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A brown moth fluttered.

The curtain was down,
and the carpenters were rearranging the “No,
no, no! I can’t breathe       1       volatile
I can’t breathe.” And such a fit of suffocating       2
“I can’t breathe,” she would sometimes say       3
and the minisnever!
I can’t breathe it in fast enough,
nor hard enough, nor long enough.”       4
and started up
up. to return to the tent, only to check him No,
I can’t breathe the same air self in the act as often as he
started, with ye to-night, but ye’ll go into the
he lost consciousness in uneasy dreams       5
meet me at the station.
I can’t breathe in this wretched       6
“sickening down there — I can’t breathe! 
I can’t stand it, Drewe! It’s killing me!” — Tears       7
struggling to altitudes that I can’t breathe in. 
I could help him when he was in despair, but he is the sort who       8
sometimes I find I can’t breathe in it. 
Perhaps some folks will say “so much the worse for you”       9
it seems if I can’t breathe in the house.
not dared hope       10
“Well, I won’t wear ’em. I can’t breathe”
“Sure! Blame ’em!”
“I can’t breathe a square breath.” Oh       11
things I regret I can’t breathe.       12
bramble bush. I can’t breathe. I can’t
eat. I can’t do anything much. It’s clear to my knees.       13
I can't breathe, I can't talk,       14
lying on its “I can’t stay here I can’t breathe” side,
the cork half-loosened.
A brown moth fluttered.       15
“I can’t breathe beside you.”       16
the needs of any reasonable young lady.
“I can't breathe there,       17
I can’t breathe — I really need the rush of this wintry air to restore me!”       18
I can’t breathe no more in that coop upstairs .
tablet ; two he said is what you need.” of flame shoots through a stream of oil       19
no friction. It’s friction—rub- / asthmatically.] “I can’t breathe
deep — I can light and of reason. But I’ve a notion       20
out of it. I can’t breathe in the dark. I can’t. I / She withdrew       21
“I can’t breathe or feel in”       22
Up a flight of stairs,
and there was the girl, sitting on the edge of an untidy bed.
The yellow sweater was on the floor. She had on an underskirt and a pink satin
camisole. “I can't breathe !” she gasped.       23
I can’t breathe in the dark! I can’t! I can’t!
I can’t live in the dark with my eyes open!       24
One never gets it back! How could one!
And I can’t breathe just now, on account of       25
that old stuff, I could shriek.
I can’t breathe in the same room with you. The very sound of       26
don’t! I can’t — breathe.... I’m all —
and bitter howling.       27

sources (pre-1923; approximately 90 in all, from which these 27 passages, all by women)

