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#82: From the Bookshelf

August 3, 2009

Thanks to an impeccable present from my sweetheart, my small (but powerful!) collection of antique storybooks about Native Americans has grown just big enough to warrant boasting. Read ’em and weep! (Pun intended)


Indian Legends, c. 1925


The Last of the Arawaks, c. 1901


Land of Wonders, c. 1899
First sentence of Chapter 1, The Haunted Island Again: ‘ It will be remembered that at the close of “Through Jungle and Wilderness,” Senor Alfredo Alfiero, the uncle of young Jack Winch, by turning his telescope in the direction of the Haunted Island, discovered to his dismay that the lad had gone thither.’ (Love a good use of the word ‘thither’)


The Deerslayer, no copyright.
First few bits of Chapter 1: ‘ On the human imagination, events produce the effects of time. Thus, he who has travelled far and seen much is apt to fancy that he has lived long; and the history that most abounds in important incidents soonest assumes the aspect of antiquity. In no other way can we account for the venerable air that is already gathering around American canals. When the mind reverts to the earliest days of colonial history, the period seems remote and obscure, the thousand changes that thicken along the links of recollections throwing back the origin of the nation to a day so distant as seemingly to reach the mists of time; and yet four lives of ordinary duration would suffice to transmit, from mouth to mouth, in the form of tradition, all that civilized man has achieved within the limits of the republic.’ Dense but beautifully written.

I hope to have a big old mantle to display these on someday, or a glorious floor-to-ceiling book fixture filled to capacity- you know, in that cottage with the barn, in the woods, by the lake, with mountains in the distance and the beach nearby. In time. For now they are nestled between the record player and some old stacked suitcases with a few others.

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