Susan Hill. To Kill A Mockingbird. Harper Lee. The Secret Garden. Frances Hodgson Burnett. Wuthering Heights. Emily Bronte. Midnight's Children. Salman Rushdie. Alone in Berlin. Hans Fallada. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Robert Louis Stevenson. Jane Eyre. Charlotte Bronte.
Rediscover F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and Damned · MPL
A Month in the Country. Charles Dickens. The Leopard. Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. Lewis Carroll. Mary Shelley. Bram Stoker. The Go-between. On the cover, his jet-black hair is disheveled, his shirt bloodied, his face bruised and half-covered in shadow. This is the reckoning of a Bad Boy. When everything is easy to get, does it all mean less? And does becoming numb to it all make you a bad person? His raps sound forced; the production is gloomy and monotonous. There are no insights to be found here about prestige, depression, or dependency. The whole thing is unbelievably dour and boring.
G-Eazy typically raps the simplest version of any given idea and he rarely looks beyond himself. Patch, more familiarly known as "Cross Patch," left his father's farm in Tarrytown early in sixty-one to join a New York cavalry regiment. He came home from the war a major, charged into Wall Street, and amid much fuss, fume, applause, and ill will he gathered to himself some seventy-five million dollars. This occupied his energies until he was fifty-seven years old. It was then that he determined, after a severe attack of sclerosis, to consecrate the remainder of his life to the moral regeneration of the world.
He became a reformer among reformers. Emulating the magnificent efforts of Anthony Comstock, after whom his grandson was named, he levelled a varied assortment of uppercuts and body-blows at liquor, literature, vice, art, patent medicines, and Sunday theatres. His mind, under the influence of that insidious mildew which eventually forms on all but the few, gave itself up furiously to every indignation of the age. From an armchair in the office of his Tarrytown estate he directed against the enormous hypothetical enemy, unrighteousness, a campaign which went on through fifteen years, during which he displayed himself a rabid monomaniac, an unqualified nuisance, and an intolerable bore.
The year in which this story opens found him wearying; his campaign had grown desultory; was creeping up slowly on ; his thoughts ran a great deal on the Civil War, somewhat on his dead wife and son, almost infinitesimally on his grandson Anthony. Immediately and rather spunkily she had borne him a son and, as if completely devitalized by the magnificence of this performance, she had thenceforth effaced herself within the shadowy dimensions of the nursery.
The boy, Adam Ulysses Patch, became an inveterate joiner of clubs, connoisseur of good form, and driver of tandems -- at the astonishing age of twenty-six he began his memoirs under the title "New York Society as I Have Seen It. This Fifth Avenue Chesterfield married at twentytwo. His wife was Henrietta Lebrune, the Boston "Society Contralto," and the single child of the union was, at the request of his grandfather, christened Anthony Comstock Patch. When he went to Harvard, the Comstock dropped out of his name to a nether hell of oblivion and was never heard of thereafter.
Young Anthony had one picture of his father and mother together -- so often had it faced his eyes in childhood that it had acquired the impersonality of furniture, but every one who came into his bedroom regarded it with interest. It showed a dandy of the nineties, spare and handsome, standing beside a tall dark lady with a muff and the suggestion of a bustle.
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Between them was a little boy with long brown curls, dressed in a velvet Lord Fauntleroy suit. This was Anthony at five, the year of his mother's death.
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His memories of the Boston Society Contralto were nebulous and musical. She was a lady who sang, sang, sang, in the music room of their house on Washington Square -- sometimes with guests scattered all about her, the men with their arms folded, balanced breathlessly on the edges of sofas, the women with their hands in their laps, occasionally making little whispers to the men and always clapping very briskly and uttering cooing cries after each song -- and often she sang to Anthony alone, in Italian or French or in a strange and terrible dialect which she imagined to be the speech of the Southern negro.
His recollections of the gallant Ulysses, the first man in America to roll the lapels of his coat, were much more vivid.
After Henrietta Lebrune Patch had "joined another choir," as her widower huskily remarked from time to time, father and son lived up at grampa's in Tarrytown, and Ulysses came daily to Anthony's nursery and expelled pleasant, thick-smelling words for sometimes as much as an hour. He was continually promising Anthony hunting trips and fishing trips and excursions to Atlantic City, "oh, some time soon now"; but none of them ever materialized.