  1. ex “Her Last Appearance,” in Peters’ Musical Monthly, And United States Musical Review 3:2 (New-York, February 1869), “from Belgravia” : 49-52 (51)
    “Her Last Appearance” appeared later, “by the author of Lady Audley’s Secret” (M.E. Braddon, 1835-1915 *), in Belgravia Annual (vol. 31; Christmas 1876) : 61-73
  2. snippet view ex The Lady’s Friend (1873) : 15
    evidently Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924 *) her Vagabondia : A Love Story (New York, 1891) : 286
    (Boston, 1884) : 286 (hathitrust)
  3. ex “The Story of Valentine; and his Brother.” Part VI. Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine vol. 115 (June 1874) : 713-735 (715)
    authored by Mrs. [Margaret] Oliphant (1828-97 *), see her The Story of Valentine (1875; Stereotype edition, Edinburgh and London, 1876) : 144
  4. OCR confusions at
    Olive A. Wadsworth, “Little Pilkins,” in Sunday Afternoon : A Monthly Magazine for the Household vol. 2 (July-December 1878) : 73-81 (74)
    OAW “Only A Woman” was a pseudonym of Katharine Floyd Dana (1835-1886), see spoonercentral.
    Katharine Floyd Dana also authored Our Phil and Other Stories (Boston and New York, 1889) : here, about which, a passage from a bookseller's description —
    Posthumously published fictional sketches of “negro character,” first published in the Atlantic Monthly under the pseudonym Olive A. Wadsworth. The title story paints a picture of plantation life Dana experienced growing up on her family’s estate in Mastic, Long Island. Although a work of fiction set in Maryland, the character of Phil may of been named for a slave once jointly owned by the Floyds and a neighboring family.
    see also the William Buck and Katherine Floyd Dana collection, 1666-1912, 1843-1910, New York State Historical Documents (researchworks).
  5. OCR cross-column misread, at
    M(ary). H(artwell). Catherwood (1847-1902 *), “The Primitive Couple,” in Lippincott’s Magazine of Popular Literature and Science 36 (August 1885) : 138-146 (145)
    author of historical romances, short stories and poetry, and dubbed the “Parkman of the West,” her papers are the Newberry Library (Chicago)
  6. ex Marie Corelli (Mary Mackay; 1855-1924 *), Thelma, A Norwegian Princess: A Novel, Book II. The Land of Mockery. Chapter 12 (New Edition, London, 1888) : 432
  7. preview snippet (only), at
    Ada Cambridge (1844-1926 *), Fidelis, a Novel ( “Cheap Edition for the Colonies and India,” 1895) : 289
    full scan, (New York, 1895) : 261
    born and raised in England, spent much of her life in Australia (died in Melbourne); see biography (and 119 of her poems) at the Australia Poetry Library
    in particular, the striking poems from Unspoken Thoughts (1887) here (Thomas Hardy comes to mind)
  8. snippet view (only) at
    F(rances). F(rederica), Montrésor (1862-1934), At the Cross-Roads (London, 1897) : 297
    but same page (and scan of entirety) at hathitrust
    see her entry At the Circulating Library (Database of Victorian Fiction 1837-1901)
    an interesting family. Montrésor’s The Alien: A Story of Middle Age (1901) is dedicated to her sister, C(harlotte). A(nnetta). Phelips (1858-1925), who was devoted to work for the blind. See entry in The Beacon, A Monthly magazine devoted to the interests of the blind (May 1925)
    a great-granddaughter of John Montresor (1737-99), a British military engineer and cartographer, whose colorful (and unconventional) life is sketched at wikipedia.
  9. Alice H. Putnam, “An Open Letter,” in Kindergarten Review 9:5 (Springfield, Massachusetts; January 1899) : 325-326
    Alice Putnam (1841-1919) opened the first private kindergarten in Chicago; Froebel principles... (wikipedia); see also “In Memory of Alice H. Putnam” in The Kindergarten-primary Magazine 31:7 (March 1919) : 187 (hathitrust)
  10. OCR cross-column misread, at
    Mabel Nelson Thurston (1869?-1965?), “The Palmer Name,” in The Congregationalist and Christian World 86:30 (27 July 1901) : 134-135
    author of religiously inflected books (seven titles at LC); first female admitted for entry at George Washington University (in 1888). GWU archives
  11. OCR cross-column misread, at
    Margaret Grant, “The Romance of Kit Dunlop,” Beauty and Health : Woman’s Physical Development 7:6 (March 1904): 494-501 (499 and 500)
    the episodic story starts at
    6:8 (November 1903) : 342
  12. ex Marie van Vorst (1867-1936), “Amanda of the Mill,” The Bookman : An illustrated magazine of literature and life 21 (April 1905) : 190-209 (191)
    “writer, researcher, painter, and volunteer nurse during World War I.” wikipedia
  13. ex Maude Morrison Huey, “A Change of Heart,” in The Interior (The sword of the spirit which is the Word of God) 36 (Chicago, April 20, 1905) : 482-484 (483)
    little information on Huey, who is however mentioned in Paula Bernat Bennett, her Poets in the Public Sphere : The Emancipatory Project of American Women's Poetry, 1800-1900 (2003) : 190
  14. ex Leila Burton Wells, “The Lesser Stain,” The Smart Set, A Magazine of Cleverness 19:3 (July 1906) : 145-154 (150)
