Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

American Chippendale-Style Mahogany Secretary Desk, 1845-1870

Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

American Chippendale-Style Mahogany Secretary Desk, 1845-1870

Article excerpt

Because it came from my grandfather's bedroom

it intimidated me at first, dark and brooding

as he was, his Irish melancholy saturated

with cigar smoke and the scent of Scotch whiskey.

Already old when I knew him, he spent each day

in his "library" downstairs, the book-lined lair

where he read the Irish Times and worked the entire

New York Times crossword puzzle before he strolled,

whistling, "dee-dum, dee-dum, dee-dum," down the Persian

carpeted hallway, the clink and gurgle of the crystal

decanter against a shot glass all that interrupted his tune.

Each afternoon he drove away in a long, black car

to the Philadelphia Cricket Club where he did something

important, his work running the Doak Woolen Mill

where his immigrant father began as a picker at ten

bequeathed to warring sons who'd ruin the family business.

I couldn't imagine what he'd done at this desk, its

stained finish black with time, except pay bills,

and so planned to do the same. Or what he'd stored behind

the twin glazed doors until I unpacked the leather-bound set

of George Eliot's novels, Romola inscribed with the words,

"Bought on our wedding trip to London, November 1908. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.