Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Ink Scrawl Nugget 2

How the Mighty Fall:
[. . .]With stealthy steps he crept to the head of the stairs and descended.

One uses the verb 'descend' advisedly, for what is required is some word suggesting instantaneous activity. About Baxter's progress from the second floor to the first there was nothing halting or hesitating. He, so to speak, did it now. Planting his foot firmly on a golf-ball which the Hon. Freddie Threewood, who had been practising putting in the corridor before retiring to bed, had left in his casual fashion just where the steps began, he took the entire staircase in one majestic, volplaning sweep. There were eleven stairs in all separating his landing from the landing below, and the only ones he hit were the third and the tenth. He came to rest with a squattering thud on the lower landing, and for a moment or two the fever of the chase left him.
From Leave it to Psmith by by P.G. Wodehouse [from the omnibus: The world of Psmith]. Wodehouse describes the Efficient Baxter's "Lucifer-like descent" from the landing of the second floor to that of the first.

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