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I was about to re- mark that I had never drunk a little soldier, when I noticed Littlejohn hovering in the doorway. At the end of it Falcovsky grunted. Snubbers surveyed him suspiciously. Nothing's up," snarled Falcovsky. Just for that— grunt, grunt, grunt," and he grunted several times out of sheer spite.
The baking soda was beginning to tell on Snubbers. But as I was saying— I was going through some of my great-grandfather's things the other day. He opened a vein in his bath. With a shout Snubbers threw him- self on Falcovsky. It was the signal for Pandemonium, the upstairs girl, to enter and throw herself with a shout on Couch.
The outcome of the necking bee was as follows: Canadians 12, Visitors 9. Krebs and Vronsky played footie, subbing for Gerber and Weinwald, who were disabled by flying antipasto. We were silent after Snubbers had spoken; men who have wandered in far places have an innate delicacy about their great-grandfathers' bones. Snubbers' face was a mask, his voice a harsh whip of pain in the stillness when he spoke again.
A rare giant of a man with quizzical eyes and a great shock of wiry red hair, he had come through the Peninsular Wars without a scratch. Women loved this impetual Irish adventurer who would rather fight than eat and vice versa. The wars over, he turned toward cookery, planning to devote his failing years to the perfection of the welsh rarebit, a dish he loved. One night he was chafing at The Bit, a tavern in Portsmouth, when he overheard a chance remark from a brawny gunner's mate in his cups. In Calcutta the man had heard native tales of a mysterious idol, whose single eye was a flawless ruby.
On her as pas- senger went my great-grandfather, an extra pair of nan- keen pants and a dirk his only baggage. Fifty-three days later in Poona, he was heading for the interior of one of the Northern states. Living almost entirely on cameo brooches and the few ptarmigan which fell to the ptrigger of his pfowlingpiece, he at last sighted the towers of Ish- peming, the Holy City of the Surds and Cosines, fanatic Mohammedan warrior sects.
He disguised himself as a beggar and entered the gates. They were changing the guard one evening when he saw it. One of the native janissaries dropped his knife. My great-grandfather leaped forward with cringing servility and returned it to him, in the small of his back. Donning the soldier's turban, he quickly slipped into his place. Midnight found him within ten feet of his prize. Now came the final test. He furtively drew from the folds of his robes a plate of curry, a dish much prized by Indians, and set it in a far corner.
The guards rushed upon it with bulging squeals of delight. A twist of his wrist and the gem was his. With an elaborately stifled yawn, my great-grandfather left under pretense of going out for a glass of water. The soldiers winked slyly but when he did not return after two hours, their sus- picions were aroused.
They hastily made a canvass of the places where water was served and their worst fears were realized. The ruby in his burnoose, Great-grandfather was escaping by fast elephant over the Khyber Pass. Dockside loungers in Yarmouth forty days later stared curiously at a mammoth of a man with flaming red hair striding toward the Bull and Bloater Tavern. Under his belt, did they but only know it, lay the Ruby Eye. Smoking by the fireplace, he listened to the roar of the wind and reviewed his campaigns. Suddenly he leaped to his feet— a dark face had vanished from the window.
Too late my great-grand- father snatched up powder and ball and sent a charge 23 hurtling into the night. The note pinned to the window drained the blood from his face. Overnight his hair turned from rose-red to snow-white. And finally, when it seemed as though madness were to rob them of their revenge, they came. Falcovsky's hand was trembling as he pressed a pinch of snuff against his gums. You see," he added very gently, "Great-grandfather had missed the last four instalments. However, newsstands make strange bedfellows, as anyone who has ever slept with a news- stand can testify, and if you think about it at all instead of sitting there in a torpor with your mouth half-open you'd see this proximity is not only alphabetical.
Both the Corset and Underwear Review and the American Bee Journal arc concerned with honeys; although I am beast enough to prefer a photograph of a succulent nymph in satin Lastex Girdleiere with Thrill Plus Bra to the most dramatic snapshot of an apiary, each has its place in my scheme. Whatever else a corset jobber is, he is certainly nobody's fool. The first seventy pages of the magazine comprise an album of superbly formed models posed in various attitudes of sweet surrender and sheathed in cunning artifices of whalebone, steel, and webbing.
Out-of-town buyers! There are bras for the young, support for the old, Up here for the shy, down to there for the bold. We'll have lace and nets and fabrics such as Sturdy broadcloths and satins luscious. We'll gladly help your profits transform If you'll come up to our room and watch us perform. Our new numbers are right from the Coast: Snappy and smart, wait!
Here Sex is whittled down to a mere nub- bin; everything is as clean as a whistle and as dull as a hoe. The bee is the petit bourgeois of the insect world, and his keeper is a self-sufficient stooge who needs and will get no introduction to you. Dadant, that Mr. Average Beekeeper removes his mask and permits us to peep at the warm, vibrant human be- neath. The plight of the reader who signs himself "Illi- nois" Fve seen that name somewhere is typical: I would like to know the easiest way to get a swarm of bees which are lodged in between the walls of a house.
The walls are of brick and they are in the dead-air space. They have been there for about three years. I would like to know method to use to get the bees, not concerned about the honey. The editor dismisses the question with some claptrap about a "bee smoker" which is too ridiculous to repeat. The best bet I see for "Illinois" is to play upon the weak- ness of all bees. Take a small boy smeared with honey and lower him between the walls. The bees will fasten themselves to him by the hundreds and can be scraped off when he is pulled up, after which the boy can be thrown away.
If no small boy smeared with honey can 27 be found, it may be necessary to take an ordinary small boy and smear him, which should be a pleasure. From the Blue Grass comes an even more perplexed letter: I have been ordering a few queens every year and they are always sent as first-class mail and are thrown off the fast trains that pass here at a speed of 60 miles an hour.
Do you think it does the queens any harm by throwing them off these fast trains? You know they get an awful jolt when they hit the ground. Some of these queens are very slow about doing any- thing after they are put in the hive. I have no desire to poach on George Washington Cable's domain, but if that isn't the furthest North in Southern gallantry known to man, I'll eat his collected works in Macy's window at high noon. It will interest every lover of chivalry to know that since the above letter was published, queen bees in the Blue Grass have been treated with new consideration by railroad officials.
A Turkey-red carpet similar to that used by the Twentieth Century Limited is now unrolled as the train stops, and each queen, blushing to the very roots of her antennae, is escorted to her hive by a uniformed porter. The rousing strains of the Cakewalk, the comical antics of the darkies, the hiss of fried chicken sputtering in the pan, all com- bine to make the scene unforgettable. But the predicament of both 'Illinois" and "Ken- tucky" pale into insignificance beside the problem pre- sented by another reader: I have been asked to "talk on bees" at a nearby church some evening in the fall.
Though I have kept bees for ten years, I 28 am "scared stiff" because not a man in the audience knows a thing about bees and I am afraid of being too technical. I plan to take along specimens of queen, drone and worker, also a glass observatory hive with bees, smoker and tools, an extra hive, and possibly some queen cell cups, etc.
Could you suggest any manipulating that might be done for the "edification of the audience"? I've seen pictures of stunts that have been worked, like making a beard of bees; and I've heard of throwing the bees out in a ball only to have them return to the hive without bothering anyone. But, I don't know how these stunts are done, nor do I know of any that ] could do with safety. I don't mind getting a sting or two my self, but I don't want anyone in the audience to get stung, or 1 might lose my audience. I've only opened hives a few times at night, but never liked the job as the bees seem to fly up into the light and sting very readily.
That makes me wonder whether any manipulating can be done in a room at night. How long before the affair would I need to have the bees in the room to have them settle down to the hive? The only thing wrong with "New York" is that he just doesn't like bees. In one of those unbuttoned moods everybody has, a little giddy with cocoa and crullers, he allowed himself to be cajoled by the vestrymen, and now, face to face with his ordeal, he is sick with loathing for bees and vestrymen alike.
There is one solution, however, and that is for "New York" to wrap himself tightly in muslin the night of the lecture and stay in bed with his hat on. If the vestrymen come for him, let him throw the bees out in a ball. To hell with whether they return or not, and that goes for the vestrymen, too. It certainly goes for me. If I ever see the postman trudging toward SO my house with a copy of the American Bee Journal, Fm going to lodge myself in the dead-air space between the walls and no amount of small boys smeared with honey will ever get me out. And you be careful, American Bee Journal— I bite.
First off, I'd tap the dottle from my pipe by knocking it against the hob. I never smoke a pipe, but I like to keep one with a little dottle in it, and an inexpensive hob to tap it against; when you're in the writing game, there are these little accessories you need. Then Fd slip off my worn old green smoking jacket, which I loathe, and start down Lexington Avenue for home. Sometimes, finding myself in my shirtsleeves, I would have to return to my atelier for my jacket and over- coat, but as I say, when you're in the writing game, its strictly head-in-the-clouds.
Anyway, Fd be head down and scudding along under bare poles by the time I reached the block between Fifty-eighth and Fifty-seventh Streets, and my glance into those three shop windows would be purely automatic. First, the highly varnished Schnecken in the bakery; then the bones of a human foot shimmying slowly on a near- mahogany pedestal in the shoestore; and finally the clock set in the heel of a congress gaiter at the bootblack's.
By now my shabby old reflexes would tell me it was time to 31 buy an evening paper and bury my head in it. A little whim of my wife's; she liked to dig it up, as a puppy does a bone, while I was sipping my cocktail. Later on I taught her to frisk with a ball of yarn, but to get back to what happened Washington's Birthday. I was hurrying homeward that holiday afternoon pretty much in the groove, humming an aria from "Till Tom Special" and wishing I could play the clarinet like a man named Goodman.
Just as it occurred to me that I might drug this individual and torture his secret out of him, I came abreast the window of the shoestore contain- ing the bones of the human foot. My mouth suddenly de- veloped that curious dry feeling when I saw that they were vibrating, as usual, from north to south, every little meta- tarsal working with the blandest contempt for all I hold dear. I pressed my ear against the window and heard the faint clicking of the motor housed in the box beneath.
A little scratch here and there on the shellac surface showed where one of the more enterprising toes had tried to do a solo but had quickly rejoined the band. Not only was the entire arch rolling forward and backward in an oily fashion, but it had evolved an obscene side sway at the same time, a good deal like the danse a ventre. Maybe the foot had belonged to an Ouled-Nail girl, but I felt I didn't care to find out. I was aware immediately of an active de- sire to rush home and lie down attended by my loved ones.
