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moving buttons, etc., would be charged for extra. Stewart protested but the Brooks people were adamant. I told him that I thought that the whole thing was outrageous, and Wilson said that he thought so, too. We went over to Brooks together and saw Mr. Brooks and his brother Mr. Brooks. It was no use. Stewart got a bill for eight dollars over and above the price of the suit which was sixty dollars, making a total of sixty six dollars.
In a conference with my lawyers I told them about the Stewart affair and they said that Stewart could bring action against the Brooks people. I called up Stewart and told him this, but it wasn't Stewart who answered the telephone.
At a dinner given Stewart by the West Side Bowling Association an amusing incident happened. The speaker of the evening was General Leonard Wood. As the guests were coming in, Stewart and I approached General Wood and said: "I guess you wish now that you hadn't worn that funny looking collar, General." The General laughed and said: "I don't remember." This showed that he, as well as Stewart, had a good heart.
In December I went around with Stewart again to see the Brooks outfit about that overcharge of eleven dollars. They said that nothing could be done about it. That was on a Tuesday. On the following Monday nothing had been done about it.
*EDITOR'S NOTE.-It is Albany that George Dixon lives in now. R. B. was mistaken.
EARLY DAYS IN WORCESTER
(Dictated during a light sleep) WAS born on September 15, 1889 in Worcester, Massachusetts. I remember that there was a boy in school named George Dixon. Later, when I went back to Worcester to get some things I had left there up in the attic, I found that George had moved and gone to Utica.
There was an old man in Worcester when I was a boy who sold cornucopias. "Motorcycle Dan", we boys used to call him. One day he called me up on the telephone and said that he had some very good cornucopias in fresh that day and would I like one. I said that I would be right down. So I got Arthur Stone and Walter Woodward and Harrison Prentice and Will Weir and we all three went down to "Motorcycle Dan's'
Will said: "Well, Dan, how about those cornucopias?"
"Well, Mars' " said Dan, "I did have some, but they are all gone."
Will Weir is working in New York now. Arthur Stone is still in Worcester. I saw him when I went back there last year. Walter Woodward is still in Worcester, but I didn't see As I said before, George Dixon is in Utica.*
was Donald Harrington Stewart who had the changes made and who was charged sixty nine dollars. Donald Ogden Stewart never bought a golf suit in his life, which is very lucky.
CHAPTERS FROM THE BIOGRAPHY OF MR. BENCHLEY WRITTEN BY HIS LITTLE SON, BOBBY BENCHLEY, AT THE AGE OF FIVE
"DADDY is a very funny man, at
least he thinks he is. Today he tried to carry some wood up from the cellar to burn in the fireplace and jammed his hand against the cellar door. "There goes my hand against the door!' he said.”
Bobby is wrong there. "What the goddamn!" is what I said, although it was the cellar door and it was wood for the fireplace.
EARLY DAYS IN WORCESTER
(Dictated but not read)
My grandfather, Henry W. BenchMY
ley, wore a beard. I never knew him, but I have seen pictures of him. My grandmother on my mother's side was a Heyward, although I don't think that I ever knew her either. The Heywards were always very quiet people and kept to themselves a great deal; so it is quite possible that I never met her. On my father's side everyone was either a Goddard or a Gale. One of my forebears, I think it was an Endicott, later had his name changed to Lipsky.
I remember how good baked beans and fish balls used to taste at Sunday morning breakfast.
(Thursday, April, May)
Mr. Benchley intercedes in behalf of Thurston, the Magician As Mayor, he vetoes the Traction Bill -Home life at Kneecap - Mr. Benchley's letter to ex-president Taft-The big drought of 1920Bobby and his father have a fight. T was early in 1920, I think, when we moved to Scarsdale. We had a terrible time making the furnace work, I remember, because it wasn't all there, the house being new. So I called up the furnace people and said: "Look here. You didn't send all of our furnace. We can't start a fire when all the coal drops right down into the place where the ashes are supposed to be. You'll have to send a grate right up."
The furnace dealer said (as nearly as I can remember): "There was a grate in the furnace when it was sent to your house. Have you looked everywhere for it? Perhaps you threw it away with the excelsior."
I said: "I did not throw it away with the excelsior. I threw the shaker away with the excelsior but not the grate. I guess I ought to know what I threw away with the excelsior and what I didn't."
This floored him, and he hung up.
I afterward found out that he was the same man who had worked in Brooks Brothers years before and who had been so disagreeable about that overcharge on Donald Stewart's suit.
I met a man the other day who said that he was Dr. Fisher. "What Dr. Fisher?" I asked. "The Dr. Fisher", he replied. There was a Dr. Fisher who used to live in Worcester, but I don't think it was he, because that Dr. Fisher was a woman.
