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32 Works of Irvin S. Cobb

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The Hydrophobic Skunk

Story type: Literature

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THE Hydrophobic Skunk resides at the extreme bottom of the Grand canyon and, next to a Southern Republican who never asked for a Federal office, is the rarest of living creatures. He is so rare that nobody ever saw him–that is, nobody except a native. I met plenty of tourists who had seen people who […]

Art

Story type: Essay

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In art as in music I am one who is very easily satisfied. All I ask of a picture is that it shall look like something, and all I expect of music is that it shall sound like something. In this attitude I feel confident that I am one of a group of about seventy […]

Music

Story type: Essay

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If you, the reader, are anything like me, the writer, it happens to you about every once in so long that some well-meaning but semi-witted friend rigs a dead-fall for you, and traps you and carries you off, a helpless captive, for an evening among the real music-lovers. Catching you, so to speak, with your […]

She emerges from the shop. She is any woman, and the shop from which she emerges is any shop in any town. She has been shopping. This does not imply that she has been buying anything or that she has contemplated buying anything, but merely that she has been shopping–a very different pursuit from buying. […]

A Tale Of Wet Days

Story type: Literature

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In the days before the hydrant-headed specter of Prohibition reared its head in the Sunny South I had this tale from a true Kentucky gentleman. As he gave it to me, so, reader, do I give it to you: “Yes, suh, to this good day Colonel Bud Crittenden ain’t never fergot that time he made […]

Over Jefferson Poindexter’s usually buoyant spirits a fabric of gloom, black, thick, and heavy, was spread like a burying-pall. His thoughts were the color of twelve o’clock at night at the bottom of a coal-mine and it the dark of the moon. Moroseness crowned his brow; sorrow berode his soul, and on his under lip […]

Plentiful Valley

Story type: Literature

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“So this here head brakeman, the same being a large, coarse, hairy, rectangular person with a square-toed jaw and a square-jawed toe, he up and boots the two of us right off this here freight train.” My old and revered friend, Scandalous Doolan, is much addicted to opening a narrative smack down the middle, as […]

Mr. Lobel’s Apoplexy

Story type: Literature

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The real purpose of this is to tell about Mr. Lobel’s attack of apoplexy. What comes before must necessarily be in its nature preliminary and preparatory, leading up to the climactic stroke which leaves the distinguished victim stretched upon the bed of affliction. First let us introduce our principal. Reader, meet Mr. Max Lobel, president […]

The Ravelin’ Wolf

Story type: Literature

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When the draft came to our town as it came to all towns it enmeshed Jeff Poindexter, who to look at him might be any age between twenty-one and forty-one. Jeff had a complexion admirably adapted for hiding the wear and tear of carking years and as for those telltale wrinkles which betray care he […]

"Worth 10,000"

Story type: Literature

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You might have called Vincent C. Marr a self-made man and be making no mistake about it. For he was self-made; not merely self-assembled, as so many men are who attain distinction in this profession or that calling. Entirely through his own efforts, with only his native wit to light the way for him, he […]

“Sorry, ma’am,” said the Pullman conductor, “but there’s not a bit of space left in the chair car, nor the sleeper neither.” “I’m sorry too,” said the young woman in the tan-colored tailor-mades. She was smartly hatted and smartly spatted; smart all over from toque-tip to toe-tip. “I didn’t know until almost the last minute […]

A Short Natural History

Story type: Literature

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If ever a person might be said to have dedicated his being to the pursuit of leisure, that selfsame was Red Hoss Shackleford, of color, and highly so. He was one who specialized in the deft and fine high art of doing nothing at all. With him leisure was at once a calling to be […]

Darkness

Story type: Literature

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There was a house in this town where always by night lights burned. In one of its rooms many lights burned; in each of the other rooms at least one light. It stood on Clay Street, on a treeless plot among flower beds, a small dull-looking house; and when late on dark nights all the […]

The Cater-Cornered Sex

Story type: Literature

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They had a saying down our way in the old days that Judge Priest administered law inside his courthouse and justice outside of it. Perhaps they were right. Certainly he had a way of seeking short cuts through thickets of legal verbiage to the rights of things, the which often gave acute sorrow to the […]

Respectfully dedicated to two classes: Those who have already been operated on Those who have not yet been operated on Now that the last belated bill for services professionally rendered has been properly paid and properly receipted; now that the memory of the event, like the mark of the stitches, has faded out from a […]

