The soft summer wind stirs the redwoods, and Wild-Water ripples
sweet cadences over its mossy stones. There are butterflies in the
sunshine, and from everywhere arises the drowsy hum of bees. It is
so quiet and peaceful, and I sit here, and ponder, and am restless.
It is the quiet that makes me restless. It seems unreal. All the
world is quiet, but it is the quiet before the storm. I strain my
ears, and all my senses, for some betrayal of that impending storm.
Oh, that it may not be premature! That it may not be
Small wonder that I am restless. I think, and think, and I
cannot cease from thinking. I have been in the thick of life so
long that I am oppressed by the peace and quiet, and I cannot
forbear from dwelling upon that mad maelstrom of death and
destruction so soon to burst forth. In my ears are the cries of the
stricken; and I can see, as I have seen in the past, all the marring and mangling of the
sweet, beautiful flesh, and the souls torn with violence from proud
bodies and hurled to God. Thus do we poor humans attain our ends,
striving through carnage and destruction to bring lasting peace and
happiness upon the earth.
And then I am lonely. When I do not think of what is to come, I
think of what has been and is no more—my Eagle, beating with
tireless wings the void, soaring toward what was ever his sun, the
flaming ideal of human freedom. I cannot sit idly by and wait the
great event that is his making, though he is not here to see. He
devoted all the years of his manhood to it, and for it he gave his
life. It is his handiwork. He made it.
And so it is, in this anxious time of waiting, that I shall
write of my husband. There is much light that I alone of all
persons living can throw upon his character, and so noble a
character cannot be blazoned forth too brightly. His was a great
soul, and, when my love grows unselfish, my chiefest regret is that
he is not here to witness to-morrow's dawn. We cannot fail. He has
built too stoutly and too surely for that. Woe to the Iron Heel!
Soon shall it be thrust back from off prostrate humanity. When the
word goes forth, the labor hosts of all the world shall rise. There
has been nothing like it in the history of the world. The
solidarity of labor is assured, and for the first time will there
be an international revolution wide as the world is wide.
You see, I am full of what is impending. I have lived it day and
night utterly and for so long that it is ever present in my mind.
For that matter, I cannot think of my husband without thinking of
it. He was the soul of it, and how can I possibly separate the two
As I have said, there is much light that I alone can throw upon
his character. It is well known that he toiled hard for liberty and
suffered sore. How hard he toiled and how greatly he suffered, I
well know; for I have been with him during these twenty anxious
years and I know his patience, his untiring effort, his infinite
devotion to the Cause for which, only two months gone, he laid down
I shall try to write simply and to tell here how Ernest Everhard
entered my life—how I first met him, how he grew until I became a
part of him, and the tremendous changes he wrought in my life. In
this way may you look at him through my eyes and learn him as I
learned him—in all save the things too secret and sweet for me to
It was in February, 1912, that I first met him, when, as a guest
of my father's at dinner, he came to our house in
Berkeley. I cannot say that my very first impression of him was
favorable. He was one of many at dinner, and in the drawing-room
where we gathered and waited for all to arrive, he made a rather
incongruous appearance. It was "preacher's night," as my father
privately called it, and Ernest was certainly out of place in the
midst of the churchmen.
In the first place, his clothes did not fit him. He wore a
ready- made suit of dark cloth that was ill adjusted to his body.
In fact, no ready-made suit of clothes ever could fit his body. And
on this night, as always, the cloth bulged with his muscles, while
the coat between the shoulders, what of the heavy shoulder-
development, was a maze of wrinkles. His neck was the neck of a
prize-fighter, thick and strong. So this was the
social philosopher and ex-horseshoer my father had discovered, was
my thought. And he certainly looked it with those bulging muscles
and that bull-throat. Immediately I classified him—a sort of
prodigy, I thought, a Blind Tom of the
And then, when he shook hands with me! His handshake was firm
and strong, but he looked at me boldly with his black eyes—too
boldly, I thought. You see, I was a creature of environment, and at
that time had strong class instincts. Such boldness on the part of
a man of my own class would have been almost unforgivable. I know
that I could not avoid dropping my eyes, and I was quite relieved
when I passed him on and turned to greet Bishop Morehouse—a
favorite of mine, a sweet and serious man of middle age, Christ-
like in appearance and goodness, and a scholar as well.