The only trouble was that when I started to leave the place, I could feel my arches acting according to all the proper orthopedic laws, and I swear people turned to look at me as if they heard a clicking sound. For a moment the implications were so shocking that I started up alarmed. But since my loved ones had gone off to the movies and there was no- body to impress, I turned over and slept like a top, with no assistance except three and a half grains of barbital. I could have reached my workshop the next morning by walking up Third Avenue, taking a cab up Lexington, or even crawling on my hands and knees past the shoe- store to avoid that indecent window display, but my feet won their unequal struggle with my brain and carried me straight to the spot.
Staring hypnotized at the macabre shuffle halfway between a rhumba and a soft-shoe step , I realized that I was receiving a sign from above to take the matter in hand. I spent the morning shopping lower Third Avenue, and at noon, dressed as an attache of the Department of Sanitation, began to lounge noncha- lantly before the store. My broom was getting nearer and nearer the window when the manager came out noise- lessly. My ducks must have been too snowy, for he gave 33 one of his clerks a signal and a moment later a police- man turned the corner.
Fortunately, I had hidden my civvies in the lobby of Proctor's Fifty-eighth Street Thea- tre, and by the time the breathless policeman rushed in, I had approached the wicket as cool as a cucumber, asked for two cucumbers in the balcony, and signed my name for Bank Nite. I flatter myself that I brought off the affair rather well.
My second attempt, however, was as fruitless as the first. I padded my stomach with a pillow, grayed my hair at the temples, and entered the shop fiercely. Pointing to the white piping on my vest, I represented myself as a portly banker from Portland, Maine, and asked the man- ager what he would take for the assets and good will, spot cash. I was about to make him a firm offer when I found myself being escorted out across the sidewalk, the man- ager's foot serving as fulcrum. And there, precisely, the matter rests. I have given plenty of thought to the problem, and there is only one solution.
Are there three young men in this city, with stout hearts and no dependents, who know what I mean? We can clean out that window with two well-directed grenades and get away over the rooftops. Given half a break, we'll stop that grisly pas seul ten seconds after we pull out the pins with our teeth. If we're caught, there's always the cyanide in our belts. First meeting tonight at nine in front of the Railroad Men's Y.
Naturally I can- not violate professional ethics by using real names, but, spelled backward, the legend on the magazine runs "Tsop Gnineve Yadrutas Eht" a catchy enough title for any reader's money , and it was founded Anno Domini by Beljamir Flankler. I fope I mek misef clirr. The reason for all this dimpling and coloring up to the roots of the hair is something the editors are modest enough to term "Post Luck.
For example, a biography of Will Rogers had barely concluded before his death was announced, and similarly General Walter Krivitsky, geboien Schmelka Ginzberg, forecast the Russo-German nuptials at a time when the happy couple was still issuing denials to friends and relatives.
Whatever the mysterious pipeline it pos- sesses to the infinite, the Post is constantly hiring the back page of the New York Times to kiss its reflection in the mirror and murmur, "Oo, you pitty sing. But not long ago, baker-fresh from the editorial oven and as if to confound the skeptics, there came another startling proof of the Post's telepathy. Why, it's enough to make a body's flesh creep. The epistolary form is a mold sanctified in the editorial rooms of the Post y where it is still remembered that George Horace Lorimer, the Great White Father of the Curtis publications, made a sizable bale of scratch out of a little book called Letters of a Self -Made Merchant to His Son.
How many editions this early classic attained I do not know, but the last time I wandered down Fourth Avenue it still covered the second-hand bookstores like a mulch. The tradition was subsequently carried forward in the pages of the Post by William Hazlett Upson with his letters of a tractor salesman, and now, as the torch drops from his nerveless hand, Mrs.
To me, it seems a rather roundabout way of telling a child about its mother to write it letters in a magazine which costs a nickel, when you can deal out a few crisp facts right in the kitchen, but I suppose it cuts down the back talk considerably. As if this whole affair were not spooky enough already, the very week Mrs. Brown began her revelations the pres- ent writer's mother was on the verge of publishing some letters dealing with his career which she had written to her granddaughter.
They reveal an astonishing parallel to 36 Mrs. Brown's letters and one that should prove interesting to all lovers of good clean parallels. In reading them, it is well to remember that many portions are in anapaestic pentameter, as they were intended to be sung through tissue paper stretched over a comb.
No attempt has been made to edit the letters other than removing the checks they contained and cashing them. Abby Dear: I am going to write you a lot of letters about your daddy's early life, and you just try and stop me. And that goes for him too. And what's more, I'm going to get them printed if I have to do it on a hand press.
Caxton in the next block, who is very clever about such things, has just invented movable type, and he has promised to help me. Enclosed is a little remembrance for your birthday, The green stones are what we call emeralds, the white sparkly ones diamonds. Lovingly, Grandma Abby Dear: I suppose you often wonder what your daddy was like as a small boy. Well, he was just the most serious and sober little man you can imagine.
I don't think he ever really cared much about hi? He was always moping around in a brown study, and when people spoke to him he would listen with only half an ear. To do him justice, that was all he had; the balance had been cropped for thievery, so you can see he had something to mope about. When he was about eight, he stopped talking alto- gether, and I took him to Italy in an effort to revive his spirits. He spoke only once.
We were floating along the Grand Canal in a gondola when a man attired as a Vene- tian nobleman of the fourteenth century lost his footing and toppled off the Bridge of Sighs. Wouldn't we feel awful if Toby dropped dead of pneumonia or something? I have had Jaeckel's stitch sev- eral chinchilla coats into a warm rug for him, and make sure he takes it off when he comes into the house. Devotedly, Grandma Abby Dear: By the time your daddy was eleven, he had made enough money to retire and give up all his time to trans- lating the works of Elbert Hubbard, the Sage of Aurora, into Armenian, which he claimed would out-sell The Trail of the Lonesome Pine.
Unfortunately, like all successful men, he had made a good many enemies in business, and 8tt when the book came out they went around talking against it, so it didn't do as well as some other books that year. Then his enemies started pounding him on Wall Street and brought on the panic of , and your daddy lost every penny. It is to his credit that he sat down without a whimper and wrote Bleak House, The Gilded Age, and a host of other successful novels which paid off every last creditor.
But he was thirteen when he finished, and a man broken in health. During your father's convalescence at Savin Rock, your Uncle Hosea— you remember, he was a famous oarsman at New Haven— came to visit us. As he alighted from the train, the Yale crew was having its annual banquet there and they recognized him. A cheer went up, and one of their number swung Uncle Hosea over his shoulder and bore him, kicking and screaming, through the streets, I was naturally alarmed at Hosea's tardiness in arriving, and expressed my anxiety.
They are not in very good condition; however, you can knot the four strands together and use them for skipping rope. Always, Grandma Abby Dear: I know that the question uppermost in your mind is where your daddy spent the years between fifteen and 39 twenty-one. The explanation he gives to the world is that although Moriarty lay at the bottom of the Reichenbach Fall, there still remained at large the second most dan- gerous man in London, Colonel Sebastian Moran.
Until such time as Moran would show his hand, your daddy says he amused himself by traveling in Tibet, paying a short but interesting visit to the Khalifa at Khartoum the results of which he communicated to the Foreign Office , and doing some research into the coal-tar deriva- tives at Montpellier. I may say that the whole story is a pack of lies. The real facts are these. On his fifteenth birthday I took your daddy to a matinee at the Apollo Burlesk and afterward to Schrafft's, where he had three mint smashes.
On our way home we stopped in front of one of those shoddy auction rooms which line West Forty-second Street. The auctioneer exhibited a hideous brown jardi- niere and offered it to the first bidder. Next to us in the crowd stood a lady holding by the hand her child, who chanced to be a Siamese twin. The crowd immediately rushed him and inflicted such damage that we were six years restoring his face to a condition where dogs no longer howled when they saw him.
Do you know where the Tebo Yacht Basin is, dear? Well, the next time you are in New York and find your 49 hotel tiresome, tell the cab driver to take you over to Brooklyn and go aboard the Corsair II. I bought it for you from Mr. Morgan and it might be a lark to spend the night on your very own little boat. Anybody who happened to be a buffalo last year or was supporting during his taxable year one or more buffalos closely dependent upon him is going to have a pretty hollow feeling in the pit of his stomach when he gets a hinge at the July issue of The Field. In that ex- cellent British sporting magazine, one "Old Harrow Boy" attacks the custom of shouting and waving the arms and hat to break up stampeding buffalos, and actu- ally suggests whistling as a better means of dispersing un- lawful assemblages of bison.
I hold no buff for the briefalo— I beg pardon, I should have said "I hold no brief for the buffalo," but I am too choked with rage about this matter to be very coherent. I have never taken money from any pro-bison organiza- tion and outside of a fatty deposit between the shoulder blades I am no more buffalo than you are.
But of all the appalling, repellent, revolting and insupportable bits of Schrecklichkeit ever fobbed off on a lethargic public under the guise of sportsmanship, this is the absolute pay-off. First, just who is this "Old Harrow Boy" anyway? A man who hasn't even got the nerve to sign his own name to a letter. Well, Mr. O'Hara, let's cast an eye over your record and see who it is that goes around lousing up a buffalo's good name. It might in- 4S terest you to know that I sent a friend of mine arounci to Wapping Old Stairs to ask a few questions.
Well, he is. He's one of the most all- around idiots I know, but there's one thing about him. He doesn't spend his day teasing buffalos. He leaves that to a certain pig in Wapping Old Stairs. No need to mention names. O'Hara had been tried and convicted in Rhodesia for acting as agent-provocateur in an uprising of water buffalos in Shortly afterward three buffalos reported to the British High Commissioner at Elandfon- tein that they had been bored by Mr.
The seri- ousness of the charge forced the Commissioner's hand, and an investigation was held. It revealed that O'Hara had approached the buffalos in a kind of hysterical, ex- cited fashion and told them some rambling inconsequen- tial story without any point. The bisons alleged boredom and petitioned for damages. I have been in correspond- ence with Sir Herbert Antinous then Sir Herbert An- tinous who acted as medical officer in the case. He has been kind enough to forward me a transcript of the evi- dence together with a locket containing hair from one of the buffalos as proof.
