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the reduction of puttering to a science

Their entire lives had been spent in the deification of the unessential, in the reduction of puttering to a science. They had puttered their lives away and were still puttering, only, as they grew older, with a greater intensity, and from the first their lives had been extremely happy. I had never known two human beings who had so successfully mastered the art of transforming molehills into mountains. It was their sole occupation.

— Charles Macomb Flandrau, “Little Pictures of People, 1. Mr. and Mrs. Parke,” in Prejudices (1913) : 26
26 (same NYPL copy, at hathitrust)

“These extracts from my notebook originally appeared in The Bellman...”
Charles Macomb Flandrau (1871-1938), wikipedia

10 April 2022