Lucifer The Light Bearer
THIRD SERIES, VOL. 11., No. 25.
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, JUNE 25, E. M. 298.
[C. E. 1898.]
WHOLE N0. 716
Truth in Extremes.
Truth is found in extremes: 'tis only expedience, prudence',
Hug the mean, and call it truth. and their faltering wisdom.
Both extremes may be true, but the mean, from its very nature,
Always has been, is, and must forever be untrue.
-Henry Lyman Koopman.
Our English Comrades-George Bedborough.
BY SIDNEY LAYTONE.
George Bedborough's name is well known on both sides of the Atlantic, and deservedly so. Without him there would have been no English Free Love movement at all. He appeared at the psychological moment in the history of the Legitimation League. Just when the League was practically dying he led a revolt of the younger members, which transformed the dying society into a very active organization. The "The Adult" that I wished to interview Mr. Bedborough. Our conversation took place in the quietude of Mr. Bedborough's office at John street. He was busy with his correspondence when I entered. One glance at the mountain of letters, parcels and cards showed me that he had been hard at work for some time. I received a royal welcome. Mr. Bedborough is young and geniality personified. I was at home with him at once, and after half an hour's talk I felt like an old friend.
After a few general remarks, which did not include the weather, I mentioned that the title of "The Adult" seemed to me a happy one. Mr. Bedborough assented, and humorously remarked that as" 'The Infants' Magazine,' 'The Young Man' and 'The Young Woman' were always with us, there seemed room for 'The Adult,' more especially as 'The Times,' equally with the brilliant journals before mentioned, tabooed sex matters or burlesqued them."
I asked him if the circulation of his paper was satisfactory. "'The Adult' has come to stay," he replied. "The initial difficulties inseparable from the introduction of so frankly unconventional an undertaking, as a paper devoted altogether to sex matters have been surmounted. There is no longer any room for doubt that the future success of the journal is assured."
"Are you boycotted?" I inquired.
"Yes, in many quarters; chiefly by the news agents. But the paper has won its way in spite of this boycott, and much has been done by our readers' personal recommendations."
Mr. Bedborough is a very fortunate as well as a very clever man. He is in touch with a very brilliant band of contributors to his magazine, including such well-known writers as Orford Northcote* Grant Allen, Havelock Ellis, Edward Carpenter, William Platt, J. William Lloyd, E. C. Walker, Sagitarius and others. Without doubt as fine a group of penmen as any new movement can boast of. "With such assistance, it would be strange indeed if 'The Adult' did not outlive its infancy," he added.
Mr. Bedborough is loyalty itself, and therein lies the secret of his hold on his friends. All feel that they can trust him.
Remembering Mr. Bedborough's work as secretary of the Legitimation League, I glanced somewhat despairingly at the pile of correspondence. "Yes," said he, "I am pestered with letters. Old ladies and clergymen are constantly sending me notes warning of the wrath to come. Dealers in pornographic literature flood me with their circulars, and, young and old, sane and insane (particularly the latter), send me manuscripts of poems, novelettes, essays, which each considers to be the finest work of the century, and demands cheque by return of post. Orders for literature, too, pour in, mostly without the harmless necessary postal order."
It is certain that Mr. Bedborough has solved Mrs. Partington's hitherto impossible suggestion of being "twenty gentlemen at once."
When one remembers the enormous correspondence he has to deal with as secretary of the Legitimation League, the organization of lectures, the personal interviews with friends, enemies and cranks-then the work connected with the publishing office, and finally the editorial work, one wonders how on earth all this can be done by this young, bland, brave, smiling gentleman before you. Strangely enough he is always happy and never in a hurry. It is truly marvelous.
He writes himself and has displayed a pretty humor. Some of his short stories (he never can have written a long one) are charming, and the reader, like Oliver Twist, asks for more.
I gleaned some interesting facts as to Mr. Bedborough's history which may be welcomed by Lucifer's readers. Eliminating his own model depreciation of attaching any importance whatever to his own life history, I may summarise the story thus: George Bedborough was born in London, of Berkshire parents in 1870; his father, a retired Church of England preacher, still lives and cordially detests the work to which his Son has devoted a promising career. George's mother was a woman of rare genius, a poet and thinker whose fame never travelled outside the immediate circle of the family acquaintance. Her son inherits her distrust of the literary judgment of the crowd.
Educated at Dulwich College, he early showed an interest in the study of literature. His earliest efforts were given to a manuscript magazine of the usual amateur type. Since:: then he has contributed regularly to several famous and obscure papers, including "Sunday Chronicle," "Shafts," " University Magazine," "Newcastle Weekly Chronicle," "South London Mail," etc.
His first public work was undertaken at the age of sixteen, when he founded, in conjunction with W. T. Stead, "The
*Mr. Orford Northcote's writings have influenced public opinion more in the direction or free love in the strict sense of the word than any of the others. He is par excellence the writer of the movement.