedingly loveable girl. My parents and all the people in our home thought more of her than any other growing youth ever in our house. What a calamity for me! Although she did not say it with words, and she did not flirt, I knew soon as certainly that she liked me–loved me-as I could distinguish a blossoming flower from a faded one. It will be borne in mind that most adult people do not suspect that children, even as far advanced in age as we were, have an, worthwhile secrets. My parents, who understood that this girl was intelligent, encouraged us to be together as much as possible, not because of any idea of an adult love possibility between us, but because she was well-bred, well-mannered and cultured and obviously clean-hearted girl.

I have said that I never understood or knew girls–I mean especially those that I loved–until it was too late. Such was of course really the case with this one, for, although I did not love her at that time, that is, while we were together, I did so later on–have done so ever since.

It may be mentioned here, though it will be gone more fully into later on, that those girls that I know have loved me, but with whom I could not in turn fall in love, have made me unmistakably aware of it. As to this girl I made a crucial mistake I cannot help it now–I could not help it then–that I teased and tormented her because I was conscious of the fact that she liked me–loved me–and was thinking Of me as her future husband. What a stupendous folly and injustice to her! I think of her sighs and tears and a knife is thrust through me–remorse and longing pierces my soul. Often my parents, I am glad to say, reproved me for teasing her. More than once my father told me gravely how wrong it was of me to be so unpleasant to such a kind child as to make her even shed tears. He said he could not understand why I was so heartless towards this bright girl. He further told me, and then with tears in his eyes, that he had hoped that I would grow up to be kind to all that lives, and that I had never behaved as a bad boy up to this time, but that I behaved as a bad boy to this charming, clean hearted, cultured girl. He even aroused my jealousy as to his affection for me by declaring her more likeable child than I was. He was right. I She was far more loveable than I. She with her unusually I bright and mature intellect, but with none of my unbendable eccentricities. Naturally, I see all this about her better now than I saw it then.

Amongst my numerous faults is vanity. I do not know how much I possessed of this highly undesirable element then, nor now. Who can correctly measure his faults? My vanity was aroused by the way this belle outshone me in our own house. I am now perfectly ashamed of this. But I was not then. That is the reason I teased and tormented the finest girl I have as yet known of, a young girl, I mean. Of course I hold no woman as dear in my memory as my kind mother. My mother suffered yet more than my father did because of my cruel teasing and tormenting of the little girl. Yes, my mother wept several times, and asked me sobbing with pain, not to be so unkind to the child. My mother truly said that I was hurting herself very much by being so unjust to the child-girl. Unjust, that was the right word. But more, I was brutal. And it was my misfortune more than the girl’s, for she has rested peacefully in the eternal night so many years, while I am still alive and have gone through a continuously burning fire of sorrows Besides she was spared to know much of the sorrow of the world at large. Had she lived and married me and been with me as I have gone through life on this continent she would have come to know the terrible tragedy of the world at large, with a suffering to her beyond what I can surmise. I said I was brutal to her. I was. Although my brutality was all in words. My words were brutal–not that I used brutal words in its ordinary sense–but because my words wounded her. Because my teasing caused her pain. I have never been brutal to any other human being in all my life. Yet I now think more of her, hold her dearer in my realm of feelings, than any other person, excepting only my parents.

Why did I then tease and torment her? I do not know. There is no answer. Of course I have idealised her and am still idealising her. She was then a beautiful song, a beautiful musical masterpiece in the beginning. Imagine the starting notes of "Le Cygne", "Connais tu le pays?" or "Stänchen" and you have her. I may overestimate her–or I may not–she died early in her sixteenth year, may overestimate what she might have become; but she surely was a beginning of a beautiful song. But it is hard to say whether a tune beginning with charming notes will be beautiful throughout–what the first notes will lead up to–unless master-minds of musical genius are making them, such a" Schubert, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Chopin, Liszt, Massinet, Verdi, Bizet, Gounod and others such. There is no master-mind over our "destiny" unless it is ourselves. Nor is all the story yet told of me and this girl. I got bye and bye tired of teasing and pestering her. I was getting extremely thirsty for kisses and caresses of a vary young girl. Being kissed and embraced by this girl, by this pure sweetness of a growing youth, was to me thrilling and refreshing like a draught of pure, rich wine. Never before nor after have I ever kissed or caressed a true love of a perfectly unspoiled young girl. In despair, in agony, and in hopelessness I ask with my crying soul: why did I not love this girl-angel, soulful and emotional? And why did I love the other girl–continue to do so in spite of the love of this one for me–yes, love the other girl that could not corresponding at all to what I really am, a girl possessing nothing, insofar as I am aware, over and above the simple, primitive mother instinct, a woman of healthy flesh, but literally without a soul? I, myself, can only say in answer that I can not understand why this was so contrary to what it should have been. Now, if I had these two girls before me I think it cannot fail that I would only love the one with the great intellectual attributes. How could I–now–do otherwise?

Nor was the brainy and temperamental girl any less pretty than the other. Verily she was prettier to look at. Being physically rather frail, her face was pale. It had a charming hue of white, it seems to me now that I recall her so fervently, deep blue-grey, dreaming, also scintillating eyes, the colour combination indicating kindness, faithfulness, tenderness and thought-power, straight nose–rather large–of an intellectual type, lips, not so very amative, but with sweetness that told of a deep, high, pure love-disposition, dark flowing hair, pretty and small womanly hands, arms neat and girl-like a bosom well-formed. All about her proved that she was truly cultured and would be a life-companion of truly rare qualities: generous, faithful, sublime, constant, persevering, high-minded, and art-loving. One who could inspire her spouse to the lofty, the beautiful, the great and good in life.

While the other was, I remember now but little about her: all plump very blossoming cheeks, to be sure, bluish eyes, fair hair, massive lips. Physically she was a very mass of tactile rotundity and tempting ripeness. If ‘ripeness is all’ then was all in all. What contrasts between these two women. And yet it was the latter wan sylph of whom I dreamed by day and by night, keeping often awake; thinking of he;, wishing and wishing that she would one day be mine: mine, body and "soul". And yet now it naturally occurs to me that she had no soul in its important and real sense. No wonder I am disconcerted and agonised as I am writing this now, because all this, far back early in the day of my manhood, strikes back at me with its merciless force of remorse, regret, sorrow and anguish.

It is irredeemable–it can not be called back to be lived over again, in order to live it wiser and better. No. Not that! So one would above all wish that it could be beyond recalling. But that is exactly what cannot be. The memory of this has forced itself upon me unnumbered times throughout the years and still forces itself upon me. How imprudent I was! What a fool I was ! What a woeful blunder! Because of it, though I was then not conscious of the fact, I have suffered all my life. It was once that I had been teasing and pestering this angel-girl then with me, that she suddenly appeared to me so charming, so majestic and beautiful through her tears and sobs that I felt ashamed of myself–I ought to have been ashamed of myself long before this–and then I regretted (and was so full of sympathy for her) that I had been teasing her then and at other times, and became engulfed in flood of beautiful, glorious emotions My feelings flamed up and my soul was a sudden tempest of a sublime excitement. It boarded on love–I long to say it was love only then too short-lived–though. I knelt at her feet and in flowing, blazing terms of emotional eloquence I told her how I regretted and repented of having so much teased and tormented her and asked and worshipped her to forgive me and let it be forgotten in the abyss of time. She answered by placing her magnetic, pure arms on my shoulder–oh, they were baby arms–and I, in a tremendous thrill of happiness–though it did not strike deep enough to endure–put my arms around her and then we embraced each other and kissed each other over and over and over.

Although I teased her, ever after this did so to everlasting pain, such became, I am glad to say, rarer and rarer–it should surely never have been–and this change to the event made my parents particularly happy–and the girl herself, too, I hope. So far as I know it actually did.

We met often to kiss each other fervently and to embrace each other. A point of moral propriety–I have never had and never will have anything to do with convention–has been a cause of life-long worry and earnest pondering on my part. Was here a breach of true morality or not ? Apparently it was, as I be being unrestrictedly convinced me that she loved me, while I though cherishing her kisses and caresses, was nevertheless loving another girl. Although I, as I could possibly understand and judge the matter was aware of, that it gave her a great joy to be kissed and caressed by me, and that she–because she was so unusually intelligent–accepted and expected this as all that there could be between us. My doubt as to its propriety has caused me worry and great uneasiness at times. Possibly she had some hope that she some day would to able to win me and thus get an opportunity to be my guardian Angel. Ah, had that only could have been!

I blame superstition, that is religion for my inability to grasp things at all, or too slowly My tragic failure to realise the great qualities of this girl was caused by religion. This cause of all evil delayed my mental and moral growth for I should surmise about thirty years. I know, indeed, but little now’ but so much though that I could appreciate this girl–now my ideal–and build a nest of happiness It is obvious, it seems to me, that a bright child of ten, taught to the best advantage for himself or herself and the world, can be made to know as much as he or she will have learned at forty or even at eighty gears of age. Very early and intense training–no fear of exhaustion–of the intellect accelerates the growth of the mental powers many times. infinitely much beyond any conjecture I can make. As I have said. I have a reason to blame, and do blame religion for most, if not all, of my life-long misfortune. I shall go further into this later on.

