Axidava

The Tower

I have been standing where everybody has stood, opposite the great Belfry Tower of Bruges, and thinking, as every one has thought (though not, perhaps, said), that it is built in defiance of all decencies of architecture.

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Rejection

Simplicity is not virginal in the modern world.  She has a penitential or a vidual singleness.  We can conceive an antique world in which life, art, and letters were simple because of the absence of many things; for us now they can be simple only because of our rejection of many things. 

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The Mystery Of Ah Sing

Ah Sing comes on Tuesdays to get the washing and on Saturdays to bring it back. He is an urbane, smiling person, who appears to view life impersonally and dispassionately.

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The Fool

Long is the night to him who is awake; long is a mile to him who is tired; long is life to the foolish who do not know the true law.

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One Word

Almost every seat in the street car was taken. Men sat with their noses glued to the newspaper. Women looked boredly out of the window at the cold rain dripping down into the muddy street.

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The Part Of Me That Doubts

Whatever a man’s creed, there’s a good deal of him that does not believe it. Whatever a man’s crime, there was some of him that protested. Whatever a man’s goodness, it is flecked on the underside with ugly spots. Let us deal reverently with one another, and with awe; we are all so complex. It should not be so hard to believe in God, for man himself is scarcely less wonderful.

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The Truth In Advertising

Listen, young man! The cleverest man in the world is the man that tells the truth, and tells it all the time, not occasionally.

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Moral Indignation

The ill-fame of the Turks in the English-speaking world is not due to their political medievalism, as is usually alleged, but to their practise of polygamy.

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The Sun

Nowhere else does the greater light so rule the day, so measure, so divide, so reign, make so imperial laws, so visibly kindle, so immediately quicken, so suddenly efface, so banish, so restore, as in a plain like this of Suffolk with its enormous sky. 

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On Lying In Bed

Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience if only one had a coloured pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling.

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Poisoning The Child Mind

One of the recent discoveries in the art of healing is the therapeutic value of suggestion. That is to say, the physician, by suggesting to the patient, particularly the patient suffering from nervous disorder, sane and helpful thoughts about himself, can work a cure better oftentimes than by the use of drugs.

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The Animal That Thinks

That the great majority of human beings, even under our perfected Christian civilization, are still almost as incapable of rational thought as so many diamond-back terrapin—this is a fact to which we have all been made privy of late by the babbling of eminent psychologists. Granted. But let us not rashly assume that this infirmity is confined strictly to the nether herd—that, above the level where thinking may be said genuinely to begin, it goes on, level by level, to greater and greater heights of clarity and acumen.

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The Death Of Garfield

From a memorial oration delivered by James Gillespie Blaine in the House of Representatives on February 27, 1882.

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The Campaign Against Fear

The campaign against Fear is the greatest movement of the race. Fear is not bred of ignorance. It is the child of half-knowledge. “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” What we don’t know at all we are not afraid of; as a sheep is happy, ignorant of the slaughter-house.

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Predictions For The Year 1708

I have long considered the gross abuse of astrology in this kingdom, and upon debating the matter with myself, I could not possibly lay the fault upon the art, but upon those gross impostors who set up to be the artists. 

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What I Found In My Pocket

Once when I was very young I met one of those men who have made the Empire what it is—a man in an astracan coat, with an astracan moustache—a tight, black, curly moustache.

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The End Of The World

For some time I had been wandering in quiet streets in the curious town of Besançon, which stands like a sort of peninsula in a horse-shoe of river.

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The Pressure

Always the pressure is on us.

Like a low ceiling, it makes us forever stoop, often crawl, sometimes grovel.

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The Art Of Happy Memory

The most significant step a mind takes is that wherein it realizes that it can control its own operation; when it learns that it can command those things in itself commonly considered automatic.

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Mencken On Lying

Lying stands on a different plane from all other moral offenses, not because it is intrinsically more heinous or less heinous, but simply because it is the only one that may be accurately measured.

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A Reflection

Some people are born with a vital and responsive energy. It not only enables them to keep abreast of the times; it qualifies them to furnish in their own personality a good bit of the motive power to the mad pace. They are fortunate beings. They do not need to apprehend the significance of things. They do not grow weary nor miss step, nor do they fall out of rank and sink by the wayside to be left contemplating the moving procession.

