Jack’s Walk – A short Admin Note

Late yesterday afternoon, my mother died peacefully in the company of her best friend and myself. Mom’s been inching toward death since mid-August, and while I’m sad that her life has ended, I’m relieved to have her dying ended.
We’ll be having a short service followed by burial on Friday afternoon, so Jack and I will be taking the rest of this week off. We both hope that you have a Merry Hallowe’en, and we’ll see you again on Monday, November 4th.


Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

It was a wet and windy weekend, and by this morning, almost all the pretty leaves had blown away. There are a few bright patches here and there, but the riot of colour is finished for another year. Jack and I set out feeling a bit blue about the bare trees, but the sun was shining, the day was warm and pleasant, and it wasn’t long before we were both feeling better. The colour may be gone looking up, but there’s still plenty of pretty here on the ground. We passed burning bushes burning scarlet and porches with pumpkins and mums in pots. We found lavender of the palest blue, golden hostas and even a red-breasted robin picking at purple berries. The fallen leaves from the weekend are still full of colour, too, and they brightly litter the ground in every direction. Jack says he can see the leaves better this way, and he thinks that’s why they fall – so the small creatures who don’t look up much can appreciate them too. I didn’t tell him otherwise.


The Art of Book Design: Eve’s Diary

Mark Twain. Eve’s Diary. Illustrated by Lester Ralph. London and New York, Harper and Bros., 1906.

Today’s Mark Twain is one of my favourite books, Eve’s Diary. It’s nothing like Adam’s Diary, which I posted yesterday. Everything about it is unique. The artwork is softer and evocative and involves you in the story on an emotional level. The book is brilliantly illustrated by Lester Ralph in the Art Nouveau style, and every page has a charming illustration. I chose a few of my favourites to share with you below, but it was hard to limit myself.

It isn’t just the artwork that sets Eve’s Diary apart. The story is also told in a different style. Eve speaks with a sense of wonder and curiosity that is captivating and utterly charming. The book also has one of the most poignant and beautiful endings I’ve encountered. I encourage you to read this book. It’s wonderful.

That’s my copy of Eve’s Diary in the picture. (Sorry it’s a bit fuzzy – I’m hopeless using my phone camera) It was a gift from Marcus, and I treasure it. Marcus shared with me that Twain had just lost his wife and his daughter around the time of writing Eve’s Diary. It gave the book more depth for me, so I’m sharing it with you.

The illustrations are from The Internet Archive, where you can read the book. Enjoy.

Eve’s Diary, page 2.

Eve’s Diary, page 10.

Eve’s Diary, page 14.

Eve’s Diary, page 30.

Eve’s Diary, page 36.

Eve’s Diary, page 38.

Eve’s Diary, page 42.

Eve’s Diary, page 48.

Eve’s Diary, page 60.

Eve’s Diary, page 72.

Eve’s Diary, page 82.

Eve’s Diary, page 86.

Eve’s Diary, page 94.


Jack’s Walk

Quick, how many cows? ©voyager, all rights reserved

When I was a kid, my dad often took us for family drives on Sundays. Whenever we passed a farm with cows in the field, my dad would say, “Quick, voyager, how many cows are there,” then, he’d hit the gas and go fast, too fast for me to count them all before they were out of sight. I’d throw out a good guesstimate like 26 or 34 or 101, but no matter what my answer was, Dad always said, “Nope, there were 28 or 35 or 105.” Then he’d wait for me to say, “how did you do that so quick.’

“Easy, he’d say. I counted the legs and divided by 4.”


The Art of Book Design: Extracts from Adam’s Diary

Mark Twain. Extracts from Adam’s Diary. Illustrated by F. Strothmann. New York, Harper & Bros., 1904.

Today’s first edition Twain is another submission from Marcus. Adam’s Diary is a satirical and lighthearted look at Adam’s early days in the Garden of Eden. I’m including a few of the drawings from the book, mostly for comparison with the drawings from tomorrow’s book. You won’t want to miss that!

Extracts from Adam’s Diary, Frontispiece by F. Strothmann.

Extracts from Adam’s Diary, page 2.

Extracts from Adam’s Diary, Page 6.

Extracts from Adam’s Diary, Page 14.

Extracts from Adam’s Diary, Page 68.


Cover photo via Marcus Ranum (Stderr)

The book is available to read at The Internet Archive

Jack’s Walk

Mortimer P. Griswold “Smirk” ©voyager, all rights reserved

I was feeling a bit blue today, but Jack and I made the acquaintance of a new friend in the forest who helped buoy my spirits. His given name is Mortimer P. Griswold (the fourth), but he told us to call him Smirk. We met quite by accident when Jack almost peed on him, but luckily, Smirk called out in time for Jack to lower his leg and grin a small apology. Smirk laughed it off, saying that soaking up dog pee was just part of being a tree, and then he complimented Jack on his excellent manners. We stayed and chatted for a few minutes and Smirk giggled the whole time. He told us a few tree jokes that were a bit lame (How do trees get online? They log in.), but he was so darned happy that it was easy for Jack and I to laugh. We agreed to visit him again before leaving and then Jack and I continued on our way, both of us wearing a smile.

The Art of Book Design: Extract from Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven

Mark Twain. Extract from Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven. Cover design and frontispiece by Albert Levering. New York and London, Harper Brothers, 1909.

Today’s book by Mark Twain was submitted by Marcus, and he’s holding his own first edition copy of the book. I love the artwork on the cover, and since the frontispiece illustration is similar, but with more detail, I’m including that as well.

Extract from Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven. Frontispiece by Albert Levering.


Cover photo via Marcus Ranum (Stderr)

The book is available to read at The Internet Archive