This angel-girl told me many things about myself–more things than any other being has ever done. Amongst many such things she told me that I wanted courage, that I sadly lacked boldness and initiative. She predicted that I would fall prey to general misunderstanding and to slander and prejudice precisely because I was so much ahead of the rest of humanity as whole in my inherent honesty, sincerity and truthfulness, that I would be henceforth neglected and abused and despised by the herd-element of the people of the world. How did She know this? I felt I was sadly misunderstood even from the start, but some of what she said was then to me a riddle notwithstanding. Though now I know this to be so. She said that the dream-world of my soul was beautiful and shining with ideals, and that she genuinely sympathised with me and had great compassion for me. She said that I could always depend on her true and unfailing interest in me–yes if all the world was going to turn against me she would not–SHE. And she said so man,: other words and they were so soulful and so full of understanding and sweet sympathy that knew then–as I know now–that she loved me in its truest and noblest and greatest sense.

Allowing for perhaps some exaggeration such as in her high praise of my person. The fact is that, as an incomparable friend, she told me of, and tried to make me know, so many of my faults and weaknesses. In addition to what I have already stated, she said that I had a weak will and was dangerously intemperate in eating and drinking. That my over indulgence in food was and would continue to be most disastrous for me, causing stomach sickness and shorten my span of life greatly. She advised that I should avoid using even a small amount of tobacco for she feared that I would later on develop an appetite for intoxicating beverages. She said that my vivid, arid glazing thoughts were running away with me–running, often, a riot within me. They were as intoxicating as oats to the horse, as flight to the Ace; brewing hell inside. She saw that these powers of chaos were everywhere, all over the universe at the one and the same time and that my lack of ability to concentrate my thoughts, and the uncontrollable emotionalism that wracked my behaviour was a result of my having given myself over to them through the use of these stimulants. For these reasons it would most certainly be impossible for me to accomplish anything of great importance; that most of my thoughts would but be sickly-sweet delusions, while I yearned for the ability to bring them into forceful action.

Her prophetic words have proved only too true unto this day. She deplored very much how entirely impractical I was and would be. She told me I was suspicious, and was contracting within myself, nurturing fear-complexes: undue fears of the ill-will of people, slander, derision and ridicule. At the same time she claimed that I had quite an enormous amount of envy and a strong desire to dominate and rule. I was vain, she said. She told me not to let vanity pervert my great ambitions or let them become subverted by it. And she said that I needed someone to work with me and guide me and protect me and help me.

While her words wounded my pride, and touched me to the quick of my being and thereby infuriated me, I knew she was that someone. For, she was right. This need I have felt all my life–and found none who could or was willing to provide it. She listened to me carefully read her beautiful love poems and other poems and stories I liked. And she discussed these with thoughtful and sympathetic understanding. She had already read some translations from Shakespeare and Göethe, which I had no idea about then–nor now–as I am indeed no student of books. She expounded Shakespeare , but it was as Hebrew to me. I remember that when I attended a performance of Shakespeare in this country it impressed me; the excellence of the performance it self, the skill and ingenuity of the players–selected cast of artists from the Old Country–probably impressed me more than the theme of the old old-time tragedy actually did .

This girl was fond of music. I sang for her and she was the only one that understood that I had a voice worth cultivating. I did not understand it then myself, but I do so now with pangs of grief.

The why and wherefore of the fact that this girl’s excellent advice and appreciation was not understood and appreciated by myself is an everlasting surprise, riddle, agony to me. I could dream ideal dreams that many adults never can. Why could I not understand this girl then and benefit by her advice? I do not know why. But I could not. Her advice and appreciation failed to teach me anything worth speaking of then. It passed me. I could not grasp it. And as I recall how we dreamed together dreams about music, poems, stories and novels, dramas and yet other fine things. I can find no words for my regret chokes me. I must stop, say nothing.

I have often said that I can not describe sorrow in any language with mere words as symbols. It is only in music that this could be done. I wish I could produce such a musical masterpiece. It is not reasonable for me to have much hope of being able to do so. But yet I really have such a hope.

While I regret constantly and with profound sorrow that I did not, or could not show this remarkable girl due consideration that I, in addition, teased and tormented her part of the time I am glad for one thing it is a bright ray piercing my grief. No praise is due me for what I am going to say now, Nor can it excuse my faulty attitude towards this girl. It can do no such thing! But it gives me consolation that I never made sexual advances towards this pure female–never! Strong desire for this often entered my mind with a rush and a force. But it never lingered long in my thoughts And never broke out on my lips in as much as a hint. I am not underscoring this as a point of virtue NO–and again–NO! I am underscoring it only because it may possibly have some psycho-physiological meaning. A sudden urge would attack me, strong sexual desire for her. But still stronger urge was then present too, that restrained me. And so these sordid attacks within me–both forces must have been within me–were oftentimes rather short-lived.

I have dwelled long on my memory of this girl, who was the first woman to have truly intimate contact with me; what I am convinced was high, sublime Platonic love. It has been a relief for me in my deep remorse, regret and longing for what is now far behind–and like the dead cannot be called back in reality–to write so much about it here. It is the supreme tragedy of my life.

Chapter 3: To Be Awful and Filled with Awe.

"what he had was what he pretended,"


For the sake of lucidity and so as to give the next event, here related from my varied life, more substance from a psychosociological point of view, I write a chapter out of the history of my immediate family. In the land of my birth the farmers can only pursue the raising of sheep, cattle and ponies, and their products, the value of which they can exchange for the many articles they must buy, and wherewith to pay taxes and so forth, are wool, mutt on, beef, hides and ponies, extensively shipped, I am sorry to say, for the living tombs–the coal mines of England . But this s is the only available market for them. And it is justified in the saying "a man must live." To me, this fate of the pretty, lovely creatures, that, excepting birds, were dearest to me of all animals, was most painful and shocking. Even yet I shrink in terror and pain at the thought of it.

My father was, as I have stated before, a farmer. He had a herd of over six: hundred sheep, twenty milk cows and as many beef cattle, and about one hundred ponies. He avoided selling, except a few, of his ponies out of the country. As he raised only the best of ponies–a selected stock, he found market for them by selling them to farmers, sometimes in distant parts of the land, who sought to improve their stock. But there was another thing my father could not avoid–he had to slaughter his sheep and cattle–since doing so meant the very life and subsistence of the very family and as only by so doing he could sustain his hospitality to the hungry and weary who all and at all times were received with welcome, and who always were given food and shelter.

The sheep and what cattle there is for beef purposes is always slaughtered in the autumn.. That is the time they are fattest, having grazed on the nutritious pastures of the interior mountains. The farmers as a rule do all the slaughtering at home, and mutton and beef that is not transported to town for exportation, and used for the larder, is preserved throughout the whole year either salted, smoked or soured. This is done with more care and finish than I know to be the case elsewhere.

The slaughter season was dreaded by my father and all my family. My father could positively not under any circumstances kill a sheep or any living animal. So my father was obliged to hire neighbour farmers for high wages to do the killing of our sheep. There were usually four or five neighbours together doing this ghastly work at our place. Only when all the slaughter work was finished, when hide, entrails and so forth were all removed and only the flesh carcass alone remained, did my father and any brothers come on the scene, and they would weigh the mutton, and prepare it for transportation or start the curing process of it, if it was to be for consumption ion at home . I have said that there was never a gun in our house. There was no use far it, except when a cattle had to be slaughtered. In any case none in our house could use a gun, and as neither my father nor the rest of the family could as much as see an animal killed, it was the same as with the sheep-killing. A neighbour, a good marksman, was always invited to do the job, and he with the aid of his boy–a fellow not shrinking from the sight of blood–completed this sordid work. He used a large shot-gun, this neighbour did, to kill our cattle with. And it was the custom that none left our house , nor came near the spot where the killing was going on, until it was all over. This thing affected the appetite of some of us, for a meal or two. I was surprised at how excellent the appetite of the neighbour father and son was at our table before and after their ghastly job. They had unspoiled appetite in spite of having taken a life away that did no one harm. Of course I am telling of this from. my own viewpoint and that of my family. This was necessary, and people ordinarily would jeer at me even for relating this. The blood-lust is so strong in humanity as a whole, because of nineteen hundred years of Christianity, that animal killing–though necessary -- is thought as nothing, nay, as sport. Men high up in the social scale take vacations and enjoy the "sport" of killing birds and shooting at and killing whatever animal they find within aim. Killing of animals is–until Science has perfected meat-making; by chemical action and without bloodshed–necessary, admittedly nevertheless, it ought to be considered as a deplorable necessity–a shocking affair–at best.

My very physically strong father suffered no fears–apart from religious ones–at an’’ time or under any circumstances. His shrinking from killing his domestic animals had nothing to do with fear. It was dislike, disgust that caused him and us others to let other people do it. I say again, it had nothing: to do with fear in his case, for he showed even more courage in real danger than our neighbours did. Neither had it anything to do with fear in me. not at all. I am writing this because it has relation to what I am now going to describe. My tendency to imitate must be considerable in me. On this is at least partly built my belief that I could have been a successful dramatic actor, probably far both performances of tragedies and comedies–though tragedies would certainty have been portrayed by myself with far, far greater effect. My ability which I had. and a part of which I still have. I hope. My dramatic ability has never been tested."

