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Select Conversations with an Uncle (Now Extinct) And Two Other Reminiscences   By: (1866-1946)

Book cover

First Page:

THE MAYFAIR SET

III

CONVERSATIONS

WITH AN

UNCLE

[Illustration: Title page]

SELECT

CONVERSATIONS

WITH

AN UNCLE

(now extinct)

and two other

reminiscences by

H. G. WELLS

LONDON:

JOHN LANE

NEW YORK

THE MERRIAM COMPANY

1895

Copyrighted in the United States.

All rights reserved.

Second Edition

TO

MY DEAREST

AND BEST FRIEND

R. A. C.

PREFATORY

He was, I remember, short, but by no means conspicuously short, and of a bright, almost juvenile, complexion, very active in his movements and garrulous or at least very talkative. His judgments were copious and frequent in the old days, and some at least I found entertaining. At times his fluency was really remarkable. He had a low opinion of eminent people a thing I have been careful to suppress, and his dissertations had ever an irresponsible gaiety of manner that may have blinded me to their true want of merit. That, I say, was in the old days, before his abrupt extinction, before the cares of this world suddenly sprang upon, and choked him. I would listen to him, cheerfully, and afterwards I would go away and make articles out of him for the Pall Mall Gazette , so adding a certain material advantage to my mental and moral benefit. But all that has gone now, to my infinite regret; and sorrowing, I have arranged this unworthy little tribute to his memory, this poor dozen of casual monologues that were so preserved. The merits of the monument are his entirely; its faults entirely my own.

CONTENTS

SELECT CONVERSATIONS

OF CONVERSATION AND THE ANATOMY OF FASHION

THE THEORY OF THE PERPETUAL DISCOMFORT OF HUMANITY

THE USE OF IDEALS

THE ART OF BEING PHOTOGRAPHED

BAGSHOT'S MURAL DECORATIONS

ON SOCIAL MUSIC

THE JOYS OF BEING ENGAGED

LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCI

ON A TRICYCLE

AN UNSUSPECTED MASTERPIECE

THE GREAT CHANGE

THE PAINS OF MARRIAGE

A MISUNDERSTOOD ARTIST

THE MAN WITH A NOSE

OF CONVERSATION AND THE ANATOMY OF FASHION

This uncle of mine, you must understand, having attained by the purest accident some trifles of distinction and a certain affluence in South Africa, came over at the earliest opportunity to London to be photographed and lionised. He took to fame easily, as one who had long prepared in secret. He lurked in my chambers for a week while the new dress suit was a making his old one I really had to remonstrate against and then we went out to be admired. During the week's retirement he secreted quite a wealth of things to say appropriate remarks on edibles, on music, on popular books, on conversation, off hand little things, jotting them down in a note book as they came into his mind, for he had a high conception of social intercourse, and the public expectation. He was ever a methodical little gentleman, and all these accumulations that he could not get into his talk, he proposed to put away for the big volume of "Reminiscences" that was to round off his life. At last he was a mere conversational firework, crammed with latent wit and jollity, and ready to blaze and sparkle in fizzing style as soon as the light of social intercourse should touch him.

But after we had circulated for a week or so, my uncle began to manifest symptoms of distress. He had not had a chance. People did not seem to talk at all in his style. "Where do the literary people meet together, George? I am afraid you have chosen your friends ill. Surely those long haired serious people who sat round my joke like old cats round a beetle what is it? were not the modern representatives of a salon . Those abominable wig makers' eccentricities who talked journalistic 'shop,' and posed all over that preposterous room with the draperies! Those hectic young men who have done nothing except run down everybody! Don't tell me that is the literary society of London, George... Continue reading book >>




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