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137 Works of Christopher Morley

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Our friend Dove Dulcet, the poet, came into our kennel and found us arm in arm with a deep demijohn of Chester County cider. We poured him out a beaker of the cloudy amber juice. It was just in prime condition, sharpened with a blithe tingle, beaded with a pleasing bubble of froth. Dove looked […]

Those who buy their ink in little stone jugs may prefer to do so because the pottle reminds them of cruiskeen lawn or ginger beer (with its wire-bound cork), but they miss a noble delight. Ink should be bought in the tall, blue glass, quart bottle (with the ingenious non-drip spout), and once every three […]

A new thought for Christmas? Who ever wanted a new thought for Christmas? That man should be shot who would try to brain one. It is an impertinence even to write about Christmas. Christmas is a matter that humanity has taken so deeply to heart that we will not have our festival meddled with by […]

Christmas Cards

Story type: Essay

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By a stroke of good luck we found a little shop where a large overstock of Christmas cards was selling at two for five. The original 5’s and 10’s were still penciled on them, and while we were debating whether to rub them off a thought occurred to us. When will artists and printers design […]

There are a great many people who really believe in answering letters the day they are received, just as there are people who go to the movies at 9 o’clock in the morning; but these people are stunted and queer. It is a great mistake. Such crass and breathless promptness takes away a great deal […]

(NEW YEAR’S EVE) Dear Father Time–This is your night of triumph, and it seems only fair to pay you a little tribute. Some people, in a noble mood of bravado, consider New Year’s Eve an occasion of festivity. Long, long in advance they reserve a table at their favorite cafe; and becomingly habited in boiled […]

It gives us a great deal of pleasure to announce, officially, that spring has arrived. Our statement is not based on any irrelevant data as to equinoxes or bluebirds or bock-beer signs, but is derived from the deepest authority we know anything about, our subconscious self. We remember that some philosopher, perhaps it was Professor […]

Once every ten weeks or so we get our hair cut. We are not generally parsimonious of our employer’s time, but somehow we do hate to squander that thirty-three minutes, which is the exact chronicide involved in despoiling our skull of a ten weeks’ garner. If we were to have our hair cut at the […]

“What is an equinox?” said Titania. I pretended not to hear her and prayed fervently that the inquiry would pass from her mind. Sometimes her questions, if ignored, are effaced by some other thought that possesses her active brain. I rattled my paper briskly and kept well behind it. “Yes,” I murmured husbandly, “delicious, delicious! […]

I found Titania looking severely at her watch, which is a queer little gold disk about the size of a waistcoat button, swinging under her chin by a thin golden chain. Titania’s methods of winding, setting and regulating that watch have always been a mystery to me. She frequently knows what the right time is, […]

Marathon, Pa., April 2. This is a very embarrassing time of year for us. Every morning when we get on the 8:13 train at Marathon Bill Stites or Fred Myers or Hank Harris or some other groundsel philosopher on the Cinder and Bloodshot begins to chivvy us about our garden. “Have you planted anything yet?” […]

Marathon, Pa., May 2. I insist that the place for birds is in the air or on the bushy tops of trees or on smooth-shaven lawns. Let them twitter and strut on the greens of golf courses and intimidate the tired business men. Let them peck cinders along the railroad track and keep the trains […]

When corncob pipes went up from a nickel to six cents, smoking traditions tottered. That was a year or more ago, but one can still recall the indignation written on the faces of nicotine-soaked gaffers who had been buying cobs at a jitney ever since Washington used one to keep warm at Valley Forge. It […]

The Urchin and I have been strolling about Marathon on Sunday mornings for more than a year, but not until the gasolineless Sabbaths supervened were we really able to examine the village and see what it is like. Previously we had been kept busy either dodging motors or admiring them as they sped by. Their […]

I Smelt it this morning–I wonder if you know the smell I mean? It had rained hard during the night, and trees and bushes twinkled in the sharp early sunshine like ballroom chandeliers. As soon as I stepped out of doors I caught that faint but unmistakable musk in the air; that dim, warm sweetness. […]

The first obligation of one who lives by writing is to write what editors will buy. In so doing, how often one laments that one cannot write exactly what happens. Suppose I were to try it–for once! I have been lying on the bed–where the landlady has put a dark blue spread, instead of the […]

If we were asked (we have not been asked) to name a day the world ought to celebrate and does not, we would name the 16th of May. For on that day, in the year 1763, James Boswell first met Dr. Samuel Johnson. This great event, which enriched the world with one of the most […]

I don’t know just what urchins think about; neither do they, perhaps; but presumably by the time they’re twenty-eight months old they must have formed some ideas as to what is possible and what isn’t. And therefore it seemed to the Urchin’s curators sound and advisable to take him out to the Zoo one Sunday […]

