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[133] Browning clubs, first and last; but the club of the newspaper humorist I never have happened to encounter—that club which is as vague and misty and wordy as that other creation of the American imagination, the ‘Limekiln Club’ of colored philosophers. On the contrary, such Browning clubs as I have happened to look in upon have had the sobriety and reasonableness which are essential to the study of a poet who, although often recondite and difficult, is never vague. Yet you may go to the meeting of such a club and be struck with the good-sense and moderation of every word that is uttered; no matter; the report in the next day's newspaper —if reporters are admitted—will put in all the folly and adulation that the meeting wisely left out, and this because the reporter is expected to exhibit humor. It is worse yet when serious public discussions or the terrible details of police courts are burlesqued in this way. Few things, I should say, are more essentially demoralizing than the facetious police report of the enterprising daily newspaper. The moral of it all is that humor, like fire, is a good servant but a bad master; that it

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Robert Browning (2)
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