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Titel: Urban Sketches
von ca. 337-422 Faxian, Sir Samuel White Baker, Sax Rohmer, Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, Maria Edgeworth, Saint Sir Thomas More, Herodotus, L. Mühlbach, Herbert Allen Giles, G. K. Chesterton, Algernon Charles Swinburne, Rudyard Kipling, A. J. O'Reilly, William Bray, O. Henry, graf Leo Tolstoy, Anonymous, Lewis Wallace, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Edgar Allan Poe, Jack London, Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, Jules Verne, Frank Frankfort Moore, Susan Fenimore Cooper, Anthony Trollope, Henry James, T. Smollett, Thomas Burke, Emma Goldman, George Eliot, Henry Rider Haggard, Baron Thomas Babington Macaulay Macaulay, A. Maynard Barbour, Edmund Burke, Gerold K. Rohner, Bernard Shaw, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Bret Harte, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Jerome K. Jerome, Isabella L. Bird, Christoph Martin Wieland, Rainer Maria Rilke, Ludwig Anzengruber, Freiherr von Ludwig Achim Arnim, G. Harvey Ralphson, John Galsworthy, George Sand, Pierre Loti, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Giambattista Basile, Homer, John Webster, P. G. Wodehouse, William Shakespeare, Edward Payson Roe, Sir Walter Raleigh, Victor [pseud.] Appleton, Arnold Bennett, James Fenimore Cooper, James Hogg, Richard Harding Davis, Ernest Thompson Seton, William MacLeod Raine, E. Phillips Oppenheim, Maksim Gorky, Henrik Ibsen, George MacDonald, Sir Max Beerbohm, Lucy Larcom, Various, Sir Robert S. Ball, Charles Darwin, Charles Reade, Adelaide Anne Procter, Joseph Conrad, Joel Chandler Harris, Joseph Crosby Lincoln, Alexander Whyte, Kate Douglas Smith Wiggin, James Lane Allen, Richard Jefferies, Honoré de Balzac, Wilhelm Busch, General Robert Edward Lee, Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, David Cory, Booth Tarkington, George Rawlinson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Dinah Maria Mulock Craik, Christopher Evans, Thomas Henry Huxley, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Erskine Childers, Alice Freeman Palmer, Florence Converse, William Congreve, Stephen Crane, Madame de La Fayette, United States. Army. Corps of Engineers. Manhattan District, Willa Sibert Cather, Anna Katharine Green, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Charlotte M. Brame, Alphonse Daudet, Booker T. Washington, Clemens Brentano, Sylvester Mowry, Geoffrey Chaucer, Ellen Anderson Gholson Glasgow, Gail Hamilton, William Roscoe Thayer, Margaret Wade Campbell Deland, Rafael Sabatini, Archibald Henderson, Albert Payson Terhune, George Wharton James, Padraic Colum, James MacCaffrey, John Albert Macy, Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller, Walter Pater, Sir Richard Francis Burton, Baron de Jean-Baptiste-Antoine-Marcelin Marbot, Aristotle, Gustave Flaubert, 12th cent. de Troyes Chrétien, Valentine Williams, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Alexandre Dumas fils, John Gay, Andrew Lang, Hester Lynch Piozzi, Jeffery Farnol, Alexander Pope, George Henry Borrow, Mark Twain, Francis Bacon, Margaret Pollock Sherwood, Henry Walter Bates, Thornton W. Burgess, Edmund G. Ross, William Alexander Linn, Voltaire, Giles Lytton Strachey, Henry Ossian Flipper, Émile Gaboriau, Arthur B. Reeve, Hugh Latimer, Baron Edward Bulwer Lytton Lytton, Benito Pérez Galdós, Robert Smythe Hichens, Niccolò Machiavelli, Prosper Mérimée, Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev, Anatole Cerfberr, Jules François Christophe, Victor Cherbuliez, Edgar B. P. Darlington, David Grayson, Mihai Nadin, Helen Beecher Long, Plutarch, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Margaret E. Sangster, Herman Melville, John Keats, Fannie Isabel Sherrick, Maurice Baring, William Terence Kane, Mary Russell Mitford, Henry Drummond, Rabindranath Tagore, Hubert Howe Bancroft, Charlotte Mary Yonge, William Dean Howells, Jesse F. Bone, Basil Hall Chamberlain, William Makepeace Thackeray, Samuel Butler, Frances Hodgson Burnett, E. Prentiss, Sir Walter Scott, Alexander K. McClure, David Livingstone, Bram Stoker, Victor Hugo, Patañjali, Amelia Ruth Gere Mason, Bertrand Russell, Alfred Russel Wallace, Molière, Robert Louis Stevenson, Simona Sumanaru, Michael Hart, Edmund Gosse, Samuel Smiles, Pierre Corneille, Clarence Edward Mulford, Mrs. Oliphant, George Pope Morris, Aristophanes, baron de Etienne-Léon Lamothe-Langon, William Morris, Henry David Thoreau, E. C. Bentley, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Hippolyte Taine, Pedro Calderón de la Barca, John Philip Sousa, Wilhelm Grimm, Jacob Grimm, William Gardner
Alle Rechte vorbehalten.
A VENERABLE IMPOSTOR.
FROM A BALCONY
SURPRISING ADVENTURES OF MASTER CHARLES SUMMERTON.
A BOYS' DOG
"SEEING THE STEAMER OFF"
NEIGHBORHOODS I HAVE MOVED FROM
MY SUBURBAN RESIDENCE.
