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From Pillar to Post

John Kendrick Bangs

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Book Overview: 

I could not let these random notes of a delightful experience go forth into the world without expressing in some way my deep appreciation of the valued services rendered me in my ten years of platform work by my friends of the Lyceum Bureaus. In office and in the field they have labored strenuously, often affectionately, and always loyally, on my behalf. But for their interest some of the most cherished experiences of my life would have been beyond my reach. If sometimes in their zeal to keep me busy they have booked me in Winnipeg on Monday night, in New Orleans on Tuesday night, with little side-trips to San Diego, California, and Presque Isle, Maine, on Wednesday and Thursday, not to mention grand finales at Omaha and Key West on Friday and Saturday, I view that sequence rather as a tribute to my agility than as a matter to be unduly captious about. It is a manifestation of a confidence in my powers to overcome the limitations of time and space that I think upon with an expanding head, if not with a swelling heart, and whether this required annihilation of distance has been wholly agreeable or not it has enabled me to see more of my own country than I otherwise could have seen, and to that extent, I hope, has made a better American of me. - Summary from the author's preface

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .the "inevitably obvious," with other sorts sandwiched in between, and none of them was lost; although I was not permitted[46] to finish many of my sentences. The audience seemed to get in ahead of me every time.

The situation reminded me in a way of the grandstand finish of a poor paralyzed old darky named Joe, of whom I was once told by a Pullman car porter on my way through Montana. Joe had been a famous sportsman in his day; but now misfortune had overtaken him, and he lay bedridden, wholly unable to use his legs, and awaiting the end. Several of his friends, taking pity on him, resolved to give him the joy of one last glorious coon hunt.

They put him on a stretcher and carried him out into the country where that luscious creature "abounded and abutted." The dogs were let loose, and finally showed unusual activity at the base of a tall tree; but, to the dismay of all, the game turned out to be no coon, but a particularly hungry, sore-headed, old she-. . . Read More