Cobb's Bill of Fare - Irvin S. Cobb Cobb's humour is dated on occasion, and he was prone to repetition, but at other times he nails it. This is the best description I've ever read of a piano recital (probably the only one I've read, but never mind):"She starts gently. She throws her head far back and closes her eyes dreamily, and hits the keys a soft, dainty little lick — tippy-tap! Then leaving a call with the night clerk for eight o'clock in the morning, she seems to drift off into a peaceful slumber, but awakens on the moment and hurrying all the way up to the other end of Main Street she slams the bass keys a couple of hard blows - bumetty-bum! And so it goes for quite a long spell after that: Tippy-tap! — off to the country for a week-end party, Friday to Monday; bumetty-bum! — six months elapse between the third and fourth acts; tippetty-tip! — two years later; dear me, how the old place has changed! Biffetty-biff! Gracious, how time flies, for here it is summer again and the flowers are all in bloom! You sink farther and farther into your chair and debate with yourself whether you ought to run like a coward or stay and die like a hero. One of your legs goes to sleep and the rest of you envies the leg. You can feel your whiskers growing, and you begin to itch in two hundred separate places, but can't scratch....All of a sudden the lady operator comes out of her trance. She comes out of it with a violent start, as though she had just been bee-stung. She now cuts loose, regardless of the piano's intrinsic value and its associations to its owners. She skitters her flying fingers up and down the instrument from one end to the other, producing a sound like hailstones falling on a tin roof. She grabs the helpless thing by its upper lip and tries to tear all its front teeth out with her bare hands. She fails in this, and then she goes mad from disappointment and in a frenzy resorts to her fists. As nearly as you are able to gather, a terrific fire has broken out in one of the most congested tenement districts. You can hear the engines coming and the hook-and-ladder trucks clattering over the cobbles. Ambulances come, too, clanging their gongs, and one of them runs over a dog; and a wall falls, burying several victims in the ruin. At this juncture persons begin jumping out of the top-floor windows, holding cooking stoves in their arms, and a team runs away and plunges through a plate-glass window into a tinware and crockery store. People are all running round and shrieking, and the dog that was run over is still yelping — he wasn't killed outright evidently, but only crippled — and several tons of dynamite explode in a basement. As the crashing reverberations die away the lady arises, wan but game, and bows low in response to the applause and backs away, leaving the wreck of the piano jammed back on its haunches and trembling like a leaf in every limb."