ON A VULGAR LITTLE BOY
WAITING FOR THE SHIP.
As I glance across my table, I am somewhat distracted by the spectacle of a venerable head whose crown occasionally appears beyond, at about its level. The apparition of a very small hand—whose fingers are bunchy and have the appearance of being slightly webbed—which is frequently lifted above the table in a vain and impotent attempt to reach the inkstand, always affects me as a novelty at each recurrence of the phenomenon. Yet both the venerable head and bunchy fingers belong to an individual with whom I am familiar, and to whom, for certain reasons hereafter described, I choose to apply the epithet written above this article.
His advent in the family was attended with peculiar circumstances. He was received with some concern—the number of retainers having been increased by one in honor of his arrival. He appeared to be weary,—his pretence was that he had come from a long journey,—so that for days, weeks, and even months, he did not leave his bed except when he was carried. But it was remarkable that his appetite was invariably regular and healthy, and that his meals, which he required should be brought to him, were seldom rejected. During this time he had little conversation with the family, his knowledge of our vernacular being limited, but occasionally spoke to himself in his own language,—a foreign tongue. The difficulties attending this eccentricity were obviated by the young woman who had from the first taken him under her protection,—being, like the rest of her sex, peculiarly open to impositions,—and who at once disorganized her own tongue to suit his. This was affected by the contraction of the syllables of some words, the addition of syllables to others, and an ingenious disregard for tenses and the governing powers of the verb. The same singular law which impels people in conversation with foreigners to imitate their broken English governed the family in their communications with him. He received these evidences of his power with an indifference not wholly free from scorn. The expression of his eye would occasionally denote that his higher nature revolted from them. I have no doubt myself that his wants were frequently misinterpreted; that the stretching forth of his hands toward the moon and stars might have been the performance of some religious rite peculiar to his own country, which was in ours misconstrued into a desire for physical nourishment. His repetition of the word "goo-goo,"—which was subject to a variety of opposite interpretations,—when taken in conjunction with his size, in my mind seemed to indicate his aboriginal or Aztec origin.
I incline to this belief, as it sustains the impression I have already hinted at, that his extreme youth is a simulation and deceit; that he is really older and has lived before at some remote period, and that his conduct fully justifies his title as A Venerable Impostor. A variety of circumstances corroborate this impression: His tottering walk, which is a senile as well as a juvenile condition; his venerable head, thatched with such imperceptible hair that, at a distance, it looks like a mild aureola, and his imperfect dental exhibition. But beside these physical peculiarities may be observed certain moral symptoms, which go to disprove his assumed youth. He is in the habit of falling into reveries, caused, I have no doubt, by some circumstance which suggests a comparison with his experience in his remoter boyhood, or by some serious retrospection of the past years. He has been detected lying awake, at times when he should have been asleep, engaged in curiously comparing the bed-clothes, walls, and furniture with some recollection of his youth. At such moments he has been heard to sing softly to himself fragments of some unintelligible composition, which probably still linger in his memory as the echoes of a music he has long outgrown. He has the habit of receiving strangers with the familiarity of one who had met them before, and to whom their antecedents and peculiarities were matters of old acquaintance, and so unerring is his judgment of their previous character that when he withholds his confidence I am apt to withhold mine. It is somewhat remarkable that while the maturity of his years and the respect due to them is denied by man, his superiority and venerable age is never questioned by the brute creation. The dog treats him with a respect and consideration accorded to none others, and the cat permits a familiarity which I should shudder to attempt. It may be considered an evidence of some Pantheistic quality in his previous education, that he seems to recognize a fellowship even in inarticulate objects; he has been known to verbally address plants, flowers, and fruit, and to extend his confidence to such inanimate objects as chairs and tables. There can be little doubt that, in the remote period of his youth, these objects were endowed with not only sentient natures, but moral capabilities, and he is still in the habit of beating them when they collide with him, and of pardoning them with a kiss.
As he has grown older—rather let me say, as we have approximated to his years—he has, in spite of the apparent paradox, lost much of his senile gravity. It must be confessed that some of his actions of late appear to our imperfect comprehension inconsistent with his extreme age. A habit of marching up and down with a string tied to a soda-water bottle, a disposition to ride anything that could by any exercise of the liveliest fancy be made to assume equine proportions, a propensity to blacken his venerable white hair with ink and coal dust, and an omnivorous appetite which did not stop at chalk, clay, or cinders, were peculiarities not calculated to excite respect. In fact, he would seem to have become demoralized, and when, after a prolonged absence the other day, he was finally discovered standing upon the front steps addressing a group of delighted children out of his limited vocabulary, the circumstance could only be accounted for as the garrulity of age.
But I lay aside my pen amidst an ominous silence and the disappearance of the venerable head from my plane of vision. As I step to the other side of the table, I find that sleep has overtaken him in an overt act of hoary wickedness. The very pages I have devoted to an exposition of his deceit he has quietly abstracted, and I find them covered with cabalistic figures and wild-looking hieroglyphs traced with his forefinger dipped in ink, which doubtless in his own language conveys a scathing commentary on my composition. But he sleeps peacefully, and there is something in his face which tells me that he has already wandered away to that dim region of his youth where I cannot follow him. And as there comes a strange stirring at my heart when I contemplate the immeasurable gulf which lies between us, and how slight and feeble as yet is his grasp on this world and its strange realities, I find, too late, that I also am a willing victim of the Venerable Impostor.
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