Robert Urwick, the author, was not yet so calloused by success that he was immune from flattery. And so when he received the following letter he was rather pleased: Mr. Robt. Urwick, dear sir I seen your story in this weeks Saturday Evn Cudgel, not that I can afford to buy journals of that stamp […]

The Key Ring

Story type: Essay

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I know a man who carries in his left-leg trouser pocket a large heavy key ring, on which there are a dozen or more keys of all shapes and sizes. There is a latchkey, and the key of his private office, and the key of his roll-top desk, and the key of his safe deposit […]

"Owd Bob"

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CHAPTER I (INTRODUCES OUR HERO) Loitering perchance on the western pavement of Madison avenue, between the streets numbered 38 and 39, and gazing with an observant eye upon the pedestrians passing southward, you would be likely to see, about 8:40 o’clock of the morning, a gentleman of remarkable presence approaching with no bird-like tread. This […]

The other evening we went to dinner with a gentleman whom it pleases our fancy to call the Caliph. Now a Caliph, according to our notion, is a Haroun-al-Raschid kind of person; one who governs a large empire of hearts with a genial and whimsical sway; circulating secretly among his fellow-men, doing kindnesses often not […]

As To Rumors

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MADRID, Jan. 17.–Nikolai Lenine was among the Russians who landed at Barcelona recently, according to newspapers here.–News item. It is rather important to understand the technique of rumors. The wise man does not scoff at them, for while they are often absurd, they are rarely baseless. People do not go about inventing rumors, except for […]

Our Mothers

Story type: Essay

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When one becomes a father, then first one becomes a son. Standing by the crib of one’s own baby, with that world-old pang of compassion and protectiveness toward this so little creature that has all its course to run, the heart flies back in yearning and gratitude to those who felt just so toward one’s […]

From Master Isaak Walton My Good Friends–As I have said afore time, sitting by a river’s side is the quietest and fittest place for contemplation, and being out and along the bank of Styx with my tackle this sweet April morning, it came into my humor to send a word of greeting to you American […]

CHANCERY LANE, LONDON, April 28, 1639. My Dearest Mother: Matters indeed pass from badd to worse, and I fear mee that with Izaak spending all hys tyme angling along riversydes and neglecting the millinery shoppe (wych is our onlie supporte, for can bodye and soule be keppt in one by a few paltrie brace of […]

Truth

Story type: Essay

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Our mind is dreadfully active sometimes, and the other day we began to speculate on Truth. Our friends are still avoiding us. Every man knows what Truth is, but it is impossible to utter it. The face of your listener, his eyes mirthful or sorry, his eager expectance or his churlish disdain insensibly distort your […]

One of our favorite amusements at lunch-time is to walk down to Henry Rosa’s pastry shop, and buy a slab of cinnamon bun. Then we walk round Washington Square, musing, and gradually walking round and engulfing the cinnamon bun at the same time. It is surprising what a large circumference those buns of Henry’s have. […]

My Fellow Citizens: It is very delightful to be here, if I may be permitted to say so, and I consider it a distinguished privilege to open the discussion as to the probable weather to-morrow not only, but during the days to come. I can easily conceive that many of our forecasts will need subsequent […]

The feminine language consists of words placed one after another with extreme rapidity, with intervals for matinees. The purpose of this language is (1) to conceal, and (2) to induce, thought. Very often, after the use of a deal of language, a thought will appear in the speaker’s mind. This, while desirable, is by no […]

Fixed Ideas

Story type: Essay

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It is said that a Fixed Idea is the beginning of madness. Yet we are often worried because we have so few Fixed Ideas. We do not seem to have any really definite Theory about Life. * * * * * We find, on the other hand, that a great many of those we know […]

10 a.m.–Arrive at railway station. Welcomed by King and Queen. Hat on head. Umbrella left hand. Gloves on. 10:01–Right glove off (hastily) into left hand. Hat off (right hand). Umbrella hanging on left arm. 10:02–Right glove into left pocket. Hat to left hand. Shake hands with King. 10:03–Shake hands with Queen. Left glove off to […]

From a witless puppy I brought thee up: gave thee fire and food, and taught thee the self-respect of an honest dog. Hear, then, my commandments: I am thy master: thou shalt have no other masters before me. Where I go, shalt thou follow; where I abide, tarry thou also. My house is thy castle; […]

Our friend Dove Dulcet, the well-known sub-caliber poet, has recently issued a slender volume of verses called Peanut Butter. He thinks we may be interested to see the comment of the press on his book. We don’t know why he should think so, but anyway here are some of the reviews: Buffalo Lens: Mr. Dulcet […]

(Fill in railroad as required) Wilt thou, Jack, have this woman to be thy wedded wife, to live together in so far as the —- Railroad will allow? Wilt thou love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, take her to the movies, prevent the furnace from going out, and come home regularly on the […]

