As We Were Saying

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Harper & brothers, 1891 - Essays - 219 pages
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Page 113 - When a Star from the Private Theatricals descends upon the boards, with the arms of Venus and the throat of Juno, and a wardrobe got out of Paris and through our stingy Custom-house in forty trunks, the plodding actor, who has depended upon art, finds out, what he has been all the time telling us, that all the world's a stage, and men and women merely players. Art is good in its way ; but what about a perfect figure ? and is not dressing an art? Can training give one an elegant form, and study command...
Page 81 - Let us have a new deal!" It is a natural exclamation, and does not necessarily mean any change of purpose. It always seems to a man that if he could shuffle the cards he could increase his advantages in the game of life, and, to continue the figure which needs so little explanation, it usually appears to him that he could play anybody else 's hand better than his own.
Page 161 - IT is fortunate that a passion for display is implanted in human nature; and if we owe a debt of gratitude to anybody, it is to those who make the display for us. It would be such a dull, colorless world without it! We try in vain to imagine a city without brass bands, and military marchings, and processions of societies in regalia and banners and resplendent uniforms, and gayly caparisoned horses, and men clad in red and yellow and blue and gray and gold and silver and feathers, moving in beautiful...
Page 125 - Drawer would like to emphasize the noble, self-sacrificing spirit of American women. There are none like them in the world. They take up all the burdens of artificial foreign usage, where social caste prevails, and bear them with a heroism worthy of a worse cause. They indeed represent these usages to be a burden almost intolerable, and yet they submit to them with a grace and endurance all their own. Probably there is no harderworked person than a lady in the season, let us say in Washington, where...
Page 31 - ... on account of the low, heavenly pitch of his voice. His inference would be that these people had been selected to come together by reason of their superior power of screaming. He would be wrong. They are selected on account of their intelligence, agreeableness, and power of entertaining each other. They come together, not for exercise, but pleasure, and the more they crowd and jam and struggle, and the louder they scream, the greater the pleasure. It is a kind of contest, full of good-humor and...
Page 185 - ... interposition of fiction. But the conduct of the novelists and the painters makes the task of the conservators of society doubly perplexing. Neither the writers nor the artists have a due sense of the responsibilities of their creations. The trouble appears to arise from the imitativeness of the race. Nature herself seems readily to fall into imitation. It was noticed by the friends of nature that when the peculiar coal-tar colors were discovered, the same faded, aesthetic, and sometimes sickly...
Page 166 - He has not yet the means to indulge his taste, and perhaps his taste is not yet equal to his means, but there is no question of his adaptability to the sort of display which is so pleasing to the greater part of the human race, and which contributes so much to the brightness and cheerfulness of this world. We cannot all have decorations, and cannot all wear uniforms, or even regalia, and some of us have little time for going about in military or civic processions, but we all like to have our streets...
Page 68 - Ism — r', for example. External trouble is piled on to the internal. The characters are in a perpetual soak. There is not a dry rag on any of them, from the beginning of the book to the end. They are sent out in all weathers, and are drenched every day. Often their wet clothes are frozen on them ; they are exposed to cutting winds and sleet in their faces, bedrabbled in damp grass, stood against slippery fences, with hail and frost lowering their vitality, and expected under these circumstances...
Page 195 - ... widens and widens. No art is required, nor any selection, nor any ideality, only capacity for increasing the vacuous commonplace in life. A princess born may have this, or the leader of cotillons. Yet in the Judgment the responsibility will rest upon the writers who set the copy. THE CAP AND GOWN ONE of the burning questions now in the colleges for the higher education of women is whether the undergraduates shall wear the cap and gown. The subject is a delicate one, and should not be confused...
Page 129 - If they do, it only shows that men also are capable of the higher civilization. But does society — that is, the intercourse of congenial people — depend upon the elaborate system of exchanging calls with hundreds of people who are not congenial? Such thoughts will sometimes come by a winter fireside of rational-talking friends, or at a dinner-party not too large for talk without a telephone, or in the summer-time by the sea, or in the cottage in the hills, when the fever of social life has got...

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