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Ladies and Gentlemen

A novel by

Ladies and Gentlemen by Irvin S. Cobb

THERE were the hotel lobbies; they roared and spun like whirlpools with the crowds that were in them. But the streets outside were more like mill-races, and the exits from the railroad stations became flumes down which all morning and all afternoon the living torrents unceasingly had poured. Every main crossing was in a twist of opposing currents. Overhead, on cornices and across window-ledges and against house-fronts and on ropes which passed above the roadway from one building to another, hung buntings and flags and streamers, the prevalent colors being red and white; and also many great goggle-eyed and bewhiskered portraits of dead warriors done on sail-cloth in the best styles of two domestic schools - sign-painting and election-bannering. Numbers of brass bands marched to and fro, playing this, that, and the next appropriate air, but when in doubt playing "Dixie"; and the musicians waded knee-deep through an accumulating wreckage of abandoned consonants - softly dropped g's, eliminated r's. In short, the United Confederate Veterans were holding their annual reunion, this being the evening of the opening day.

For absolute proof that this really was a reunion of his kind, there was visible here and there a veteran. His average age was eighty-three years and some odd months. He was feeble or he was halt or sometimes he was purblind. Only very rarely did he carry his years and his frame straight. He was near to being swept away and drowned in a vast and fragrant sea of gracious, chattering femininity. His daughters and his granddaughters and his nieces and his younger sisters and, very rarely, his wife - they collectively were as ten to one against him. They were the sponsors and the maids of honor and the matrons of honor and the chaperons; they represented such-and-such a camp or such-and-such a state, wearing flowing badges to attest their queenly distinctions; wearing, also, white summery gowns, the most of them, with touches of red. But the older women nearly always were in black.

Here and there moved the Amazonian figure of one among them who had decked herself for this great occasion in a gray uniform with bullet buttons of brass in twin rows down the front of the jacket and with a soldier cap on her bobbed hair - nearly always it was bobbed - and gold braid at the seams of her short walking skirt. A crafty stylist even had thought out the added touches of epaulets for her straight shoulders and a pair of black cavalry boots; and she went about much admired by herself and the rest.

You see, it was like this: In the days when there were many of them, the veterans had shared their reunions with their women. Now that they were so few and so weakly, their women would let the veterans share the reunions with them. It was very much like this - a gorgeous social event, the whole South participating; with sentiment for its half-erased background, with the memories of a war that ended nearly sixty years before for its fainting, fading excuse; with the splendid promise of balls and parties and receptions and flirting and love-making and match-making for its assembly call to the campaigning rampaging young of the species.

Used availability for Irvin S Cobb's Ladies and Gentlemen

See all available used copies of this book at Abebooks UK or Abebooks US

Hardback Editions

June 1970 : USA Hardback
thumbTitle: Ladies and Gentlemen
Author(s): Irvin S Cobb
ISBN: 0-8369-3303-6 / 978-0-8369-3303-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Books for Libraries
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

September 2015 : Paperback
thumbTitle: Ladies and Gentlemen
Author(s): Irvin S Cobb
ISBN: 1-5173-5692-X / 978-1-5173-5692-7
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

April 2014 : USA Paperback
thumbTitle: Ladies and Gentlemen
Author(s): Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb
ISBN: 1-4975-8558-9 / 978-1-4975-8558-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Availability: Amazon   

Kindle Editions

September 2015 : Canada, UK Kindle edition
thumbTitle: Ladies and Gentlemen (Irvin S Cobb Collection)
Author(s): Irvin S Cobb
Publisher: Dodo Classics
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

August 2014 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
thumbTitle: Ladies and Gentlemen
Author(s): Irvin S Cobb
Publisher: Transcript
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   

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