For a good many years now I have been carrying this idea round with me. It was more or less of a loose and unformed idea, and it wouldn’t jell. What brought it round to the solidification point was this: Here the other week, being half sick, I was laid up over Sunday in a […]

Guilty As Charged

Story type: Literature

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The Jew, I take it, is essentially temperamental, whereas the Irishman is by nature sentimental; so that in the long run both of them may reach the same results by varying mental routes. This, however, has nothing to do with the story I am telling here, except inferentially. It was trial day at headquarters. To […]

One Third Off

Story type: Literature

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CHAPTER I Extra! Extra! All About The Great Reduction! The way I look at this thing is this way: If something happens to you and by writing about it you can make a bit of money and at the same time be a benefactor to the race, then why not? Does not the philanthropic aspect […]

Fishhead

Story type: Literature

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It goes past the powers of my pen to try to describe Reelfoot Lake for you so that you, reading this, will get the picture of it in your mind as I have it in mine. For Reelfoot Lake is like no other lake that I know anything about. It is an afterthought of Creation. […]

There was a sound, heard in the early hours of a Sunday morning, that used to bother strangers in our town until they got used to it. It started usually along about half past five or six o’clock and it kept up interminably–so it seemed to them–a monotonous, jarring thump-thump, thump-thump that was like the […]

When a Kentucky mountaineer goes to the penitentiary the chances are that he gets sore eyes from the white walls that enclose him, or quick consumption from the thick air that he breathes. It was entirely in accordance with the run of his luck that Anse Dugmore should get them both, the sore eyes first […]

Smoke Of Battle

Story type: Literature

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This befell during the period that Major Putnam Stone, at the age of sixty-two, held a job as cub reporter on the Evening Press and worked at it until his supply of fine linen and the patience of City Editor Wilbert Devore frazzled out practically together. The episode to which I would here direct attention […]

The first time I saw Major Putnam Stone I didn’t see him first. To be exact, I heard him first, and then I walked round the end of a seven-foot partition and saw him. I had just gone to work for the Evening Press. As I recall now it was my second day, and I […]

“See if he’s still there, will you?” said the man listlessly, as if knowing in advance what the answer would be. The woman, who, like the man, was in her stocking feet, crossed the room, closing the door with all softness behind her. She felt her way silently through the darkness of a small hallway, […]

The Escape Of Mr. Trimm

Story type: Literature

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Mr. Trimm, recently president of the late Thirteenth National Bank, was taking a trip which was different in a number of ways from any he had ever taken. To begin with, he was used to parlor cars and Pullmans and even luxurious private cars when he went anywhere; whereas now he rode with a most […]

The Belled Buzzard

Story type: Literature

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There was a swamp known as Little Niggerwool, to distinguish it from Big Niggerwool, which lay across the river. It was traversable only by those who knew it well–an oblong stretch of tawny mud and tawny water, measuring maybe four miles its longest way and two miles roughly at its widest; and it was full […]

The Life of the Party

Story type: Literature

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I It had been a successful party, most successful. Mrs. Carroway’s parties always were successes, but this one nearing its conclusion stood out notably from a long and unbroken Carrowayian record. It had been a children’s party; that is to say, everybody came in costume with intent to represent children of any age between one […]

Vittles

Story type: Essay

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Upon a certain gladsome occasion a certain man went into a certain restaurant in a certain large city, being imbued with the idea that he desired a certain kind of food. Expense was with him no object. The coming of the holidays had turned his thoughts backward to the care-free days of boyhood and he […]

On my way home from overseas I spent many happy hours mapping out a campaign. To myself I said: “The day I land is going to be a great day for some of the waiters and a hard day on some of the cooks. Persons who happen to be near by when I am wrestling […]

Sport

Story type: Essay

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As I understand it, sport is hard work for which you do not get paid. If, for hire, you should consent to go forth and spend eight hours a day slamming a large and heavy hammer at a mark, that would be manual toil, and you would belong to the union and carry a card, […]

Cobb’s Anatomy

Story type: Literature

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Preface This Space To-Let to Any Reputable Party Desiring a Good Preface Contents I. Tummies II. Teeth III. Hair IV. Hands and feet TUMMIES Dr. Woods Hutchinson says that fat people are happier than other people. How does Dr. Woods Hutchinson know? Did he ever have to leave the two top buttons of his vest […]

The Thunders of Silence

Story type: Literature

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Some people said Congressman Mallard had gone mad. These were his friends, striving out of the goodness of their hearts to put the best face on what at best was a lamentable situation. Some said he was a traitor to his country. These were his enemies, personal, political and journalistic. Some called him a patriot […]