I often wonder how many present-day writers keep diaries. I wish The Bookman would conduct a questionnaire on the subject. I have a suspicion that Charley Towne keeps one–probably a grim, tragic parchment wherein that waggish soul sets down its secret musings. I dare say Louis Untermeyer has one (morocco, tooled and goffered, with gilt […]

Interview the baby alone if possible. If, however, both parents are present, say, “It looks like its mother.” And, as an afterthought, “I think it has its father’s elbows.” If uncertain as to the infant’s sex, try some such formula as, “He looks like her grandparents,” or “She has his aunt’s sweet disposition.” When the […]

In these days when the streets are so perilous, every man who goes about the city ought to be sure that his pockets are in good order, so that when he is run down by a roaring motor-truck the police will have no trouble in identifying him and communicating with his creditors. I have always […]

I. IN PRAISE OF BOOBS Dear Sir–What is a Boob? Will you please discuss the subject a little? Perhaps I’m a boobfor asking–but I’d like to know. CYNTHIA. BE FRIENDLY WITH BOOBS The Boob, my dear Cynthia, is Nature’s device for mitigating the quaintly blended infelicities of existence. Never be too bitter about the Boob. […]

Visiting Poets

Story type: Essay

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We were giving a young English poet a taste of Philadelphia, trying to show him one or two of the simple beauties that make life agreeable to us. Having just been photographed, he was in high good humor. “What a pity,” he said, “that you in America have no literature that reflects the amazing energy, […]

There are a number of empty apartments in the suburbs of our mind that we shall be glad to rent to any well-behaved ideas. These apartments (unfurnished) all have southern exposure and are reasonably well lighted. They have emergency exits. We prefer middle-aged, reasonable ideas that have outgrown the diseases of infancy. No ideas need […]

I A decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that one should have some excuse for being away from the office on a working afternoon. September sunshine and trembling blue air are not sufficient reasons, it seems. Therefore, if any one should brutally ask what I was doing the other day dangling down Chestnut […]

On Doors

Story type: Essay

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The opening and closing of doors are the most significant actions of man’s life. What a mystery lies in doors! No man knows what awaits him when he opens a door. Even the most familiar room, where the clock ticks and the hearth glows red at dusk, may harbor surprises. The plumber may actually have […]

Kenneth Stockton was a man of letters, and correspondingly poor. He was the literary editor of a leading metropolitan daily; but this job only netted him fifty dollars a week, and he was lucky to get that much. The owner of the paper was powerfully in favour of having the reviews done by the sporting […]

Don Marquis

Story type: Essay

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There is nothing more pathetic than the case of the author who is the victim of a supposedly critical essay. You hold him in the hollow of your hand. You may praise him for his humour when he wants to be considered a serious and saturnine dog. You may extol his songs of war and […]

Away with the stupid adage about a man beingas old as his arteries! He is as old as hiscalves–his garteries…. —Meditations of Andrew McGill. “There was fine walking on the hills in the direction of the sea.” This heart-stirring statement, which I find in an account of the life of William and Dorothy Wordsworth when […]

Rupert Brooke

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Rupert Brooke had the oldest pith of England in his fibre. He was born of East Anglia, the original vein of English blood. Ruddy skin, golden-brown hair, blue eyes, are the stamp of the Angles. Walsingham, in Norfolk, was the home of the family. His father was a master at Rugby; his grandfather a canon […]

The Man

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The big room was very still. Outside, beneath a thin, cold drizzle, the first tinge of green showed on the broad lawn. The crocuses were beginning to thrust their spears through the sodden mold. One of the long French windows stood ajar, and in the air that slipped through was a clean, moist whiff of […]

He always lost his temper when the foreign mail came in. Sitting in his private room, which overlooked a space of gardens where bright red and yellow flowers were planted in rhomboids, triangles, parallelograms, and other stiff and ugly figures, he would glance hastily through the papers and magazines. He was familiar with several foreign […]

17 Heriot Row

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There is a small black notebook into which I look once or twice a year to refresh my memory of a carnal and spiritual pilgrimage to Edinburgh, made with Mifflin McGill (upon whose head be peace) in the summer of 1911. It is a testament of light-hearted youth, savoury with the unindentured joys of twenty-one […]

[Denis Dulcet, brother of the well-known poet Dunraven Dulcet and the extremely well-known literary agent Dove Dulcet, was for many years the head reader for a large publishing house. It was my good fortune to know him intimately, and when he could be severed from his innumerable manuscripts, which accompanied him everywhere, even in bed, […]