Here is Sir Herbert's version of the matter: "I examined the three buffalos about an hour after they claimed Mr. O'Hara had bored them. They still bore the marks of their recent ordeal. One of them had a coated 43 tongue and was feverish. The third, however, had no tongue. I guess the cat got it. What is the difference between a Florida orange and a letter?
Stand down. The session was adjourned to allow Sir Herbert to examine the prisoner. Here is his version of the case: "I examined O'Hara about five minutes after he pitched forward out of the dock in a dead faint. He still bore the marks of his recent ordeal. He had a coated tongue and was feverish.
This, then, is the man who advocates whistling at stam- peding buffalos. This unctuous traitor, writing on fools- cap in onion juice, who signs fictitious names to his slanders, dares undermine an institution as hallowed as waving one's hat at buffalos.
Ever since the days of Buffon, the naturalist, it has gone without saying that the first thing you do on seeing a buffalo is shout and wave your 44 arms and hat But no; that's not good enough for CHara. He has to put on side. He has to make a holy show out of himself in front of animals, let alone the Kaffir boys.
And maybe you don't think the Kaffir boys talk! Only last night old man Kaffir and his youngest boy Morris came into a poolroom in Spion Kop. Morris had two beers and started talking. Well, sir, he talked pretty near two hours before they could stop him. I just mention this to show how the Kaffir boys talk once they get started.
Well, O'Hara, Fve said my say. I'm a plain-spoken, grizzled old seadog, none of your French airs for old Peleg Starbuck. Why, bless your heart, boy, I was a pow der monkey aboard the old Guerriere afore you was born. But don't you heed this old man's talk; you young folks go along and have fl look through my spyglass.
Pshaw— a bit of rain, shiver: my blini. And coughing to hide his embarrassment, old Peleg hobbled up the shell-decorated path to his cottage as Frederica and I spat reflectively on his peonies ami turned our faces toward Ostable and the setting sun. It must be made clear at the outset that my motives are the purest and my curiosity that of the scientific research worker rather than the sex maniac. Of course, I can be broken down under cross-examination; I like a trim ankle as well as anyone, but once I start scrub- bing up and adjusting the operative mask, Materia Medica comes in the door and Betty Grable flies out the window.
God knows how the convention ever got started, but if it is true that the camera never lies, a foundation gar- ment or a girdle stimulates the fair sex to a point just this side of madness. The little ladies are always represented with their heads thrown back in an attitude of fierce de- sire, arms upflung to an unseen deity as though swept along in some Dionysian revel. If you hold your ear close enough to the printed page, you can almost hear the throbbing of the temple drums and the chant of the votaries. Those sultry, heavy-lidded glances, those tem- pestuous, Corybantic gestures of abandon— what magic property is there in an ordinary silk-and-Lastex bellyband to cause a housewife to behave like Little Egypt?
Perhaps the most curious mutation of the corset adver- 46 tisement is the transformation, or clinical type, consisting of two photographs. The first shows a rather bedraggled young matron in a gaping, misshapen girdle at least half a dozeS sizes too large for her, cringing under the cool inspection of a trained nurse and several friends.
Judging from the flowers and the tea service, the hostess has in- vited her neighbors in to deride her physique, for they are exclaiming in unison, "Ugh, my dear— you Ve got lordosis [unlovely bulge and sagging backline]! It strikes me that, by contrast, the manufacturers of dainty underthings for men have been notably colorless in their advertising.
The best they are able to afford are those static scenes in which four or five grim-jawed industrialists stand about a locker room in their shorts scowling at ticker tape, testing mashie niblicks, and riffling through first edi tions. It may be only sexual chauvinism on my part, but I submit that the opportunities for merchandising male lin- gerie are limitless.
Steamy Studs (A Half Dozen Illustrated Tales of... Book 6)
I offer at least one of them in crude dramatic form to blaze a trail for future copywriters. Scene: The consulting worn oi Dr. Terence Fitch, an eminent Park Avenue specialist. Miss Mayo into phone — Hello, Dr.
This is Miss Mayo at Dr. Fitch's office. The Doctor is forwarding you his analysis of Mr. Tichenor's underwear problems; you should have it in the morning. Not at all. As she hangs up, Dr. Fitch enters, thoughtfully stroking his Vandyke heard. He is followed by Freedley, a hag- gard, middle-aged patient, knotting his tie. Fitch— Sit down, Freedley. Oh, this is Miss Mayo. She's a nier;e of the Mayo brothers, out West. Freedley warily — How do you do, Miss Mayo? I've read grand things about your uncles. Miss Mayo— Not mine, you haven't. She exits.
Fitch seating himself — All right now, Freedley, suppose you tell me your symptoms. Freedley— But I just told them to you. Fitch— You did? Freedley— Sure, not ten minutes ago. Fitch— Well, repeat them. Angrily You don't suppose I have time to listen to every crackpot who comes in here bleating about his troubles, do you? Freedley humbly — No, sir. Well, it's just that I have this stuffy, uncomfortable sensation all the time. Fitch— That's the way a head cold usually starts.
Scribbling You're to take fifteen of these tablets forty 48 times a day, or forty of them fifteen times a day, whichever is more convenient. Freedley— It's not my nose or throat, Doctor. I get it mostly around the hips and the small of my back. Fitch testily — Of course, of course. That's where it's localized. Now, I also want you to get hold of a tonic. I forgot the name of it, but it's about thirty dollars a bottle.
The clerk'll know. Freedley— Will I feel better after I take it?
Fitch coldly — I'm a physician, Freedley, not an astrologer. If you want a horoscope, there's a gypsy tea- room over on Lexington Avenue. Freedley plaintively — Gee, Dr. Fitch, this thing's got me crazy. I can't keep my mind on my work— Dr. Fitch— Work? Most of my patients have private incomes. What do you do? Fitch— Getting along pretty well there?
Freedley pitifully — I was until this started. Now Mr. Borvis keeps riding me. He says I'm like a person in a fog. Fitch— That bulging, oppressive condition— no- tice it mostly when you're sitting down, don't you? Freedley— Why, how on earth can you tell, Doctor? Fitch— We medical men have ways of knowing these things. Freedley quavering — W-what is it, sir? Fitch— Your union suit is too big for you. Fitch— There, there. Buck up, old man.
We mustn't give up hope. Freedley whimpering — But you might be mistaken —it's just a diagnosis. Fitch sternly — The fluoroscope never lies, Freedley. When I looked at you in there a moment ago, I saw almost five yards of excess fabric bunched around the mid-section. Freedley wildly — It's bound to shrink after I send it to the laundry! Maybe Velma can take a tuck in it! Fitch— That's only an evasion. Pressing a hut- ton It's lucky you came to me in time. If the public only knew the annual toll exacted by ponderous, loosely fitting underwear— Miss Mayo enters Miss Mayo, get me a sterile union suit, size thirty-eight, porous-knit.
Freedley licking his lips — What— what are you going to do? Fitch soothingly — Now, this won't hurt a bit. We'll just slip it on for size— Freedley— I won't! I won't! He cowers into a corner, Bailing at Dr. Fitch and Miss Mayo as they close in on him. They pinion his arms tightly y thrust him into an adjoining dressing room, and fling the union suit after him. Miss Mayo in a low voice — Do you think he's got a chance, Doctor? Fitch— Hard to say, poor bugger. Did you feel those enlarged folds of material on his back? Fitch— You can't tell. They get cunning in the later stages.
The door-shaped door of the dressing room opens and Freedley re-enters, a changed man. He is portly, well groomed, a connoisseur oi fine horseflesh and pretty women, but withal a man oi keen business judgment. He wears a pearl gray Homburg, Chesterfield overcoat, and spats, carries a gold-headed cane, a hot bird, and a cold bottle. Freedley booming — Well, Fitch, my boy, can't waste any more time jawing with you.
Fve got to cut along to that board meeting. Fitch— Er— that was rather sudden, wasn't it? Aubyn The tension becomes almost unbearable as Rastignac wrestles with his conscience and readers confront Vautrin, whose contempt for conventional morality prefigures every existential hero since. The first great love story in English, this epic poem tells the story of what befell two lovers, Criseyde and Troilus, during the Trojan war. Her pledge of eternal fidelity to Troilus is broken when she is seduced by the Greek warrior Diomedes.
Is she a tramp or a victim of circumstances? Happily married with one child, Eliot Nailles is a chemist working to make better mouthwash. Chekhov helped transform the theater through his pioneering use of indirect action—the gunshot fired offstage—and his ability to develop themes not just through dialogue but by creating a mood or atmosphere on stage.
He was also a master of characterization. These skills are apparent in this wonderfully complex play, set on an estate in nineteenth-century Russia, which details the relationships among family members who look back on their lives with regret. A retarded, nearly mute, harelipped man goes native in a South Africa torn by civil war, living off the land before being picked up and passed among institutions. However, Jim violates the code one life-defining night when, in a panic, he abandons his sinking ship while the passengers sleep. Often now misread as a condemnation of terrorism, The Secret Agent is really an ironic critique of abstract ideology and careerist bureaucracy—both forces that use and crush the individual.
Instead he hits Mary Dempster, who soon gives birth, prematurely, to a boy with birth defects. In the humorless martinet Gradgrind, who preaches and practices uncompromising logic and efficiency, Dickens lampoons the soulless utilitarianism of Victorian philosopher John Stuart Mill. Here she uses Anthony Keating, a former BBC official turned failed real estate developer, to explore the gloomy interregnum between the go-go s and the more seriously materialistic Thatcher era, when the cozy values of old England were growing increasingly shabby without any new values to replace them.
Dionysus seduces Pentheus into witnessing a Bacchanalian orgy, where he is torn to pieces by the revelers, including his own mother. The comic trouble starts when a naive footman rejects the advances of his employer, Lady Booby, and her servant, Slipslop. Like Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, the world rewards their goodness with violent complication.
The year is and, it seems, reason is finally giving the heave-ho to faith. Though he has made a pledge of celibacy, he is now in love and so must puzzle the questions of chaos and order, fate, chance, and the wonders of the soul in this funny, sharp novel of ideas. Here, Glasgow depicts the declining fortunes of two tradition-bound Virginia families, the Archibalds and the Birdsongs. Through young Jenny Blair Archibald, she represents the possibility of feminine independence in this penetrating account of southerners being forced into the modern era.
