Jeremiah, and Billings and Buddha walk together, side by side, right behind a crowd from planets not in our astronomy; next come a dozen or two from Jupiter and other worlds; next come Daniel, and Sakka and Confucius; next a lot from systems outside of ours; next come Ezekiel, and Mahomet, Zoroaster, and a knife-grinder from ancient Egypt; then there is a long string, and after them, away down toward the bottom, come Shakespeare and Homer, and a shoemaker named Marais, from the back settlements of France.
That tailor Billings, from Tennessee, wrote poetry that Homer and Shakespeare couldn't begin to come up to; but nobody would print it, nobody read it but his neighbors, an ignorant lot, and they laughed at it.
How can there be any human understanding that can persuade itself there ever was all that infinity of Amadises in the world, or all that multitude of famous knights, all those emperors of Trebizond, all those Felixmartes of Hircania, all those palfreys, and damsels-errant, and serpents, and monsters, and giants, and marvellous adventures, and enchantments of every kind, and battles, and prodigious encounters, splendid costumes, love-sick princesses, squires made counts, droll dwarfs, love letters, billings
and cooings, swashbuckler women, and, in a word, all that nonsense the books of chivalry contain?
He learned, easily, that the boy was traveling alone with his invalid grandmother, and that their destination was a small port on the west coast of Africa, a little below the equator; that their name was Billings
, and that they had no friends in the little settlement for which they were bound.
," he drawled finally, "if you will pardon my candor, I might remark that you are something of an ass.
had picked him out of thousands of employees and made him; or rather Tyler had given him the opportunity, and then Billings
had made himself.
I am Tom Billings
of Santa Monica, California," he said.
What will he say when, instead of a pair of plump turtle doves, billing
and cooing in a bower of roses, he finds a single lean cormorant, standing mateless and shelterless on poverty's bleak cliff?
we'd better get out of here while this billing
and cooing is on.
They are "The turtles of the wood," "The billing
Hattersley will be too busy billing
and cooing, with his bride to have much time to spare for guns and dogs at present,' he replied.
Bon Dieu, I say, is it not hard that the fateful rush of the great Imperial struggle can't take place without affecting a poor little harmless girl of eighteen, who is occupied in billing
and cooing, or working muslin collars in Russell Square?