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going to be beheaded the day he finished it."
"Is that double entente?"
"Don't slow me up! Now there's a few of 'em that seem to have some
cultural background, some intelligence and a good deal of literary
felicity but they just simply won't write honestly; they'd all claim
there was no public for good stuff. Then why the devil is it that Wells,
Conrad, Galsworthy, Shaw, Bennett, and the rest depend on America for
over half their sales?"
"How does little Tommy like the poets?"
Tom was overcome. He dropped his arms until they swung loosely beside
the chair and emitted faint grunts.
"I'm writing a satire on 'em now, calling it 'Boston Bards and Hearst
"Let's hear it," said Amory eagerly.
"I've only got the last few lines done."
"That's very modern. Let's hear 'em, if they're funny."
Tom produced a folded paper from his pocket and read aloud, pausing at
intervals so that Amory could see that it was free verse:
I place your names here
So that you may live
If only as names,
Sinuous, mauve-colored names,
In the Juvenalia
Of my collected editions."
"You win the iron pansy. I'll buy you a meal on the arrogance of the
last two lines."
Amory did not entirely agree with Tom's sweeping damnation of
American novelists and poets. He enjoyed both Vachel Lindsay and Booth
Tarkington, and admired the conscientious, if slender, artistry of Edgar
"What I hate is this idiotic drivel about 'I am God--I am man--I ride
the winds--I look through the smoke--I am the life sense.'"
"And I wish American novelists would give up trying to make business
romantically interesting. Nobody wants to read about it, unless it's
crooked business. If it was an entertaining subject they'd buy the life
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