But this boldness that I took to be presumption was a vital clew
to the nature of Ernest Everhard. He was simple, direct, afraid of
nothing, and he refused to waste time on conventional mannerisms.
"You pleased me," he explained long afterward; "and why should I
not fill my eyes with that which pleases me?" I have said that he
was afraid of nothing. He was a natural aristocrat—and this in
spite of the fact that he was in the camp of the non-aristocrats.
He was a superman, a blond beast such as Nietzsche has described, and in addition he was
aflame with democracy.
In the interest of meeting the other guests, and what of my
unfavorable impression, I forgot all about the working-class
philosopher, though once or twice at table I noticed him—
especially the twinkle in his eye as he listened to the talk first
of one minister and then of another. He has humor, I thought, and I
almost forgave him his clothes. But the time went by, and the
dinner went by, and he never opened his mouth to speak, while the
ministers talked interminably about the working class and its
relation to the church, and what the church had done and was doing
for it. I noticed that my father was annoyed because Ernest did not
talk. Once father took advantage of a lull and asked him to say
something; but Ernest shrugged his shoulders and with an "I have
nothing to say" went on eating salted almonds.
But father was not to be denied. After a while he said:
"We have with us a member of the working class. I am sure that
he can present things from a new point of view that will be
interesting and refreshing. I refer to Mr. Everhard."
The others betrayed a well-mannered interest, and urged Ernest
for a statement of his views. Their attitude toward him was so
broadly tolerant and kindly that it was really patronizing. And I
saw that Ernest noted it and was amused. He looked slowly about
him, and I saw the glint of laughter in his eyes.
"I am not versed in the courtesies of ecclesiastical
controversy," he began, and then hesitated with modesty and
"Go on," they urged, and Dr. Hammerfield said: "We do not mind
the truth that is in any man. If it is sincere," he amended.
"Then you separate sincerity from truth?" Ernest laughed
Dr. Hammerfield gasped, and managed to answer, "The best of us
may be mistaken, young man, the best of us."
Ernest's manner changed on the instant. He became another
"All right, then," he answered; "and let me begin by saying that
you are all mistaken. You know nothing, and worse than nothing,
about the working class. Your sociology is as vicious and worthless
as is your method of thinking."
It was not so much what he said as how he said it. I roused at
the first sound of his voice. It was as bold as his eyes. It was a
clarion-call that thrilled me. And the whole table was aroused,
shaken alive from monotony and drowsiness.
"What is so dreadfully vicious and worthless in our method of
thinking, young man?" Dr. Hammerfield demanded, and already there
was something unpleasant in his voice and manner of utterance.
"You are metaphysicians. You can prove anything by metaphysics;
and having done so, every metaphysician can prove every other
metaphysician wrong—to his own satisfaction. You are anarchists in
the realm of thought. And you are mad cosmos-makers. Each of you
dwells in a cosmos of his own making, created out of his own
fancies and desires. You do not know the real world in which you
live, and your thinking has no place in the real world except in so
far as it is phenomena of mental aberration.
"Do you know what I was reminded of as I sat at table and
listened to you talk and talk? You reminded me for all the world of
the scholastics of the Middle Ages who gravely and learnedly
debated the absorbing question of how many angels could dance on
the point of a needle. Why, my dear sirs, you are as remote from
the intellectual life of the twentieth century as an Indian
medicine- man making incantation in the primeval forest ten
thousand years ago."
As Ernest talked he seemed in a fine passion; his face glowed,
his eyes snapped and flashed, and his chin and jaw were eloquent
with aggressiveness. But it was only a way he had. It always
aroused people. His smashing, sledge-hammer manner of attack
invariably made them forget themselves. And they were forgetting
themselves now. Bishop Morehouse was leaning forward and listening
intently. Exasperation and anger were flushing the face of Dr.
Hammerfield. And others were exasperated, too, and some were
smiling in an amused and superior way. As for myself, I found it
most enjoyable. I glanced at father, and I was afraid he was going
to giggle at the effect of this human bombshell he had been guilty
of launching amongst us.
"Your terms are rather vague," Dr. Hammerfield interrupted.
