Exquisite Words is back from VCON

Posted on October 3, 2011 by

This is my favorite paragraph from my favorite Erik Larson book, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America. I can see and hear and smell this all so clearly that it’s hard to remember I haven’t been here:

Other ballots followed. Daylight faded to thin broth. The sidewalks filled with men and women leaving work. Typewriters–the women who operated the latest business machines–streamed from the Rookery, the Montauk, and other skyscrapers wearing under their coats the customary white blouse and long black skirt that so evoked the keys of their Remingtons. A lamplighter scuttled along the edges of the crowd igniting the gas jets atop cast-iron poles. Abruptly there was color everywhere: the yellow streetcars and the sudden blues of telegraph boys jolting past with satchels full of joy and gloom; cab drivers lighting the red night-lamps at the backs of their hansoms; a large gilded lion crouching before the hat store across the street. In the high buildings above, gas and electric lights bloomed in the dusk like moonflowers.

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