A quotation about mysteries from Fran Lebowitz
29 minutes ago
When the steamship company sent me their printed rules and regulations, one item therein immediately attracted my attention. It was to the effect that no passenger was allowed to bring liquor on board with him, so this reminded me that certain decoctions were grateful and comforting, as the advertisements say, besides there always being a pleasure in breaking the rules; so I at once brought four bottles from Caledonia in case I should meet some personal friend...Only a fool or a teetotaler – same thing, really – would pass on the opportunity of joining a man such as this on his travels.
A thick autumn fog, saturated soot in suspension, enveloped the town. The drive from the station proved most unattractive – I should not care to liken it to a trip in Hades for fear of exaggeration, because Hades at least is warm, and I believe the atmosphere must be more clear than that of Manchester.Mancunians are not alone. The overly sensitive will wish to gird themselves; nearly every place and every people come in for a ribbing on this voyage. Not even the people of Scotland, the land of Barr's birth, are spared. Witness, if you will his comments on that petite Maltanese land mass we 21st-century English speakers know as Gozo:
The island should by right be inhabited by Scotchmen, for it possesses a coin valued at one-sixth of a cent, and if, as the saying has it, the farthing was invented to enable the Scotchmen to contribute to the cause of religion, then the islands of Goza [sic] and Malta should be three times more attractive to us Scotchmen than any other spot on earth.The only people to draw complete and unqualified praise are "the Druses", whom Barr describes as "a most admirable people, extremely hospitable, ready to share their last crust with any stranger who happens along, invariably refusing money for the services they may render a traveller, and they are always fond of a joke."
|I Found Cleopatra|
Thomas P. Kelly [sic]
Toronto: Export, 1946
|I Found Cleopatra|
Thomas P. Kelley
Linn, OR: Fax Collector's Editions, 1977
"We had a medicine man pass through here about three years ago. He came with a horse and wagon and peddled some worthless fluid he advertised as 'Snake Oil'. He called himself Professor Logan."This exchange, my favourite, is not found in General Publishing's 1974 reprint. In fact, the latter publisher cut over 30,000 words, something approaching half of the original text. Here we have an odd instance in which a hardcover edition bowdlerizes a paperback original. What makes this even more unusual is the fact that the 1984 edition of The Fabulous Kelley marks the first and only time in which Thomas P. Kelley, Jr. was published in anything other format than paperback.
"I've heard of him,"was the other's answer. "Logan is a fraud, a cheap pitchman working solo. He's not a medicine man."
"Oh, then there's a difference?" and there was a tinge of sarcasm in the other's quietly spoken words. "How interesting. Pray tell me, just how much difference is there between a pitch man and a medicine man?"
Doc Kelley, one hand on the doorknob, turned and shot a glance at those pallid features and asked: "The woman who answered the door is your wife?"
"Have you seen a photo of the famous beauty , Lily Langtry?"
"There is that much difference..."
14 April 1865 - 31 April 1931
So ends the General's bowdlerized edition. The Pocket Books edition continues:So died Thomas P. Kelley, the King of the Medicine Men. Yes, and the medicine-show period died with him. The entertainment that had brought joy to millions throughout North America for more than a hundred years perished with its King.
Passed into oblivion, its distant glories forgotten, like the flame of a candle blown out with his final breath, Now it was all over; at long last modern times had triumphed and the medicine show days were no more. But it was a triumph which could only be gained by the death of the man with the golden tongue. A death that marked the end of an era.
And even today the dwindling few old-time medicine show performers continue to tell: "Nature made only one Doc Kelley then threw away the mold."
Objects: The Pocket Books first edition is an unexceptional mass market paperback, but looks much more attractive than any of the other editions. Credit should go to Peter Max, though I'm betting he had nothing to do with the design.- FIN -
Sir Isaac Brock
6 October 1769 - 13 October 1812
|'Brock: Valiant Leader' by J.D. Logan|
Canadian Poets and Poetry
John W. Garvin, ed.
(Toronto: McClelland, Goodchild & Stewart, 1916)
|from Brock Centenary, 1812-1912:|
Account of the Celebration at Queenston Heights, Ontario, on the 12th of October, 1912
Alexander Fraser, ed.
(Toronto: William Briggs, 1913)
|Vernon's City of Stratford Directory for the Year 1905 to1906|
Hamilton: Henry Vernon, 1905
Here is a gory, murder-filled mystery story, yet so amusingly told that the reader will constantly chuckle - when he is not shuddering!And at times it delivers:
The jagged edges of the stone had done awful things to Tim's skull. Lieutenant Hogan said that it had taken a great deal of strength to bash in Tim's head because of its extreme thickness.But for the most part the humour amounts to nothing more than a series of scenes in which a little old lady, Agatha, bests and belittles a none too bright detective.
|The Makins House|
126 Mornington Street, Stratford Ontario
|The Pittsburgh Press, 21 May 1912|
|The Canadian Bookman, August 1909|
|The Regina Morning Leader, 21 May 1912|
|The New York Times, 21 May 1912|