Was the two-month absence of Rogues’ Gallery from the New York Public Library an accident — or a plot? I don’t know, but something’s changed since the New York Observer’s Reid Pillifant first asked the question two weeks ago. Today, he’s back with a happy update. Whether or not, as the Observer wondered (and still does), the book’s initial absence was the result of some misguided attempt to cozy up to powerful trustees or donors, as far as I’m concerned, the curiouser-and-curioser episode has come to a satisfactory conclusion. But just as its beginning sent me to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderful, its end led me to seek out The Wizard of Oz, who reminded me of the time the Cowardly Lion came to see him. The following is a brief excerpt of that scene from L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz:
“I have come for my courage,” announced the Lion, entering the room. “Very well,” answered the little man; “I will get it for you.” He went to a cupboard and reaching up to a high shelf took down a square green bottle, the contents of which he poured into a green-gold dish, beautifully carved. Placing this before the Cowardly Lion, who sniffed at it as if he did not like it, the Wizard said: “Drink.” “What is it?” asked the Lion. “Well,” answered Oz, “if it were inside of you, it would be courage. You know, of course, that courage is always inside one; so that this really cannot be called courage until you have swallowed it. Therefore I advise you to drink it as soon as possible.” The Lion hesitated no longer, but drank till the dish was empty. “How do you feel now?” asked Oz. “Full of courage,” replied the Lion, who went joyfully back to his friends to tell them of his good fortune.
I’m taking a few days off from Gripebox. Happy Fourth of July. God Bless America.