In this bleak but moving novel, class barriers stymie Jude, a self-educated stonemason and would-be scholar, while convention damns his lover Sue, a pagan protofeminist. TM 6 LShriv 2. Imitation is the most annoying form of flattery for archfiend Dr. Hannibal Lecter in this terrifying predecessor to The Silence of the Lambs.
Red Dragon describes the original capture of cannibalistic serial killer Lecter and his subsequent indignation on hearing that another monster is imitating his sadistic methods. Harris skillfully leaves open who is manipulating whom when Lecter agrees to help the FBI track down the copycat, who matches Lecter eye for eye—literally. Set before and during World War II, Shining Through mixes romance with espionage as a poor girl from Queens marries the most handsome lawyer on Wall Street and eventually is sent on a secret mission to wartime Berlin. After a nuclear war devastates the planet, residents of what had been the Florida Keys try to rebuild their lives and communities in a landscape where shards from the obliterated past—religious stories, Jimi Hendrix records, parking decks—remain but are barely understood.
Gregor is not dreaming; he really has become a bug who hides under the sofa to keep from horrifying his mother, and who is pummeled with apples and cursed by his father. The strange magic of the story is the way Kafka sustains our empathy with this creature, such that the bizarre and claustrophobic scenes intensify, and even haunt, our awareness of human vulnerability. A pastiche that deliberately recalls the narrative games of Tristram Shandy, this novel uses seven thematically linked tales as well as forays into philosophy, musicology, literary criticism, and autobiography to explore the permeable borders between Eastern and Western Europe, eroticism and banal libertinism, and the public versus the private, which Kundera sees as the shrinking, doomed cradle of civilization.
It shows the planning and politics of the insurrection, the street battles that accompanied it, and the successful, remorselessly cruel nationalist counterattack the nationalist general throws captured communists in the furnaces of a train. When the book was published in , the Chinese revolution looked kaput. When the communists triumphed in , it seemed prophetic. Like a late nineteenth-century Tom Wolfe, Maupassant reveals the codes and rivalries of social success by chronicling the rise of Georges Duroy, a handsome, down on his heels ex-soldier.
Georges rewards his friend by coveting his wife, Madeleine, a smart, energetic free spirit who seems like Madame Bovary—after successful therapy. When her husband dies, Georges proposes literally over his corpse. But soon he is looking even higher. Seeking escape, Norwood decides to find an old Marine buddy who owes him seventy dollars.
After terrorists blow up their plane, two Indian actors fall from the sky. When they land, one has a halo, the other horns. This lush, lyric, sensual, and surreal novel then follows two main interrelated plots that skate along the blurry lines between good and evil, love and betrayal, knowledge and ignorance. The tension mounts when Moreau learns his adversary hopes to wed his beloved. Sebald During decades of travels through Europe, a nameless architectural historian accidentally keeps meeting Austerlitz, a neurasthenic architect who is incrementally confronting his buried connection to the Holocaust.
Incantatory and almost vertiginous in its repetitiveness, this one-paragraph novel depicts the struggle of a personal narrative to melt the frozen memory of collective trauma. This parable about the parent—child bond features an apple tree that gives and gives and a boy who takes and takes. As the boy matures, his needs become harder to meet. But the tree never fails, ultimately sacrificing life and limb. Comic and tragic, the story moves with symphonic grace toward its final denouement. These beautifully structured stories are vast in range, moving from supernatural tales to historical stories of love.
Tagore, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in , is especially good at portraying the little moments of daily life and creating vivid characters—often the poor and dispossessed in his native India—that continue to haunt us. Tom even manages to eavesdrop on his own funeral. The way he convinces his friends to pay him for the privilege of whitewashing his fence proves that he is a trickster for the ages.
And white lies are even more complicated, as two young Englishmen of leisure learn when they try to avoid undesirable social obligations by claiming their noble services are required by needy and imaginary friends. This searing story of two sisters, both destined for unhappiness, and their unfolding lives, is riveting. The novel follows the sisters, children of divorce, over four decades. Sarah settles into an unhappy marriage while Emily is torn by one love affair after another, and her burgeoning job success begins to fade out along with her romantic prospects. The ending, as Emily begins her slow spiral down is shocking and somehow inevitable.
Gorgeously written, this book deserves to find a new audience. These tales of medieval chivalry, romance, and high adventure composed primarily from the twelfth through fifteenth centuries feature a host of iconic characters: Sir Galahad, Lancelot, Mordred, Guinevere, Merlin, and the Lady of the Lake.
Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: for girls who grew up reading about these four sisters, the names run together as readily as John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Readers get their pick of heroines: motherly Meg, harum-scarum Jo, goodness-personified Beth, or naughty Amy. Cared for by their saintly mother, Marmee, while their father is away fighting in the Civil War, the sisters get into scrapes, go on larks, find love, and suffer loss.
TBiss 6 RW 1. Austen doubled her heroines here, giving us the down-on-their-luck Dashwood sisters. Following the painful end of an eight-year lesbian relationship, Barnes crafted this avant-garde novel that explores love, desire, and obsession in rich lyric prose. Set mostly in Paris during the years between the world wars, Nightwood revolves around the mysterious Robin Vote and the two lovers she abandoned: her German husband, Baron Felix Volkbein, and an American woman, Nora Flood.
Heartbroken and confused, the spurned lovers seek advice from a most unlikely source, an alcoholic transvestite named Dr. Moses Herzog has two problems: his book on imagination and the intellect has stalled and his second wife has run away with his best friend. This is the first novel featuring hard-boiled Los Angeles private eye Philip Marlowe, a tough guy with a fast gun and a quick wit.
CH 4 RBP 3. In this gloomy Russian drama, the youthful hopes of siblings Olga, Masha, and Irina Prozorov curdle with time into the desperate sins and bitter resentments of later life. Often called a play in which nothing happens, The Three Sisters—one of four major dramas written by Chekhov at the end of his life—is actually a masterly study in dramatic texture, its voices and themes counterpointing each other as if they were notes in an orchestral piece.
The trilogy moves outward: The first novel creates a series of characters that are real grotesques, offering vignettes of adultery, drunkenness, and destroyed dreams. Life gets no easier in the second novel, but Big Lucien Letourneau, who runs an automobile junkyard, displays a rare and generous compassion. The third novel, which has the most political overtones, echoes the legend of Robin Hood to suggest how Egypt, Maine, and her people have been exploited.
Infused with the radical politics of the s and s and littered with newspaper excerpts, stream of consciousness prose, and biography, this triptych weaves an epic American narrative tapestry. Mixing newspaper reportage with fiction long before the word postmodern gave academics something to write about, U.
NM 5 RBP 2. While the title suggests a rational universe, this novel focuses on the jarring dislocations of three women who meet at Cambridge in the s. Expatriate experience and cultural contrasts energize the knowing, roomy fiction of the native Canadian, sometime Parisian, master. The comedians—who hide their true identities behind masks—include Mr. Brown, a failed art swindler and now inheritor of a waning imperial hotel, Mr.
Jones, a con man, and the oblivious Mr. Smith, who dreams of establishing a vegetarian center on the troubled island. As Greene contrasts these schemers with men combating Duvalier, he delivers a gripping geopolitical novel that packs a moral punch. The story of a good man enmeshed in love, intrigue, and evil in a West African coastal town. Scobie is bound by strict integrity to his role as assistant police commissioner and by severe responsibility to his wife, Louise, for whom he cares with a fatal pity. When Scobie falls in love with the young widow Helen, he finds vital passion again yielding to pity, integrity giving way to deceit and dishonor—a vortex leading directly to murder.
As Scobie's world crumbles, his personal crisis makes for a novel that is suspenseful, fascinating, and, finally, tragic. LShriv 7. Over the course of a festive summer in the Italian countryside, Sophie, who is half English and half Italian, has an affair with Tancredi, an Italian who is separated from his wife and family. Like Anna Karenina and Emma Bovary, Hedda Gabler is trapped in a loveless marriage, which she entered into for security and cannot leave for fear of scandal.
PCle 3 VV 4. By the time McMurphy learns that he is now under the cruel control of Nurse Ratched and the asylum, he has already set the wheels of rebellion in motion. White This inspiringly sad story of misfits in a working-class Georgia town is attuned to the racial and social dynamics of the Depression-era South. Yet, McCullers also conveys a pervasive loneliness and desperation broader than any given historical moment. A broken Everyman, Willy Loman is about to be fired from his job as a traveling shoe salesman.
A withering assault on the American Dream, the play is an affecting portrait of a man unable to understand the forces that have shaped his life. The beautiful princess Elizabeth is about to marry Prince Ronald when a dragon destroys her castle, burns her clothes and kidnaps Ronald. The clothes-less Princess—and proto-feminist heroine—dons a large paper bag and hunts down the dragon and her cherished prince. Gritty realism, social conscience, and American dreams power this tale of an oafish mineworker who becomes an unlicensed dentist in San Francisco. He marries a young woman and together they share a happy life, until she wins a small fortune in the lottery.
This luck enflames their greed and the envy of their friends, leading to ruin for all and to one of the most memorable climaxes in literature: two men—one alive, one dead—handcuffed to one another in Death Valley. His versions of Orpheus, Narcissus, Pygmalion, and Hercules have been etched in our collective memory. Of all the Latin authors, Ovid, who also wrote a sex manual, is the one who never once reminds you of a marble bust. The author, a maverick cleric and observant physician, gave our modern world, at the moment of its birth in the Renaissance, its first comprehensive picture of what it was and what it could become.
The world borrowed his name for its most treasured and common kind of humor: Rabelaisian, meaning rowdy, rude, satirical, unsparing, obscene, and sometimes cruel. As Rabelais invented a new literary form, the exorbitant picaresque satire, he invented a new language to express it. His pages are a Babel of polyglot puns, monkish obscurities, legalisms, overblown fustian, and street demotic.
Lists abound: diseases and cures, body parts, herbs, geographical oddities, and cusswords in droves. At the same time, it presents an earthy panorama of daily concerns and relationships. Unique among the great visionary works, Gargantua and Pantagruel is the only slapstick comedy. Among all comedies, it is one of the best. Rochester, the mad wife locked in the attic. Rhys said the fame this book brought her, at age 70, came too late. Truly, an essential read. Like Ernest Hemingway, Rulfo found men who are shaped by violence too fascinating to judge or condemn.