"Our neighbours or both sides were what is called a "good shot ." They killed thousands of ptarmigans every winter, and shipped them, or sold them to merchants who in turn shipped them to England and the continent. The wholesale shooting of these birds was unpleasant to us, as the mountain rocks echoed the thunderous shots of these old, crude shot-guns then in use. My father said that these neighbours did not grow any richer despite shooting these birds and getting money for selling them, and then of: course eating some, as I presume they did. It so happened that they grew no richer either. But ruled that no gun should there ever be in our house, and none of my brothers wanted any; when a hired man once and another hired man at another time brought a gun with them, my father requested them to sell it, which they did.

In view of this the only explainable reason for me, for suddenly wanting to handle a gun and shoot birds, was an impulse to imitate. What a stupendous folly! What an immoral, rapacious, felonious impulse. The idea of enjoying the "sport" of killing not only entirely harmless creatures on wing; but these very sweet creatures had unnumbered times before, as they have yet more unnumbered times since entertained me with their singing. The neighbour’s boy, the one who helped his father to kill for us our cattle, had a of course for years tried to get me interested in aiming a gun, "from a point of skill" as he expressed it. His great amusement in killing birds and beasts with his gun was not that he wanted merely to see the poor birds die. It was the "thrill" of the "sport" above all, he declared. The "Sportsmanship" of lining up perhaps a dozen birds in one shot, and if not killing all of them, then wounding and maiming and laming some was to him the acme of everything. Shooting birds or beast was the height of, and embodied, all his ambition.

It may have been a desire and subconscious impulse, derived from example, to imitate, which drew me to do a sad act–to me it has always been a tragedy, a crime–though most people would look at it from a milder and more lenient point of view, no doubt. How I was seized with uncontrollable desire one day to go shooting! How I rushed, as if with a fever, to this boy’s house, without telling my parents about it, (no permission was needed for me to go anywhere. I was free to go anywhere at any time, but if it meant a stay away from home for a whole day, I was expected to say so, less my parents would not get afraid that I had been hurt ) and asked the boy to lend me his gun so I could try shooting. He was glad to learn of my interest in his favourite "sport" , but rather surprised at my sudden desire for this. He wanted to sell me the gun on the spot, declaring that he wanted to buy a newer one. I told him I had to try it out first. as well as my efficiency as a shot, as I had never fired a gun so far. He agreed to this. And when he had showed me how to reload it, I stalked away with large strides and a loaded gun, and material for several shots

This was early in the spring. Charming summer visitors–these wonderful tourists of nature–the migratory birds, filled the air with song. But what did I do, but rush and bustle and, as I recall it, rave about the meadow mist between our house and the river, until I got aim on one of the sweetest songbirds there are, a golden-plover, and fired. Silent was this gentle musician because my murderous onslaught had taken straight effect, and dead rolled the pretty bird over on its side. This assassination is the freshest event of all in my memory today. And I expect it always will be. I recollect perfectly my murder of this bird, which I think will be the last as well as the first and only murder I have committed. I shall certainly never again harm a bird or beast, nor have I in recent years even killed a fly. I simply cannot. And while I believe that millions of others ..."

The idiotic, mean, vile, slanderous, hypocritical, prudish, extremely narrowly–selfish and rapacious,
Lying and cheating and blood and sweat sucking and parasitic–
Human beasts such as priests and clergymen men,
Exponents, for their own gain, of superstition:
Of preying on credulity and ignorance of the wage-slave.
These ought to be dead; the instant taking off of this
Ungentle gentry would benefit the rest of humanity, and give an
Honest man a chance, I nevertheless do not contemplate a personal engagement in their wholesale slaughter-
Could never soil my hands in their tainted, vicious blood.

"But out of two remote things, and as a symbolic comparison, I would sooner kill a preacher than a bird ! While I am here discussing preachers as well as birds, an incident recurs to my mind. I had stayed overnight with a rich farmer in the West of Canada. The breakfast table was laid and I was looking forth to it tee fare I would resume my journey for the day. The farmer, who had let me understand that he was not looking for payment for the night ‘s shelter and sleep in a bed, the sheets of which had such a dubious appearance, that I thought it more wholesome and more sanitary to sleep with all my clothes on. No doubt his offer not to charge me a stiff price for or this kind of accommodation was habit with him. Though not looking for payment in cash–which I was willing to give him because to sleep under the stars, much as I though love it, would have been altogether out of the question as it would have been too cold for me late in the autumn as it was–he must nevertheless have thought it reasonable that I should render him some return, for he asked me to do some work before sitting down at the table already spread.

He told me he was short of help. I knew he was, as he seemed too stingy to offer a decent living wage. The work he assigned me to and asked me to do was to kill a hen for dinner. He told me also that he was preparing this special chicken dinner for the benefit of his pastor, a Lutheran parasite and his wife and children, who were invited to stay there for dinner. Yes, he wanted to kill the poor chicken only so that the Lutheran liar could eat it. And he asked me to do the killing. Had he asked me to eliminate the clergyman, it would have appeared to me to have some base in justice and morality. For the hen is useful insofar as it lays eggs, while the clergyman lived only to spread falsehoods and lies and help to maintain ignorance, vice, crime, poverty and misery in the world. So I replied that I thought it proper and deemed it appropriate if the clergyman were roasted and then the hen should be offered the minister’s roasted carcass. I told him that I doubted that the hen would stoop to eat such filthy stuff, he or any other clergyman.

My willingness to have things entirely opposite to what the farmer wished, and thus offer his "soul" pet, his clergyman, for chicken feed put me at a risk of life and limbs as my suggestion made his bulldog face black with rage and his giant arms and fists trembled. While he tried to curb his wrath, to restrain himself from beating me to death, his huge fist was actually raised for a blow, as he opened the door and roared hoarsely, for me to "beat it".

I left quite calmly. At that very time I was not afraid. Half a mile out on the road, however, I began to fear. Though it was then a matter of the past, it was a fear of what was beyond the danger point, while I did not feel any fear at the very tine I was confronted with the peril itself. I want to state here that in danger, and I have looked possibilities of death in the face several times–as I will come to later in this sketch, I have felt no fear. This is peculiar. Though my many fears and fear-complexes have troubled and tormented me at all other times, I have never experienced fear during a time of danger. I have felt it rather after the worst was over. Felt it in a kind of cold panic at what might have been, a delayed emotional over-reaction.

But returning to where I was telling of my assassination of that charming migratory bird. No sooner was the unhappy deed done than did painful regret, stinging remorse, piercing grief overwhelm me .

I threw the hideous gun in great fury as far away from me as my fling could reeve it, ran to where the victim of vicious murder lay picked up the dead bird and unfolded him and pressed him to my breast. I wept over the pitiable affair for hours. I have never wept more at any one time: wept and sobbed and lamented for most of the rest of the day. Besides I could not possibly understand why I did this thing. Why did a I suddenly get an uncontrollable desire to get a gun and go shooting; killing birds, whose music I at all times so prized and enjoyed and loved? Yes, why did I? I certainly could not answer it then. I have not been able to find an answer to it yet, unless, as I alluded to before, it was a subconscious tendency to imitate the neighbour boy.

When I was well nigh exhausted from weeping and sighing and sobbing, I walked slowly home. Never have I been with a heavier heart than when I, toward evening. got back home. My mother, who met me at the door became anxious and worried at seeing me crying and worn out from weeping and sobbing. And then she thought that the dead bird I had in my arms was the cause of it, and she consoled me and told me not to weep any longer over the fate of the bird, as such could not be helped since there beings in this world so cruel and rapacious as to shoot these pretty creatures. She thought that the bird had been killed by the neighbours. When I, in words twittering and quivering from sobbing, told her that I had borrowed a gun from the neighbour boy and then went to work and assassinated the sweet, little bird, she could not believe me at first. She looked carefully at me to reassure herself that I was still in a proper mind, and then it occurred to her to lay the blame, where I think now it may belong to, namely , that I had caught the shooting mania from our neighbours, who were shooting at all times and seasons, to sore annoyance to everyone at our place. My father, when he learned of this, took a similar view.My parents deplored this very much, but they were immensely glad that I had thrown the gun away, that I repented my deed, and that it appeared without a doubt I would never do such a vicious thing again.

A couple of days later the boy, who loaned me the gun, came to claim it back. I told him I did not know where it was and told him the story of the shooting of the bird and how I flung the gun away as far as it would go, cursing him for loaning it to me, and cursing him for shooting birds and beasts, and thereby give a bad example, as I had heard people say, though I then could not suspect that his example had contaged or corrupted me to go to work and kill the bird. He laughed a lot at me and then demanded a double price for his gun. My father would gladly settle this by paying reasonably for the gun. The boy admitted that he had bought the gun for six crowns three years before; but now he wanted twelve crowns in payment for it, declaring he had lost some opportunity in shooting wild geese. My father’s principle was to buy and sell things at a right price and he held that the boy had no just claim for a double price for his gun even though he had loaned it to me and I had thrown it away. Then my father handed the boy eight crowns, which the boy quickly grabbed and gleefully said that he wished he could often lend his gun if it meant that he could every such time make two crowns as he had this time.

The gun was found later in the summer by one of our hired men. It being adjudged my property, by my father, I put it on my shoulder, walked briskly straight down to the river and then threw the gun into a deep pit, and there it has been since. The day after I murdered the sweet, little bird I took it s dead body, dug a hole in the ground in the home field and interred him there and marked the tiny tomb with a small wooden cross. My face was bathed with tears and many a heavy sigh I breathed. And ever after that, the vision of that little wooden cross moved me to tears.