One trip they did take; when Anthony was eleven they went abroad, to England and Switzerland, and there in the best hotel in Lucerne his father died with much sweating and grunting and crying aloud for air. In a panic of despair and terror Anthony was brought back to America, wedded to a vague melancholy that was to stay beside him through the rest of his life. Past and Person of the Hero At eleven he had a horror of death. Within six impressionable years his parents had died and his grandmother had faded off almost imperceptibly, until, for the first time since her marriage, her person held for one day an unquestioned supremacy over her own drawing room.
So to Anthony life was a struggle against death, that waited at every corner. It was as a concession to his hypochondriacal imagination that he formed the habit of reading in bed -- it soothed him. He read until he was tired and often fell asleep with the lights still on. His favorite diversion until he was fourteen was his stamp collection; enormous, as nearly exhaustive as a boy's could be -- his grandfather considered fatuously that it was teaching him geography. So Anthony kept up a correspondence with a half dozen "Stamp and Coin" companies and it was rare that the mail failed to bring him new stamp-books or packages of glittering approval sheets -- there was a mysterious fascination in transferring his acquisitions interminably from one book to another.
His stamps were his greatest happiness and he bestowed impatient frowns on any one who interrupted him at play with them; they devoured his allowance every month, and he lay awake at night musing untiringly on their variety and many-colored splendor. At sixteen he had lived almost entirely within himself, an inarticulate boy, thoroughly un-American, and politely bewildered by his contemporaries. The two preceding years had been spent in Europe with a private tutor, who persuaded him that Harvard was the thing; it would "open doors," it would be a tremendous tonic, it would give him innumerable self-sacrificing and devoted friends.
So he went to Harvard -- there was no other logical thing to be done with him.
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Oblivious to the social system, he lived for a while alone and unsought in a high room in Beck Hall -- a slim dark boy of medium height with a shy sensitive mouth. His allowance was more than liberal.
He laid the foundations for a library by purchasing from a wandering bibliophile first editions of Swinburne, Meredith, and Hardy, and a yellowed illegible autograph letter of Keats's, finding later that he had been amazingly overcharged. He became an exquisite dandy, amassed a rather pathetic collection of silk pajamas, brocaded dressing-gowns, and neckties too flamboyant to wear; in this secret finery he would parade before a mirror in his room or lie stretched in satin along his window-seat looking down on the yard and realizing dimly this clamor, breathless and immediate, in which it seemed he was never to have a part.
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Curiously enough he found in senior year that he had acquired a position in his class. He learned that he was looked upon as a rather romantic figure, a scholar, a recluse, a tower of erudition. This amused him but secretly pleased him -- he began going out, at first a little and then a great deal.
He made the Pudding. He drank -- quietly and in the proper tradition. It was said of him that had he not come to college so young he might have "done extremely well. Then abroad again -- to Rome this time, where he dallied with architecture and painting in turn, took up the violin, and wrote some ghastly Italian sonnets, supposedly the ruminations of a thirteenth-century monk on the joys of the contemplative life.
It became established among his Harvard intimates that he was in Rome, and those of them who were abroad that year looked him up and discovered with him, on many moonlight excursions, much in the city that was older than the Renaissance or indeed than the republic. Maury Noble, from Philadelphia, for instance, remained two months, and together they realized the peculiar charm of Latin women and had a delightful sense of being very young and free in a civilization that was very old and free. Not a few acquaintances of his grandfather's called on him, and had he so desired he might have been persona grata with the diplomatic set -- indeed, he found that his inclinations tended more and more toward conviviality, but that long adolescent aloofness and consequent shyness still dictated to his conduct.
He returned to America in because of one of his grandfather's sudden illnesses, and after an excessively tiresome talk with the perpetually convalescent old man he decided to put off until his grandfather's death the idea of living permanently abroad. After a prolonged search he took an apartment on Fifty-second Street and to all appearances settled down. In Anthony Patch's adjustment of himself to the universe was in process of consummation. Physically, he had improved since his undergraduate days -- he was still too thin but his shoulders had widened and his brunette face had lost the frightened look of his freshman year.
