The Dust of Seven Days (1924)

Words and illustrations by Dugald Stewart Walker




To the left is shown a rare copy of The Dust of Seven Days

by Dugald Walker - as published by Alfred Fowler

(Kansas City) in 1924.


This examples retains the original unassuming cream-labeled

board cover.








On the right is the Title Page.


The Dust of Seven Days is an example of Walker's literary endeavours - a short story that he dedicated to Charles White

Whittlesey - the US Army Major who famously led the so-called "Lost Battalion" for 5 days in the Argonne Forest during

World War I.


Walker intoduces The Dust of Seven Days with a particularly relevant quote from The Pilgrim's Progress (from the speech of

Mr Valiant-for-Truth) that was undoubtedly intended, given the dedication, provide further homage to Charles Whittlesey:


Then, said he, I am going to my Father's; and though with great difficulty I am got thither,

yet now I do not repent me of all the trouble I have been at to arrive where I am. My

sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to

him that can get it. My marks and scars I carry with me, to be a witness for me that I have

fought His battles who now will be my rewarder ... So he passed over, and all the trumpets

sounded for him on the other side.


The glorious frontispiece for this Limited Edition appears - based upon the introductory quote from The Pilgrim's Progress -

appears to represent Mr Valiant-for-Truth as he passes to his Heavenly reward. The other illustration is an example of the

beautiful illustrations prepared by Walker for marginalia - in this case, for the Title Page.







Single Greeting Card (with matching Envelope)

Price: US$5.00


Reproduction on 12x18" sheet

Code: DW DSD1 12x18
Price: US$60.00

Reproduction on 20x30" sheet

Code: DW DSD1 20x30
Price: US$200.00



Title Page


Single Greeting Card (with matching Envelope)

Price: US$5.00


Reproduction on 12x18" sheet

Code: DW DSD2 12x18
Price: US$60.00

Reproduction on 20x30" sheet

Code: DW DSD2 20x30
Price: US$200.00



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approach typical of prestige illustrated publications produced in the early decades of the 20th Century. Each card is

hand-finished, with the image presented on White card stock with an accompanying envelope. On the rear of each

card we also present some information about Dugald Walker and this wonderful illustration. We have left the interior

of the cards blank so that you may write your own personal message.


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this wonderful illustration.


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The Dust of Seven Days (1924)

Words and illustrations by Dugald Walker



This short story was published in extremely limited numbers - the printing citations notes "Five Hundred copies

of The Dust of Seven Days have been printed by Harold A Shertzer in October, 1924, at the Lowell Press, Kansas



Walker's tale follows:


From China came two china men to live in a strange new land. From the tops of their shaven

heads to the soles of their sandaled feet, they were made of the finest porcelain. Magnificent

yellow robes fell in graceful folds from their shoulders to the ground. One of the miniature

figures wore a broad-brimmed rose-colored hat. He held his hands behind him for no reason

at all.


The head of the other figure was covered with a blue hood. This Chinaman with the hood

stooped slightly forward; his hands were placidly clasped and hidden within the long sleeves

of his loose and shining coat.


These little men of porcelain had been inseparable and faithful friends for seven years

Therefore, said they to one another, it would be pleasant to enlarge their world - by going to

live with two friends. A perilous suggestion, as you shall see.


For unfortunately the new friends were not made of porcelain. No doubt, had they been

fashioned of the same substance as the placid friends from China, they would not, one

unhappy day, have quarreled as they did, and become separated. But, as I said before, they

were not made of porcelain, and so alas! quarrel they must. And each went his own way,

carrying with him a Chinaman.


Thus it was deplorable that two friends of the finest porcelain and feelings were parted, after

seven years of a relationship which had been most harmonious and delightful. But it is not

to be gainsaid that, when one is made of porcelain, one cannot choose the place in which

one will live one's days.


Now it happened that the friend who took with him the be-hooded Chinaman was a poet.

And as he placed the blue-hooded Chinaman on his desk, he gave that deep sigh so often

fetched from a regretful heart by one who has quarreled, and been separated from a friend.

Looking thoughtfully at his new companion, the poet said, "This Chinaman is a philosopher."


For the blue-hooded Chinaman seemed to be pondering more deeply than ever. The late

events had stirred him to the soul. And so, on the poet's desk, stood the porcelain

philosopher, his heart filled with woe. For he continually recalled the happy bygone days

before he was so tragically parted from his friend.


The desk had not been dusted for seven days and seven nights. It belonged to the poet.

