As We Were Saying

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Harper & brothers, 1891 - Essays - 219 pages
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Page 111 - 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 62 - 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 79 - 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 23 - And a society that has attained its end in all possible culture, entire refinement in manners, in tastes, in the art of elegant intellectual and luxurious living — is there nothing pathetic in that? Where is the primeval, heroic force that made the joy of living in the rough old uncivilized days? Even throw in goodness, a certain amount of altruism, gentleness, warm interest in unfortunate humanity — is the situation much improved? London is probably the most civilized centre the world has ever...
Page 123 - 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 29 - ... 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 183 - ... 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 164 - ... 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 24 - Verestchag'm, that smites us like a sword with the consciousness of the tremendous meaning of existence? Is there a barbaric force left in the world that we have been daintily trying to cover and apologize for and refine into gentle agreeableness ? These questions are too deep for these pages. Let us make the world pleasant, and throw a cover over the refuse. We are doing very well, on the whole, considering what we are and the materials we have to work on. And we must not leave the world so perfectly...
Page 154 - yes " or " no " on these proposals. It is not necessary for him to master these subjects, but it is necessary for him to know how to vote. And how does he find out that? In the first place, by inquiring what effect the measure will have upon the chance of election of the man he thinks will be nominated for President, and in the second place, what effect his vote will have on his own reelection. Thus the principles of legislation become very much simplified, and thus it happens that it is comparatively...

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