Ik Marvel

American essayist and novelist

Donald Grant Mitchell (April 12, 1822December 15, 1908), was an American essayist and novelist who used the pseudonym Ik Marvel.

Donald Grant Mitchell



Reveries of a Bachelor (1850)

Reveries of a Bachelor; or, a Book of the Heart (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1850)
  • But courage, and patience, and faith, and hope have their limit. Blessed be the man who escapes such trial as will determine limit!
    To a lone man it comes not near; for how can trial take hold where there is nothing by which to try?
    A funeral? You reason with philosophy. A grave yard? You read Hervey and muse upon the wall. A friend dies? You sigh, you pat your dog,—it is over. Losses? You retrench—you light your pipe—it is forgotten. Calumny? You laugh—you sleep.
    But with that childless wife clinging to you in love and sorrow—what then?
    Can you take down Seneca now, and coolly blow the dust from the leaf-tops? Can you crimp your lip with Voltaire? Can you smoke idly, your feet dangling with the ivies, your thoughts all waving fancies upon a church-yard wall—a wall that borders the grave of your boy?
    Can you amuse yourself by turning stinging Martial into rhyme? Can you pat your dog, and seeing him wakeful and kind, say, "it is enough?" Can you sneer at calumny, and sit by your fire dozing?
    • First Reverie: Over a Wood Fire, III, pp. 38–39.
  • Coquetry whets the appetite; flirtation depraves it. Coquetry is the thorn that guards the rose—easily trimmed off when once plucked. Flirtation is like the slime on water-plants, making them hard to handle, and when caught, only to be cherished in slimy waters.
    • Second Reverie: By a City Grate, I, p. 71.
  • Hard, withering toil only can achieve a name; and long days, and months, and years, must be passed in the chase of that bubble—reputation; which once grasped, breaks in your eager clutch, into a hundred lesser bubbles, that soar above you still!
    • Third Reverie: Over His Cigar, II, p. 118.
  • But wealth is a great means of refinement; and it is a security for gentleness, since it removes disturbing anxieties; and it is a pretty promoter of intelligence, since it multiplies the avenues for its reception; and it is a good basis for a generous habit of life; it even equips beauty, neither hardening its hand with toil, nor tempting the wrinkles to come early.
    • Third Reverie: Over His Cigar, III, p. 126.

My Farm of Edgewood (1863)

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  • I have no faith in cats: they are a cold-blooded race; they are the politicians among domestic animals; they care little who is master, or what are the over-turnings, so their pickings are secure; and what are their midnight caucuses but primary meetings?
    • P. 49
  • I find no man so disagreeable to meet with, as one who knows everything. Of course we expect it in newspaper editors, and allow for it. But, to meet a man engaged in innocent occupations—over your fence, who is armed cap-a-pie against all new ideas,—who 'knew it afore,' or 'has heerd so,' or doubts it, or replies to your most truthful sally 't'ain't so, nuther,' is aggravating in the extreme.
    • P. 247
  • It is certain that by a special dispensation of Providence in favor of those who make up the bulk of the human family, a man may secure a simple livelihood in agricultural pursuits, with less of energy, less of promptitude, less of calculation, and greater unthrift generally, than would be compatible with even this scanty aim, in any other calling of life.
    • P. 277
  • The attempt to better one's condition is always praiseworthy; but it is only base and ignoble to attempt to cover one's condition with an idle smack of something larger.
    • P. 287
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