"Just precisely what do you mean when you call us
"I call you metaphysicians because you reason metaphysically,"
Ernest went on. "Your method of reasoning is the opposite to that
of science. There is no validity to your conclusions. You can prove
everything and nothing, and no two of you can agree upon anything.
Each of you goes into his own consciousness to explain himself and
the universe. As well may you lift yourselves by your own
bootstraps as to explain consciousness by consciousness."
"I do not understand," Bishop Morehouse said. "It seems to me
that all things of the mind are metaphysical. That most exact and
convincing of all sciences, mathematics, is sheerly metaphysical.
Each and every thought-process of the scientific reasoner is
metaphysical. Surely you will agree with me?"
"As you say, you do not understand," Ernest replied. "The
metaphysician reasons deductively out of his own subjectivity. The
scientist reasons inductively from the facts of experience. The
metaphysician reasons from theory to facts, the scientist reasons
from facts to theory. The metaphysician explains the universe by
himself, the scientist explains himself by the universe."
"Thank God we are not scientists," Dr. Hammerfield murmured
"What are you then?" Ernest demanded.
"There you go," Ernest laughed. "You have left the real and
solid earth and are up in the air with a word for a flying machine.
Pray come down to earth and tell me precisely what you do mean by
"Philosophy is—" (Dr. Hammerfield paused and cleared his
throat)— "something that cannot be defined comprehensively except
to such minds and temperaments as are philosophical. The narrow
scientist with his nose in a test-tube cannot understand
Ernest ignored the thrust. It was always his way to turn the
point back upon an opponent, and he did it now, with a beaming
brotherliness of face and utterance.
"Then you will undoubtedly understand the definition I shall now
make of philosophy. But before I make it, I shall challenge you to
point out error in it or to remain a silent metaphysician.
Philosophy is merely the widest science of all. Its reasoning
method is the same as that of any particular science and of all
particular sciences. And by that same method of reasoning, the
inductive method, philosophy fuses all particular sciences into one
great science. As Spencer says, the data of any particular science
are partially unified knowledge. Philosophy unifies the knowledge
that is contributed by all the sciences. Philosophy is the science
of science, the master science, if you please. How do you like my
"Very creditable, very creditable," Dr. Hammerfield muttered
But Ernest was merciless.
"Remember," he warned, "my definition is fatal to metaphysics.
If you do not now point out a flaw in my definition, you are
disqualified later on from advancing metaphysical arguments. You
must go through life seeking that flaw and remaining metaphysically
silent until you have found it."
Ernest waited. The silence was painful. Dr. Hammerfield was
pained. He was also puzzled. Ernest's sledge-hammer attack
disconcerted him. He was not used to the simple and direct method
of controversy. He looked appealingly around the table, but no one
answered for him. I caught father grinning into his napkin.
"There is another way of disqualifying the metaphysicians,"
Ernest said, when he had rendered Dr. Hammerfield's discomfiture
complete. "Judge them by their works. What have they done for
mankind beyond the spinning of airy fancies and the mistaking of
their own shadows for gods? They have added to the gayety of
mankind, I grant; but what tangible good have they wrought for
mankind? They philosophized, if you will pardon my misuse of the
word, about the heart as the seat of the emotions, while the
scientists were formulating the circulation of the blood. They
declaimed about famine and pestilence as being scourges of God,
while the scientists were building granaries and draining cities.
They builded gods in their own shapes and out of their own desires,
while the scientists were building roads and bridges. They were
describing the earth as the centre of the universe, while the
scientists were discovering America and probing space for the stars
and the laws of the stars. In short, the metaphysicians have done
nothing, absolutely nothing, for mankind. Step by step, before the
advance of science, they have been driven back. As fast as the
ascertained facts of science have overthrown their subjective
explanations of things, they have made new subjective explanations
of things, including explanations of the latest ascertained facts.
And this, I doubt not, they will go on doing to the end of time.
Gentlemen, a metaphysician is a medicine man. The difference
between you and the Eskimo who makes a fur-clad blubber-eating god
is merely a difference of several thousand years of ascertained
facts. That is all."
"Yet the thought of Aristotle ruled Europe for twelve
centuries," Dr. Ballingford announced pompously. "And Aristotle was
Dr. Ballingford glanced around the table and was rewarded by
nods and smiles of approval.
