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Manhattan Moments

Manhattan Moments

In January 1954, a vignette appeared in the New Yorker’s ‘Talk of the Town’ section, introduced only vaguely as a missive from ‘a rather long-winded lady’. The piece – like all ‘Talk’ stories then, unsigned – was a lightly sardonic first-person account of a woman’s disastrous experience in a dress shop. It might not have been world-changing, but it did stand out from the usual ‘Talk’ pieces, which were often impersonal, mannered little things, written in the royal ‘we’. The Long-Winded Lady, though, idiosyncratic from the beginning, spoke only for herself. ‘Well, there you are,’ she signed off, ‘in case you’ve paid any attention.’
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Making the Best of It

Making the Best of It

‘One day there appeared at luncheon sitting opposite to us a rosy, gray-bearded, bald-headed, gold-spectacled old gentleman who captivated my attention . . . Something seemed to bubble and sparkle in his talk and his eyes twinkled benignly.’ This was one small American girl’s first meeting with Edward Lear in 1870. At about the same time he was writing of himself in his diary: ‘Broken down with a hideous load of sorrow – the blinding accumulation of now nearly 60 years.’
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