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When you incline to have new clothes, look first well over the old ones, and see if you cannot shift with them another year, either by scouring, mending, or even patching if necessary. Remember, a patch on your coat, and money in your pocket, is better and more creditable, than a writ on your back, and no money to take it off.
Regular maps have few surprises: their contour lines reveal where the Andes are, and are reasonably clear. More precious, though, are the unpublished maps we make ourselves, of our city, our place, our daily world, our life; those maps of our private world we use every day; here I was happy, in that place I left my coat behind after a party, that is where I met my love; I cried there once, I was heartsore; but felt better round the corner…, things of that sort, our personal memories, that make the private tapestry of our lives.
The fittest, not the richest, make the most enviable mark. Pampered sons of plutocrats may shine for a time in society, but not in the world of affairs and of service unless they rip off their coats and get to work early and stay late. To be born with a golden spoon in the mouth is more of a handicap than a help in attaining worthwhile success in this age.
Black was bestlooking. … Ebony was the best wood, the hardest wood; it was black. Virginia ham was the best ham. It was black on the outside. Tuxedos and tail coats were black and they were a man’s finest, most expensive clothes. You had to use pepper to make most meats and vegetables fit to eat. The most flavorsome pepper was black. The best caviar was black. The rarest jewels were black: black opals, black pearls.
Iconic clothing has been secularized. . . . A guardsman in a dress uniform is ostensibly an icon of aggression; his coat is red as the blood he hopes to shed. Seen on a coat-hanger, with no man inside it, the uniform loses all its blustering significance and, to the innocent eye seduced by decorative colour and tactile braid, it is as abstract in symbolic information as a parasol to an Eskimo. It becomes simply magnificent.
My pet-sitting day ends around sunset, and it’s very satisfying to know that I’ve made several living beings happy that day. That I left their food bowls sparkling clean and fresh water in their water bowls. That I brushed them so their coats shined, and played with them until all our hearts were beating faster. That I kissed them goodbye and left them with their tails wagging or flipping or at least raised in a happy kind of way. That’s a heck of a lot more than any president, pope, prime minister, or potentate can say, and I wouldn’t switch places with any of them.