"Your illustration is most unfortunate," Ernest replied. "You
refer to a very dark period in human history. In fact, we call that
period the Dark Ages. A period wherein science was raped by the
metaphysicians, wherein physics became a search for the
Philosopher's Stone, wherein chemistry became alchemy, and
astronomy became astrology. Sorry the domination of Aristotle's
Dr. Ballingford looked pained, then he brightened up and
"Granted this horrible picture you have drawn, yet you must
confess that metaphysics was inherently potent in so far as it drew
humanity out of this dark period and on into the illumination of
the succeeding centuries."
"Metaphysics had nothing to do with it," Ernest retorted.
"What?" Dr. Hammerfield cried. "It was not the thinking and the
speculation that led to the voyages of discovery?"
"Ah, my dear sir," Ernest smiled, "I thought you were
disqualified. You have not yet picked out the flaw in my definition
of philosophy. You are now on an unsubstantial basis. But it is the
way of the metaphysicians, and I forgive you. No, I repeat,
metaphysics had nothing to do with it. Bread and butter, silks and
jewels, dollars and cents, and, incidentally, the closing up of the
overland trade-routes to India, were the things that caused the
voyages of discovery. With the fall of Constantinople, in 1453, the
Turks blocked the way of the caravans to India. The traders of
Europe had to find another route. Here was the original cause for
the voyages of discovery. Columbus sailed to find a new route to
the Indies. It is so stated in all the history books. Incidentally,
new facts were learned about the nature, size, and form of the
earth, and the Ptolemaic system went glimmering."
Dr. Hammerfield snorted.
"You do not agree with me?" Ernest queried. "Then wherein am I
"I can only reaffirm my position," Dr. Hammerfield retorted
tartly. "It is too long a story to enter into now."
"No story is too long for the scientist," Ernest said sweetly.
"That is why the scientist gets to places. That is why he got to
I shall not describe the whole evening, though it is a joy to me
to recall every moment, every detail, of those first hours of my
coming to know Ernest Everhard.
Battle royal raged, and the ministers grew red-faced and
excited, especially at the moments when Ernest called them romantic
philosophers, shadow-projectors, and similar things. And always he
checked them back to facts. "The fact, man, the irrefragable fact!"
he would proclaim triumphantly, when he had brought one of them a
cropper. He bristled with facts. He tripped them up with facts,
ambuscaded them with facts, bombarded them with broadsides of
"You seem to worship at the shrine of fact," Dr. Hammerfield
"There is no God but Fact, and Mr. Everhard is its prophet," Dr.
Ernest smilingly acquiesced.
"I'm like the man from Texas," he said. And, on being solicited,
he explained. "You see, the man from Missouri always says, "You've
got to show me." But the man from Texas says, "You've got to put it
in my hand." From which it is apparent that he is no
Another time, when Ernest had just said that the metaphysical
philosophers could never stand the test of truth, Dr. Hammerfield
"What is the test of truth, young man? Will you kindly explain
what has so long puzzled wiser heads than yours?"
"Certainly," Ernest answered. His cocksureness irritated them.
"The wise heads have puzzled so sorely over truth because they went
up into the air after it. Had they remained on the solid earth,
they would have found it easily enough—ay, they would have found
that they themselves were precisely testing truth with every
practical act and thought of their lives."
"The test, the test," Dr. Hammerfield repeated impatiently.
"Never mind the preamble. Give us that which we have sought so
long—the test of truth. Give it us, and we will be as gods."
There was an impolite and sneering scepticism in his words and
manner that secretly pleased most of them at the table, though it
seemed to bother Bishop Morehouse.
"Dr. Jordan has stated it very clearly," Ernest
said. "His test of truth is: 'Will it work? Will you trust your
life to it?'"
"Pish!" Dr. Hammerfield sneered. "You have not taken Bishop
Berkeley into account. He has never been
"The noblest metaphysician of them all," Ernest laughed. "But
your example is unfortunate. As Berkeley himself attested, his
metaphysics didn't work."
Dr. Hammerfield was angry, righteously angry. It was as though
he had caught Ernest in a theft or a lie.
"Young man," he trumpeted, "that statement is on a par with all
you have uttered to-night. It is a base and unwarranted
"I am quite crushed," Ernest murmured meekly. "Only I don't know
what hit me. You'll have to put it in my hand, Doctor."