William Mcfee

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M’Phee is the most tidy of chief engineers. Ifthe leg of a cockroach gets into one of hisslide-valves the whole ship knows it, and halfthe ship has to clean up the mess. –RUDYARD KIPLING. The next time the Cunard Company commissions a new liner I wish they would sign on Joseph Conrad as captain, Rudyard […]

Rhubarb

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We used to call him Rhubarb, by reason of his long russet beard, which we imagined trailing in the prescriptions as he compounded them, imparting a special potency. He was a little German druggist–Deutsche Apotheker–and his real name was Friedrich Wilhelm Maximilian Schulz. The village of Kings is tucked away in Long Island, in the […]

A LITTLE-KNOWN TOWN OF UNEARTHLY BEAUTY Slowly, reluctantly (rather like a vers libre poem) the quaint little train comes to a stand. Along the station platform each of the fiacre drivers seizes a large dinner-bell and tries to outring the others. You step from the railway carriage–and instantly the hellish din of those droschky bells […]

Ingo

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“ZUM ANDENKEN” The first night we sat down at the inn table for supper I lost my heart to Ingo! Ingo was just ten years old. He wore a little sailor suit of blue and white striped linen; his short trousers showed chubby brown calves above his white socks; his round golden head cropped close […]

Housebroken

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After Simmons had been married two years he began to feel as though he needed a night off. But he hesitated to mention the fact, for he knew his wife would feel hurt to think that he could dream of an evening spent elsewhere than in their cosy sitting room. However, there were no two […]

I remember some friends of mine telling me how they went down to Horsham, in Sussex, to see Hilaire Belloc. They found him in the cellar, seated astraddle of a gigantic wine-cask just arrived from France, about to proceed upon the delicate (and congenial) task of bottling the wine. He greeted them like jovial Silenus, […]

He that will learn to pray, let him go to sea. –GEORGE HERBERT. Books sometimes make surprising connections with life. Fifteen-year-old Tommy Jonkers, shipping as O.S. (ordinary seaman) on the S.S. Fernfield in Glasgow in 1911, could hardly have suspected that the second engineer would write a novel and put him in it; or that […]

The Last Pipe

Story type: Essay

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The last smoker I recollect among those of the old school was a clergyman. He had seen the best society, and was a man of the most polished behaviour. This did not hinder him from taking his pipe every evening before he went to bed. He sat in his armchair, his back gently bending, his […]

The twenty-eighth of October. Coal nine dollars a ton. Mr. and Mrs. Blackwell had made a resolution not to start the furnace until Thanksgiving. And in the biting winds of Long Island that requires courage. Commuters the world over are a hardy, valorous race. The Arab commutes by dromedary, the Malay by raft, the Indian […]

There are many ways of sitting down to an evening vigil. Unquestionably the pleasantest is to fortify the soul with a pot of tea, plenty of tobacco, and a few chapters of Jane Austen. And if the adorable Miss Austen is not to hand, my second choice perhaps would be the literary remains of a […]

Trivia

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The secret thoughts of a man run over all things,holy, profane, clean, obscene, grave, and light,without shame or blame. –HOBBES, Leviathan, Chap. VIII. The bachelor is almost extinct in America. Our hopelessly utilitarian civilization demands that a man of forty should be rearing a family, should go to an office five times a week, and […]

Prefaces

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It has long been my conviction that the most graceful function of authorship is the writing of prefaces. What is more pleasant than dashing off those few pages of genial introduction after all the dreary months of spading at the text? A paragraph or two as to the intentions of the book; allusions to the […]

The Skipper

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I have been reading again that most delightful of all autobiographies, “A Personal Record,” by Joseph Conrad. Mr. Conrad’s mind is so rich, it has been so well mulched by years of vigorous life and sober thinking, that it pushes tendrils of radiant speculation into every crevice of the structure upon which it busies itself. […]

Loder is a Rock of Ages to rely on. –EDWARD FITZGERALD. I heard the other day of the death of dear old John Loder, the Woodbridge bookseller, at the age of ninety-two. Though ill equipped to do justice to his memory, it seems to me a duty, and a duty that I take up gladly. […]

I had heard so much about this Rabbi Tagore and his message of calm for our hustling, feverish life, that I thought I would try to put some of that stuff into practice. “Shut out the clamour of small things. Withdraw into the deep quiet of your soul, commune with infinite beauty and infinite peace. […]

It was a crisp October afternoon, and along Iffley Road the wind was chivvying the yellow leaves. We stood at the window watching the flappers opposite play hockey. One of them had a scarlet tam-o’-shanter and glorious dark hair underneath it…. A quiet tap at the door, gentle but definite, and in came Mrs. Beesley. […]

"Peacock Pie"

Story type: Essay

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Once a year or so one is permitted to find some book which brings a real tingle to that ribbon of the spinal marrow which responds to the vibrations of literature. Not a bad way to calendar the years is by the really good books they bring one. Each twelve month the gnomon on the […]

