They sat open-mouthed, gasping. Then those that were nearest me began to edge away, and at the very next station they all bundled out of the carriage before the train stopped, as though I had some infectious disease. And the thing was just a rough imperfect rendering of some mere commonplaces, passing the time of day as it were, with which the heathen of Aleppo used to favour the servants of the American missionary. Indeed," said Professor Gargoyle, "if it were not for women there would be nothing in England that one could speak of as swearing at all.
It is a pure convention; it has little or nothing to do with the actual meaning, because for every one of these bad words there is a paraphrase or synonym considered to be quite suitable for polite ears. Hence the feeblest creature can always produce a sensation by breaking the taboo. But women are learning how to undo this error of theirs now. The word 'damn,' for instance, is, I hear, being admitted freely into the boudoir and feminine conversation; it is even considered a rather prudish thing to object to this word.
Now, men, especially feeble men, hate doing things that women do.
The Book of Curses: True Tales of Voodoo, Hoodoo and Hex
As a consequence, men who go about saying 'damn' are now regarded by their fellow-men as only a shade less effeminate than those who go about saying 'nasty' and 'horrid. When they do they will, of course, forthwith take up all the others. It will be a little startling perhaps at first, but in the end there will be no swearing left. I have no doubt there will be those who will air their petty wit on the pioneer women, but where a martyr is wanted a woman can always be found to offer herself.
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She will clothe herself in cursing, like the ungodly, and perish in that Nessus shirt, a martyr to pure language. And then this dull cad swearing--a mere unnecessary affectation of coarseness--will disappear. And a very good job too. Every gentleman once upon a time aspired to have his own particular grace curse, just as he liked to have his crest, and his bookplate, and his characteristic signature. It fluttered pleasantly into his conversation, as Mr. Whistler's butterfly comes into his pictures--a signature and a delight. Its covers should be of soft red leather, stamped with little gold flowers.
It might be made a birthday book, or a pocket diary--'Daily Invocations.
It was such a thoroughly hygienic and moral practice. You see, if anything annoying happens to a man, or if any powerful emotion seizes him, his brain under the irritation begins to disengage energy at a tremendous rate. He has to use all his available force of control in keeping the energy in.
Some of it will leak away into the nerves of his face and distort his features, some may set his tear-glands at work, some may travel down his vagus nerve and inhibit his heart's action so that he faints, or upset the blood-vessels in his head and give him a stroke.
Or if he pens it up, without its reaching any of these vents, it may rise at last to flood-level, and you will have violent assaults, the breaking of furniture, 'murther' even. For all this energy a good flamboyant, ranting swear is Nature's outlet. All primitive men and most animals swear. It is an emotional shunt. Your cat swears at you because she does not want to scratch your face.
And the horse, because he cannot swear, drops dead. So you see my reason for regretting the decay of this excellent and most wholesome practice Just now I am travelling about London paying cabmen their legal fares. Sometimes one picks up a new variant, though much of it is merely stereo. And with that, flinging a playful curse at me, he disappeared at once into the tobacco smoke from which I had engendered him.
An amusing and cheerful person on the whole, though I will admit his theme was a little undesirable. The Book of Curses Professor Gargoyle, you must understand, has travelled to and fro in the earth, culling flowers of speech: a kind of recording angel he is, but without any sentimental tears. About H.
Thoughts on Cheapness and My Aunt Charlotte. The Trouble of Life. On the Choice of a Wife. The House of Di Sorno. Of Conversation. In A Literary Household. On Schooling. The Poet and the Emporium. The Language of Flowers. The Literary Regimen. House Hunting as an Outdoor Amusement.
The Book of Curses
Of Blades and Bladery. Of Cleverness. The Pose Novel. The Veteran Cricketer. Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Get A Copy. More Details Original Title. Other Editions 3. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews.
Thomas Turner and the Book of Curses (Paperback) by Caleb Lewis, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®
Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Wonderful romp through the land of unlucky cars, plays you should never produce, witch hunts then and now and encounters with the Evil Eye. The author sometimes seems to get over-excited and you can't always tell which character he is talking about, but overall the stories move right along and keep you involved. Includes a very large bibliography so the reader can learn more. Selina rated it it was amazing Sep 07, Chris rated it really liked it Feb 20, Elizabeth Mack rated it really liked it Jan 04, Dwaine Nethery rated it liked it Nov 29, Lisa rated it it was amazing Sep 03, Aaron rated it liked it Aug 18, Brenda Rackley rated it liked it Jun 04, Alex rated it liked it Oct 10, Acacia rated it really liked it Jan 26, Lara Galgani rated it it was ok Oct 24, Helen added it Oct 09, Chris Kelly marked it as to-read Feb 10, Chris added it Feb 20, Elizabeth Boxer added it Jul 25, Luke Cannone marked it as to-read Oct 25, Mike marked it as to-read Nov 07, Rowan marked it as to-read May 11, Mary marked it as to-read Dec 09,
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