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Stalagmite Valley

Dreamed recurrently, 1902?-1907 by Maude Meagher

I entered into a valley; it was long and very deep. I could not see the end of it, but the sides were steep, of mellow stone coloured dimly in yellow and rose and blue. From the floor of the valley had grown innumerable weathered pillars of stone--like stalagmites. Some were low and some were very tall.

On one of these, one taller than most, but less tall than some, I knew was my destined place, and I found myself upon it, sitting woeful and rebellious because I could not make myself heard by the people on the other stalagmites.

These people had no form; I could not see them, but I knew that they were there, sitting singly like myself I strained out toward them in spite of a fear of falling, and called, but a wind that blew forlornly through the valley carried my words away, and I had a sense that only a few disjointed ones reached the invisible ears.

It was a sad and anxious dream. I always woke from it feeling unbearably oppressed and lonely.


I can put a nearly exact date to the end of this recurrent dream. It was in my twelfth year, when I made my first intimate friend, a giggling schoolgirl, with whom I lived the usual busy schoolgirl life for a year. After I met her I never had the dream again.

I wrote it down from memory in my fifteenth year.

--Maude Meagher

account from The Dream World (Ed. R.L. Megroz, 1939)


Meagher wasn't just looking for a friend. In college she fell in love with a woman composer, lived and traveled happily with a series of women; with her last lover she built a historic house and settled down to publish her own magazine for years. She acted and sang in college, reported for the San Francisco Chronicle, bummed around Europe, wrote quite poetic novels about Amazons and dreamers. Still, the sexual discretion still necessary when she wrote Megroz (c.1935) made it unwise for her to reveal if it was friendship that ended her nightmare at twelve, or love.

To me the dream seems prescient. Not fatalistic, but warning of the Well of Loneliness if she hid her sexuality--and her voice. And the other column-sitters ignoring her voice may well symbolize homophobia.

Whether she could openly acknowledge it or not, she sure acted on the dream's warning: sought love openly and never looked back.

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