Set in the period around the Mexican Revolution, his short stories use pared down prose to portray peasants who are seized sometimes by historical forces and given the opportunity to create and destroy on a mass scale. More usually, they decimate or are decimated in miserable increments. Seemingly unrelated, the sketches weave a strange tapestry of grief, tranquility, nostalgia, and despair. Seuss This picture book is a poignant environmental fable about a beautiful forest of Truffula trees destroyed for the sake of the mass production of curious garments called Thneeds.
Despite its hopeful title, this coming-of-age story set in offers an unflinching look at poverty, cruelty, sex, and death. A coming-of-age story filled with high adventure and Scottish history, this is the story of David Balfour, an orphan sent in to live with his greedy uncle. David and another captive escape the ship. Tolkien — An Oxford medievalist, Tolkien drew on his vast knowledge of mythology, theology, and linguistics to imagine this epic trilogy. CD 6 RPow 1. Its blustering, bumfuzzled antihero is Ignatius J.
Reilly, an unintentionally hilarious, altogether deluded, and oddly endearing student of man who lives with his mother in New Orleans. Forced by a series of misadventures to finally find work, he endures stints as a pirate-clad hot dog vendor and a file clerk. The novel—the second in the Palliser series—is long. But Trollope reminds us that sometimes more is more. Wondrously, Walker gives voice to the unlikeliest of heroes—a barely literate teenager named Celie who writes letters to God as an escape from life with her monstrous stepfather.
After raping and impregnating her, he forces her to marry Mr. Hope comes in the form of Shug, Mr. If cats have nine lives, pigs have two—at least Wilbur did. This grand experiment in narrative depicts six characters—from nursery school to the brink of old age—through a series of interior soliloquies. This bawdy, funny, surreal, and encyclopedic Chinese classic stretches across chapters. Reality and illusion shift constantly in the world of Jia Baoyu, scion of the wealthy but declining Jia family.
He is a master at the arts of poetry, philosophy, and love but meets his match in his frail, beautiful cousin Lin Daiyu, one of the twelve beauties of Jinling. Its protagonist, John Wilder, is a prototypical Yates underachiever: an advertising salesman misled by delusions of an artistic career as a movie producer and hampered by inherited weaknesses, a hopeful yet doomed marriage made during the glamorous Kennedy era, and a series of breakdowns that reveal his irreversible ordinariness.
Not quite tragedy, but memorable indeed for its uncompromising, compassionate bleakness. Twice the tramps ponder hanging themselves from the branches of a nearby willow tree; twice they try to make sense of a stranger named Pozzo and his leashed servant Lucky. All the characters abide in a world peculiar for its absences: of meaning, rationality, consolation, and of course the slyly named Godot. With sharp psychological and emotional insight, Bernhard takes readers inside the mind of his narrator as he ruminates angrily on his hosts and their other guests, picking over his memories of his relationship with them and the dead woman.
This signature exploration of dislocation follows three young Americans—a married couple and their friend—journeying across the North African desert in search of deeper truths. As their surroundings become more foreign and forbidding, they become unmoored as their connection to the world, each other, and themselves unravels in this work of deep psychological acuity.
His portrait of inner-city blight rises to high tragedy as Brown paints it against the hopes of Southern blacks who came north for the promise of a better life. Just out of jail, sixty-seven-year-old Gulley Jimson, a fast-talking, derelict painter obsessed with William Blake, works to complete his depiction of the Fall of Man in this wicked comic novel. Jimson is brilliant, irredeemable, and obnoxious. One guest stays to learn how the mariner shot the albatross, considered an omen of good luck, and doomed his ship.
Though saved from death, the mariner is condemned to walk the earth and tell his story, which may be read as a Christian allegory or as a warning against defiling nature. A cross between Charles Bukowski and John Kennedy Toole, this harrowing, hilarious autobiographical novel portrays a raw and likable barstool dreamer. He is a slovenly, all-American misfit headed for the psychiatric institution, who fills his head with all-American fantasies of fame, wealth, and beautiful women. While the Brits might be repressed at home, they seem to lose their heads and sometimes their clothes in hot, hot Italy.
This eagle-eyed satire of the Italian effect stars the wealthy and young Lucy Honeychurch, who switches hotel rooms in Florence with a lower-class British father and son and then fights her mounting attraction to the son as well as her building rebelliousness against the corset of Victorian manners. Some, like the intellectual Piggy, try to develop rules and society, but savagery takes hold and the boys revert to an order based on violence, tribalism, and eerie rites.
Shortly after San Francisco private eye Sam Spade accepts a case from a beautiful and mysterious young woman, his partner, Miles Archer, is killed. As the two cases intersect, Spade finds himself involved with an eccentric assortment of thugs and con men, all in search of the titular black statue of a falcon said to be worth millions. Mama wants a home, her daughter Beneatha an education, and her son Walter a business.
What ensues is a generational debate over values and whether or not African Americans can realize the American Dream. This is the story of a divorced woman, her disillusioned teenage son, and the events that change their lives in ways both simple and extraordinary. When Keith Rosen runs away from his Florida home - inexplicably taking along a motherless baby - his mother is perplexed and terrified. She takes off on her own journey to find him. The novel follows their path, in a suspenseful and beautifully written story.
July 19, 2015
James deeply admired Balzac. James leaves the reader to wonder which man hurt her worse: the father who told the truth or the lover who deceived her? The unpublished writer and unhappily married Isadora Wing yearns to fly free and receives her epiphany through an affair and the discovery of her own sexuality and power. Many critics dismissed Jong as a pornographer in literary clothing; her protagonist, they claimed, was as self-absorbed as the baby boomers themselves.
But the book sold millions and became a touchstone for a much greater social movement. Nineteen-year-old Lucy happily leaves her West Indian home and domineering mother to work as an au pair for a well-off and well-meaning American family. But as she develops a new sense of self and independence, she is forced to grapple with life as an outsider, a servant, and a woman of color in a country obsessed with race yet blind to history.
The second half is far more meditative as it focuses on the character Laurie—a church-goer conducting an adulterous affair—who suffers a crisis of faith that becomes a profound spiritual journey. A later inspiration to the Beat generation, Miller offers various philosophical interludes expressing his joy in life, hostility to social convention, and reverence for women and sex, which he describes with abandon.
PCle 4 JH 2. Biswas by V. Naipaul An Indian man living in Trinidad, Mr. Biswas is a tenant in some houses and an unfavored relative in others. All he wants is a home of his own. His adult son narrates this story of his monumental search for a home and all that implies. A progressive activist and single mother who toiled beside and fought for the working class, Olsen was fifty years old when this, her first book, was published.
This deceptively slim volume of four short stories contains a lifetime of experience, depicting the often anguished lives of women and their children, the difficulties of aging, and the challenges faced by immigrants. Perhaps the funniest suicide note ever written, this novel is the last goodbye of a single New York woman. But finding a proper mate proves impossible in swinging Manhattan and her quest turns to hopeless despair in this clever, insightful, and often heartbreaking book. Remarque drew on his military experience to craft this seminal antiwar novel.
As the senseless bloodbath continues, hope turns to disillusionment, and death comes to seem a welcome reprieve in this gritty and poignant tale. As they await their release, each displays a theatrical or technical skill to be showcased at a gala ball. The trouble begins when the king of fairies interferes with the Athenian couples via his agent Puck, who administers love potions to the wrong characters.
The ensuing confusion is finally resolved in the fifth act as the royal marriage is celebrated by the performance of a hilarious piece of nonsense staged by simple guildsmen led by Bottom the weaver, whose dream gives the play its name. This groundbreaking nonfiction work by a tenth-century lady of the Chinese court uses the list as the structure for personal essays that are bold, funny, unapologetic, and cantankerous.
Taylor creates stories that are novelistic in their pacing as he digresses and speculates on alternative possibilities to the narrative at hand. Often told by men reflecting on the past, these stories suggest that time does not slay mores and ideas but reinvents them. Blaming himself for her fate, he follows her into exile in Siberia to atone for his actions and the loss of his youthful idealism.
A hybrid of literary forms—poetry, prose, and drama—and a groundbreaking work of black literature, this book is a collage of portraits of African Americans from the urban North to the rural South. From a simple premise—a proud but poor clergyman, Josiah Crawley, is accused of stealing twenty pounds—Trollope creates a web of vivid characters and intrigues while completing a monumental set of works about mid-nineteenth-century England that rival the classics of George Eliot and Charles Dickens. I remember wandering through the world literature section of my university library, feeling a bit lost, recognizing few names.
On the recommendation of my writing instructor I was searching for a Peruvian novelist named Mario Vargas Llosa. I found a coverless edition of The Green House, one with no blurbs, no review quotes, no author photo or biography. The surprises found inside, then, were complete and unforgettable. With The Green House , Vargas Llosa began to explore the ongoing battle that started the moment European culture collided with that of the Americas.
The novel is populated by all segments of Peruvian society: indigenous Indians, people of Latin origins, immigrants cast ashore on Peru for myriad reasons—from nuns and Fathers to prostitutes and pimps. It ranges from the depths of the rainforest to windblown desert outposts. One can see the influence of Faulkner, of Sartre and Flaubert, but the manner in which Vargas Llosa transmuted Western influences to enrich his tale remains remarkable.
And, I wondered, if this Peruvian writer could do this, what else might be happening out there? By inspiring that question The Green House drew me into a much more complete world of literature. Ultimately, Esther rallies against a sterile world and finds a way to live. Plath did not. JGil 1 SMK 5. The author draws on the eight years he spent in Soviet prisons to write this harrowing novel of the Soviet gulags. Inmates and prisoners are always cold, always hungry, always scheming for crumbs, and willing to betray each other for less in this Siberian labor camp.
Her story focuses on her uncle, the eccentric and irrepressible Daniel Ponder, whose poor marriages created as many problems as his generous heart. In this short novel on the soul-sickness of mass society, a New York advice columnist with a Christ complex is laid low by his taste for married women and his belief in his own redemptive powers. The letters in Miss Lonelyhearts were based on actual missives to residents of two hotels the novelist managed in the s—letters West steamed open to read. WK 3 APat 3. As she details the stirrings of blind ethnic hatred among the Serbs and Croats, she offers a preview of nightmares to come.