He was secretly orderly and in person spick and span -- his friends declared that they had never seen his hair rumpled. His nose was too sharp; his mouth was one of those unfortunate mirrors of mood inclined to droop perceptibly in moments of unhappiness, but his blue eyes were charming, whether alert with intelligence or half closed in an expression of melancholy humor. One of those men devoid of the symmetry of feature essential to the Aryan ideal, he was yet, here and there, considered handsome -- moreover, he was very clean, in appearance and in reality, with that especial cleanness borrowed from beauty.
Coming up-town on top of a bus toward Fifty-second Street invariably gave him the sensation of hoisting himself hand by hand on a series of treacherous rungs, and when the bus jolted to a stop at his own rung he found something akin to relief as he descended the reckless metal steps to the sidewalk. After that, he had but to walk down Fifty-second Street half a block, pass a stodgy family of brownstone houses -- and then in a jiffy he was under the high ceilings of his great front room. This was entirely satisfactory.
Here, after all, life began. Here he slept, breakfasted, read, and entertained. The house itself was of murky material, built in the late nineties; in response to the steadily growing need of small apartments each floor had been thoroughly remodelled and rented individually.
Of the four apartments Anthony's, on the second floor, was the most desirable. The front room had fine high ceilings and three large windows that loomed down pleasantly upon Fifty-second Street. In its appointments it escaped by a safe margin being of any particular period; it escaped stiffness, stuffiness, bareness, and decadence.
It smelt neither of smoke nor of incense -- it was tall and faintly blue. There was a deep lounge of the softest brown leather with somnolence drifting about it like a haze. There was a high screen of Chinese lacquer chiefly concerned with geometrical fishermen and huntsmen in black and gold; this made a corner alcove for a voluminous chair guarded by an orange-colored standing lamp.
Deep in the fireplace a quartered shield was burned to a murky black. Passing through the dining-room, which, as Anthony took only breakfast at home, was merely a magnificent potentiality, and down a comparatively long hall, one came to the heart and core of the apartment -- Anthony's bedroom and bath.
Both of them were immense. Under the ceilings of the former even the great canopied bed seemed of only average size. On the floor an exotic rug of crimson velvet was soft as fleece on his bare feet. His bathroom, in contrast to the rather portentous character of his bedroom, was gay, bright, extremely habitable and even faintly facetious. The bathtub, equipped with an ingenious book-holder, was low and large. Beside it a wall wardrobe bulged with sufficient line for three men and with a generation of neckties. There was no skimpy glorified towel of a carpet -- instead, a rich rug, like the one in his bedroom a miracle of softness, that seemed almost to massage the wet foot emerging from the tub All in all a room to conjure with -- it was easy to see that Anthony dressed there, arranged his immaculate hair there, in fact did everything but sleep and eat there.
It was his pride, this bathroom. He felt that if he had a love he would have hung her picture just facing the tub so that, lost in the soothing steamings of the hot water, he might lie and look up at her and muse warmly and sensuously on her beauty. Nor Does He Spin The apartment was kept clean by an English servant with the singularly, almost theatrically, appropriate name of Bounds, whose technic was marred only by the fact that he wore a soft collar. Had he been entirely Anthony's Bounds this defect would have been summarily remedied, but he was also the Bounds of two other gentlemen in the neighborhood.
From eight until eleven in the morning he was entirely Anthony's. He arrived with the mail and cooked breakfast. At nine-thirty he pulled the edge of Anthony's blanket and spoke a few terse words -- Anthony never remembered clearly what they were and rather suspected they were deprecative; then he served breakfast on a card-table in the front room, made the bed and, after asking with some hostility if there was anything else, withdrew. In the mornings, at least once a week, Anthony went to see his broker.
His income was slightly under seven thousand a year, the interest on money inherited from his mother. His grandfather, who had never allowed his own son to graduate from a very liberal allowance, judged that this sum was sufficient for young Anthony's needs. Every Christmas he sent him a five-hundred-dollar bond, which Anthony usually sold, if possible, as he was always a little, not very, hard up. The visits to his broker varied from semi-social chats to discussions of the safety of eight per cent investments, and Anthony always enjoyed them.
