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Skippy Bedelle His Sentimental Progress From the Urchin to the Complete Man of the World   By: (1878-1952)

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First Page:

SKIPPY BEDELLE

By Owen Johnson

Lawrenceville Stories

THE PRODIGIOUS HICKEY THE VARMINT THE TENNESSEE SHAD SKIPPY BEDELLE

STOVER AT YALE THE WASTED GENERATION BLUE BLOOD CHILDREN OF DIVORCE

[Illustration: They walked in silence, oppressed by the greatness of their grief. FRONTISPIECE. See page 279 ]

SKIPPY BEDELLE

HIS SENTIMENTAL PROGRESS FROM THE URCHIN TO THE COMPLETE MAN OF THE WORLD

BY OWEN JOHNSON

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY ERNEST FUHR

[Illustration]

BOSTON LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY 1937

Copyright, 1922 , BY OWEN JOHNSON.

All rights reserved

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

To CHARLES HANSON TOWNE FOR AULD LANG SYNE

PREFACE

LIKEWISE A DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES

Until the first great disillusions of his youth, the Bedelle Foot Regulator and the Mosquito Proof Socks, had brought a new sentimental need of consolation and understanding, Skippy Bedelle's opinion of the feminine sex had been decidedly monastic. During the first twenty five years of their existence, he regarded them as unmitigated nuisances, and pondering on them, he often wondered at the hidden purposes of the Creator. Later they might possibly serve some purpose by marrying and adding to the world's supply of boys. In a further progress, a sort of penitential progress, they became more valuable members of society, as maiden aunts who tipped you on the quiet, and grandmothers who mitigated parental severity and knew the exquisite art of ginger snaps, crisp and brown.

But before the skirted animal, which resembled but was quite unlike a man, had atoned for the error of her birth, Skippy refused to take her seriously. There were boys even younger than he who wore girls' jewelry, who wrote and received what were called "mash notes," and who flaunted these sentimentalities openly. He knew such incomprehensible males did exist. There were three on his block and he had thrashed them all soundly and been thrashed for having thrashed them, which of course convinced him in his biblical estimate that women were created for the confusion of man.

Skippy's prejudice was of long root. From an early age he had been afflicted with sisters; one older and one younger, and he could find no mitigating circumstances between the sister who could hit you and could not be hit back, who never romped without pretending to howl, and the sister who put you at your ease when you had tripped over the parlor rug, by asking publicly:

"John, have you washed behind your ears?"

The thought of girls was inalienably connected in his memory with unnecessary washing up; with boring parties; with stiff collars; with unending polishing of shoes; humiliating walks down the avenue, stammering, idiotic phrases, while from every window the eyes of malicious friends were set in mockery. Girls never slid down the banisters or fell out of apple trees, or snapped garter snakes, or raised white mice or collected splinters coasting down the icehouse roof. Girls were always spruced up and shining; always covered with pink ribbons and waiting for callers; always dressing and undressing; always kissing their worst enemies in public instead of giving them a dig in the ribs or treading on their toes and whispering under their breath:

"Wait till I catch you outside; I'll tear the hide off er yer!"

Girls spoiled vacations. It was on account of girls, to give them something to do, that dancing schools were invented; that pews in churches were stiff and uncomfortable; that ministers stormed and threatened until the hour hand had gone its round. In a word, wherever life was drab, or stiff, or formal, wherever prohibitions intervened to check the young impulse, wherever the policing principle showed itself, at the bottom somewhere the feminine sex must be the cause... Continue reading book >>




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