Join Date: May 2011
Location: JAPAN (US expatriate)
Device: Sony PRS-T2, ADE on PC
Smith, Thorne: Out o' Luck (Illustrated). v1. 25 August 2012
By J. Thorne Smith (1892-1934), author of “Topper / The Jovial Ghosts,” “Topper Takes a Trip,” “The Night Life of the Gods,” “The Stray Lamb,” “Turnabout,” “The Glorious Pool,” etc. Illustrations by cartoonist Richard Dorgan (1892-1953).
“Out o’ Luck” was published in 1919.
Public Domain in countries where copyright is Life+50, and in the USA.
More Biltmore! This sequel continues the escapades of Biltmore Oswald, while he gets his sea-legs aboard ship, has more romantic adventures, finds himself challenged to a real old-fashioned duel, and celebrates the war’s end in a unique fashion. 31 full-page cartoon illustrations add more fun to the mix.
A small excerpt:
Lots of the world’s best poetry has come from a bad stomach and, of course, vice versa. Some of the finest murders of our times had their inception originally in a badly setting breakfast; divorces, marriages, fires and labor troubles — bad stomachs every time. If your food disagrees with you, you get married; if it continues to disagree you get unmarried, and if these expedients fail to work you get religion, dyspepsia, or buried.
And a *LONG* one:
Sept. 25th — (at sea) — “How often can a guy get seasick?” I asked the Quartermaster this morning during a lull in my labors. The Quartermaster spat reflectively over the lee-side rail and gave due consideration to the question before committing himself.
“Well,” says he, “there’s some what get seasick perpetually and then there are those what only gets seasick intermittently or just every now and then.”
“I must belong to both classes,” says I in a cheerless voice.
“How’s that?” asks the Quartermaster.
“Well,” says I, “you see, I’m always seasick, perpetually, as you said, but intermittently I get more seasick and on special occasions I can get even still more seasick.”
“What,” says the Quartermaster, “you mean to say that you’re seasick now on this glassy sea?”
“I mean to say,” says I, “that I have been seasick every minute since I left the station and that ten years from now the mere thought of what you seem fit to term a glassy sea will be sufficient cause for a hasty exit from any company, no matter how entertaining.”
“Why, this ain’t no sea at all,” replies the Quartermaster, scornfully, “just a mere easy-running ground swell.”
He gazed to windward for a moment and scanned an unintelligent expanse of stupid gray sky with a discerning eye.
“Just wait,” says he, as if he were promising me a stick of candy, “just you wait until six bells and I’ll show you what a real sea is.”
“Something rough, eh?” says I, as the ship pitched shiveringly down the side of a valley of dark green, concentrated orneryness and sent me sprawling across the deck.
“Yes,” says he, “something rough, something very rough — not calm like it is now.”
‘Well, I ain’t agoin’ to wait,” says I, “I don’t have to,” and I made my way feebly aft to a place of seclusion, and here, among other things, I prayed for peace. Then I proceeded to hide myself behind a hammock rack and wait for six bells. The storm was punctual to the minute, if anything a little before-hand. Storms never have good taste anyway, and they never leave one. Well, that ship did everything but gallop. It waltzed, it fox-trotted, it performed several very elaborate Oriental muscle dances and a couple of buck and wings. I did all of these things with it. The first lurch sent me spinning across the deck to the end of the compartment; the second one carried me back with a resounding bang; the third conveyed me through the door and among the legs of the executive officer.
“What are you doing here?” asked the officer in an injured tone.
“Suffering,” I replied, digging my nails into the deck.
“Don’t you like it in the Navy?” he asked as I tried to rise.
“No, sir,” says I, “I don’t like it at all in the Navy, sir,” and then, carried away by an irresistible impulse of curiosity, I added, “Do you, sir?”
The officer smiled on me with kindly eyes. “I love it, my boy,” he said. “I enjoy it; it’s my life.”
“Oh, God!” I breathed as another wave hit the ship and sent me sliding from the officer’s sight, “those are the guys that have press-agented the Navy and kidded poor innocent people like me into believing it a romantic sport.”
“Where you going?” says Tim, as he caught me sliding past him.
“Going,” says I, “I’m going to vote for Mr. McAdoo if he ever runs for office. He builds tunnels under rivers and things and perhaps he might run one across the ocean.”
Later this evening the Quartermaster spoke to me apologetically. “Sorry, Buddy,” says he, “but I was wrong about that storm. Thought we were going to have one, but it must have got shunted off somewhere along the line.”
“What!” I screamed, “you mean to say this isn’t a storm?”
“Certainly not,” says he, “this isn’t even a blow.”
For the first time since I joined the Navy I cried. He did not see me, for no tears ran down my face, but my soul was drenched with them.
“Not even a blow,” I repeated in a heart-broken voice as I staggered back to my compartment. What a war!
31 full-page illustrations by cartoonist Dick Dorgan. Embedded small-caps font. No text-wrapping anywhere. Added chapter breaks, cross-linked to/from an inline ToC.
The first Biltmore Oswald book is available as an ebook on a number of sites, but this sequel seems rather rare. I found only the Google digitization (I used the uncorrected OCR scan from archive.org), and a PDF version on Hathitrust.org. I thought it was worth the effort; I hope you think so too.