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the huge dark ungainly mass of

On the table under a drop-light, confused with the books and magazines, were writing materials and a disorderly pile of papers, among which he had been working — or else, as they say in the country — “puttering.”
                                    (sky above. Close
                                    the huge dark ungainly mass of)
      In a padded arm-chair by the fire sat a girl, easily enough recognized as his daughter
                                    Nonsense. Come, what is
he knew
                                    I do, and I mean to die at a
“puttering” in a disorderly heap of

— Frederic B(eecher). Perkins. Scrope: Or, The Lost Library. A Novel of New York and Hartford. (Boston, 1874) : 13, 66
(University of California copy, google scan; snippet previews — involving OCR cross-column confusions — shown below)

Frederic Beecher Perkins (1828-1899), wikipedia

rimes in discord with his daughter’s putterings, captured at 125
see Craig Carey, “‘Connectedly’ : Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the Index, and Her Librarian-Father,” in American Literary Realism 45:3 (Spring 2013) : 210-228
at author’s academia.edu page

23 June 2022