Singing the Red Flag, the highborn sons of the British upper-class lay on the carpeted floor spinning out socialist schemes in homosexual intermission. Sometimes, one of the participants would shout out an obscenity - then, as if on signal, the entire group would join in a frenzied babble of profanity. Here and there individuals would smoke or chew hashish. Most had unkempt long hair, and some sported beards.
The attitude in such gatherings was anti-establishmentarian. To them the older generation was horribly out of date; even superfluous. The capitalist system was declared obsolete, and revolution was proclaimed as the only solution. Christianity was pronounced an enemy force, and the worst sort of depravities were eulogized as “that love which passes all Christian understanding.”
The year was 1904, and the participants were destined to become the intellectual and political leaders of the British Empire.