Monday, August 27, 2012

Ice in the Inkwell

From E.B White's One Man's Meat:

The cat, David, is lying beside me, a most unsatisfactory arrangement, as he gives me hay fever. My sensitivity to cats defeats the whole purpose of a cat, which is to introduce a note of peace in a room.

(Who names a cat David?)

How contagious hysteria and fear are! In my henhouse are two or three jumpy hens, who, at the slightest disturbance, incite the whole flock to sudden panic -- to the great injury, nervously and sometimes physically, of the group. This panic is transmitted with great rapidity; it fact it is almost instantaneous.

(Can you say Chicken Little?)

The first sign of spring here is when the ice breaks up in the inkwell at the post office. A month later the ice leaves the lakes. And a month after that the first of the summer visitors shows up and the tax collector's wife removes the town records from her Frigidaire and plugs it in for the summer.

(I love the image of stabbing a dip pen through a layer of ice to get to the ink underneath.)


  1. Oh, these are wonderful, Belle. I must find One Man's Meat and chew on it myself for a bit.

  2. White's humor is much more subtle than that of James Thurber and Barbara Holland. I do appreciate his droll ways.