No event in my life stands clearer out in my memory than the scene of the assassination of this little bird; how he sang so sweetly. It was singing as I aimed and fired, his voice stilled, and he rolled dead over on the side. I yet repent this; and as it has been, so it always will be, a matter of grief to me."

"Events in this sketch are not always described chronologically. At this point I go back to the time when I first went to town and saw the sea. I was then in my ninth gear. This was toward autumn. We, father and I, took the trip on horseback, and my father held a packsaddle pony by the reins, which was to carry a load of necessaries back from town. There were no automobiles in those days, though they are abundant there now, I am informed, and no railroads have there ever been in the land of my birth.

We started off in the afternoon on this journey of over thirty-five, perhaps forty miles, miles and we kept on riding far into the night which was yet short, but beautifully star lit. Towards dawn we arrived at a farmhouse where my father decided we should sleep and rest awhile. The farmer, a very intelligent man’ thus wakened up, welcomed us with open arms. I remember he looked at me very deeply, and said, seeing how fervently I viewed Venus, the love-star: "You love that star I can see . Why, you yourself are a star, beautiful and sparkling! Let your light become neither sullied nor faded nor darkened . Don’t let it die!"

My father listened to this speech and he perhaps thought: this rather sounded like a flattery, of which my father always disapproved and said something to this effect to the farmer, but in such a wag that our host could not feel that he had been critically ensured. The farmer told d my father then right there that I did not know myself and that my father did not know me either and added: "Most of us fathers lack insight in order to know our children, and thus we are not to our children what we ought to be."

This was about six miles from town. We slept for awhile, ate breakfast and left late in the forenoon. Of course the town was a new thing to see. But it was the sea that my attention came to centre on. It took my dreamy mind by storm. It captured me entirely.

My father shopped at the Farmers Import and Export Co-operative Agency’s store, and the manager presented my father with a bottle of and another of Cognac; also invited us for coffee in his private suite. Later my father bought a few things in other stores and in one of them the merchant, very anxious to get more of my father ‘s trade, presented my father with a bottle of Oporto. My father then said that if he did this in the hope of getting himself as a customer on a large scale , he could not receive the bottle. The merchant of course declared that he was not trying particularly that at all. But that this was merely evidence of his respect and his wish that they could get better acquainted. That is how he said it. And my father received the bottle. Then he invited my father for a few drinks as wolf. I had been gazing at the sea right along as much as I had possibly found an opportunity to. I asked my father to let me stay outside and enjoy my sight of the ocean. He told me I could, but asked me not to wander away and perhaps get lost.

This I forgot. I simply wandered away along the shore, gazing, gazing at the broad bay, the expanse of the water before me still and quiet, like a giant asleep, I roamed along, entirely oblivious of everything but the sea, for more than two miles, and out of sight of people in town, along a small rocky promontory hiding me from view from town. Here I sat down, gazing constantly on the majestic sea before me, listening to the lulling sweet murmur of the ripples–the low, soft tune that they sang to the pebble stones at my feet, like lulling a baby to sleep.

My father stayed a little longer, drinking toddy. it is called, some call it punch, than he wished, perhaps almost half an hour. And he had voiced his anxiety to the merchant before he exited as to whether I was still out side where he left me or perhaps lost and added that I was such a peculiar far boy, according to what that same merchant, reviving this episode, told me years later. And when I was not where he left me, and he could not see me anywhere around, he regretted very much that he had not taken me with him into the chamber, where they had been drinking together. A search was started in three directions. The merchant mobilising his entire force of five men working in his store and warehouse for this expedition of searching for me , while my father ran to the Farmer’s Import and Export Co-operative Agency ‘s store and the manager himself, together with most of his staff, started off as well.

The search lasted altogether for more than two hours. Someone who had come into town from the north facilitated the success of this search for me by saving that he had noticed a boy straggle along the shore, just outside of town when he arrived an hour and a half before. And so my father and two young men with him found me there gazing without a blink at the sea. I was started. At first I, simply wondered why they came so suddenly upon me, where I was as I looked about me. To make matters worse, I said some angry words, I am sorry to say, to my anxious father and to the bewildered young men from the store, who had gone searching in the same direction as he. They seen me about the same time as he and ran and reached at the same moment as he.

We walked back to town and departed at once for home. We stopped at the same farmer for coffee on our back journey, where we had slept and rested and breakfasted before; also in two other places, where in addition the farmers regaled my father with Danish brandy–besides my father had hip flasks for drinking on the sly all the time–but was not intoxicated; such he never was, no matter how much he drank. Except for these stops we travelled on until we reached home again–rode throughout the short night with brilliant, blazing stars in the bluest of skies. I was much concerned with the stars, also dreaming of the ocean and the pony which I rode took advantage of it now and then by stopping short and nibbling off grass that grew near, or by the roadside. My father, who naturally rode ahead, never lost sight of me, taking a look back every couple of hundred yards or so. And when my pony had stopped for a mouthful, because of my absent mindedness from the travel, my father called loud for me to go on, or it that did not rouse me out of my reverie, he would turn back and come up to me and then he patiently told me that I had to be sure to follow him, without telling my pony to stop and graze for awhile. There was no likelihood of my falling asleep, though my father thought sometimes when I stopped that I was sleepy and therefore falling asleep. I was wide awake–only day-dreams there in the night under the lustrous stars, the flaming giant suns almost inconceivably far in the immensity of unfathomable depths of infinite space. We arrived home rather late in the forenoon the following day.

I rely implicitly on my mother’s truthfulness that could sing before I could speak. It was very unfortunate for me that my parents did not understand that I had a decided propensity for music for if they had they would have, I believe, made some effort to start me on a musical career, instead of starting me–and too late that start was in any case–on the road to an university education and prestige, a road that I travelled but at short way indeed and then quit. Later on I shall discuss that tragic aspect of my tragic life.

My parents could have afforded musical education for even though a heavy mortgage hung over our farm from the time I first remember until I left home.

The story of that mortgage is a story of confidence misplaced, fidelity misused and money misappropriated by a man, whose friend my father was. In order to help his friend: out of financial difficulties my father mortgaged his farm heavily. The man who drew the loan on my father’s farm as security promised to pay off the loan in the course of a few years. He may–or may not–have intended to do so. The loan improved his financial situation only temporarily. Then he sank deeper in insolvency and business entanglements, because of reckless speculations. The result was that the mortgage remained on our farm, and my father had to pay a large amount in interest to the bank that had issued the loan. and while trying: to pay it off in instalments. It was accomplished only very slowly a small sum annually and the mortgage was still large even as late as the time when I left my motherland, at twenty-four, to come to this Continent.

But in spite of this mortgage I could have and would have received education in music had my parents believed in my ability. Had it actually occurred to them that I had any talent for music, as I now am convinced I had, my live might have been a very different, a more savoury kettle of fish-stew.

I am a little ashamed to say that throughout my life I have poured out my pent up emotions in bad verse with which I will not insult my reader by putting before him. Yet I am moved at this point in my narrative to quote here from my ‘commonplace book,’ several notebooks I have kept from early adolescence filled not only with my own out pourings but poems, articles cut from papers and magazines, and passages of prose which, for one reason or another, have spoken to me directly. Here, then, is one which rings in my head as I write.

The Lesson of the Water-Mill.

By Sarah Doudney.

Listen to the water-mill; 
Through the livelong day,
How the clicking of its wheel
Wears the hours away!
Languidly the autumn wind
Stirs the forest leaves,
From the field the reapers sing,
Binding up their sheaves;
And a proverb haunts my mind
As a spell is cast–
"The mill cannot grind
With water that is past."
Autumn winds revive no more
Leaves that once are shed,
And the sickle cannot reap
Corn once gatheréd;
Flows the ruffled streamlet on,
Tranquil, deep, and still;
Never gliding back again
To the water-mill;
Truly speaks that proverb old,
With a meaning vast–
"The mill cannot grind
With water that is past."
Take the lesson to thyself,
True and loving heart;
Golden youth is fleeting by,
Summer hours depart;
Learn to make the most of life,
Lose no happy day,
Time will never bring thee back
Chances swept away!
Leave no tender word unsaid
Love while love shall last–
"The mill cannot grind
With water that is past."

Work while yet the daylight shines, Man of strength and will! Never does the streamlet glide Useless by the mill; Wait not till to-morrow’s sun Beams upon thy way, All that thou canst call thine own Lies in thy "to-day"; Power, and intellect, and health May not always last– "The mill cannot grind With the water that is past." O the wasted hours of life That have drifted by! O the good that might have been– Lost, without out a sigh! Love that we might once have saved By a single word, Thoughts conceived, but never penned, Perishing unheard; Take the proverb to thine heart, Take and hold it fast– "The mill cannot grind With water that is past."

"These verses are really of music as well as of love. Love and music in my thoughts are the same. I have sung of all my loves, if not always aloud, at least my soul has sung them over and over and again and again–sung them through as if they really were–as they are–singing music, so to speak, themselves.

