Limits to compromise

Many an armchair have I mellowed in my time; leaning backwards in it until the obstinate back gives way, with a comfortable crash; grinding its sturdy legs firmly into the floor till the needless and inconvenient castors are wrenched off and roll happily away.  The mere softening of the crudity of a piece of furniture by practice and experiment may, no doubt, be an advantage; and only the other day, when I had just mellowed a large sofa, and the servants were picking up the pieces, they were compelled to admit that I had taken away altogether that unhomely, shiny look as of something just come from a shop which had previously offended the eye. But while I am willing to give to any piece of furniture another and a bolder shape merely by sitting on it, there are limits to this disruptive process. There comes a point in the life of every chair when its owner should emphatically make up his mind whether he wishes to use the chair for a chair or to use the chair for firewood. Both courses are practical; nay, both are poetical. It may be even that the chair is more lovely when crowned with an aureole of ardent flames than when merely surmounted by a somewhat shapeless journalist.  But a compromise between those two courses is emphatically to be discouraged. I strongly object to sitting on the most comfortable chair if three legs of it are being used for support, while one leg is being used for firewood.

The Illustrated London News, 9 July 1910.

Published in: on July 28, 2010 at 5:25 am  Leave a Comment  

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