"I will, I will," Dr. Hammerfield spluttered. "How do you know?
You do not know that Bishop Berkeley attested that his metaphysics
did not work. You have no proof. Young man, they have always
"I take it as proof that Berkeley's metaphysics did not work,
because—" Ernest paused calmly for a moment. "Because Berkeley made
an invariable practice of going through doors instead of walls.
Because he trusted his life to solid bread and butter and roast
beef. Because he shaved himself with a razor that worked when it
removed the hair from his face."
"But those are actual things!" Dr. Hammerfield cried.
"Metaphysics is of the mind."
"And they work—in the mind?" Ernest queried softly.
The other nodded.
"And even a multitude of angels can dance on the point of a
needle- -in the mind," Ernest went on reflectively. "And a
blubber-eating, fur-clad god can exist and work—in the mind; and
there are no proofs to the contrary—in the mind. I suppose, Doctor,
you live in the mind?"
"My mind to me a kingdom is," was the answer.
"That's another way of saying that you live up in the air. But
you come back to earth at meal-time, I am sure, or when an
earthquake happens along. Or, tell me, Doctor, do you have no
apprehension in an earthquake that that incorporeal body of yours
will be hit by an immaterial brick?"
Instantly, and quite unconsciously, Dr. Hammerfield's hand shot
up to his head, where a scar disappeared under the hair. It
happened that Ernest had blundered on an apposite illustration. Dr.
Hammerfield had been nearly killed in the Great Earthquake by a falling chimney. Everybody broke
out into roars of laughter.
"Well?" Ernest asked, when the merriment had subsided. "Proofs
to the contrary?"
And in the silence he asked again, "Well?" Then he added, "Still
well, but not so well, that argument of yours."
But Dr. Hammerfield was temporarily crushed, and the battle
raged on in new directions. On point after point, Ernest challenged
the ministers. When they affirmed that they knew the working class,
he told them fundamental truths about the working class that they
did not know, and challenged them for disproofs. He gave them
facts, always facts, checked their excursions into the air, and
brought them back to the solid earth and its facts.
How the scene comes back to me! I can hear him now, with that
war- note in his voice, flaying them with his facts, each fact a
lash that stung and stung again. And he was merciless. He took no
quarter, and gave none. I can never forget the
flaying he gave them at the end:
"You have repeatedly confessed to-night, by direct avowal or
ignorant statement, that you do not know the working class. But you
are not to be blamed for this. How can you know anything about the
working class? You do not live in the same locality with the
working class. You herd with the capitalist class in another
locality. And why not? It is the capitalist class that pays you,
that feeds you, that puts the very clothes on your backs that you
are wearing to-night. And in return you preach to your employers
the brands of metaphysics that are especially acceptable to them;
and the especially acceptable brands are acceptable because they do
not menace the established order of society."
Here there was a stir of dissent around the table.
"Oh, I am not challenging your sincerity," Ernest continued.
"You are sincere. You preach what you believe. There lies your
strength and your value—to the capitalist class. But should you
change your belief to something that menaces the established order,
your preaching would be unacceptable to your employers, and you
would be discharged. Every little while some one or another of you
is so discharged. Am I not
This time there was no dissent. They sat dumbly acquiescent,
with the exception of Dr. Hammerfield, who said:
"It is when their thinking is wrong that they are asked to
"Which is another way of saying when their thinking is
unacceptable," Ernest answered, and then went on. "So I say to you,
go ahead and preach and earn your pay, but for goodness' sake leave
the working class alone. You belong in the enemy's camp. You have
nothing in common with the working class. Your hands are soft with
the work others have performed for you. Your stomachs are round
with the plenitude of eating." (Here Dr. Ballingford winced, and
every eye glanced at his prodigious girth. It was said he had not
seen his own feet in years.) "And your minds are filled with
doctrines that are buttresses of the established order. You are as
much mercenaries (sincere mercenaries, I grant) as were the men of
the Swiss Guard. Be true
to your salt and your hire; guard, with your preaching, the
interests of your employers; but do not come down to the working
class and serve as false leaders. You cannot honestly be in the two
camps at once. The working class has done without you. Believe me,
the working class will continue to do without you. And,
furthermore, the working class can do better without you than with