Excellent Parson Adams, in “Joseph Andrews,” is not the only literary man who has lamented the difficulty of ransoming a manuscript for immediate cash. It will be remembered that Mr. Adams had in his saddlebag nine volumes of sermons in manuscript, “as well worth a hundred pounds as a shilling was worth twelve pence.” Offering […]

One violet throbbing star was climbing in the southeast at half-past four, and the whole flat plain was rich with golden moonlight. Early rising in order to quicken the furnace and start the matinsong in the steampipes becomes its own reward when such an orange moon is dropping down the sky. Even Peg (our most […]

I am not a travelling salesman (except in so far as all men are) so I do not often travel in the Club Car. But when I do, irresistibly the thought comes that I have strayed into the American House of Lords. Unworthily I sit among our sovereign legislators, a trifle ill at ease mayhap. […]

Cotswold Winds

Story type: Essay

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Spring comes late on these windy uplands, and indoors one still sits close to the fire. These are the days of booming gales over the sheepwolds, and the afternoon ride with Shotover becomes an adventure. I am not one of those who shirk bicycling in a wind. Give me a two-mile spin with the gust […]

Clouds

Story type: Essay

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Who has ever done justice to the majesty of the clouds? Alice Meynell, perhaps? George Meredith? Shelley, who was “gold-dusty with tumbling amongst the stars?” Henry Van Dyke has sung of “The heavenly hills of Holland,” but in a somewhat treble pipe; R.L.S. said it better–“The travelling mountains of the sky.” Ah, how much is […]

Unhealthy

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On Saturday afternoons Titania and I always have an adventure. On Sundays we stay at home and dutifully read manuscripts (I am the obscure creature known as a “publisher’s reader”) but Saturday post meridiem is a golden tract of time wherein we wander as we list. The 35th Street entrance to McQueery’s has long been […]

True smokers are born and not made. I remember my grandfather with his snowy beard gloriously stained by nicotine; from my first years I never saw my father out of reach of his pipe, save when asleep. Of what avail for my mother to promise unheard bonuses if I did not smoke until I was […]

Hay Febrifuge

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Our village is remarkable. It contains the greatest publisher in the world, the most notable department store baron (and inventor of that new form of literary essay, the department store ad.), the most fragrant gas tanks in the Department of the East, the greatest number of cinders per eye of any arondissement served by the […]

Considering that most friendships are made by mere hazard, how is it that men find themselves equipped and fortified with just the friends they need? We have heard of men who asserted that they would like to have more money, or more books, or more pairs of pyjamas; but we have never heard of a […]

To those looking for an exhilarating vacation let us commend a week of “trouping” on one-night stands with a theatrical company, which mirthful experience has just been ours. We went along in the very lowly capacity of co-author, which placed us somewhat beneath the stage hands as far as dignity was concerned; and we flatter […]

The Owl Train

Story type: Essay

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Across the cold moonlit landscapes, while good folk are at home curling their toes in the warm bottom of the bed, the Owl trains rumble with a gentle drone, neither fast nor slow. There are several Owl trains with which we have been familiar. One, rather aristocratic of its kind, is the caravan of sleeping […]

Safety Pins

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Ligature of infancy, healing engine of emergency, base and mainstay of our civilization–we celebrate the safety pin. What would we do without safety pins? Is it not odd to think, looking about us on our fellowmen (bearded realtors, ejaculating poets, plump and ruddy policemen, even the cheerful dusky creature who runs the elevator and whistles […]

I can not imagine any pleasant job so full of pangs, or any painful job so full of pleasures, as the task of conducting a newspaper column. The colyumist, when he begins his job, is disheartened because nobody notices it. He soon outgrows this, and is disheartened because too many people notice it, and he […]

Moving

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Man, we suspect, is the only animal capable of persuading himself that his hardships are medicine to the soul, of flattering himself into a conviction that some mortal spasm was a fortifying discipline. Having just moved our household goods for the fourth time in four years, we now find ourself in the singular state of […]

Surf Fishing

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All day long you see them stand thigh-deep in the surf, fishing. Up on the beach each one has a large basket containing clams for bait, extra hooks and leaders, a little can of oil for the reel, and any particular doo-dads dear to the heart of the individual fisherman. And an old newspaper, all […]

"Idolatry"

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Once in a while, when the name of R. L. S. is mentioned in conversation, someone says to us: “Ah well, you’re one of the Stevenson idolators, aren’t you?” And this is said with a curious air of cynical superiority, as of one who has experienced all these things and is superbly tolerant of the […]

(Delivered to Cain and Abel, the first graduating class of the Garden of Eden Normal School.) My young friends–It is a privilege to be permitted to address you this morning, for I am convinced that never in the world’s history did the age beckon with so eager a gesture to the young men on the […]

