Palatable Poison: Critical Perspectives on the Well of Loneliness

By Laura Doan; Jay Prosser | Go to book overview

15
Of Trees and Polities, Wars and Wounds

“Do you believe in God, Martin?”

And he answered: “Yes, because of His trees. Don't you?”1

Not a woman of them all but felt vaguely regretful in spite of the infinite blessing of peace, for none could know what the future might hold of trivial days filled with trivial actions. Great wars will be followed by great discontents—the pruning knife has been laid to the tree, and the urge to grow throbs through its mutilated branches.

For these roots, neglected by this blind and impotent system, have everywhere developed wild, as best they could, yielding good fruit in a few who were inspired by God, but evil fruit in the majority…. We can spare ourselves the wearisome task of dismembering [zergliedern] the inner sap and veins of a tree whose fruit is now fully ripe and lies fallen before the eyes of all, proclaiming most clearly and distinctly the inner nature of its progenitor.2

As buds give rise by growth to fresh buds, and these, if vigorous, branch out and overtop on all sides many a feebler branch, so by generation I believe it has been with the great Tree of Life, which fills with its dead and broken branches the crust of the earth, and covers the surface with its ever-branching and beautiful ramifications.3

This is the dawn. Womanhood shakes off its bondage. It asserts its right to be free. In its freedom, its thoughts turn to the race. Like begets like. We gather perfect fruit from perfect trees. The race is but the amplification of its mother body, the multiplication of flesh habitations—beautified and perfected for souls akin to the mother soul.4

The spectacle of the British Tree of Knowledge guarded by the flaming swords of Mr. James Douglas, Sir William Joynson-Hicks and Sir Chartres Biron may be delightful, but it is scarcely one which a self-respecting nation can permanently afford.5

-255-

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