Walking-Stick Papers eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 173 pages of information about Walking-Stick Papers.
look at the man behind the bar, “Gimme one o’ them shells.”  A thin glass of beer was set before him; he relaxed, straightened up, and drank off its contents.  Then, apparently, feeling that he was observed, he looked very unconcernedly all about the room and appeared to be bored.  He then examined very attentively a picture on the wall, and his neck seemed to be temporarily stiff.  I can see him now, I am happy to say, as plain as print.

One’s mind is, indeed, a grand photograph album.  How precious to one it will be when one is old and may sit all day in a house by the sea and, so to say, turn the leaves.  That is why one should be going about all the while in one’s vigour with an alert and an open mind.

Wives are picturesque characters, too.  I mind me of my friend Billy Henderson’s new wife.  Billy Henderson’s wife looks like a balloon.  She’s so fat that she has busted down the arches of her feet.  In order to “fight flesh” she walks a great deal.  She walks a mile every day, and then takes a car back home.  Her father comes over from Philadelphia once every week to see her, because she is so homesick.  For months after she was married she just cried all the time, she was so homesick.  She never goes to the movies.  The movies make her cry.  One time she saw at the movies a hospital scene.  It horrified her for days.  A friend of hers is about to be married.  But she has told her friend that she cannot go to the wedding.  Weddings always make her cry so.  She just can’t read the war news; it is too terrible; it affects her so that she can’t sleep a bit.  She hasn’t read any of it at all, and, she says, she has no idea who is winning the war.  She takes some kind of capsules to reduce flesh, which cost six dollars for fifty.  She has taken twenty-five.  The extension of the draft age being spoken of, she said to Billy: 

“Dearie, I’ll put you under the bed where they won’t get you.”  She doesn’t want to vote, and she can’t understand why any one should want to go to poles and vote and all that kind of thing.

Billy Henderson’s wife is handsome; she is rich; she is an excellent cook; she loves Billy Henderson.

XIX

HUMOURS OP THE BOOK SHOP

The panorama before his view is the human mind.  He panders to its divers follies, consults its varied wisdom.  He stands umbrellaless in the rain of all its idiosyncrasies.  Why has he not lifted up his voice?  He, the book clerk, that lives among countless volumes of confessions!  Whose daily task is to wrestle hour by hour with a living Comedie Humaine!  Has the constant spectacle of so many books been astringent in its effect upon any latent creative impulse?  Or has he been dumb in the colloquial sense, forsooth; a figure like Mr. Whistler’s guard in the British Museum?  Sundry “lettered booksellers” of England have, indeed, given us some reminiscences of bookselling and its humours.  But they were the old boys.  They belonged to an old order and reflected another day.  “As physicians are called ’The Faculty’ and counsellors-at-law ‘The Profession,’” writes Boswell, “the booksellers of London are called ‘The Trade.’” Let us look into this Trade as it is to-day, we said.  So for a space we played we were a book clerk.

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Walking-Stick Papers from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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