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By Ring Lardner

Ring Lardner's humor, quirky mind's eye, and ear for the yank vernacular endeared him to such bold critics as Hemingway, Fitzgerald, V. S. Pritchett, and Virginia Woolf. A newspaperman who started as a activities reporter and nearly unintentionally stumbled into short-story writing, Lardner meticulously captured the way in which american citizens fairly converse. In you recognize Me Al (1916), he created essentially the most enduring characters in American fiction, the semi-literate baseball participant Jack Keefe.

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Remue-toi avec impétuosité... plus... plus encore, si tu veux que je te compare à la vengeance de Dieu ; allonge tes griffes livides, en te frayant un chemin sur ton propre sein... c’est bien. Déroule tes vagues épouvantables, océan hideux, compris par moi seul, et devant lequel je tombe, prosterné à tes genoux. La majesté de l’homme est empruntée ; il ne m’imposera point : toi, oui. Oh ! quand tu t’avances, la crête haute et terrible, entouré de tes replis tortueux comme d’une cour, magnétiseur et farouche, roulant tes ondes les unes sur les autres, avec la conscience de ce que tu es, pendant que tu pousses, des profondeurs de ta poitrine, comme accablé d’un remords intense que je ne puis pas découvrir, ce sourd mugissement perpétuel que les hommes redoutent tant, même quand ils te contemplent, en sûreté, tremblants sur le rivage, alors, je vois qu’il ne m’appartient pas, le 46 droit insigne de me dire ton égal.

Par conséquent, une seule fois encore, je veux te saluer et te faire mes adieux ! Vieil océan, aux vagues de cristal... Mes yeux se mouillent de larmes abondantes, et je n’ai pas la force de poursuivre ; car, je sens que le moment venu de revenir parmi les hommes, à l’aspect brutal ; mais... courage ! Faisons un grand effort, et accomplissons, avec le sentiment du devoir, notre destinée sur cette terre. Je te salue, vieil océan ! Chant I, Strophe 10 On ne me verra pas, à mon heure dernière (j’écris ceci sur mon lit de mort), entouré de prêtres.

Il s’est retiré ! 53 – Je ne sais comment cela se fait ; mais, je sens les facultés humaines qui se livrent des combats dans mon cœur. Mon âme est inquiète, et sans savoir pourquoi ; l’atmosphère est lourde. – Femme, je ressens les mêmes impressions que toi ; je tremble qu’il ne nous arrive quelque malheur. Ayons confiance en Dieu ; en lui est le suprême espoir. – Mère, je respire à peine ; j’ai mal à la tête. – Toi aussi, mon fils ! Je vais te mouiller le front et les tempes avec du vinaigre. – Non, bonne mère...

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