Ellen Terry and the Dramatists-F. M. Ford's Book on Conrad-
more satisfaction than usual, because it contains a number of well deserved awards. Nobody, I suppose, will regret the granting of the Order of Merit to Sir James Frazer, whose long and devoted work upon "The Golden Bough" has been the marvel of all who are capable of understanding its value. A most popular award has been that made to Ellen Terry, in the interview with whom upon this occasion were some words which deserve more than passing note. said one thing which illustrated a theory of mine (a theory which no doubt has already been held by many others), and which incidentally commented upon a theory of Bernard Shaw's. Mr. Shaw once declared that the reason the Elizabethans wrote in blank verse was that blank verse was easier to write than prose. I do not think this. I think they wrote blank verse because it is easier to memorize than prose. In days when performances had to be given without much rehearsal it was desirable that the actors should have every aid. Miss Terry gave color to this suggestion by saying that Shakespeare "is the easiest poet to remember". She added that she could still, in spite of failing memory, repeat the whole of one of Shakespeare's plays. She went on to say some further most interesting things: "Shaw, too, I always found
in a few days: but how I had to struggle over 'Alice Sit-by-the-Fire'!" It would be very interesting to know what it is that makes one author easy to memorize and another author difficult. The test might extend to the work of poets and novelists. One can think quite easily of poems from which many lines remain in the memory forever - whether the poet be Shakespeare or Darley or W. S. Gilbert. We all know that some novels are easier to read than others- easier to "get into". We all know that there are some poems and some novels which can be read aloud and some which do not stand being read aloud. Possibly a good "reader aloud" would make anything appear to be satisfactory, but I am not sure of this. I have been told that my own books are very difficult to read aloud, although (however difficult they may be to finish) they are easy to read. With other authors there is no hindrance at all to the eye and the tongue. The words come tripping as if they had no other purpose than that of giving good material to the reader of slight elocutionary gifts. It may be that ideal perfection in phrasing and a tendency to rhetoric are equally good material. Winston Churchill's perorations will serve as illustration of the rhetoric, or perhaps the works of Macaulay passim would do even better. These are superb for
as superb as a bathas superb as a bathindefatigable songster.
reading aloud room for the I cannot think of any particularly simple writer who is benefited by being read aloud. I would always rather read poetry to myself than have it read to me. I cannot endure performances of Shakespeare's plays, because the music of the poetry always seems to me to be lost in bombastic declamation. Anything, in fact, which has loveliness at its heart is better read, I should say, by the inner voice. But the colloquial or dramatic poems of Browning could perhaps fittingly be read aloud; Whitman could be read aloud; Jane Austen can be read aloud. Mr. Shaw acts better than he reads. Is the same not true of Barrie? of course, the point is different. Terry did not say that Barrie could not be learned or that when learned he could not be effectively spoken. What she said was that Barrie was difficult to memorize. I have gone beyond her remark into a general speculation. The obvious explanation is to be found in the question of rhythm. Mr. Shaw was a musician before he was a writer. As far as I know, Sir James Barrie has never been a musician. On the other hand, it may be that Mr. Shaw makes his characters talk in a more realistic fashion than Sir James Barrie. They may use more familiar rhythms and intonations. They may use the expected word, although this I should hardly have believed. Mr. Shaw, of course, is a master of plain expression. He is a public speaker of great experience. Sir James Barrie's public speaking has come late in life, and I gather that he relies more upon fancy than rhetoric to get him past the criticism of his audiences. Mr. Shaw has always had the power of a first class debater. This must in some degree affect his dramatic work. But the
question could be considered endlessly. I have attempted nothing more here than the adumbration of a most interesting topic, and if others will carry the discussion further I shall be glad. I fancy there can be no doubt that a musical ear will assist an author to write musically, and in that case one might expect him to be a suitable subject for the reader aloud. This cannot be the whole explanation, however. Moreover (under correction) I believe it has somewhere been shown that many poets have no appreciation of music that is not verbal. Shakespeare is not of their number, it seems clear; but I have been given distinguished examples.
I was going to mention above that I thought Joseph Conrad was neither an easy writer to read nor an easy writer to declaim. His writing was always so full of shades that the reader could not at once grasp and illumine the meaning. Ford Madox Hueffer or, as he now prefers to call himself, Ford Madox Ford - has just shown (in "Joseph Conrad: A Personal Remembrance") how Conrad and he debated phrases together, their aim being to use words which suggested precisely the nuances of a situation. I am under the impression that the stage has little use for nuances and that accordingly Mr. Shaw has little use for nuances. Sir James Barrie, on the other hand, constantly gives (rightly or wrongly) the air of dealing, not in subtleties, but in little graces of invention which require verbal delicacy in their manipulation. Mr. Conrad was much bent upon shades of emotion, shades of thought, shades of meaning. To expect that he should be an easy man to read, either to oneself or aloud, would be too much. But