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Rough-Hewn (Classic Reprint)

Rough-Hewn (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from Rough-Hewn

In the spring of 1893 Strindberg had just published "A Fool's Confession," D'Annunzio was employing all the multicolored glory of his style to prove "The Triumph of Death"; Hardy was somberly mixing on his palette the twilight grays and blacks and mourning purples of "Jude the Obscure"; Nordau, gnashing his teeth, was bellowing "Decadent" at his contemporaries who smirked a complacent acceptance of the epithet... and, all unconscious of the futility and sordidness of the world, Neale Crittenden swaggered along Central Avenue, brandishing his shinny stick.

It was a new yellow shinny stick, broad and heavy and almost as long as the boy who carried it. Ever since he had seen it in the window of Schwartz's Bazar, his soul had yearned for it. For days he had hoarded his pennies, foregoing ice-cream sodas, shutting his ears to the seductive ding-dong of the waffle-man's cart, and this very afternoon the immense sum of twenty-five cents had been completed and now he owned a genuine boughten stick, varnished and shiny. What couldn't he do with such a club! He beat it on the side-walk till the flag-stones rang; he swung it around his head. What stupendous long-distance goals he was going to make! How he would dribble the ball through the enemy!

Spring had turned the vacant lots into sticky red mud, but Central Avenue was hard if somewhat undulating macadam. It had stone curbs too, that bounced the ball back as if specially designed for side-boundaries by a philanthropic Board of Supervisors. Somewhere along it he was sure to find a game in progress. Yes, there they were in front of Number Two School. Neale broke into a run and coming up breathless plunged into the scrimmage.

Shinny as played on Union Hill in the nineties had none of the refinements of its dignified cousin, field-hockey.

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