Else when I am alone walking and otherwise undisturbed I am most certainly humming a beautiful tune. At other times I am thinking my favourite tunes. Oftentimes, musical masterpieces such as, for instance, Saint Saën’s "The Swan", Massenet’s "Elegy", Chopin’s Nocturne in E Flat, Schubert’s ""Ständchen", Rubenstein’s Melody in F, Mascagni’s "O Lola Fair as a Flower", Verdi’s "Heavenly Aida’’; Bartlett’s "The Dream", Dvorak ‘s "Humoresque", Kreisler’s "Caprice Viennoise", Gounod’s "Sing, Laugh, Slumber" and others force themselves irresistibly on my thoughts–even when I want to think of something else, irresistibly sing themselves. Countless times this singing within–this singing in my thoughts–has disturbed me and prevented me from forming a train of thought on something else, or if a thought-process on something has started and I have been trying to concentrate my mind on something, and this singing has come along–it, the singing has prevailed.

It used to be as if I had tuned in on a certain radio station, but another louder and more powerful came on the air to confound the one already tuned in on. This interference cannot be eliminated, cannot be kept out. And so instead of expending my energy on the solution–an effort to solve–one or more of humanity’s vital problems at that time, this energy turned to singing–to a dream, for in many cases I was singing, and could I let myself imagine, before large audiences, with a powerful, pure, resonant voice, which rang and resounded in my soul, together with thrilling applause that I, too, let myself imagine I was receiving, and even that echoed sometimes also in my day-dreams. As it was, so it is and ever will be. I can say, however, that I rarely fall as deeply or as often in dream-reveries as before. Yet there is not an hour, unless I have managed to make my thought-field tolerably clear, which is rather rare, and am concertedly writing, but that some dream comes along, and in the majority of such innumerable cases the dream is music. A few times I am or have become in my imagination a piano player or a violinist–but I have never played any other instruments in my imagination, in my longing–but in most cases I am in my imagination what I have most longed be–a tenor. And there is rarely a dreamless hour. A part of almost every hour must be used for dreaming. It cannot be helped for I cannot be helped But although I have spent most of my waking hours in dreaming that I was : first of all a singer, then a pianist or a violinist, or a great dramatic actor, and so forth. And it gives me some consolation that I have spent at least some of my time, I can say, on the suffering of humanity.

That is why that now, music is no longer my fondest or greatest dream. Not at all. My thoughts, my effort to concentrate, my train of disturbed and broken as was the case before by the singing tunes in my mind. But my fondest and greatest dream is the salvation of humanity–to accomplish reforms of great importance, to leave some worth-while trace behind, when I am dead, to show that I have lived to free the world from intellectual and economic bondage, and to educate humanity out of vice, crime, greed and self-centredness. My ambition and wish to make all people happy by teachings of using one’s reason and having morality as the foundation of all that is taught–my longing to make others happy, as I myself would like to be, but am not–my dream of a happy world is, symbolically, a music. It is my dearest music now. Music was once my greatest dream, was so for many years. It has now been superseded by a still greater dream–humanity’s emancipation.

"When I was just past my eighth year, a young: man stayed with us for awhile and he played an accordion very well. It more than once as if lulled me to sleep, and at the times I woke up, when he was playing, I remember it was a very agreeable and comfortable sensation.

This young man saw and understood my longing and love for music, and he let me try to play his accordion. At once I was able to play those waltzes, gallopades, polkas, mazurkas, rolls, seven-steps and such dance tunes as were then current in that part of the land of my birth. He told my parents that I should study music. They were not much impressed by his suggestion, for at least my father was not enough impressed. Although my father had a powerful voice, even in his advanced age, he did not like instrumental music. while he sometimes sang, he sang only antique airs. Although his big resonant voice could be heard for miles, I think can be safely said, he took no particular interest in music at all. But this young man wanted me to have an accordion permanently. His was not a new instrument, but it was in a good condition. He succeeded in having my father buy it for me, especially because my mother came out very strong for the idea and I really owe it to her more than to him that it was bought.

From then on, for several years, I was regarded to be by far the best accordion player in the community, although a number of men could play it. Consequently I was wanted to play at those old-fashioned, but to me now much more appealing, dances–country canoes they could be called, as I noticed later that dances in towns by the sea–all towns are there by the sea–differed. And for several years I played at almost all dances held in our community.

At one ball held across the river I was not asked at the start to play because an excellent player of the harmonica, as well as the organ, was paying a visit to the people of the farmhouse next to the one where the ball was held. This gentleman kindly offered to play at the ball. He did so for awhile, but Danish brandy, of which he was fond, got the "better" of him’ and his accordion playing became demoralised and was virtually at an end at midnight; while dances always lasted till dawn and even longer. This was in midwinter and nights were long.

When the man from town got "knocked out" from drinking too hard or at least so drunk that he could not handle the instrument, the prospect of continuing dancing was dark. The ball got into confusion for awhile. Two or three tried their best to play danceable music; but their effort could not keep this ball in proper proceeding order, as folks were not satisfied with their playing. The result was that my brother was dispatched for me. He woke us up between one and two o’clock in the night. My parents, and especially my mother, objected to taking me out into the cold night, for fear that I might catch cold. But my brother insisted that I go and said that all those that were at the ball had expressed regret that I had not been asked to play in the first place, instead of depending on the offer of that man from town, though he admittedly played as well as I or better. My brother’s description of my importance, his saying that the fate of the ball depended on me, made me more than willing to go. And I went with him.

The ford of the river was deep. My brother rode ahead. The water even surged over the shoulder-blades of our ponies. But they were strong and steady-legged, these ponies, and we could fully depend on them. Our large and high riding boots and skin-goats protected us from getting drenched in the water. When we arrived at the farmhouse where the ball was being held a crowd was waiting outside, even though the night was quite chilly, and I received a tremendous welcome. Like a conqueror I was carried by two husky, eager dancers, on their strong shoulders into the chamber which was used for the dancing, where the applause rose almost to a roar, the applause was repeated and even louder and yet stronger than before. It could not have been exceeded much even had there been a national or international figure. This flattered my rarity, I am sorry to say, for the time being and I surely thought a lot of myself’ I was being paid compliments now and then throughout the night by various ardent young people; also two fellows, who made short speeches at intervals paid me tributes, and they, as indeed the whole crowd, made it only too plain to me that the success of the ball was entirely due to my presence which multiplied my foolish pride and vain glory. But such it is to be only a child. I have seldom admired myself more than I did on this occasion.

A pretty girl of twenty, whom I did not know before, and who lived quite a distance away, came straight up to me once between dances, put both her arms around my neck, said that I was splendid and that she was really in love with me, and then pressed a kiss upon my lips. I have said that the only girl I have caressed was the one I spoke so much about. This is substantially true; although women have more than once taken the initiative and kissed and embraced me’ to which I have either in part responded or else not. I kept up asking information about this girl during the next three years. It was said that she was strictly chaste, all right, but it was recommended that she should marry early and young. That she did not–she married death; though apparently in best of health she took suddenly sick and died. But the kiss she planted on my surely thirsty lips is still fresh, delightfully burning in my memory. It was sweet. I think that the girl was unspoiled and honest and earnest and that she loved me at that moment.

My first accordion lasted me for over two years or thereabouts. I had some two more and played more or less until towards the close of my fourteenth year it only satisfied me at the start and even hardly that. I dreamed of organ and later piano all the time. Even when my first accordion was bought for me, I, although being very fond of it, received it with particular joy because organ was not obtainable. From early childhood and until I was in my seventeenth year I was begging father and clamouring for an organ–I knew piano could not be had–also my mother, who always understood quite a bit more about me than my father, though neither understood me much, pleaded sometimes for this with my father. But he evaded and avoided it peacefully, and so organ was never bought.

Had I in childhood started to study music, I would have had to go to town, where there were but two such teachers and neither of them possessed intimate or deep knowledge neither of technique of playing nor the art of teaching the world’s greatest art–music. There were certainly no instructors in music available anywhere near us. This might in part account for my lack of opportunity to study under a teacher, as my "parents were so fond of me–the baby–that they both often said they could not see me go and be absent for a long time so as to study music. But it does not excuse the failure of my father to buy me an organ and study books in music and books with musical compositions to train myself on and thus study up music myself by the aid of instrument and books as best I would be able. My mother understood my deep craving, my inherent longing and profound love for music as she did the movements of the currents of the sea. I myself did not understand it then. I did not understand that music was my first and predominating passion. If I had I would have pleaded even harder, and if she had understood it in this way, she would have campaigned for an organ to be bought for me. Then, I am convinced, it would have been bought.

I could not understand myself nor my parents, and therefore they could not bring me up as it should have been done. But although my parents could not understand me, they surely would have liked to. Their inability to handle my upbringing so as to make it possible for me to find proper and wholesome expression for what there may have been in me–a true outlet in time for my dreamy mind–the energy of which has thus been for the most part dissipates, because of my own ignorance and inability to know myself. Yet, I cannot condemn them. I was a peculiar being. They did their best. They loved me dearly, and love in error is also love.

I recall here a very early remembrance. I must have been no older than in By fourth year, perhaps younger man, able to play the organ, had promised me to take me along, together with my brother, to the third farmhouse to the north, where an old organ then was. This was to be at a certain date. While I forgot this–and was not evidently reminded about it–and that very day my mother and I visited an old farm couple living in the second farmhouse to the south, as far as I can recollect. The organist took my three brothers and they listened to him play many times during the day. They later teased me for forgetting to be home and thus be able to go with them. Upon my returning with my mother I was made aware of what I had missed by not listening to the organ recital. I wept bitterly–and for days I suffered, my regret and sorrow being increased by my brothers teasing, which By brothers seldom else did–and never as I grew up. The organist, next time when he came, took genuine interest in jig sorrow. He promised me another chance, and he did play for me later; he more than once invited all of us children to hear him play.

