I’m currently working my way through the Biography of Manuel
by James Branch Cabell — at least, I’m doing the best I can given that my Cabelliana does not include the Storisende Edition and the volumes I do possess are a hodgepodge of editions. Today’s book is The Rivet in Grandfather’s Neck
(1915), and I was tickled by the scene in which the heroine, Patricia, responds to the suggestion of her husband, Colonel Musgrave, that she exercise more discretion in her conversation:
“Anathema maranatha! oh, hell to damn! may the noses of all respectable people be turned upside down and jackasses dance eternally upon their grandmothers’ graves!...
“I mean every syllable of it. No, Rudolph; I can’t help it if the vinaigretted beauties of your boyhood were unabridged dictionaries of prudery. You see, I know almost all the swearwords there are. And I read the newspapers, and medical books, and even the things that boys chalk up on fences. In consequence I am not a bit whiteminded, because if you use your mind at all it gets more or less dingy, just like using anything else.”
He could not help but laugh, much as he disapproved.