By the author of “Three Men in a Boat,” “Three Men on the Bummel,” “The Diary of a Pilgrimage,” “Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow,” “Stage-Land,” etc.
These are taken from the Henry Holt & Co. 1891 edition of “Diary of a Pilgrimage,” whose introductory page states: “Diary of a Pilgrimage, to every purchaser of which are also given away in this volume Six Splendid Essays by the same author.” The phrase seems apt, and is hereby adopted as the title for this collection. The splendid six are: ‘Dreams,’ ‘Clocks,’ ‘Evergreens,’ ‘Tea-kettles,’ ‘A Pathetic Story,’ and ‘The New Utopia.’
The author addresses his subjects with satirical humor, segues into philosophical musings and tart social commentary, and back into total hilarity. The reader finds himself nodding in agreement, shaking his head in disbelief, wincing in recognition, and holding his sides as he gasps with laughter — very nearly a full-body experience.
Here is the beginning passage from ‘Tea-kettles.’
It is asserted by scientific men that you can take a kettle full of boiling water off the fire, and, placing it on your outstretched hand, carry it round the room without suffering any hurt to yourself whatever, unless, of course, the thing upsets.
It is necessary, to be sure, that the water actually boils, as otherwise you will burn your hand; and it is also as well to look and see that there are no hot cinders clinging to the bottom of the kettle. These two rules observed, the exercise may be indulged in with much success.
The explanation of the seeming phenomenon is very simple. The heat from the fire passes through the kettle and into the water, and thus, as soon as the water boils, the kettle, as any one who has studied science and those sort of things will readily understand, becomes cool, and may be carried about in the way I have explained, instead of by the handle.
For myself, I generally adopt the handle method, notwithstanding, and take a towel to it. I did try the scientific way once, but I do not think the water could have been boiling; and that, as I have explained, is a very important point, because, except when the water is actually boiling, the kettle is hot, and you are apt to say: “Oh! damn!” and drop it, and the water splashes out all over the floor. And then all the folks you have invited into the kitchen to witness this triumph of science, they say “Oh! damn!” too, and skip about in a disorderly manner, and flick their feet in the air, and rush out into the passage, where they sit down on the cool oilcloth, and try to take off both boots at once.
43 half-page illustrations. Embedded fonts for titles and drop-caps. "No-wrap" version uses large caps and centers the illustrations. Another attempt to Anglicise spelling. Please do report any errors you find.
Enjoy! I think you'll find some laughs.
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