The big trust company building seemed to link him definitely to the great fortunes whose solidarity he respected and to assure him that he was adequately chaperoned by the hierarchy of finance. From these hurried men he derived the same sense of safety that he had in contemplating his grandfather's money -- even more, for the latter appeared, vaguely, a demand loan made by the world to Adam Patch's own moral righteousness, while this money down-town seemed rather to have been grasped and held by sheer indomitable strengths and tremendous feats of will; in addition, it seemed more definitely and explicitly -- money.
Closely as Anthony trod on the heels of his income, he considered it to be enough.
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This flashes back to the conversation with his grandfather immediately upon his return from Rome. He had hoped to find his grandfather dead, but had learned by telephoning from the pier that Adam Patch was comparatively well again -- the next day he had concealed his disappointment and gone out to Tarrytown. Five miles from the station his taxicab entered an elaborately groomed drive that threaded a veritable maze of walls and wire fences guarding the estate -- this, said the public, was because it was definitely known that if the Socialists had their way, one of the first men they'd assassinate would be old Cross Patch.
Anthony was late and the venerable philanthropist was awaiting him in a glass-walled sun parlor, where he was glancing through the morning papers for the second time. His secretary, Edward Shuttleworth -- who before his regeneration had been gambler, saloon-keeper, and general reprobate -- ushered Anthony into the room, exhibiting his redeemer and benefactor as though he were displaying a treasure of immense value. They shook hands gravely. The senior Patch, with an air of having seen his grandson only last week, pulled out his watch.
It had irritated him to wait for Anthony. He was under the delusion not only that in his youth he had handled his practical affairs with the utmost scrupulousness, even to keeping every engagement on the dot, but also that this was the direct and primary cause of his success. That this feeble, unintelligent old man was possessed of such power that, yellow journals to the contrary, the men in the republic whose souls he could not have bought directly or indirectly would scarcely have populated White Plains, seemed as impossible to believe as that he had once been a pink-and-white baby.
The span of his seventy-five years had acted as a magic bellows -- the first quarter-century had blown him full with life, and the last had sucked it all back. It had sucked in the cheeks and the chest and the girth of arm and leg. It had tyrannously demanded his teeth, one by one, suspended his small eyes in dark-bluish sacks, tweeked out his hairs, changed him from gray to white in some places, from pink to yellow in others -- callously transposing his colors like a child trying over a paintbox.
Then through his body and his soul it had attacked his brain. It had sent him night-sweats and tears and unfounded dreads. It had split his intense normality into credulity and suspicion. Out of the coarse material of his enthusiasm it had cut dozens of meek but petulant obsessions; his energy was shrunk to the bad temper of a spoiled child, and for his will to power was substituted a fatuous puerile desire for a land of harps and canticles on earth. The amenities having been gingerly touched upon, Anthony felt that he was expected to outline his intentions -- and simultaneously a glimmer in the old man's eye warned him against broaching, for the present, his desire to live abroad.
He wished that Shuttleworth would have tact enough to leave the room -- he detested Shuttleworth -- but the secretary had settled blandly in a rocker and was dividing between the two Patches the glances of his faded eyes. History of what? The Civil War? The Revolution? A history of the Middle Ages.
Still, he was glad he had said "Middle Ages. Why not your own country? Something you know about? Dark Ages, we used to call 'em. Nobody knows what happened, and nobody cares, except that they're over now. He had intended to stay a few days with his grandfather, but he was tired and irritated from a rough crossing, and quite unwilling to stand a subtle and sanctimonious browbeating. He would come out again in a few days, he said. Nevertheless, it was due to this encounter that work had come into his life as a permanent idea.
During the year that had passed since then, he had made several lists of authorities, he had even experimented with chapter titles and the division of his work into periods, but not one line of actual writing existed at present, or seemed likely ever to exist. He did nothing -- and contrary to the most accredited copy-book logic, he managed to divert himself with more than average content. Afternoon It was October in , midway in a week of pleasant days, with the sunshine loitering in the cross-streets and the atmosphere so languid as to seem weighted with ghostly falling leaves. It was pleasant to sit lazily by the open window finishing a chapter of "Erewhon.
Through his closed lips he made a humming noise, which he vaguely imagined resembled the sound of a violin.