American Notes By Rudyard Kipling

 -  There was a slick French audacity
about the workmanship of these men of toil unbending that went
straight to the - Page 19
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There Was A Slick French Audacity About The Workmanship Of These Men Of Toil Unbending That Went Straight To The Heart Of The Beholder.

And yet it was not altogether French.

A dry grimness of treatment, almost Dutch, marked the difference. The men painted as they spoke - with certainty. The club indulges in revelries which it calls "jinks" - high and low, at intervals - and each of these gatherings is faithfully portrayed in oils by hands that know their business. In this club were no amateurs spoiling canvas, because they fancied they could handle oils without knowledge of shadows or anatomy - no gentleman of leisure ruining the temper of publishers and an already ruined market with attempts to write "because everybody writes something these days."

My hosts were working, or had worked for their daily bread with pen or paint, and their talk for the most part was of the shop - shoppy - that is to say, delightful. They extended a large hand of welcome, and were as brethren, and I did homage to the owl and listened to their talk. An Indian club about Christmas-time will yield, if properly worked, an abundant harvest of queer tales; but at a gathering of Americans from the uttermost ends of their own continent, the tales are larger, thicker, more spinous, and even more azure than any Indian variety. Tales of the war I heard told by an ex-officer of the South over his evening drink to a colonel of the Northern army, my introducer, who had served as a trooper in the Northern Horse, throwing in emendations from time to time.

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