By the author of “God and My Father,” “Life with Father,” “Life With Mother,” “This Simian World,” etc.
This collection is full of funny! Twenty-seven essays address their subjects with wit and biting satire (some do take a more serious tone); several pieces of light poetry are added to the mix. Lavishly illustrated with 58 line drawings by Mr. Day. Among many other subjects, you will discover what cows are really meditating about, learn the back-story of the Prometheus myth, find out what would happen if Americans emmigrate to Atlantis, and gain insight into mediaeval knighthood.
The Crow's Nest received a favorable review in The Nation magazine by the prominent U.S. academician Carl Van Doren; a revised edition with new essays, poems and drawings was published after Day's death under the title After All. (Wikipedia)
When I go away for a vacation, which I don’t any more, I am or was appalled at the ridiculous inconveniences of it. I have sometimes gone to the Great Mother, Nature; sometimes to hotels. Well, the Great Mother is kind, it is said, to the birds and the beasts, the small furry creatures, and even, of old, to the Indian. But I am no Indian; I am not even a small furry creature. I dislike the Great Mother. She’s damp: and far too full of insects.
And as for hotels, the man in the next room always snores. And by the time you get used to this, and get in with some gang, your vacation is over and you have to turn around and go home.
I can get more for my money by far from a book. For example, the Oppenheim novels: there are fifty-three of them, and to read them is almost like going on fifty-three tours. A man and his whole family could take six for the price of one pair of boots. Instead of trying to find some miserable mosquitoey hotel at the sea-shore, or an old farmer’s farmhouse where the old farmer will hate you on sight, and instead of packing a trunk and running errands and catching a train I go to a book-shop and buy any Oppenheim novel. When I go on a tour with him, I start off so quickly and easily. I sit in my armchair, I turn to the first page, and it’s like having a taxi at the door—”Here’s your car, sir, all ready!” The minute I read that first page I am off like a shot, into a world where things never stop happening. Magnificent things! It’s about as swift a change as you could ask from jog-trot daily life.
On page two, I suddenly discover that beautiful women surround me. Are they adventuresses? I cannot tell. I must beware every minute. Everybody is wary and suave, and they are all princes and diplomats. The atmosphere is heavy with the clashing of powerful wills. Paid murderers and spies are about. Hah! am I being watched? The excitement soon gets to a point where it goes to my head. I find myself muttering thickly or biting my lips—two things I never do ordinarily and should not think of doing. I may even give a hoarse cry of rage as I sit in my armchair.
But I’m not in my armchair. I am on a terrace, alone, in the moonlight. A beautiful woman (a reliable one) comes swiftly toward me. Either she is enormously rich or else I am, but we don’t think of that. We embrace each other. Hark! There is the duke, busily muttering thickly. How am I to reply to him? I decide to give him a hoarse cry of rage. He bites his lips at me. Someone else shoots us both. All is over.
And an interesting short quote:
The most ordinary steamship agent, talking to peasants in Europe, can describe America in such a way that those peasants will start there at once. But the most gifted preacher can’t get men to hurry to heaven.
58 line drawings by the author, all centered. Decorative font for chapter-heads and drop-caps.
I hope you get some chuckles from this one.
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