Two years later she completed this intimate first-person narrative of the second-century emperor. A feminist and civil rights activist, Bambara strove to create literature that reflected the experiences of black women, the strength of black communities from the urban North to the rural South, and the challenges they faced. Digressions, asides, and stories within stories fill this bawdy, raucous parody of eighteenth-century fiction that reimagines the life of Ebenezer Cooke, who wrote a satirical poem titled The Sot-Weed Factor in Language sizzles in this Rabelasian tale that includes one of the longest lists of insults ever committed to paper.
So Bedford sets us down, with remarkable velocity and confidence, right in the middle of the world to which she is going to devote the next pages.
This is the world of Germany before the Second World War. Because Bedford published A Legacy in , her knowledge of what was to come invests the novel with an air of fragility and foreboding. Yet what is perhaps most astonishing about this astonishingly rich novel—more memorable, for me, even than E.
As always with Bellow, comedy is the handmaiden of an ultimate optimism. The linguistic virtuosity of this futuristic tale—told in nadsat, a russified English—lures us into an unwilling complicity in the drug-fueled bouts of ultraviolence committed by Alex and his droogs comrades. Cain After shedding her philandering, unemployed husband, Mildred Pierce works menial jobs to support her two children before discovering a gift for making and selling pies in Depression-era California.
These weaknesses join to form a perfect storm of betrayal and murder in this hard-boiled tale. JLB 4 MCon 1. When a drifter enters her roadside diner, a sexy young woman imagines a new life. Together they plot the murder of her boorish husband in this noir classic, in which spare prose and desperate characters raise dime-store pulp to an art form. This prescient and humorous Czech novel—part allegory, part satire, part science fiction romp—begins with the discovery of a new species of giant newt by a sea captain in an obscure tropical bay.
Initially exploited for their pearl-harvesting abilities, the newts become the objects of scientific experimentation and then a massive global slave trade before they rise up and revolt, bringing humanity to its knees. As the Nazis bore down on Britain, Coward filled London theaters with this gay and witty farce about death. Who should appear but his first wife, dead these six years and none too happy about wife number two. Professor Jack Gladney teaches Hitler studies at the local college and trawls through the tabloid mall of American culture with his pill-popping fourth wife and their four preternaturally knowing children.
This apocalyptic cult classic amusingly and then chillingly captures how media culture has become not just our atmosphere but our food and oxygen. He is condemned to a remote prison where he finds out who framed him and about a treasure hidden on the Island of Monte Cristo. After fourteen years he escapes, finds the fortune, and returns to Paris where he dazzles the swells while seeking revenge on his enemies.
Lyrical, imagistic, and structured in cumulative short passages, Duras combines the beautiful and the terrible in this slim, compelling novel. Alfred Prufrock by T. Eliot An ancient stone ax head connects the three young protagonists in this bleak science fiction novel set around Cheshire, England, during three time periods—the Roman Empire, the English Civil War, and the present day. Their experiences echo each other in this experimental tale told almost entirely in dialogue. Packed with conspiracies, intrigues, bright language, and even more colorful characters, these novels enter the mind and mores of late Elizabethan and early Stuart England through dramatic events: Death of the Fox hinges on the rise, fall, and execution of Sir Walter Raleigh in ; The Succession re-creates the royal rivalries that surfaced as James I assumed the throne in ; Entered from the Sun focuses on the possible political implications of the murder of poet and playwright Christopher Marlowe in Accusatory, opaque, redundant—the novel is also, oddly enough, compulsively readable and perversely memorable.
Green was the pen name for British industrialist Henry Vincent Yorke, whose kaleidoscopic, impressionistic novels including cryptic plots and sentences without articles or verbs have drawn comparisons to fellow high-modernists Gertrude Stein, Picasso, and Monet. Blindness details the terror of a blind young man confined to a room by his wife. Doting a comedy of adulterous near-misses and Nothing about two ex-lovers whose children are getting married consist almost entirely of pitch-perfect dialogue. A child of the Romantic era, Hawthorne nonetheless remained haunted by his Puritan forefathers.
He peoples them with Puritans, witches, American Indians, and revolutionaries, and narrates the fate of all with his trademark combination of lively Gothic fantasy and critical irreverence. After the dissolution of her marriage to a German prince, Eugenia Munster and her artist brother Felix visit their wealthy relatives in the countryside near Boston.
A small inheritance brings Pearl Dickenson—a smart, resourceful, and independent African American woman—to rural Maine. She stays for the peace and security it seems to offer. She takes over a local diner and takes on two lovers, both of whom have troubled pasts. These liaisons turn to trouble, threatening Pearl and her community. Displaying his trademark ability to turn pulp into art, Leonard elevates the classic Western through the story of John Russell, a white man raised partly by Apache Indians who taught him how to fight and survive.
The action begins when Russell boards a stagecoach and is rejected by passengers because of his roots. When outlaws pounce, the others turn to him for protection. Leonard answers that question in this action-filled tale while probing Western myths, issues of race, and our responsibilities to our unlikable fellow man. The son of a zookeeper, Pi Patel has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior and a fervent love of stories.
When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes. The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for days while lost at sea.
The furniture of the place was of the sort one expects to find in an ordinary lodging house—horsehair sofas, loo tables, lustres, and so forth. At two o'clock the dinner came, and I was agreeably surprised to find it a very good one, much above what the appointments of the house had led me to expect. Plainly Mrs. Crofting was a capital cook. There was no soup, but there was a very excellent sole, and some well-done cutlets with peas, and an omelet.
I had heard a heavy, blundering tread on the floor below, and judged from this that Mr. Crofting had returned. After dinner I lit a cigar, and Mrs. Crofting brought her coffee. Truly it was excellent coffee, and brewed as I like it—strong and black, and plenty of it. It had a flavour of its own too, novel, but not unpleasing.
I had not read six lines of my book before I was asleep. I woke with a sensation of numbing cold in my right side, a terrible stiffness in my limbs, and a sound of loud splashing in my ears. All was pitch dark, and—what was this? Water all about me. I was lying in six inches of cold water, and more was pouring down upon me from above.
My head was afflicted with a splitting ache. But where was I? Why was it dark? And whence all the water? I staggered to my feet, and instantly struck my head against a hard roof above me. I raised my hand; there was the roof of whatever place it was, hard, smooth and cold, and little more than five feet from the floor, so that I bent as I stood. I spread my hand to the side; that was hard, smooth and cold too. And then the conviction struck me like a blow—I was in a covered iron tank, and the water was pouring in to drown me! I dashed my hands frantically against the lid, and strove to raise it.
It would not move. I shouted at the top of my voice, and turned about to feel the extent of my prison. One way I could touch the opposite sides at once easily with my hands, the other way it was wider—perhaps a little more than six feet altogether. What was this? Was this to be my fearful end, cooped in this tank while the water rose by inches to choke me? Already the water was a foot deep. I flung myself at the sides, I beat the pitiless iron with fists, face and head, I screamed and implored.
Then it struck me that I might at least stop the inlet of water. I put out my hand and felt the falling stream, then found the inlet and stopped it with my fingers. But water still poured in with a resounding splash; there was another opening at the opposite end, which I could not reach without releasing the one I now held! Oh, the devilish cunning that had devised those two inlets, so far apart! Again I beat the sides, broke my nails with tearing at the corners, screamed and entreated in my agony. In the height of my frenzy I held my breath, for I heard a sound from outside.
I shouted again—implored some quicker death. Then there was a scraping on the lid above me, and it was raised at one edge, and let in the light of a candle. I sprang from my knees and forced the lid back, and the candle flame danced before me. The candle was held by a dusty man, a workman apparently, who stared at me with scared eyes, and said nothing but, "Goo' lor'! Overhead were the rafters of a gabled roof, and tilted against them was the thick beam which, jammed across from one sloping rafter to another, had held the tank-lid fast. The man took me by the armpits and hauled me, dripping and half dead, over the edge of the tank, into which the water still poured, making a noise in the hollow iron that half drowned our voices.
The man had been at work on the cistern of a neighbouring house, and hearing an uncommon noise, he had climbed through the spaces left in the party walls to give passage along under the roofs to the builders' men. Among the joists at our feet was the trap-door through which, drugged and insensible, I had been carried, to be flung into that horrible cistern. With the help of my friend the workman I made shift to climb through by the way he had come.
We got back to the house where he had been at work, and there the people gave me brandy and lent me dry clothes. I made haste to send for the police, but when they arrived Mrs. Crofting and her respectable spouse had gone. Some unusual noise in the roof must have warned them. And when the police, following my directions further, got to the offices of Dorrington and Hicks, those acute professional men had gone too, but in such haste that the contents of the office, papers and everything else, had been left just as they stood.
The plot was clear now. The followings, the footsteps, the face at the window, the label on the door—all were a mere humbug arranged by Dorrington for his own purpose, which was to drive me into his power and get my papers from me. Armed with these, and with his consummate address and knowledge of affairs, he could go to Mr.
Mowbray in the character of Mr. James Rigby, sell my land in South Australia, and have the whole of my property transferred to himself from Sydney. The rest of my baggage was at his rooms; if any further proof were required it might be found there. He had taken good care that I should not meet Mr. Mowbray—who, by the way, I afterwards found had not left his office, and had never fired a gun in his life. At first I wondered that Dorrington had not made some murderous attempt on me at the shooting place in Scotland.
But a little thought convinced me that that would have been bad policy for him. The disposal of the body would be difficult, and he would have to account somehow for my sudden disappearance. Whereas, by the use of his Italian assistant and his murder apparatus at Highgate I was made to efface my own trail, and could be got rid of in the end with little trouble; for my body, stripped of everything that might identify me, would be simply that of a drowned man unknown, whom nobody could identify.
The whole plot was contrived upon the information I myself had afforded Dorrington during the voyage home. And it all sprang from his remembering the report of my father's death. When the papers in the office came to be examined, there each step in the operations was plainly revealed. There was a code telegram from Suez directing Hicks to hire a grouse moor. There were telegrams and letters from Scotland giving directions as to the later movements; indeed the thing was displayed completely. And among their papers were found complete sets, neatly arranged in dockets, each containing in skeleton a complete history of a case.
Many of these cases were of a most interesting character, and I have been enabled to piece together, out of the material thus supplied, the narratives which follow this. As to my own case, it only remains to say that as yet neither Dorrington, Hicks, nor the Croftings have been caught. They played in the end for a high stake they might have made six figures of me if they had killed me, and the first figure would not have been a one and they lost by a mere accident.
