In the third volume of his autobiography, H. L. Mencken looks back on his life and declares it "very busy and excessively pleasant." He imparts the impressive education he received from Hoggie Unglebower, the best dog trainer in Christendom, and the survival techniques he employed at Baltimore Polytechnic, where he learned to protect his fingers from power tools and his character from the influence of algebra.
Mencken also describes the club boxing matches he attended, watching as the combatants in this gentleman's sport genteelly broke both bones and the law. And he recounts his voyage across the Atlantic that he, unlike Columbus, paid for himself. In Naples, he admired the garbage that seemed to have accumulated since Roman times. In Tunis, he searched for the ruins of Carthage. In the Holy Land, he looked for the ruins of Gomorrah, the Hollywood of antiquity, in hopes of finding evidence that the city's unparalleled reputation for wickedness was simply exaggerated.
About H.L. Mencken
Henry L. Mencken was born in Baltimore in 1880 and died there in 1956. He began his long career as a journalist, critic, and philologist on the Baltimore Morning Herald in 1899. In 1906 he joined the staff of the Baltimore Sun, thus beginning an association which lasted until a few years before his death. He was co-editor of the Smart Set with George Jean Nathan from 1908 to 1923, and with Nathan he founded The American Mercury, of which he was sole editor from 1925 to 1933. He was the author of many books, most notably The American Language, Prejudices, Happy Days, Newspaper Days, Heathen Days, and Minority Report.
Charles A. Fecher was born in Baltimore in 1917 and lives there still. He is the author of The Philosophy of Jacques Maritain and Mencken: A Study of His Thought. He has written articles and reviews for a large number of publications, including The Critic, The Catholic World, The Sign, and the Baltimore Sun.