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I and My Chimney by Herman Melville
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I and My Chimney

by Herman Melville

I and my chimney, two grey-headed old smokers, reside in the
country. We are, I may say, old settlers here; particularly my
old chimney, which settles more and more every day.

Though I always say, I AND MY CHIMNEY, as Cardinal Wolsey used to
say, "I AND MY KING," yet this egotistic way of speaking, wherein
I take precedence of my chimney, is hereby borne out by the
facts; in everything, except the above phrase, my chimney taking
precedence of me.

Within thirty feet of the turf-sided road, my chimney--a huge,
corpulent old Harry VIII of a chimney--rises full in front of me
and all my possessions. Standing well up a hillside, my chimney,
like Lord Rosse's monster telescope, swung vertical to hit the
meridian moon, is the first object to greet the approaching
traveler's eye, nor is it the last which the sun salutes. My
chimney, too, is before me in receiving the first-fruits of the
seasons. The snow is on its head ere on my hat; and every spring,
as in a hollow beech tree, the first swallows build their nests
in it.

But it is within doors that the pre-eminence of my chimney is
most manifest. When in the rear room, set apart for that object,
I stand to receive my guests (who, by the way call more, I