George Snipe was an ardent book-lover, and sat in the smoking car in a state of suspended ecstasy. He had been invited out to Mandrake Park to visit the library of Mr. Genial Girth, the well-known collector of rare autographed books. Devoted amateur of literature as he was, George’s humble career rarely brought him into […]

(Roger Mifflin loquitur) I had a pleasant adventure to-day. A free verse poet came in to see me, wanted me to buy some copies of “The Pagan Anthology.” I looked over the book, to which he himself had contributed some pieces. I advised him to read Tennyson. I wish you could have seen his face. […]

This Indenture between A. B., an innkeeper, organized and existing under the laws of good cooking, party of the first part, and C. D., party of the second part, witnesseth: That the said party of the first part, for and in consideration of the sum of $1.50, lawful money of the United States, paid by […]

There is no way in which one can so surely arouse the suspicions of bankers as by trying to put some money in their hands. We went round to a near-by bank hoping to open an account. As we had formerly dealt with an uptown branch of the same institution, and as the cheque we […]

It Is a curious thing that so many people only go into a bookshop when they happen to need some particular book. Do they never drop in for a little innocent carouse and refreshment? There are some knightly souls who even go so far as to make their visits to bookshops a kind of chivalrous […]

A Discovery

Story type: Essay

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We are going to tell the truth. It has been on our mind for some time. We are going to tell it exactly, without any balancing or trimming or crimped edges. We are weary of talking about trivialities and are going to come plump and plain to the adventures of our own mind. These are […]

There died in New York, on February 11, 1918, one who perhaps as worthily as any man in any age represented the peculiar traits and charms of the book-lover, a man whose personal loveliness was only equalled by his unassuming modesty, a man who was an honour to the fine old profession of bookselling. There […]

Joyce Kilmer

Story type: Essay

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I I wonder if there is any other country where the death of a young poet is double-column front-page news? And if poets were able to proofread their own obits, I wonder if any two lines would have given Joyce Kilmer more honest pride than these: JOYCE KILMER, POET,IS KILLED IN ACTION which gave many […]

I. PHILADELPHIA AN EARLY TRAIN The course of events has compelled me for several months to catch an early train at Broad Street three times a week. I call it an “early” train, but, of course, these matters are merely relative; 7:45 are the figures illuminated over the gateway–not so very precocious, perhaps; but quite […]

We often wonder whether people are really as human as they appear, or is it only our imagination? Everybody, we suggest, thinks of others as being excessively human, with all the frailties and crotchets appertaining to that curious condition. But each of us also (we are not dogmatic on this matter) seems to regard himself […]

It was old John Mistletoe, we think, in his “Book of Deplorable Facts,” discussing the congenial topic of “Going to Bed” (or was it in his essay on “The Concinnity of Washerwomen?”) said something like this: Life passes by with deplorable rapidity. Post commutatorem sedet horologium terrificum, behind the commuter rideth the alarm clock, no […]

Address to An Employer Upon Demanding a Raise, or, The Battle of Manila Envelopes As Planned As Delivered I think you will admit, If you are not toosir, that the quality busy, sir, there is oneof my work during the other matter–in fact,last two years has been the truth of the mattersuch that my services […]

On Laziness

Story type: Essay

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To-day we rather intended to write an essay on Laziness, but were too indolent to do so. The sort of thing we had in mind to write would have been exceedingly persuasive. We intended to discourse a little in favour of a greater appreciation of Indolence as a benign factor in human affairs. It is […]

The Prince of Wales probably suffers severely during his tours abroad, for he is a shy youth; but he also makes many friends, for he is a delightfully simple and agreeable person. When we used to see him he looked a good deal like the traditional prince of the fairy tales, for he was a […]

It would be hard to find a more lovely spot in the flush of a summer sunset than Wister Woods. Old residents of the neighbourhood say that the trees are not what they were fifteen and twenty years ago; the chestnuts have died off; even some of the tall tulip-poplars are a little bald at […]

On Going To Bed

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One of the characters in “The Moon and Sixpence” remarked that he had faithfully lived up to the old precept about doing every day two things you heartily dislike; for, said he, every day he had got up and he had gone to bed. It is a sad thing that as soon as the hands […]

On Christmas Eve, while the Perfect Reader sits in his armchair immersed in a book–so absorbed that he has let the fire go out–I propose to slip gently down the chimney and leave this tribute in his stocking. It is not a personal tribute. I speak, on behalf of the whole fraternity of writers, this […]

The mind trudges patiently behind the senses. Day by day a thousand oddities and charms outline themselves tenderly upon consciousness, but it may be long before understanding comes with brush and colour to fill in the tracery. One learns nothing until he rediscovers it for himself. Every now and then, in reading, I have come […]

