The Harper’s Magazine associates have had their eyes on America and its moneyed rulers for a combined nine decades. In a bookstore conversation about the latest issue of Lapham’s Quarterly, they name the forces conspiring to drive the nation into another age of upheaval.
Laughter was Mark Twain’s stock in trade, and for 30 years as bestselling author and star attraction on America’s late-nineteenth-century lecture stage, he produced it in sufficient quantity to make bearable the acquaintance with grief that he knew to be generously distributed among all present in the Boston Lyceum or a Tennessee saloon.
Happily aloft in the vicinity of my father’s hat, and the weather having cleared since the Ohioan missed its compass heading, I was free to form my earliest impression of the sea at a safe and sunny distance, lulled by the sound of waves breaking on the beach, delighting in the drift of gulls in a bright blue sky.
However it so happens that the beasts manage to live not only at ease within the great chain of being but also in concert with the tides and the season and the presence of death, it is the great lesson they teach to humanity.