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Masks in a Pageant by William Allen White

Masks in a Pageant

by William Allen White

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0548009430, Hardcover)

MASKS in a Pageant by WILLIAM ALLEN WHITE. Originally published in 1928. INTRODUCTION PROBABLY life is mostly subjective. It is what you think it is which means that life is organized memories. And the kind of organization one gives to his memories makes his personal equation his individual character. Life at its simplest is many-sided, and ones memory must put its beads upon scores of different strings assorted experiences related in other ways than by chro nology the work-string and the love-strand run through every life. Each may break into smaller chains of remembered things, associated things, as work and love pass through the years. Everyone does many kinds of work, tinkers at odd trades to live or to play. As I think back and through my forty working years, counting these work-beads of memory, they fall into many kinds of linked successions. One is politics. There, as in all the other forms of passing business and diver sion down the long line, faces appear, dim or vivid, dull or significant which recall the days work. By a twist of fancy these beads of memory become masks in a pageant a merry procession of men marching across my consciousness parallel to other pageants that set out from home, from the printing office, from the work desk pageants of printers and reporters, of story-tellers and poets, musicians and wandering minstrels of festive youth pageants of the dear and blessed ones who still walk near me, and those whom I have loved and now have lost a while this book will set down some account of masks in my pageant of politics. When I was a boy of eight, my father, an old-fashioned hereditary Democrat, took me a hundred miles or so to a Democratic State Convention. I remember the red, sweating, bewhiskered faces of those high-collared, oratorical gentlemen in that con vention, clamoring futilely, but with abiding faith in their protest, against the evils of the day Grants recon struction, the padded pension rolls, the debased currency. Ten years later, as a reporter, I was writing about such conventions for a country paper, and on election day I was sitting on the box of the town hack, a pink-faced youth, directing the driver to the homes of recalcitrant voters. I sat as a delegate in a county convention and wrote political editorials before I could vote. I was a Republican then. My mother, who was a black aboli tion Republican, had survived my father, and maybe she colored my political thought. But even then I was bedev iled by seeing both sides. All my life the two sides of every political proposal have stood giggling before me so that I never could be as bitter as I should be to con vince the suggestible. This cheerful, complacent idiocy in times of stress has often annoyed my deeply passionate friends. Once when we were going over a magazine article that I was to write about President Taft, Theo dore Roosevelt took my hand as I left him and cried And now, you old boulevardier, such was his sar castic counter to my swipe at him as Daniel Boone, dont hold the knife edge of your balance so perfectly poised in this piece that your readers wont see your bias. 1 And I paused on the threshold of my going to tell him of old Captain Schilling, state senator from Brown County, Kansas, into whose safely Republican district I had been shunted by the State Republican Committee to make a speech. The battle-scarred old captain whis pered moistly in my ear as he was about to introduce me most fulsomely as some sort of Galahad of reform And now, Bill, for Gods sake dont get too damned conscientious in this speech I So much for background now for the figures...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:14 -0400)

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