But I have often wondered how many of the bodies which the coroners' juries of London have returned to be "Found Drowned" were drowned, not where they were picked up, but in that horrible tank at Highgate. What the drug was that gave Mrs.
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Crofting's coffee its value in Dorrington's eyes I do not know, but plainly it had not been sufficient in my case to keep me unconscious against the shock of cold water till I could be drowned altogether. Months have passed since my adventure, but even now I sweat at the sight of an iron tank.
IN this case and indeed in most of the others the notes and other documents found in the dockets would, by themselves, give but a faint outline of the facts, and, indeed, might easily be unintelligible to many people, especially as for much of my information I have been indebted to outside inquiries. Therefore I offer no excuse for presenting the whole thing digested into plain narrative form, with little reference to my authorities. Though I knew none of the actors in it, with the exception of the astute Dorrington, the case was especially interesting to me, as will be gathered from the narrative itself.
The only paper in the bundle which I shall particularly allude to was a newspaper cutting, of a date anterior by nine or ten months to the events I am to write of. It had evidently been cut at the time it appeared, and saved, in case it might be useful, in a box in the form of a book, containing many hundreds of others. From this receptacle it had been taken, and attached to the bundle during the progress of the case.
I may say at once that the facts recorded had no direct concern with the case of the horse Janissary, but had been useful in affording a suggestion to Dorrington in connection therewith. The matter is the short report of an ordinary sort of inquest, and I here transcribe it. McCulloch held an inquest yesterday on the body of Mr.
Henry Lawrence, whose body was found on Tuesday morning last in the river near Vauxhall Bridge. The deceased was well known in certain sporting circles. Sophia Lawrence, the widow, said that deceased had left home on Monday afternoon at about five, in his usual health, saying that he was to dine at a friend's, and she saw nothing more of him till called upon to identify the body. He had no reason for suicide, and so far as witness knew, was free from pecuniary embarrassments. He had, indeed, been very successful in betting recently. He habitually carried a large pocket-book, with papers in it.
Robert Naylor, commission agent, said that deceased dined with him that evening at his house in Gold Street, Chelsea, and left for home at about half-past eleven. He had at the time a sum of nearly four hundred pounds upon him, chiefly in notes, which had been paid him by witness in settlement of a bet. It was a fine night, and deceased walked in the direction of Chelsea Embankment. That was the last witness saw of him. He might not have been perfectly sober, but he was not drunk, and was capable of taking care of himself.
The evidence of the Thames police went to show that no money was on the body when found, except a few coppers, and no pocket-book. William Hodgetts said that death was due to drowning. There were some bruises on the arms and head which might have been caused before death.
The body was a very healthy one. The coroner said that there seemed to be a strong suspicion of foul play, unless the pocket-book of the deceased had got out of his pocket in the water; but the evidence was very meagre, although the police appeared to have made every possible inquiry.
The jury returned a verdict of 'Found Drowned, though how the deceased came into the water there was no evidence to show. I know no more of the unfortunate man Lawrence than this, and I have only printed the cutting here because it probably induced Dorrington to take certain steps in the case I am dealing with.
With that case the fate of the man Lawrence has nothing whatever to do. He passes out of the story entirely. But he had a great knack of buying hidden prizes in yearlings, and what his stable lacked in quantity it often more than made up for in quality. Thus he had once bought a St. Leger winner for as little as a hundred and fifty pounds. Many will remember his bitter disappointment of ten or a dozen years back, when his horse, Matfelon, starting an odds-on favourite for the Two Thousand, never even got among the crowd, and ambled in streets behind everything.
It was freely rumoured and no doubt with cause that Matfelon had been "got at" and in some way "nobbled. There was no suspicion of pulling for plainly the jockey was doing his best with the animal all the way along, and never had a tight rein. So a nobbling it must have been, said the knowing ones, and Mr. Warren Telfer said so too, with much bitterness.
More, he immediately removed his horses from Ritter's stables, and started a small training place of his own for his own horses merely; putting an old steeplechase jockey in charge, who had come out of a bad accident permanently lame, and had fallen on evil days. The owner was an impulsive and violent-tempered man, who, once a notion was in his head, held to it through everything, and in spite of everything. His misfortune with Matfelon made him the most insanely distrustful man alive. In everything he fancied he saw a trick, and to him every man seemed a scoundrel. He could scarce bear to let the very stable-boys touch his horses, and although for years all went as well as could be expected in his stables, his suspicious distrust lost nothing of its virulence.
He was perpetually fussing about the stables, making surprise visits, and laying futile traps that convicted nobody. The sole tangible result of this behaviour was a violent quarrel between Mr. Warren Telfer and his nephew Richard, who had been making a lengthened stay with his uncle. Young Telfer, to tell the truth, was neither so discreet nor so exemplary in behaviour as he might have been, but his temper was that characteristic of the family, and when he conceived that his uncle had an idea that he was communicating stable secrets to friends outside, there was an animated row, and the nephew betook himself and his luggage somewhere else.
Young Telfer always insisted, however, that his uncle was not a bad fellow on the whole, though he had habits of thought and conduct that made him altogether intolerable at times. But the uncle had no good word for his graceless nephew; and indeed Richard Telfer betted more than he could afford, and was not so particular in his choice of sporting acquaintances as a gentleman should have been.
Warren Telfer's house, Blackhall, and his stables were little more than two miles from Redbury, in Hampshire; and after the quarrel Mr. Richard Telfer was not seen near the place for many months—not, indeed, till excitement was high over the forthcoming race for the Redbury Stakes, for which there was an entry from the stable—Janissary, for long ranked second favourite; and then the owner's nephew did not enter the premises, and, in fact, made his visit as secret as possible.
I have said that Janissary was long ranked second favourite for the Redbury Stakes, but a little more than a week before the race he became first favourite, owing to a training mishap to the horse fancied first, which made its chances so poor that it might have been scratched at any moment.
And so far was Janissary above the class of the field though it was a two-year-old race, and there might be a surprise that it at once went to far shorter odds than the previous favourite, which, indeed, had it run fit and well, would have found Janissary no easy colt to beat. Telfer's nephew was seen near the stables but two or three days before the race, and that day the owner despatched a telegram to the firm of Dorrington Hicks. In response to the telegram, Dorrington caught the first available train for Redbury, and was with Mr. Warren Telfer in his library by five in the afternoon.
Dorrington," said Mr. In the first place I may tell you that there is no doubt whatever that the colt, if let alone, and bar accident, can win in a canter. He could have won even if Herald, the late favourite, had kept well, for I can tell you that Janissary is a far greater horse than anybody is aware of outside my establishment—or at any rate, than anybody ought to be aware of, if the stable secrets are properly kept. His pedigree is nothing very great, and he never showed his quality till quite lately, in private trials.
Of course it has leaked out somehow that the colt is exceptionally good—I don't believe I can trust a soul in the place. How should the price have gone up to five to four unless somebody had been telling what he's paid not to tell? But that isn't all, as I have said. I've a conviction that something's on foot—somebody wants to interfere with the horse. Of course we get a tout about now and again, but the downs are pretty big, and we generally manage to dodge them if we want to.
On the last three or four mornings, however, whenever Janissary might be taking his gallop, there was a big, hulking fellow, with a red beard and spectacles—not so much watching the horse as trying to get hold of the lad. I am always up at five, for I've found to my cost—you remember about Matfelon—that if a man doesn't want to be ramped he must never take his eye off things. Well, I have scarcely seen the lad ease the colt once on the last three or four mornings without that red-bearded fellow bobbing up from a knoll, or a clump of bushes, or something, close by—especially if Janissary was a bit away from the other horses, and not under my nose, or the head lad's, for a moment.
I rode at the fellow, of course, when I saw what he was after, but he was artful as a cartload of monkeys, and vanished somehow before I could get near him. The head lad believes he has seen him about just after dark, too; but I am keeping the stable lads in when they're not riding, and I suppose he finds he has no chance of getting at them except when they're out with the horses.
This morning, not only did I see this fellow about, as usual, but, I am ashamed to say, I observed my own nephew acting the part of a common tout. He certainly had the decency to avoid me and clear out, but that was not all, as you shall see. This morning, happening to approach the stables from the back, I suddenly came upon the red-bearded man—giving money to a groom of mine!
He ran off at once, as you may guess, and I discharged the groom where he stood, and would not allow him into the stables again. He offered no explanation or excuse, but took himself off, and half an hour afterwards I almost sent away my head boy too. For when I told him of the dismissal, he admitted that he had seen that same groom taking money off my nephew at the back of the of stables, an hour before, and had not informed me! He said that he thought that as it was 'only Mr. Richard' it didn't matter. Anyway, the groom has gone, and, so far as I can tell as yet, the colt is all right.
I examined him at once, of course; and I also turned over a box that Weeks, the groom, used to keep brushes and odd things in. There I found this paper full of powder. I don't yet know what it is, but it's certainly nothing he had any business with in the stable. Will you take it? Telfer went on, "I'm in such an uneasy state that I want your advice and assistance. Quite apart from the suspicious—more than suspicious—circumstances I have informed you of, I am certain—I know it without being able to give precise reasons—I am certain that some attempt is being made at disabling Janissary before Thursday's race.
I feel it in my bones, so to speak. I had the same suspicion just before that Two Thousand, when Matfelon was got at. The thing was in the air, as it is now. Perhaps it's a sort of instinct; but I rather think it is the result of an unconscious absorption of a number of little indications about me. Be it as it may, I am resolved to leave no opening to the enemy if I can help it, and I want to see if you can suggest any further precautions beyond those I am taking. Come and look at the stables. Dorrington could see no opening for any piece of rascality by which he might make more of the case than by serving his client loyally, so he resolved to do the latter.
He followed Mr. Telfer through the training stables, where eight or nine thoroughbreds stood, and could suggest no improvement upon the exceptional precautions that already existed. But it is best to make the outer lines secure first. By the way, this isn't Janissary, is it? We saw him farther up the row, didn't we? People who've been up and down the stables once or twice often confuse them. They're both bays, much of a build, and about the same height, and both have a bit of stocking on the same leg, though Janissary's is bigger, and this animal has a white star.