“Express train stalled in a snowdrift,” said one. “The irascible old white-haired gentleman in the Pullman smoker; the good-natured travelling salesman; the wistful young widow in the day coach, with her six-year-old blue-eyed little daughter. A coal-black Pullman porter who braves the shrieking gale to bring in a tree from the copse along the track. […]

I often wonder what inward pangs of laughter or despair he may have felt as he sat behind the old desk in Chase Hall and watched us file in, year after year! Callow, juvenile, ignorant, and cocksure–grotesquely confident of our own manly fulness of worldly savoir–an absurd rabble of youths, miserable flint-heads indeed for such […]

This window by which we sit is really very trying to our spirit. On a clear fluid blue day the sunlight pours over the cliffs and craggy coves and angles of the great buildings round St. Paul’s churchyard. We can see the temptation of being a cubist painter as we study all those intersecting planes […]

The doctor having been elected a member of the club, a meeting was held to celebrate the event. Bowling Green, Esq., secretary, was instructed to prepare carefully confidential minutes. Weather: fair and tepid. Wind: N.N.E. Course laid: From starting line at a Church Street bookshop, where the doctor bought a copy of “Limbo,” by Aldous […]

Initiation

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Allured by the published transactions of the club, our friend Lawton presented himself at the headquarters toward lunch time and announced himself as a candidate for membership. An executive session was hastily convened. Endymion broke the news to the candidate that initiates in this select organization are expected to entertain the club at luncheon. To […]

It has been suggested that the Three Hours for Lunch Club is an immoral institution; that it is founded upon an insufficient respect for the devotions of industry; that it runs counter to the form and pressure of the age; that it encourages a greedy and rambling humour in the young of both sexes; that […]

(BEING AN ANSWER TO A LETTER FROM A COLLEGE STUDENT, ASKING ADVICE AS TO TAKING UP WRITING AS A CAREER) Your inquiry is congenial, and I feel guilty of selfishness in answering it in this way. But he must be a poor workman, whether artisan or artist, who does not welcome an excuse now and […]

At the suggestion of Mr. Christopher Clarke, the Three Hours for Lunch Club made pilgrimage to the old seafaring tavern at No. 2 Fulton Street, and found it to be a heavenly place, with listing brass-shod black walnut stairs and the equally black and delightful waiter called Oliver, who (said Mr. Clarke) has been there […]

McSorley’s

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This afternoon we have been thinking how pleasant it would be to sit at one of those cool tables up at McSorley’s and write our copy there. We have always been greatly allured by Dick Steele’s habit of writing his Tatler at his favourite tavern. You remember his announcement, dated April 12, 1709: All accounts […]

I Every intelligent New Yorker should be compelled, once in so often, to run over to Philadelphia and spend a few days quietly and observantly prowling. Any lover of America is poor indeed unless he has savoured and meditated the delicious contrast of these two cities, separated by so few miles and yet by a […]

We went up to the composing room just now to consult our privy counsellor, Peter Augsberger, the make-up man, and after Peter had told us about his corn—- It is really astonishing, by the way, how many gardeners there are in a newspaper office. We once worked in a place where a horticultural magazine and […]

AJAX: Hullo, Socrates, what are you doing patrolling the streets at this late hour? Surely it would be more seemly to be at home? SOCRATES: You speak sooth, Ajax, but I have no home to repair to. AJAX: What do you mean by that? SOCRATES: In the sense of a place of habitation, a dormitory, […]

West Broadway

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Did you ever hear of Finn Square? No? Very well, then, we shall have to inflict upon you some paragraphs from our unpublished work: “A Scenic Guidebook to the Sixth Avenue L.” The itinerary is a frugal one: you do not have to take the L, but walk along under it. Streets where an L […]

1100 Words

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The managing editor, the city editor, the production manager, the foreman of the composing room, and the leading editorial writer having all said to us with a great deal of sternness, “Your copy for Saturday has got to be upstairs by such and such a time, because we are going to make up the page […]

Some Inns

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The other evening we went with Titania to a ramshackle country hotel which calls itself The Mansion House, looking forward to a fine robust meal. It was a transparent, sunny, cool evening, and when we saw on the bill of fare half broiled chicken, we innocently supposed that the word half was an adjective modifying […]

The advertisement ran as follows: Schooner HauppaugeFOR SALEBy U.S. Marshal,April 26, 1 P.M.,Pier G, Erie R.R.,Weehawken, N.J.Built at Wilmington, N.C., 1918; nettonnage 1,295; length 228; equipped withsails, tackle, etc. This had taken the eye of the Three Hours for Lunch Club. The club’s interest in nautical matters is well known and it is always looking […]

