Wednesday, August 12, 2009


[From Happy Days, 1940]

"When arc-lights began to light the streets, along about 1885, they attracted so many beetles of gigantic size that their glare was actually obscured. The beetles at once acquired the name of electric-light bugs, and it was believed that the arc carbons produced them by a kind of spontaneous generation, and that their bite was dangerous as that of a tarantula.
These flies were no concern to my brother Charlie and me; they seemed to be innocuous and even friendly compared to the chiggers, bumble-bees and hornets that occasionally beset us. Indeed, they were a source of pleasant recreation to us, for very often, on hot Summer evenings, we would retire to the kitchen, stretch out flat on our backs on the table, and pop away at them with slingshots as they roosted in dense clumps upon the ceiling."

"The Baltimore of the eighties was a noisy town, for the impact of iron wagon tires on hard cobblestone was almost like that of a hammer on
an anvil."

[From Heathen Days, 1943]

"---what a foul smell, indeed, a gymnasium has! how it suggests a mixture of Salvation Army, elephant house, and county jail!"

[From the Smart Set, May 1919]

"Whoso approaches women still faces the immemorial dangers. Civilization has not made them a bit more safe than they were in Solomon's time; they are still inordinately menacing, and hence inordinately provocative, and hence inordinately charming."

"The most disgusting cad in the world is the man who, on grounds of decorum and morality avoids the game of love."

[From the Smart Set, May 1920]

"The Gettysburg speech is at once the shortest and the most famous oration in American history. Put beside it, all the whoopings of the Websters, Sumners and Everetts seem gaudy and silly. It is eloquence brought to a pellucid and almost gem-like perfection---the highest emotion reduced to a few poetical phrases."

[From the Smart Set, January 1921]

",,,he [Woodrow Wilson] knew better than they did how to arrest the boobery with words that were simply words, and nothing else...He knew how to make them glow, and weep. He wasted no time upon the heads of dupes, but aimed directly at their ears, diaphragms and hearts."

[From In Defense of Women, 1922]

"Men do not demand genuine beauty, even in the most modest doses; they are quite content with the mere appearance of beauty. That is to say, they show no talent whatever for differentiating
between the artificial and the real. The film of face powder, skillfully applied, is as satisfying to them as an epidermis of damask...False bosoms intrigue them as effectively as the soundest of living fascia."

[From the Smart Set, 1923]

"In all my years of search in this world, from the Golden Gate in the West to the Vistula in the East, and from the Orkney Islands in the North to the Spanish Main in the South, I have never met a thoroughly moral man who was honorable."

[From the Smart Set, December 1919]

"The hardest thing about death is not that men die tragically, but that most of them die ridiculously."

"The dying man doesn't struggle much and he isn't much afraid. As his alkalies give out he succumbs to a blest stupidity. His mind fogs. He will power vanishes. He submits decently. He scarcely gives a damn."

[From the Smart Set, December 1921]

"If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl."

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