If Mr. Chesterton had been permitted to have his own way this handful of papers would have been sent out under the title of "Gargoyles." Perhaps the publisher foresaw horror upon the faces of really unimaginative readers when once brought face to face with a "monster" title; so it was changed to "Alarms and discursions," as indefinite and capable of possibilities as one could wish. "Fragments of futile journalism or fleeting impressions," Mr. Chesterton calls his essays. "This row of shapeless and ungainly monsters . . . does not consist of separate idols cut out capriciously in lonely valleys or various islands. These monsters are meant for the gargoyles of a definite cathedral. I have to carve the gargoyles, because I can carve nothing else; I leave to others the angels and the arches and the spires." Forty essays, in which excellent common sense and brilliantly phrased wisdom mingle with sheer nonsense.
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