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Days Off And Other Digressions   By: (1852-1933)

Book cover

First Page:

DAYS OFF

And Other Digressions

by

HENRY VAN DYKE

[Illustration: Our canoes go with the river, but no longer easily or lazily.]

I do not count the hours I spend In wandering by the sea; The forest is my loyal friend, Like God it useth me:

Or on the mountain crest sublime, Or down the oaken glade, O what have I to do with Time? For this the day was made.

RALPH WALDO EMERSON

Illustrated

New York Charles Scribner's Sons MDCCCCVII

Copyright, 1907, by Charles Scribner's Sons

Printed in October, 1907 Reprinted in November, 1907 Reprinted in December, 1907

To MY FRIEND AND NEIGHBOUR GROVER CLEVELAND WHOSE YEARS OF GREAT WORK AS A STATESMAN HAVE BEEN CHEERED BY DAYS OF GOOD PLAY AS A FISHERMAN THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED WITH WARM AND DEEP REGARDS

Avalon, July 10th, 1907.

CONTENTS

I. Days Off 1

II. A Holiday in a Vacation 23

III. His Other Engagement 57

IV. Books that I Loved as a Boy 101

V. Among the Quantock Hills 117

VI. Between the Lupin and the Laurel 139

VII. Little Red Tom 177

VIII. Silverhorns 193

IX. Notions about Novels 221

X. Some Remarks on Gulls 233

XI. Leviathan 271

XII. The Art of Leaving Off 309

ILLUSTRATIONS

Our canoes go with the river, but no longer easily or lazily Frontispiece

Facing page

On such a carry travel is slow 36

A notion to go down stream struck the salmon 88

There was the gleam of an immense mass of silver in its meshes 94

Tannery Combe, Holford 126

" Billy began to call, and it was beautiful " 206

There he stood defiant, front feet planted wide apart 218

She took the oars and rowed me slowly around the shore 266

DAYS OFF

"A day off" said my Uncle Peter, settling down in his chair before the open wood fire, with that air of complacent obstinacy which spreads over him when he is about to confess and expound his philosophy of life, "a day off is a day that a man takes to himself."

"You mean a day of luxurious solitude," I said, "a stolen sweet of time, which he carries away into some hidden corner to enjoy alone, a little Jack Horner kind of a day?"

"Not at all," said my Uncle Peter; "solitude is a thing which a man hardly ever enjoys by himself. He may practise it from a sense of duty. Or he may take refuge in it from other things that are less tolerable. But nine times out of ten he will find that he can't get a really good day to himself unless he shares it with some one else; if he takes it alone, it will be a heavy day, a chain and ball day, anything but a day off."

"Just what do you mean, then?" I asked, knowing that nothing would please him better than the chance to discover his own meaning against a little background of apparent misunderstanding and opposition.

"I mean," said my Uncle Peter, in that deliberate manner which lends a flavour of deep wisdom to the most obvious remarks, "I mean that every man owes it to himself to have some days in his life when he escapes from bondage, gets away from routine, and does something which seems to have no purpose in the world, just because he wants to do it... Continue reading book >>




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