The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent

By Washington Irving | Go to book overview

THE ART OF BOOK-MAKING.

"If that severe doom of Synesius be true -- 'it is a greater offence to steal dead men's labors than their clothes,' -- what shall become of most writers?"

BURTON'S Anatomy of Melancholy.

I HAVE often wondered at the extreme fecundity of the press, and how it comes to pass that so many heads, on which Nature seems to have inflicted the curse of barrenness, yet teem with voluminous productions. As a man travels on, however, in the journey of life, his objects of wonder daily diminish, and he is continually finding out some very simple cause for some great matter of marvel. Thus have I chanced in my peregrinations about this great metropolis, to blunder upon a scene which unfolded to me some of the mysteries of the book-making craft, and at once put an end to my astonishment.

I was one summer's day loitering through the great saloons of the British Museum, with that listlessness with which one is apt to saunter about a room in warm weather; sometimes lolling over the glass cases of minerals, sometimes studying the hieroglyphics on an Egyptian mummy, and sometimes trying, with nearly equal success, to comprehend the allegorical paintings on the lofty ceilings. While I was gazing about in this idle way, my attention was attracted to a distant floor, at the end of a suite of apartments. It was closed, but every now and then it would open, and some strange-favored being, generally clothed in black, would steal forth, and glide through the rooms, without noticing any of the surrounding objects. There was an air of mystery about this that piqued my languid

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The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 1
  • Advertisement to the First American Edition 5
  • Advertisement to the First English Edition 6
  • Contents 7
  • The Author's Account of Himself 9
  • The Voyage 13
  • Roscoe 20
  • The Wife 27
  • Rip Van Winkle 37
  • English Writers on America 55
  • Rural Life in England 65
  • The Broken Heart 73
  • The Art of Book-Making 79
  • A Royal Poet 87
  • The Country Church 102
  • The Widow and Her Son 108
  • The Boar's Head Tavern, Eastcheap 116
  • The Mutability of Literature 128
  • Royal Funerals 140
  • The Inn Kitchen 152
  • The Spectre Bridegroom 155
  • Westminster Abbey 172
  • Christmas 184
  • The Stage-Coach 190
  • Christmas Eve 197
  • Christmas Day 209
  • The Christmas Dinner 223
  • Little Britain 239
  • Stratford-On-Avon 255
  • Traits of Indian Character 275
  • Philip of Pokanoket 287
  • John Bull 305
  • The Pride of the Village 317
  • The Angler 327
  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow 337
  • Postscript, Found in the Handwriting of Mr. Knickerbocker 370
  • L'Envoy 372
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