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A FRIEND'S INTRODUCTION
whom she calls Diantha,—and in her baby talk, replies to the questions which clairvoyantly reach her from the growing-fruit of her own womb. Even before the child is physically conceived, the mother converses with her, and gives the reader pictures of her, for she forms her image, shapes her body, her mind, her soul, long before she finds the mate who is to be the sweet child's father. Amiel, in his most intimate moods, never plumbed the depths of his heart as this woman has plumbed all feminine and motherly hearts. She reveals the very innermost of a young girl's first imaginings of her “prince charming,” and especially of the all-potent desire for motherhood present in every cell of the feminine body, even before the sex-assertive age is reached.
In the second month of her embryo child's existence she converses with her about the lover, who, after her birth and growth into full bloomed womanhood, will seek her hand in marriage. In this manner she communicates to the reader some wonderfully important truths. What author ever before attempted such things, to teach the reader through the medium of a dialogue with her unborn babe?
But not only does she do this. With a power as astounding and startling as it is audacious and convincing she plumbs man's innerness, and shows him up for what he is,-in his selfishness, greed, cruelty, rapacity, sensuality, hatred, malice, and devilishness, as well as in his nobler, truer, God-like qualities. Never man wrote who dared speak as plainly to men as this woman has done, and the remarkable fact is, that Great Men who have read her words have agreed with her, and commended her courage and her fearlessness in truth.
Naturally such a book is not perfectly synchronized or harmonized either in color or tone. By the side of a gentle and pastoral-landscape she suddenly presents a striking and glaring panorama of the desert. It is as if while listening to a master-symphony, the composer, treating us to a tender lullaby poured forth sweetly and gently from the heart of Mother-Love, played upon violins, suddenly startled us with the blare of trumpets and trombones,
the clash of cymbals, and roar of tympani, as though to awaken us to the startling revelations of the resurrection morning.
In my long life I have been a deep student of psychology, and therefore have read all I could find of books that seemed honest attempts at revelations of the human soul. I have read all the famous “Confessions," from those of St. Augustine down. Rousseau staggered, Amiel fascinated, Thoreau charmed and instructed, Hubbard daz
The hosts of others who, with what seemed greater or lesser sincerity, wrote out of the fullness of their hearts, entranced or appalled me. When I turned to the literature of women I read all the self-revelative works of the French mystics, and in due sequence, devoured Octave Feuillet's LA Crise, (The Crisis), and all the works of European and American women writers that could be called intimate views of their innerness. George Sand, George Eliot, and a score of others were devoured with avidity, and then reread with careful study, analysis and comparison. Then came Marie Bashkertseff, with her naive, and at the same time artistically studied revelations. And I happened to be in Chicago when Mary McLane burst upon the world, with her crude, adolescent emotions, and her publisher, Herbert Stone, handed me one of the first copies of her book that came from the press. My friendship with Ellen Key has opened to me much of the feminine heart, and it also prepared me for The DANGEROUS Age of Karin Michaelis, before it was translated into English. And these are but few of the psychological works that are supposed to have laid bare for us the real heart of woman. Yet, and I say it calmly and deliberately,—not one of these writers, male or female, has gone to the root of things as has this woman, Ruth Van Saun, in her HONEY-COMB.
It is as if she had stood before God, under the searchlight of His truth, and under the influence of His Quickening Spirit, seeking all the bad, good and indifferent there was within her every cell-fibre of body, soul and spirit, and pleading with her fellow-women and men for a larger, fuller, better life. At times her denunciations A FRIEND'S INTRODUCTION
of woman verge upon the awful, and seem to breathe the air of the fierce prophet Jeremiah, and one sees what One woman thinks of herself and of other women because of what she KNOWS, through deep feeling and large experience.
Then, suddenly, one is dazzled with the vision of resplendent glory and beauty she holds forth of the Godlike power of woman to uplift and save a race cursed by its own sensuality, sin, pride, selfishness and greed.
Here are the simplicity and naivete of a child, the unconsciousness of shame of a baby, the excoriating censures of a woman of the world, the shrinkings of a nun, the passion of a loving wife, the disgust of a disillusioned woman, the rhapsodies of a love-smitten girl, poured forth in a stream of clear, unmistakable English, and at times with the rippling vividity of a sparkling mountain brook.
What will be its effect?
It will shake men and women as no other book written from woman's soul has ever shaken them. It will be denounced as false, as infamous, as libelous upon her own sex, and a wicked slander upon humanity in general.
Yet preachers, teachers, visionaries and prophets, reformers and philanthropists—women, even more than men—will come to its pages for newer, larger, grander visions of the power and possibilities of Woman, than they had ever before dreamed of.
Ruth Van Saun will be hailed as a greater leader of her sex, and through them, of the race, than any moralist, eugenist, or suffragist of her time—or, indeed, of any time.
Extravagant praise, I admit, but true, nevertheless, and demonstrable to all who read her pages..
Oh, no, it is by no means a conventional book, an ordinary book, an every-day book! It is such a book as one reads only one of in a life-time, and twenty life-times have often passed without all the countries of the earth producing ONE Book that could rank with this.
You cannot ignore this book! You cannot pass it by! Somewhere, somehow, it will come across your mental horizon like a blazing meteor and demand your attention. My word for it, you may be the most blase person on earth, but from the first page to the last, this book will demand your undivided attention.
Ruth Van Saun is very modest about her share in making this book. As the thoughts spontaneously bubbled up in her heart, she penned them. There has been little or no attempt at change. She wrote purely for her own satisfaction, and it was not until many friends, who were allowed to see the manuscript, urgently demanded its publication, that she consented to place it in the printer's hands.
She insists that she is not the "author" of it. She claims to be but the channel through which the Spirit has found expression for the present-day psychical, mental and spiritual needs of mankind. Hence the question of pleasing, or displeasing, her readers has never entered her mind.
I prophecy for this book a remarkable career. As I read it in manuscript I was reminded of Emerson's pregnant words: “Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker upon the world! All things are at a risk.” It will be fiercely assailed, and defended with equal vehemence. It will be discussed in newspapers, magazines, pulpits, public forums, women's clubs and every kind of intellectual agencies, in public and private. Its statements will be challenged and its deductions denied, yet more will stand by them than will denounce them, and though it may cause the natural results that ensue from the cleaning out of Augean stables, the ultimate effect will be for immeasurably greater good for mankind, a purifying of Life's moral atmosphere.
Never before-as far as I know—has Woman's exalted place in God's creation so graphically and powerfully been portrayed; her potentialities for the re-generation of the race set forth. After showing the importance of woman's place in the processes of natural generation, the writer proceeds, with inexorable logic, to demonstrate that man's re-generation is in Woman's power,that Re-generated Woman is the manifestation of the
A FRIEND'S INTRODUCTION
Great-Ovum of the Virgin Mother, and that Woman holds the Spiritual-unfoldment of the race in her hands. These facts the writer has symbolized in the Egg and Serpent placed upon the title-page and cover of her book.
With confidence and assurance I see The Honey-Comb go out on its message of Good Will and Blessing to the world.