My listening to piano playing when I was already eighteen years old, and my listening to gramophones still later impressed me profoundly. Especially the singing of one great singer struck me with great force. And I played, and yet more fervently sang this music in my mind, or it as if sang itself over and over and over.

But people failed to encourage me for any real attempt on my part ever to take music up actively. What spells of regret and anguish because of this. And get this was beyond my knowledge then. I did not do better because I did not know how. Yet my remorse and agony and longing for lost time–last forever–tortures me always.

The first sign of any ability in me was early–as referred to twice before, when I could sing before I could talk. Yes, here was an unmistakable sign–a proof of a certain tendency. But my elders failed to be able to let this guide them, and, although I learned of this early in my childhood–almost as early as I have any conscious recollections of things–it failed to be a keg to an understanding of myself by myself. Everyone thought it was remarkable–so thought I, too, myself, but that was all.

"Belief in the existence and prevalence of ghosts and spectres was strong and general, I am sorry to say, though there were quite a few that disbelieved such–even as there were a few that were already, or were about to be, free from the prevailing and legal superstition – Lutheran Orthodoxy. I trust and hope that there are more free thinkers now in the land of my birth, than were when I left almost sixteen years ago, though I fear that they are rather scarce compared to the rest of the people, who have yet and will for some time tolerate the poison in them, and not only tolerate it, but many will, I suspect, even in this enlightened age, like their many in other countries, cling steadfast to the old dispensation remaining the dupes of religion. At best they lay themselves open to the unscrupulous machinations a not insignificant number of their priest-caste who behave worse than apes. In this way, and therefore:

"They seek deception–from Truth they flee
As if stung–what a gruesome tail!’’

Unfortunately this deadly plague hangs like a mist over the brain-mass of the people there, as it indeed does in every so-called civilised land. Yes, surely this brainicidal disease–the primary germ-hatchery of all the world’s wars takes its terrible toll of victims in my birth-land, though perhaps even less than in other countries and that in spite of that the legal terror, the ‘State Church’ maintains its presence in force. I have come to see the Church as the power behind the throne of political graft and capitalist tyranny in every so-called Christian county. It has perhaps less a stronghold in Iceland than it seems–nay certainly has–for instance on this North American Continent.

No doubt Lutheran Orthodoxy inspired the general belief in ghosts and spectres in the land of my birth. There were many fairly moral people there. If a Christian happens to be moral he is so, not because of religion, but in spite of it. While young people had at least some vague idea of the sacredness of purity and a bit of respect for it in those days, the belief in phantoms was extremely strong, though formerly this was even worse. How these absurdities worked on the imagination of people may seem extraordinarily surprising at a mere glance. However, these absurdities fade almost into nothing compared to the stupendous absurdities of Orthodox religion plus all of the terrible immorality of religion. This spectre-belief numbers among the innumerable and universal religious falsehoods. So prevalent was it in the world of my childhood that never a day passed it seems that my imagination was not snared by one tale or another. These mind-traps were on the lips of the entire country population, young and old. They were transcribed by those grimly infected with the dark obsession of the brothers Grimm and–one much nearer to my home–Hans Christian Anderson. The time marched with their "märchen." Their works and several books by other, local seekers of a national voice and national independence for our island, containing exclusively spectre stories were available and were widely read. This reading stirred up some very excitable stuff within me. I absorbed these books with an interest which I view now as a visionary intensity. The spectres depicted in these tales were said to be people, who had been either rather bad or else lacked ardour in prayers to Jehovah and zeal in religious worship. They had failed to suit the capricious all-too-human character of this borrowed Jewish God. They lacked too, perhaps, an unquenchable thirst for Christ’s blood, and so fell short of turning the trick of obtaining salvation."

"I should at this point explain that I have always viewed the Christian sacrament, that is the Eucharist as being nothing short of cannibalism, but then perhaps I am so negative about God’s power, which clearly can and does indeed so much good in the world, because of my own treatment at the hands of some of His corrupted servants. I read a poem on this subject recently, long after having left Iceland:

Prayer/Frère, by J.H.

O Lord, With my tiny mind, I loved you. You took me into your home, the Church and I loved you. You tied me in the pew and I loved you. And the priest, and I all the congregation smiled the warm inner smile of Loving you ... Gripped in consecrated hands, LOVED the Bird of Love Squeal-Screams filled the space. Sinews spindled, snapped: Flesh and spirit twisted. YOU! "Take! Eat! This is MINE!" Clenched, my eyes filled with tears as my Head was thrust under a trickle of blood. "Take! Drink!" Was given for me? Memory sinks into its mire, but I can see You, Christ, flexing your muscles, You mustn’t flinch so. Forcing the Blessed Blood out of your Nor must I. Blessed Wounds. Your stigmata mark me; that fast ooze! What did we do to deserve this? We must somehow act together. O, God Come down from your cross Cross to heal my broken limbs. No double-cross this time. I need you alive, Not as a bloodied corpse.

"For these reasons, not only did these poor souls go to hell, but the Devil had work shifts too crowded for shovelling coke for the flames of the dammed and sent these souls back to their rotting bodies in their graves. Thus they no longer kept still there but started to roam around the country annoying people in many ways. These gentlefolk, that is these ghosts were cynics, who often proved most annoying or hurtful to exceedingly religious and hard-praying people. As a result of this something of the order of a life-and-death battle between the ‘’efficacy of prayer" and the immense potency and infinite number of spectres, each with His Majesty, the Devil himself dancing within.

In several instances it was said the that in former times the fiend was not active in spectres. They behaved, apparently, so like ordinary people that they required board and beds to sleep in as well! One such spectre was the permanent resident of a prominent church parish hundred and fifty years, until the Devil, it was averred, transferred: him back to coal-and-sulphur labours in Hell. This redeployment took place near the end of the seventeenth century. Note these the almost likeable, absurd spectres "existed" far back in time. Perhaps in that period our own Nordic gods still had some foothold. To further explicate the long history and prevalence of religious superstition; of all this absurd, perverted imagination which is a flourishing branch on the tree divine of illusion, itself rooted in religion. I will write of one particular case in more detail. Besides, there is nothing like a frightening story to maintain interest.

Once upon a time, there was a ghost. The "soul" of this phantom had once been in a man–a young, pious man he was. This man was by popular and divine approval "consigned" straight to Heaven, which was at that time three or four miles up in a cloud-mist somewhere. Whither he went but his sojourn or rather his residence was of a very short duration as a clergyman turned the fate of his soul "upside down."

There were men, including some "God’s chosen" clergymen as well–who either were on intimate terms with the Devil his bosom friends–or else had him in their power, that is , were so thoroughly versed and learned in the Black Magic, a ancient and arcane treatise on the nature and temperament and characteristics of the Devil, that they controlled him. By these learnéd, holy men he was either coaxed or ‘forced to do their bidding.

The clergyman in whose parish this man had died, turned this otherwise god-loving fearing young man into a spectre. This clergyman moreover, had the reputation of delivering in his pulpit sermons "seething with fever and tremendous faith in the appetite for the Blood of the Lamb." Consequently, and as a reward from the children of Jehovah himself , he enjoyed one of the largest glebes and his parish was one of the largest and most remunerative in the country. But this man of God was so greedy for gain that he had use for Black Magic as well. Not only did he make Jehovah serve him, but the Devil above all.

In order to get even with a man in a distant part of the land– either to seriously hurt or kill that man–this clergyman decided to make the Devil come into the dead corpse in the Cemetery which was near both the Church and his house. This used be to be called in Icelandic to be called, literally "to wake up" a spectre. This kind of a spectre is, according to one lexicographer, linguist and compiler of bilingual dictionary, an "evocation," one who is "evoked."

Well, this clergyman went into the cemetery in the dead of the night. There were two fresh tombs there; one of the young man twice referred to above, the other was that of one who in life barely sheltered from the blasts of existence. It was the remains of an old woman, a pious public charge. It was this woman that he had meant to drag down out of Heaven because she in any case , poor thing, had no friends to care what happened to her, while the young man on the other hand was the son of a rich farmer and the clergyman knew that he would receive the enmity of this farmer if he meted such soul-fate out to his son. But he for some unexplained reason blundered in his choice. He had probably a sort of forgotten which-was-which as regards these two new graves and their occupants. For it was he alone who at both of whose funerals he had naturally officiated. Now his office was most unnatural as he read aloud from the Black Magic for a couple of hours or so, conjuring the Devil to get the dweller of that grave recut in the form of a potent spectre. This ghastly parody of plastic surgery the Devil was obliged to do. And when the peat-brown earth shot up from the grave in giant waves, the clergyman wondered at the success of Satan, clever though he knew him to be, who could so invest an old woman with vim and vigour, as though she were a quite rejuvenated!

But the appearance of the spectre itself showed the clergyman that he had hit upon the wrong grave and that the young, pious man was there before him, an especially wild spectre. The minister would nave liked to be able to get this fellow to rest back in his grave, and instead conjure forth the ghost of the old woman. But he saw at a glance that it was quite impossible. The newly hewn spectre was perfectly furious. The clergyman needed and resorted to every trick of his necromancy in order to be able to keep him under control, and ward off an attack of the ghost against his own person, while he was instructing the spectre in what to do.