But you never saw two creatures look so like and run so differently. This is a dead loss—not worth his feed. If I can manage to wind him up to something like a gallop I shall try to work him off in a selling plate somewhere; but as far as I can see he isn't good enough even for that. He's a disappointment. And his stock's far better than Janissary's too, and he cost half as much again! Yearlings are a lottery. Still, I've drawn a prize or two among them, at one time or another.
But now as to the outer defences I was speaking of. Let us find out who is trying to interfere with your horse. Do you mind letting me into the secrets of the stable commissions? We're talking in confidence, of course. I've backed the colt pretty heavily all round, but not too much anywhere. There's a good slice with Barker—you know Barker, of course; Mullins has a thousand down for him, and that was at five to one, before Herald went amiss. Then there's Ford and Lascelles—both good men, and Naylor—he's the smallest man of them all, and there's only a hundred or two with him, though he's been laying the horse pretty freely everywhere, at least until Herald went wrong.
And there's Pedder. But there must have been a deal of money laid to outside backers, and there's no telling who may contemplate a ramp. Telfer answered, a little ashamed of what he had previously said. My nephew Richard is a little erratic, and he has a foolish habit of betting more than he can afford. He and I quarrelled some time back, while he was staying here, because I had an idea that he had been talking too freely outside. He had, in fact; and I regarded it as a breach of confidence.
So there was a quarrel and he went away. People who come out here every morning are probably staying at Redbury, and I must go there after them. THE "Crown" at Redbury was full in anticipation of the races, but Dorrington managed to get a room ordinarily occupied by one of the landlord's family, who undertook to sleep at a friend's for a night or two. This settled, he strolled into the yard, and soon fell into animated talk with the hostler on the subject of the forthcoming races.
All the town was backing Janissary for the Stakes, the hostler said, and he advised Dorrington to do the same. During this conversation two men stopped in the street, just outside the yard gate, talking. One was a big, heavy, vulgar-looking fellow in a box-cloth coat, and with a shaven face and hoarse voice; the other was a slighter, slimmer, younger and more gentlemanlike man, though there was a certain patchy colour about his face that seemed to hint of anything but teetotalism. Telfer, him as whose uncle's owner o' Janissary. He's a young plunger, he is, and he's on Janissary too.
He give me the tip, straight, this mornin'. I ain't such pals with the old man as I was, but I've got the tip that his money's down on it. So don't neglect your opportunities, Thomas,' he says; and I haven't. He's stoppin' in our house, is young Mr. He's got Mr. Richard's bets. P'raps he's puttin' on a bit more now. The men at the gate separated, and the bookmaker walked off down the street in the fast gathering dusk. Richard Telfer, however, entered the house, and Dorrington followed him.
Telfer mounted the stairs and went into his room. Dorrington lingered a moment on the stairs and then went and knocked at Telfer's door. Dorrington expressed his thanks and went to his own room. He took one or two small instruments from his bag and hurried stealthily to the door of No.
All was quiet, and the door opened at once to Dorrington's picklock, for there was nothing but the common tumbler rim-lock to secure it. Dorrington, being altogether an unscrupulous scoundrel, would have thought nothing of entering a man's room thus for purposes of mere robbery. Much less scruple had he in doing so in the present circumstances. He lit the candle in a little pocket lantern, and, having secured the door, looked quickly about the room. There was nothing unusual to attract his attention, and he turned to two bags lying near the dressing-table.
One was the usual bookmaker's satchel, and the other was a leather travelling-bag; both were locked. Dorrington unbuckled the straps of the large bag and produced a slender picklock of steel wire, with a sliding joint, which, with a little skilful "humouring," turned the lock in the course of a minute or two. One glance inside was enough. There on the top lay a large false beard of strong red, and upon the shirts below was a pair of spectacles. But Dorrington went farther, and felt carefully below the linen till his hand met a small, flat, mahogany box.
This he withdrew and opened. Within, on a velvet lining, lay a small silver instrument resembling a syringe. He shut and replaced the box, and, having rearranged the contents of the bag, shut, locked and strapped it, and blew out his light. He had found what he came to look for.
In another minute Mr. Bob Naylor's door was locked behind him, and Dorrington took his picklocks to his own room. It was a noisy evening in the Commercial Room at the "Crown. More was drunk than thirst strictly justified, and everybody grew friendly with everybody else.
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Dorrington, sober and keenly alert, affected the reverse, and exhibited especial and extreme affection for Mr. Bob Naylor. His advances were unsuccessful at first, but Dorrington's manner and the "Crown" whisky overcame the bookmaker's reserve, and at about eleven o'clock the two left the house arm in arm for a cooling stroll in the High Street. Dorrington blabbed and chattered with great success, and soon began about Janissary.
Book full? Eh, my boy? I came across it only this afternoon. I was coming over the downs, and just as I got round behind Telfer's stables there I saw a fine bay colt, with a white stocking on the off hind leg, well covered up in a suit of clothes, being led up and down by a lad, like a sentry—up and down, up and down—about twenty yards each way, and nobody else about. Every afternoon, at two to the minute, I have to bring him out here and walk him like this for half an hour exactly, neither more or less, and then he goes in and has a handful of malt.
But I dunno why. But he's a fine colt,' and I put my hand under the cloth and felt him—hard as nails and smooth as silk. But it's an odd trick, isn't it, that of the half-hour's walk and the handful of malt? Never hear of anybody else doing it, did you? They talked and strolled for another quarter of an hour and then finished up with one more drink. THE next was the day before the race, and in the morning Dorrington, making a circuit, came to Mr. Warren Telfer's from the farther side.
As soon as they were assured of privacy: "Have you seen the man with the red beard this morning? If you like to fall in with my suggestions, however, you shall see him at about two o'clock, and take a handsome rise out of him. In the first place, what's the value of that other horse that looks so like Janissary? He's worth—well, what he will fetch. I'll sell him for fifty and be glad of the chance. Then you'll no doubt be glad to risk his health temporarily to make sure of the Redbury Stakes, and to get longer prices for anything you may like to put on between now and tomorrow afternoon.
Come to the stables and I'll tell you. But first, is there a place where we may command a view of the ground behind the stables without being seen? Then we'll watch from Hamid's stall, which will be empty. Select your most wooden-faced and most careful boy, and send him out behind the stable with Hamid at two o'clock to the moment.
Put the horse in a full suit of clothes—it is necessary to cover up that white star—and tell the lad he must lead it up and down slowly for twenty yards or so. I rather expect the red-bearded man will be coming along between two o'clock and half-past two. You will understand that Hamid is to be Janissary for the occasion. You must drill your boy to appear a bit of a fool, and to overcome his stable education sufficiently to chatter freely—so long as it is the proper chatter. The man may ask the horse's name, or he may not. Anyway, the boy mustn't forget it is Janissary he is leading. You have an odd fad, you must know and the boy must know it too in the matter of training.
This ridiculous fad is to have your colt walked up and down for half an hour exactly at two o'clock every afternoon, and then given a handful of malt as he comes in. The boy can talk as freely about this as he pleases, and also about the colt's chances, and anything else he likes; and he is to let the stranger come up, talk to the horse, pat him in short, to do as he pleases. Is that plain? You see the idea, of course. Once Naylor thinks he has nobbled the favourite he will lay it to any extent, and the odds will get longer.
Then you can make him pay for his little games. Though I wouldn't put too much with Naylor in any case. He's not a big man, and he might break and lose me the lot. But I can get it out of the others. You'd better see about schooling your boy now, I think.
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I'll tell you more presently. A minute or two before two o'clock Dorrington and Telfer, mounted on a pair of steps, were gazing through the ventilation grating of Hamid's stall, while the colt, clothed completely, was led around. Then Dorrington described his operations of the previous evening. He has tried to bribe your stablemen, and has been baffled. Every attempt to get hold of the boy in charge of Janissary has failed, and he will be glad to clutch at any shadow of a chance to save his money now. Once he is here, and the favourite apparently at his mercy, the thing is done.
By the way, I expect your nephew's little present to the man you sacked was a fairly innocent one. No doubt he merely asked the man whether Janissary was keeping well, and was thought good enough to win, for I find he is backing it pretty heavily. Naylor came afterwards, with much less innocent intentions, but fortunately you were down on him in time. Several considerations induced me to go to Naylor's room. In the first place, I have heard rather shady tales of his doings on one or two occasions, and he did not seem a sufficiently big man to stand to lose a great deal over your horse.
Then, when I saw him, I observed that his figure bore a considerable resemblance to that of the man you had described, except as regards the red beard and the spectacles—articles easily enough assumed, and, indeed, often enough used by the scum of the ring whose trade is welshing. And, apart from these considerations, here, at any rate, was one man who had an interest in keeping your colt from winning, and here was his room waiting for me to explore.
So I explored it, and the card turned up trumps. As he was speaking, the stable-boy, a stolid-looking youngster, was leading Hamid back and forth on the turf before their eyes. Yes—our man, sure enough. I felt pretty sure of him after you had told me that he hadn't thought it worth while to turn up this morning. Here he comes. Naylor, with his red beard sticking out over the collar of his big coat, came slouching along with an awkwardly assumed air of carelessness and absence of mind. Janey Sairey, is it? Well, she do look a fine 'orse, what I can see of 'er. What a suit o' clo'es!
An' so she's one o' the 'orses that runs in races, is she?
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Well, I never! Pretty much like other 'orses, too, to look at, ain't she? Only a bit thin in the legs. The boy stood carelessly by the colt's side, and the man approached. His hand came quickly from an inner pocket, and then he passed it under Hamid's cloths, near the shoulder. I dunno anythin' about races myself, an'—Oo my! Naylor sprang back as the horse, flinging back its ears, started suddenly, swung round, and reared. Jist because I stroked her!
I'll be careful about touching racehorses again. Telfer and Dorrington sniggered quietly in their concealment. Naylor, I'm afraid. That was a prick the colt felt—hypodermic injection with the syringe I saw in the bag, no doubt. The boy won't be such a fool as to come in again at once, will he? If Naylor's taking a look back from anywhere, that may make him suspicious. I've told him to keep out for the half-hour, and he'll do it. Dear, dear, what an innocent person Mr. Bob Naylor is! Pretty much like other horses!
Ere the half-hour was quite over, Hamid came stumbling and dragging into the stable yard, plainly all amiss, and collapsed on his litter as soon as he gained his stall. There he lay, shivering and drowsy. Certainly, the effect will last over tomorrow. That's what it is calculated for.