    set in the Philippines, where “The natives were silent, stolid, and uncompromising.”
    little information on Wells, some of whose stories found their way to the movie screen (see IMDB)
    The Smart Set ran from March 1900-June 1930; interesting story (and decline): wikipedia
  15. OCR cross-column misread, at
    Josephine Daskam Bacon (1876-1961 *), “The Hut in the Wood: A Tale of the Bee Woman and the Artist,” in Collier’s, The National Weekly 41:12 (Saturday, June 13, 1908) : 12-14
  16. ex E. H. Young, A Corn of Wheat (1910) : 90
    Emily Hilda Daniell (1880-1949), novelist, children’s writer, mountaineer, suffragist... wrote under the pseudonym E. H. Young. (wikipedia)
  17. ex Mary Heaton Vorse (1874-1966), “The Engagements of Jane,” in Woman’s Home Companion (May 1912) : 17-18, 92-93
    Illustrated by Florence Scovel Shinn (1871-1940, artist and book illustrator who became a New Thought spiritual teacher and metaphysical writer in her middle years. (wikipedia))
    Mary Heaton Vorse — journalist, labor activist, social critic, and novelist. “She was outspoken and active in peace and social justice causes, such as women's suffrage, civil rights, pacifism (such as opposition to World War I), socialism, child labor, infant mortality, labor disputes, and affordable housing.” (wikipedia).
  18. ex snippet view, at
    “Voices,” by Runa, translated for the Companion by W. W. K., in Lutheran Companion 20:3 (Rock Island, Illinois; Saturday, January 20, 1912) : 8
    full view at hathitrust
    same passage in separate publication as Voices, By Runa (pseud. of E. M. Beskow), from the Swedish by A. W. Kjellstrand (Rock Island, Illinois, 1912) : 292
    E(lsa). M(aartman). Beskow (1874-1953), Swedish author and illustrator of children’s books (Voices seems rather for older children); see wikipedia
  19. ex Fannie Hurst (1885-1968 *), “The Good Provider,” in The Saturday Evening Post 187:1 (August 15, 1914) : 12-16, 34-35
  20. OCR cross-column misread, at
    Anne O’Hagan, “Gospels of Hope for Women: A few new creeds, all of them modish—but expensive” in Vanity Fair (February 1915) : 32
    Anne O’Hagan Shinn (1869-1933) — feminist, suffragist, journalist, and writer of short stories... “known for her writings detailing the exploitation of young women working as shop clerks in early 20th Century America... O’Hagan participated in several collaborative fiction projects...” (wikipedia)
    a mention of St. Anselm, whose “sittings” are free, vis-à-vis “Swami Bunkohkahnanda”... “Universal Harmonic Vibrations”...
  21. OCR cross-column misread (three columns), at
    Fannie Hurst (1885-1968 *), “White Goods” (Illustrations by May Wilson Preston) in Metropolitan Magazine 42:3 (July 1915) : 19-22, 53
    repeated, different source and without OCR misread, at 24 below
  22. ex Mary Patricia Willcocks, The Sleeping Partner (London, 1919) : 47 (snippet only)
    full at hathitrust
    see onlinebooks for this and other of her titles.
    something on Mary Patricia Willcocks (1869-1952) at ivybridge-heritage. in its tone and syntax, her prose brings Iris Murdoch to mind.
  23. Katharine Wendell Pedersen, “Clingstones, A week in a California cannery.” in New Outlook vol. 124 (February 4, 1920) : 193-194
    no information about the author. the journal began life as The Christian Union (1870-1893) and continued under the new title into 1928; it ceased publication in 1935; it was devoted to social and political issues, and was against Bolshevism (wikipedia)
  24. ex Fannie Hurst (1885-1968 *), “White Goods,” in her Humoresque : A Laugh on Life with a Tear Behind it (1919, 1920) : 126-169 (155)
  25. ex snippet view, at
    Letters and poems of Queen Elisabeth (Carmen Sylva), with an introduction and notes by Henry Howard Harper. Volume 2 (of 2; Boston, Printed for members only, The Bibliophile society, 1920) : 51 (hathitrust)
    Carmen Sylva was “the pen name of Elisabeth, queen consort of Charles I, king of Rumania” (1843-1916 *)
  26. OCR cross-column misread, at
    Ruth Comfort Mitchell, “Corduroy” (Part Three; Illustrated by Frederick Anderson), in Woman’s Home Companion 49:8 (August 1922) : 21-23, 96-97 (hathitrust)
    Ruth Comfort Mitchell Young (1882-1954), poet, dramatist, etc., and owner of a remarkable house (in a “Chinese” style) in Los Gatos, California (wikipedia)
  27. Helen Otis, “The Christmas Waits,” in Woman’s Home Companion 49:12 (Christmas 1922) : 36
    probably Helen Otis Lamont (1897-1993), about whom little is found, save this “Alumna Interview: Helen Otis Lamont, Class of 1916” (Packer Collegiate Institute, Brooklyn, 1988) at archive.org (Brooklyn Historical Society)

prompted by : recent thoughts about respiration (marshes, etc.); Pfizer round-one recovery focus on the shape of one breath, then another; inhalation, exhalation and the pleasure of breathing; and for whom last breaths are no pleasure (far from it); last breaths (Robert Seelthaler The Field (2021) in the background).

17 April 2021