The spectre ran off heading for its destination ready to strangle its prey at first sight. But the man whom this ghost was instructed to harm knew something too. He completely subjugated the apparition at first sight, and sent the ‘evocation’ back to the clergyman that had provoked him into existence. This was a rather tough surprise for that Man, and the spectre was so wild then that the clergyman’s ‘Black Magic’ narrowly saved him from being squeezed to death by the iron-cold fists of a devilized Christian.

Thus, for weeks, at all hours of the day or night they were locked in a diabolic battle of life or death for the clergyman, until he brought him so much under control that the minister enjoyed comparative safety. But the spectre could be sent nowhere, and the clergyman had a number of people on his list that he would have liked to hurt or kill, but the spectre refused to leave the place, even temporarily, and grew into a continual trouble-maker. The clergyman found himself compelled to accommodate the spectre in various ways. In this way, the devil-man, or apparition, became the lord and master of the clergyman himself. It demanded great deference and soon had to have bed to sleep on and food to eat. He displaced the clergyman from his own room. This made the pastor’ s wife insane! Likewise he insisted on eating with the clergyman himself at the family table. Thus, at the same time and at the same table the God’s representative and a Devil’s masterpiece devoured food together.

The clergyman reached a very old age and was obliged to have this spectre as a companion all the rest of his life, or most of his life’s span. According to the same story this strange boarder and self-appointed lodger remained in this house and on this glebe almost two hundred years after the death of the clergyman that had conjured him into being. Each successive minister that got the call from Jehovah to serve in this remunerative parish had also to put up with this ‘attachment’ to the house and farm, though the spook was not as arrogant or as hard to please afterwards, as he at first had been. Thus, he became satisfied to dine by himself and also to sleep in an outhouse, but he was always a big eater and if he missed a meal or was forgotten at meal hours, he would run amuck and overturn everything in the kitchen, the larder or storehouse and committed untold wanton deeds. He thus warned the living that he was indeed always to be carefully waited upon and attended to; never forgotten.

Some spectres enjoyed great longevity. There were stories of spectres potent and capable for from six to eight hundred years. A few times crooks put the Devil into animals. Thus, there was a famous bull spectre or apparition. He was believed to exist in modern times, it is perhaps claimed that he exists yet. This bull had it was said, already celebrated his seven hundredth birthday as a ‘ghost’.

Skotta was a prominent spectre in our community. This person was a girl. She was just a centenarian and in the very prime of her powers. It was told that she had been ‘evocated’ or conjured when she was dying, but had hardly breathed her last. She was very young that is less than twenty. She was said to be attached to the family of the neighbours north of us, and often just before some one came from there, somebody in our house thought, that is, imagined that he or she saw Skotta. Neither I, nor my parents never saw her. I have never seen ghost or apparition. But my sisters and brothers "saw" Skotta my sister saw the spectre. She was a young-looking girl clad in a sort of a skin gown, which she was said to wear always. She was usually seen emerging from the enclosure where our milch cows were milked, walking towards the house. When crossing the brook the spectre vanished. This was a typical appearance. The ghost was seen awhile and then it suddenly vanished .

Innumerable stories of tricks, mischievous, evil deeds and "wanton" destruction were attributed to this female. On the neighbour farm to the south, when once the postman stopped there over night, a packsaddle horse was found dead in the morning with a blue ring around his neck. Skotta was blamed for this, and was said to have strangled him. Likewise when a pest infested a herd of sheep on the fourth farm to the north, killing over thirty sheep, the cause of this was said to be Skotta. A cousin of our neighbours, where Skotta was said to hang out, married and lived for awhile on the second farm north. He worked outside a lot and as he was in county politics, he had to be absent from home very much. Skotta took advantage of this, according to what was said. When he was away nights Skotta would came, grab the wife in bed, put her feet on the edge of it and her head to the wall and then lick her. This so affected the woman that it almost drove her crazy with pain or pleasure I never knew. I did hear, though, that her husband withdrew from politics as a result. For he had to remain home to defend either his wife, or hide his shame.

Never did Skotta annoy us. Never did she do any damage at our place. A periodic plague killed a number of our sheep at one time. Some accidents and mishaps there were to our flock of sheep and herds cattle and ponies, but we never blamed Skotta for it.

I do not know whether this general absurdity, this belief in and fear of ghosts influenced me in a way. Did implant or incubate fear in me? Though I neither saw nor imagined ghosts, I rather think that I was subconsciously affected by this general belief in this kind of superstition. But this absurdity is one of the countless fruits on the world’s most poisonous tree: religion. And religion is at the bottom of all my fear-complexes. I am certain, as I will explain later on, that the widely held belief in these emanations–that never existed and never can exist–and the accompanying general hysteria had some subconscious or latent influence upon me. It must have been a fear of ghosts which my reason could not accept. That influence would explain my dread of being alone in the dark. When ghost stories were being told in the twilight hours by someone I listened attentively it was comfortably exciting to listen to them. When no spectre stories were being told I felt less scared of the dark. But to enter a dark chamber in the house or go outside if it was very dark, I would not dare. When I happened to pass a single mound in the dark, where a young girl once had been buried, I felt a kind of chill dread, even in late adolescent years.

The story of this girl is as follows: The clergyman lived on a farm, in a fine house between three and four miles away. He had "officiated" in three churches. More than a hundred years before, there had been a clergyman who, like most of our local clergymen led a beastly life. Though he was three times married, and a father of many children thereby, he was too a father of many illegitimate children who had been fathered on both married women and young girls. By clever tricks he avoided scandal. This jilter of many women’s hearts found this pleasure costly in the end.

According to the story, one of these unmarried girls, the one afore referred to, was a woman of great will power and successfully resisted his indecent sexual advances dispite the fact that she was very much in love with him. Undaunted, this fine servant of God kept on trying to subdue her to his vile purpose, promising to get rid of his wife somehow and to marry her. In undertaking was made in the hope that her joyful excitement at this news she would let him have his way. But in this plot he did not succeed . She was the only girl that he could not taint although he had tried his best to do so. When this noble girl at last found out that all his kisses and caresses and promises were false, were solely aimed at a lewd purpose instead of a true love, she cut her throat in his presence, declaring as she held the blade to her throat that his worthlessness rendered her own life nul and void. Her dying claim and curse consisted of a request that he inter her in consecrated ground. If he failed in this, she gasped her soul in limbo would hound him to create a bloody hell for him in this life and the next. The clergyman, dreading her threat, tried very hard to persuade the ecclesiastical authorities to permit him to accord the suicide girl burial in sacred ground, but suicide, very rare in those days, was considered to be an unpardonable sin. His repeated request for a churchyard burial the girl denied, denied clergyman dug hole in the ground, beside a small gully, about a quarter of a mile from the house, and there was to be the suicide’s last place of rest. But she refused to be at rest. Every time the clergyman tried to sleep, and his wife was not on the spot with him, the spectre of the jilted suicide was at his throat with a deadly stranglehold. For a time he shook her off, it was said. . If he was alone in the dark anywhere the spectre was there on him. He took great care that she could not attack him from behind, which he knew would be his last. Once, having been duly warned not to be alone in the dead of the night, he came home unexpectedly after or about midnight. The house was locked. He had been fighting or warding the ghost off for half an hour. The invisible strangle-hold–there was no living human witness–obliged him to climb up a wall to reach the window of his wife’s room and have her open it and let him in. His wife had not expected him until the following day . She had heard a faint animal sound, but had no idea that it had anything to do with her husband. Only the choked cry, perhaps, of a stoat strangling a rabbit. He was never seen after that. The suicide girl-spectre was said to have come from behind as he clambered up over the wall and got a hold on his throat that finished his debaucheries. She was said to have dragged him with her to her lair in her unconsecrated burial plot.

I had a creepy feeling of cemeteries. When I passed in the dark the Cemetery, or as it was called churchyard, and near the church–there being a church on the next farm south–walking I took to a run, or if I was riding, I would spur my steed on galloping along for awhile.

In this connection I am going to relate an incident of but a few years ago taking place on this continent. I came into a pioneer country, in the Northwest, offering farm papers for sale, but succeeding badly as usual, when I was offered a job to instruct a few children of parents living in a group. No school-house had been so far erected and no "government" teacher available. To be sure , I received but small remuneration indeed. Farmers there, as farmers often do, taking due advantage of my inability to make money. For three months I stayed at this job and quite a few times I went to visit in the twilight or early in the evening a farmer, of whom I had known little before, living about a couple of miles away, My road lay past the cemetery. Only three graves were there at this time, and in one rested a man, who was said to have met a violent death probably at the hands of Indians, it was averred, with whom he was said to have had feuds. As regarded the white settlers there he had not been on good terms with them either. Though belief in spectres was not at a high tension in this part of the world, there were some "rumours" that this fellow was not altogether quiet in his grave. Though no church had been built the poison of religious superstitions and rank falsehoods was in the people, and formed the embers of superstition about this dead man, considered a prey of Hell and the Devil. Some people claimed to have seen him roaming around and some accidents happening of late to Indians in the neighbourhood and other troubles might be, it was averred because of him.