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The Pleasure Of Patriotism

In the way of rulers there is nothing quite so nice as a king. A king focuses one’s patriotism, and being above everybody in his kingdom is probably the only person in it who arouses no envy. The fact is he inspires in us a sense of proud proprietorship. We rejoice that he has the loveliest of queens, and the lovelier she looks the more we are gratified, just as if she were one of the family. So when the king’s diplomacy wins a bloodless victory we are as proud as if most of the credit belonged to us.

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Dad

“DEAR DAD: I am writing this to you, though you have been dead thirty years.

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The Rat-Trap

Much of the discontent with modern marriage centers in the fact that the laws which condition it and safeguard it all assume that its purpose is the founding of a family.

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A Social Curse – The Man Who Interrupts

I do not, as a rule, thirst for the blood of my fellow-man. I am willing that the law should in all ordinary cases take its course, but when we begin to discuss the man who breaks into a conversation and ruins it with his own irrelevant ideas, regardless of the feelings of humanity, I am not a law and order man. The spirit of the “Red Vigilanter” is roused in my breast and I hunger for the blood of that man.

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Mencken On The Jews

The Jews, like the Americans, labor under a philosophical dualism, and in both cases it is a theological heritage. On the one hand there is the idealism that is lovely and uplifting and will get a man into heaven, and on the other hand there is the realism that works.

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The March Of The Shadows

I went to see my friend in the hospital. He had been there a month, with a bad foot. His only locomotion was being lifted from his chair to his bed and back.

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Habits Of A Literary Man

The editor of an Eastern health magazine, having asked for information relative to the habits, hours of work, and style and frequency of feed adopted by literary men, and several parties having responded who were no more essentially saturated with literature than I am, I now take my pen in hand to reveal the true inwardness of my literary life, so that boys, who may yearn to follow in my footsteps and wear a laurel wreath the year round in place of a hat, may know what the personal habits of a literary party are.

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The Dog Noble And The Empty Hole

The first summer which we spent in Lenox we had along a very intelligent dog, named Noble. He was learned in many things, and by his dog-lore excited the undying admiration of all the children. But there were some things which Noble could never learn. Having on one occasion seen a red squirrel run into a hole in a stone wall, he could not be persuaded that he was not there forevermore.

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Keep Fit

Ford, the automobile man, stated in his testimony before the Industrial Commission that he gets more and better work out of men at eight hours a day than at ten.

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The Burden Of Humor

What is the origin of the prejudice against humor? Why is it so dangerous, if you would keep the public confidence, to make the public laugh?

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Held In Bondage

“A young man married is a man that’s marred.” That’s a golden rule, Arthur; take it to heart.

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A Piece Of Chalk

I remember one splendid morning, all blue and silver, in the summer holidays when I reluctantly tore myself away from the task of doing nothing in particular, and put on a hat of some sort and picked up a walking-stick, and put six very bright-coloured chalks in my pocket.

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My School Days

Looking over my own school days, there are so many things that I would rather not tell, that it will take very little time and space for me to use in telling what I am willing that the carping public should know about my early history.

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Subconscious Fears

A young man writes me that he is afraid of thunderstorms, and asks if there is no way for him to overcome this weakness. “I am normal in every other respect,” he adds, “but notwithstanding my endeavors to fight off this nervousness I find it to be of no avail; it appears to be a sort of subconscious fear.”

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The Sabbath Of A Great Author

I awake at an unearthly hour on Sunday morning, after which I turn over and go to sleep again. This second, or beauty sleep, I find to be almost invaluable. I do it also with much more earnestness and expression than that in the earlier part of the night. All the other people in the house gradually wake up as I begin to get in my more fancy strokes.

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Halloween Blackface

If I were living in America I would dress up as a minstrel from the 19th century for Halloween, blackface and all.

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Chinese Etiquette

If there is one thing more than another, after the possession of the thirteen classics, on which the Chinese specially pride themselves, it is politeness.

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The Fall Of Days

There is a fall of days as there is a fall of leaves. I do not know what wind, blowing from the infinite, shakes the years, and sends falling from them one by one the sere and yellow days.

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The Supreme Moment

“But Leonardo,” says one writing upon the genius of the incomparable da Vinci, “will never work till the happy moment comes—that moment of bien-etre (feeling just fit) which to imaginative men is a moment of invention. On this moment he waits; other moments are but a preparation or after-taste of it.”

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