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Pleasure, Volume 1, Number 1

01 May

[This is an example of a blurb entry that starts one place and goes another entirely through serindipity]

On a recent trip to Sauk City, I visited the home of August Derleth. I obtained a couple of old scraph books with material suitable for content in the August Derleth Newsletter, a quarterly journal of The August Derleth Society. In going through the material I found a number of advertising posters for Comic Strips from The King Syndicate of New York City. Auggie had preseumbable set this material aside to mount one day in one of the scrap books. The material was dated from 1944 through the 1950’s. There was also a also a pulp magazine entitled “Pleasure” Volume 1, Number 1 which is illustrated below and copyrighted in 1946. This was preseumbable an advertising copy, and who knows if the magazine ever got off the ground! Certainly I have never heard of it before — but that’s hardly a recommendation on its status.

I took the opportuntiy to peruse its contents, humorous cartoons, jokes, limericks, advice, advertising and of course the usual assortment of beautiful ladies, appropriately, yet provocatively dressed. I went through the table of contents and noted contributions by Elmer Davis, Dorothy Parker (2 pieces), Ogden Nash, S.J. Perelman and Stephen Leacock. I did not find the words “Sherlock Holmes.” (Not through lack of trying!)

Well, the next thing was to read the Stephen Leacock snippet entitled “My Hotel Breakfast.” I didn’t remember reading it before. I t was quintessential Leacock, and I wondered, well I must have read it! Leacock never wasted any of his writing, and it was undoubtedly buried in one of books of humour. After all he died in 1994, and this appeared in 1946. It was undoubtedly reused material — BUT — I did a word search on “My Hotel Breakfast” and also, a string of words in the first line of the piece,  in the Leaock electronic file that I compiled a couple of years ago now — not a single hit!

So my questions are 1) what happened after the appearance of Vol1, No.1 of Pleasure? 2) Is this an uncollected piece of Leacock writing? Or did he write many newspaper and magazine short pieces that he didn’t subsequently collect?

My Hotel Breakfast

Every morning when I sit down in a hotel dining-room to order breakfast, I spend twenty minutes in deep thought over the bill of fare.
   At the end of it I order bacon and eggs.

   Very often—in fact usually—I call the waiter into consultation as to what kind of a suitable, agreeable, more or less novel breakfast a man might profitably take. When he has done his talk, I order bacon and eggs.

   Sometimes I get the headwaiter in on it, and ask him questions about fish, I ask him how is his sole this morning, and he says it is most excellent.

   I ask him can he recommend his sea-bass, and he says he can.

   As a final and definite inquiry I ask him what about his bluefish, and when he says that his bluefish is delicious, I say to him, in that case will he kindly bring me some bacon and eggs.

   I have heard it said that liver and bacon makes a good breakfast: I knew a man once who said he had tried it.

   And I met one day a man on a train who said that a lamb chop is an excellent thing for breakfast: but when I asked him if he had tried it, he said that he had often meant to but that personally he always took bacon ‘ and eggs.

   In fact, I believe that they all do. At every hotel I see men sitting at the breakfast table with a bill of fare in front of them, thinking deeply, with a waiter standing behind them babbling about bluefish: and in the end I always hear the waiter say, “Bacon and eggs. Yes, sir.”

   Indeed my own opinion is that in all the big hotels they don’t really have anything else to eat in the place except bacon and eggs. They just write down all that stuff about bluefish to look well and to let the guests think. In reality there is only bacon and eggs.

   Yes they do say that Scotch oatcake and honey, is a nice thing for the breakfast table.

   Some day I certainly must try it.

  Or, no, to blazes with it. Let the Scotch eat it!

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