So while he was suspected of trouble-making, most people were afraid to pass the cemetery in the dark–some strange sounds had been heard from the direction on of his grave, and other hints of his spectral behaviour, had caused. a general panic as regarded passing the cemetery after dark unless in groups. I, already an atheist and non-believer in any form of conscious life after death, had no reason to fear passing the cemetery, knowing that however bad this man may have been, he was already as dead as a stone. Nevertheless, I had a so-called creepy feeling, and fear for passing the cemetery I had to grapple with this fear not only each time I merely passed the cemetery itself but before I arrived that far. There was a struggle e between reason and fear. Reason told me that neither this fellow nor any other spectre or ghost or apparition or whatever one wants to call such could there possibly be. It could not possibly be. It could not! Why did I fear a spectre , when there was no spectre? Yet I was so frightened–by nothing–that I either walked fast or ran each time I passed the cemetery.

Once as I was passing between midnight and one o’clock in the morning, I was determined that I should get over my foolish fear and walked very slowly. Just as I passed the grave of this man, whom people said had been so bad and whom they suspected was now an apparition, I heard a sound which appeared to me then as if coming from his grave. I jumped and run as fast as I could for a while. The sound that I had heard was exceedingly disconcerting and unusual and I could not make out what it could be. On the other hand I could not, upon reflection attribute it; to the dead man. I knew he was perfectly dead and that no sound could come from him. I stopped sort and said to myself "There is no life beyond the grave. That man, as indeed everybody else once dead, is dust and clay, a stone. I must get ever this irrational fear and I shall !" So I retraced myself walking very slowly. But no sooner was I in front of his grave than I heard the same terrible sound again. Again I jumped and ran, but again I stopped short . "There is nothing to fear from the dead," I said. "This must be a sound of some living thing. I shall prevail over this foolishness. I shall!" Again I went back and as I came upon the same spot for the third time this night. Lo ! There was the sound and as terribly shrilling and penetrating as it could be, being what it was, for here I looked up and saw an owl and the eyes of this night bird were truly as the sound which was fiercely disconcerting. Having found out the true origin of the frightening sound, I walked comfortably homeward. After that I always walked calmly as I passed the cemetery and owl hoots were no more a problem!

In the country of my birth my childhood was not only peopled by ghosts and spectres, but was aswarm with fairies and elves, albeit belief in these phantoms was not as strong or widespread as that of ghosts. These elves were supposed to live in large boulders and stones and in small comical or peculiarly shaped hillocks, and there were many, supposedly learned volumes treating these imaginary beings. I myself had perused two large books containing uniquely stories of elves and fairies.

Of these elves a poet wrote the following verse, here in German translation:

Mein in Altemuller sprach zu mir am Santags nie geh’ 
Nach sammenuntergang in der Kirch-hügel Näh’, 
Die Elfen lesen Messe am Kirch-hügel dort
Sie dulden Keine Störung am heiligen Ort
Als Hind mir dünkt ich härte die Glocken dart klingen."

"Early in my childhood I felt keen dependence on my parents. This was on account of my parents’ pampering of me, became more pronounced as time went on. By the time I was twelve until I was about twenty-two years of age, I felt I could not live without my parents. It seemed to me that my love for my parents and my dependence on them was such that I could not bear, for instance, such an eventuality as the death of either. The thought of the possibility of their entering the eternal night and thus leaving me left me replete with agony and despair. Verily it was unendurable. While I shall discuss this fact later on, I mention it at this point, because it shows that a feeling of insecurity and dependence and consequently lack of self-reliance and courage had been inculcated in my childhood, and especially in my adolescence. Around it grew a shyness, a homeliness, a backwardness and hesitancy. This resulted in a total lack of initiative and my turning to dreams, the fifth, easy element. It delayed my having to face reality as faced it must be.

My first fears were the real spectres of my existence: ridicule, mistrust and misunderstanding. I sensed that I was regarded as something different, something out of the ordinary. I have described this situation partly in a poem entitled, "Tragedy." In my partly written stories: "Prejudice", "Doomed to be a Beggar", and in other stories of mine, I deal with these phases of my tragic, apparently -- and unless happy change comes into it -- ruined life, I am a principal character in some of my stories, and in others certain parts of me and my life will be infused.

"A fear of ridicule and misunderstanding and prejudice caused me to be too reticent about m, secrets at first. Later I became even too willing to confide -- in some cases -- in people, and that even without knowing them enough. Now I only confide in men of great intelligence -- men of genius -- to whom such secrets as my practice of autosexuality is a study of a world's problem.

The story of how my first secret got out is as follows:
An old mail (pipar jamfru) was once at our place for a while; a lady who badly wanted to get married, who with the perspective of hindsight looks to me now as a highly praiseworthy aspiration. Then, however, she seemed to me something too forward: a bit "fresh," an open wound, raw meat! She was quite fresh and flirted with me a lot. Fool that I was, I resented her advances which, upon reflection, most probably quite innocent at least when they were directed at me. Of course, as you will note, it can hardly be seriously inferred that she was courting me, a mere boy, with serious intentions of marriage, but truly she was infatuated by all my brothers, especially one. Naturally, she ridiculed my resentment and so did others. Once I lost my temper entirely, and told her then point blank that I already loved a young girl.

When this "flapper" heard that I was already in love, she wanted to know more about it. I refused to tell, of course. And at that time, and time after time, she was trying to find out. She was counting young girts of my age and also younger and older females, trying by my replies to find out the identity of the one I admired. She was tricky, a fox in several ways. I never actually told her. But from the shade of a word or the of a tinge of my always healthy-looking, rosy face, she must have deduced who my "belle" was. I heard her, I am almost certain, tell a hireed girl that I was in love with a certain girl, the very one I dreamed of day and night. My sisters smiled so funnily when her name was mentioned. My brothers gave me a peculiar look also at such occaisions. To make matters worse, it was about this time that I went with my mother to visit at the farm house where this girl's people lived. Tt seemed to me that she whom I so adored had heard that I loved her. I seemed to see it in her mother's face, in her brother's face and in everybody's face. What absurdity! I suffered very much. But I had to carry my burden alone because of my obsessive fear of ridicule.

While my vivid imagination, intensified by suspicion and fear, then, as so often since, magnified everything, most of what I saw in faces of people or gleaned from their words, or read in between their words was not there! I had in fact neither seen nor heard it except in my imagination. Yet something had certainly leaked out about my feelings for this girl, and the result caused me many sighs, tears and great agony. I did not dare to confide in anybody for fear of being laughed at. Fear, at fear, fear, fear, always fear: what I believe you call paranoia.

So intense have been my emotions since I was seven years of age, that a large part of my waking hours have been spent on the fascination with them. And, worse, they were conflated with an what became with time an obsession with the sexual act. What a stupendous, what an immense pain, an abysmal tragedy to have converted (perverted?) love into an abiding fascination for sexual enjoyment. I have such a powerful sexual impulse and, it seems, ability, and yet I have never been a husband in a loving home with a wife and a group of charming children! Where did it, I go wrong?

Although I was sensitive, my hypersensitivity, which has so tormented me for years and does so now more than ever, was not as much felt in my youth as regards the female sex. My later years have been troubled by unabated successions of over-excitements. Each time I am forced to sit beside a woman in a street ear or pass a woman in a close crowd, my hyper-sensitiveness causes distress and intense sexual craving. Distress because it can not be satisfied -- because I am neither a rapist nor a philanderer and will not satisfy it in such a way. Only marriage, or -- I do not mean the empty ceremony or even the ceremony itself at all -- a true affinity of both sexes -- a physical affinity; and a soul affinity, mind-affinity if both partners possess some such capacity. Only such harmony, such love, can merit and bless the sexual act. A consecration performed in spirit as well as in flesh. Only in these circumstances can the purity and sublimity destined for sexuality be realised. Only when humanity achives this will there ever be civilization on this planet.

All other kinds of enjoyment, of both male and female people, of their sexual functions in cohabitation whether it be sanctioned by convention in the form of marriage for money or any other barter and sale is virtual prostitution. This ought to be born in mind when dealing with the consequences and the state of autosexual practices. Harmful as these practices are upon one's will and temperament, making one as a rule morose and melancholy, and, in case of great excess, upon a person's physique as well, these loathsome practices are not prostitution. That, however, is what the great majority of marriages are -- all marriages of convenience -- and many amongst all the other classes or shades of classes are. So, then, when marriage is so oftenmerely a 'business contract' it becomes a 'convention,' substitute for prostitution, it is no wonder that only broad education and exceptional thought-power can guide a very few to see that the conventional state of modern marriage is a camouflaged barter of blood and flesh.

As for myself, I have avoided prostitution of woman or with women. By taking care not to defile or degrade another party -- a female -- the tarnish belongs to me alone. Had I worked out my problem with a woman or women, and I have not, it would have been a multiple tragedy. As it is, it is a single tragedy. Men may differ as to preference. I lay down this rule: It is desirable that a person should be honest, moral and true to himself, or herself. But if one must harm someone, that someone should be himself or herself individually, singly. Morally speaking -- as I see it -- a man has a right to his own body -- his own life, not to other people's bodies or other people's lives. One's life is one's own property. On that assumption is perfect freedom founded. So a man can harm or kill himself it he wants to, or if he must. But he has no right to harm anybody else. Such, according to my social ethics, must be the basic principle of human conduct.

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