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If I May   By: (1882-1956)

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First Page:

IF I MAY

A. A. MILNE

BY THE SAME AUTHOR

NOT THAT IT MATTERS

Named by Life in its issue of October 28, 1920, as one of the best six current books.

"No better book for vacation reading." Review

E. P. DUTTON & COMPANY

IF I MAY

BY

A. A. MILNE

AUTHOR OF "NOT THAT IT MATTERS," ETC.

NEW YORK

E. P. DUTTON & COMPANY

682 FIFTH AVENUE

COPYRIGHT, 1921,

BY E. P. DUTTON & COMPANY

All Rights Reserved

First Edition , October, 1921

New Popular Edition , 1925

Printed in the United States of America

These essays are reprinted, with such alterations and additions as seemed proper, from The Sphere , The Outlook , The Daily News , The Sunday Express (London) and Vanity Fair (New York).

A. A. M.

CONTENTS

THE CASE FOR THE ARTIST

A LONDON GARDEN

THE GAME OF KINGS

FIXTURES AND FITTINGS

EXPERTS

THE ROBINSON TRADITION

GETTING THINGS DONE

CHRISTMAS GAMES

THE MATHEMATICAL MIND

GOING OUT TO DINNER

THE ETIQUETTE OF ESCAPE

GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH

CHILDREN'S PLAYS

THE ROAD TO KNOWLEDGE

A MAN OF PROPERTY

AN ORDNANCE MAP

THE LORD MAYOR

THE HOLIDAY PROBLEM

THE BURLINGTON ARCADE

STATE LOTTERIES

THE RECORD LIE

WEDDING BELLS

PUBLIC OPINION

THE HONOUR OF YOUR COUNTRY

A VILLAGE CELEBRATION

A TRAIN OF THOUGHT

MELODRAMA

A LOST MASTERPIECE

A HINT FOR NEXT CHRISTMAS

THE FUTURE

THE LARGEST CIRCULATION

THE WATSON TOUCH

SOME OLD COMPANIONS

A HAUNTED HOUSE

ROUND THE WORLD AND BACK

THE STATE OF THE THEATRE

THE FIRES OF AUTUMN

NOT GUILTY

A DIGRESSION

HIGH FINANCE

SECRET PAPERS

IF I MAY

IF I MAY

The Case for the Artist

By an "artist" I mean Shakespeare and Me and Bach and Myself and Velasquez and Phidias, and even You if you have ever written four lines on the sunset in somebody's album, or modelled a Noah's Ark for your little boy in plasticine. Perhaps we have not quite reached the heights where Shakespeare stands, but we are on his track. Shakespeare can be representative of all of us, or Velasquez if you prefer him. One of them shall be President of our United Artists' Federation. Let us, then, consider what place in the scheme of things our federation can claim.

Probably we artists have all been a little modest about ourselves lately. During the war we asked ourselves gloomily what use we were to the State compared with the noble digger of coals, the much to be reverenced maker of boots, and the god like grower of wheat. Looking at the pictures in the illustrated papers of brawny, half dressed men pushing about blocks of red hot iron, we have told ourselves that these heroes were the pillars of society, and that we were just an incidental decoration. It was a wonder that we were allowed to live. And now in these days of strikes, when a single union of manual workers can hold up the rest of the nation, it is a bitter refection to us that, if we were to strike, the country would go on its way quite happily, and nine tenths of the population would not even know that we had downed our pens and brushes.

If there is any artist who has been depressed by such thoughts as these, let him take comfort. We are all right.

I made the discovery that we were all right by studying the life of the bee. All that I knew about bees until yesterday was derived from that great naturalist, Dr. Isaac Watts. In common with every one who has been a child I knew that the insect in question improved each shining hour by something honey something something every something flower. I had also heard that bees could not sting you if you held your breath, a precaution which would make conversation by the herbaceous border an affair altogether too spasmodic; and, finally, that in any case the same bee could only sting you once though, apparently, there was no similar provision of Nature's that the same person could not be stung twice... Continue reading book >>




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