As We Were Saying

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Harper & brothers, 1891 - American essays - 219 pages
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1891. Contents: Rose Chrysanthemum; The Red Bonnet; The Loss in Civilization; Social Screaming; Does Refinement Kill Individuality?; The Directoire Gown; The Mystery of the Sex; The Clothes of Fiction; The Broad A; Chewing Gum; Women in Congress; Shall Women Propose?; Frocks and the Stage; Altruism; Social Clearing-House; The Dinner-Table Talk; Naturalization; Art of Governing; Love of Display; Value of the Commonplace; The Burden of Christmas; The Responsibility of Writers; The Cap and Gown; A Tendency of the Age; and A Locoed Novelist.
 

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Page 112 - 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 63 - As certainly as the birds appear, comes the crop of summer novels, fluttering down upon the stalls, in procession through the railway trains, littering the drawing-room tables, in light paper covers, ornamental, attractive in colors and fanciful designs, as welcome and grateful as the NEW YORK : CHARLES SCRISNER'S SON!
Page 80 - 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. In all the good resolutions of the new year, then, it happens that perhaps the most sincere is the determination to get a better hand. Many mistake this for...
Page 34 - ... the order might be given for the talk to go on in that tone, and that every person who raised the voice and began to scream should be gagged and removed to another room. In this room could be collected all the screamers to enjoy their own powers. The same experiment might be tried at a dinner-party, namely, to ascertain if the total hum of low voices in the natural key would not be less for the individual voice to overcome than the total scream of all the voices raised to a shriek. If scientific...
Page 124 - 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 30 - ... 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 165 - ... 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 put on a holiday appearance ; and we cannot...
Page 136 - ... that the people who would like to talk together are not neighbors; and if they are, they exhaust each other to weariness in an hour, at least of topics which can be talked about with the risk of being overheard. A duet to be agreeable must be to a certain extent confidential, and the dinner-table duet admits of little except generalities, and generalities between two have their limits of entertainment. Then there is the awful possibility that the neighbors at table may have nothing to say to...
Page 31 - Reception, and in a moment more the screaming would begin again, the voices going higher and higher, until, if the roof were taken off, one vast shriek would go up to heaven. This is not only a fashion, it is an art. People have to train for it, and as it is a unique amusement, it is worth some trouble to be able to succeed in it. Men, by reason of their stolidity and deeper voices, can never be proficients in it; and they do not have so much practice — unless they are stock-brokers. Ladies keep...
Page 64 - ... to please the readers who are to associate with them? It is true that there are novels that almost do away with the necessity of fashion magazines and fashion plates in the family, so faithful are they in the latest millinery details, and so fully do they satisfy the longing of all of us to know what is chic for the moment. It is pretty well understood also that women, and even men, are made to exhibit the deepest passions and the tenderest emotions in the crises of their lives by the clothes...

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