Friday, May 1, 2009

Stephen Crane - London Impressions

London at first consisted of a porter with the most charming manners in
the world, and a cabman with a supreme intelligence, both observing my
profound ignorance without contempt or humor of any kind observable in
their manners. It was in a great resounding vault of a place where there
were many people who had come home, and I was displeased because they
knew the detail of the business, whereas I was confronting the
inscrutable. This made them appear very stony-hearted to the sufferings
of one of whose existence, to be sure, they were entirely unaware, and I
remember taking great pleasure in disliking them heartily for it. I was
in an agony of mind over my baggage, or my luggage, or my--perhaps it is
well to shy around this terrible international question; but I remember
that when I was a lad I was told that there was a whole nation that said
luggage instead of baggage, and my boyish mind was filled at the time
with incredulity and scorn. In the present case it was a thing that I
understood to involve the most hideous confessions of imbecility on my
part, because I had evidently to go out to some obscure point and espy
it and claim it, and take trouble for it; and I would rather have had my
pockets filled with bread and cheese, and had no baggage at all.

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Image taken from here

Book Choice: War Is Kind

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