A barbecue and burgoo of the Three Hours for Lunch Club was held, the club’s medical adviser acting as burgoomaster and Mr. Lawton Mackall, the managing director, as jest of honour. The news that Lawton was at large spread rapidly through the city, and the club was trailed for some distance by an infuriated agent […]

That wild and engaging region known as the Salamis Estates has surprising enchantments for the wanderer. Strolling bushrangers, if they escape being pelleted with lead by the enthusiastic rabbit hunters who bang suddenly among thickets, will find many vistas of loveliness. All summer long we are imprisoned in foliage, locked up in a leafy embrace. […]

Our subject, for the moment, is Gissing–and when we say Gissing we mean not the author of that name, but the dog. He was called Gissing because he arrived, in the furnace man’s poke, on the same day on which, after long desideration, we were united in holy booklock with a copy of “By the […]

It was our good fortune to overhear a dialogue between Gissing (our dog) and Mike, the dog who lives next door. Mike, or Crowgill Mike II, to give him his full entitles, is a very sagacious old person, in the fifteenth year of his disillusionment, and of excellent family. If our humble Gissing is to […]

Looking over some several-days-old papers we observe that the truant Mr. Bergdoll was discovered at Eberbach in Baden. Well, well, we meditate, Herr Bergdoll is not wholly devoid of sense, if he is rambling about that delicious valley of the Neckar. And if we were a foreign correspondent, anxious to send home to the papers […]

Joseph Conrad, so we learn from the March Bookman, has written a preface to a cook book about to be published by Mrs. Conrad. We like to think about that preface. We wonder if it will be anything like this: I remember very well the first time I became aware of the deep and consoling […]

After many days of damp, dull, and dolorous weather, we found ourself unexpectedly moving in a fresh, cool, pure air; an air which, although there was no sunlight, had the spirit and feeling of sunlight in it; an air which was purged and lively. And, so strangely do things happen, after days of various complexion […]

Tadpoles

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Near our house, out in the sylvan Salamis Estates, there is a pond. We fear we cannot describe this pond to you in a way to carry conviction. You will think we exaggerate if we tell you, with honest warmth, how fair the prospect is. Therefore, in sketching the scene, we will be austere, churlish, […]

When they tell us the world is getting worse and worse, and the follies and peevishness of men will soon bring us all to some damnable perdition, we are consoled by contemplating the steadfast virtue of commuters. The planet grows harder and harder to live on, it is true; every new invention makes things more […]

We heard a critic remark that no great sonnets are being written nowadays. What (he said morosely) is there in the way of a recent sonnet that is worthy to take its place in the anthologies of the future beside those of Sir Philip Sidney, Milton, Wordsworth, Keats, Mrs. Browning, Louise Guiney, Rupert Brooke, or […]

The National Marine League asks, What are the ten best books of the sea? Without pondering very deeply on the matter, and confining ourself to prose, we would suggest the following as our own favourites: Typhoon, by Joseph ConradThe Nigger of the “Narcissus,” by Joseph ConradThe Mirror of the Sea, by Joseph ConradCaptains Courageous, by […]

I There are never, at any time and place, more than a few literary critics of genuine incision, taste, and instinct; and these qualities, rare enough in themselves, are further debilitated, in many cases, by excessive geniality or indigestion. The ideal literary critic should be guarded as carefully as a delicate thermal instrument at the […]

The prudent commuter (and all commuters are prudent, for the others are soon weeded out by the rigours of that way of life) keeps the furnace going until early May in these latitudes–assuming that there are small children in the house. None of those April hot waves can fool him; he knows that, with cunning […]

We were contemplating our fireplace, in which, some of the hearth-bricks are rather irregularly disposed; and we said to ourself, perhaps the brick-layer who built this noble fireplace worked like Ben Jonson, with a trowel in one hand and a copy of Horace in the other. That suggested to us that we had not read […]

Well, now let us see in what respect we are richer to-day than we were yesterday. Coming down Fifth Avenue on top of a bus, we saw a man absorbed in a book. Ha, we thought, here is our chance to see how bus reading compares to subway reading! After some manoeuvering, we managed to […]

I We hear people complain about the subway: its brutal competitive struggle, its roaring fury and madness. We think they have not sufficiently considered it. Any experience shared daily and for a long time by a great many people comes to have a communal and social importance; it is desirable to fill it with meaning […]

The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong; but as Frank Adams once remarked, the betting is best that way. The event at Boyle’s Thirty Acres in Jersey City was the conclusive triumph of Reality over Romance, of Prose over Poetry. To almost all the newspaper-reading world–except the canny fellows […]

(To D.W.B.) DEAR CAPTAIN: You are the most modest of men, but even at the risk of arousing your displeasure we have it on our mind to say something about you. We shall try not to be offensively personal, for indeed we are thinking not merely of yourself but also of the many others of […]