And he was writing a poem. Therefore the dust settled on the shelf that was the top of the

desk, and on the things that stood thereon ... Even the red sand in an hour-glass at one

end of the shelf had not had a chance to run its course for seven days, and was longing to

be turned upside down again so that it might get to work without any more waste of time.


And on a fat pig of brass the dust had fallen like a mantle. This pig was a very proud

animal, not, as one might suppose, because he was made of brass which shone brilliantly

when he was polished. No indeed. The cause of his pride was a rim of singular looking

bristles which ran above his back from his head to his tail. For were not these bristles the

actual penwiper wherewith the poet dried his pen on each occasion when he had written

a poem? Often the pig found himself murmuring: "Happy pig! Happy Poet!"


Nearby, a small blue jar sat very quietly and unobtrusively, thinking her own thoughts.


But the lonely Chinese figure of porcelain cared little for his new surroundings in the center

of all the things that were on the shelf; and soon every fold of his robe was filled with dust

too. His blue hood could more truthfully have been described as grey.


Yet dust did not make any difference to the Chinaman. The poet had said he was a

philosopher. He must therefore continue to brush his porcelain brain with diligence; he

must continue to think. He must not disturb the poet, who, being a real poet, wrote

poems and paid not any attention to the dust.


The little Chinaman found himself staring from hour to hour at the blue jar, so close to

him, and so modestly minding her own business. He had to stare at her because he was

made of porcelain. And then he considered many things.


Perhaps, the the poem was finished, the poet might pay him some personal attention. At

the same time, if, as the poet had led him to suppose, he was a real philosopher, would

this not be as good a time as another to evolve his philosophy?


So the blue-hooded Chinaman, his hands folded before him, with his gentle scholar's

stoop, began his musings.


"There," he reflected, "stands a vase amidst the dust of seven days. It is in color like a night

when the moonlight gleams through drifting mists. And yet, on the surface is a light like

the image of a star reflected in still water. The light reflected in the jar is not the image of

a star. Perhaps it is the miniature reflection of all the bright things that shine around it; so

concentrated that it seems like a star - for it shines, and at times it even seems to twinkle.


"The little star-like light steadfastly shines on the surface of the blue jar. It twinkles as a star

twinkles and gleams as a moat in the sunshine. And when one looks at it suddenly, one

can hear a faint, so faint but sweet, bitter sweet song of youth dancing in a moonlit

meadow, or perhaps playing at sea captain in a strange ship with silver sails, on a blue

sea that is really nothing more than this flood of dust in which I have to stand." He

reflected on this, and then added, "Dust that has gathered whilst a poet writes a poem."


But the little blue jar took no notice of her new neighbour nor of his philosophy, and

seemed quite unaware of the interest she was exciting in the Chinaman with the blue



"It is a potpourri vase - one that is made especially to hold the faded and dried petals of

roses. So gathered and preserved, these petals will for months, sometimes, indeed, for

years, hold a fragrance of unutterable sweetness."


"There," the Chinese philosopher continued, (and he would have pointed to the vase

with his finger to emphasize what he was about to remark, if he had not been made of

porcelain) "there, within a little vase, are the dried and faded petals of withered flowers.

All that remain, save memories, of a short-houred spring."


"You, O Poet," he went on, warming to his idea, "are like a potpourri vase, and I too am

also like one. For each of us holds within his heart the faded petals of flowers that have

fallen and are now only memories of the blossoming of days and of hours that have

passed and will never return. They are the feeling o those around us that are

unchangeable. Unable to suffer a change because it is our sacred privilege to take them

and guard them and hold them safe from the glare of the lights of passing years that take

away the color of time.


"It is immortal to hold within our hearts the unchanging feelings of others. Petals," he

again reflected, for the simile pleased him, "petals from the blooming of others' lives

that fade to a lovelier color and to a clearer sweetness, because we cherish them in our

hearts. They fade, it is true, but hold forever their fragrance of memories that in a

moment can restore to us the nights that have passed.


"We are like potpourri jars that only a great artist would fashion of clay and put to

such glorious uses, bestowing on us a lustre of so much resplendence. It is a great Artist

who times the firing. And it is the clay that must be burned and burned and must

endure the burning ... So that we are made to hold within our shining surfaces a light

like the image of a reflected star. The star image is a beacon light to guide to our hearts

the love and truth and faith we inspire in others' hearts. Within the potpourri vase that

is our heart, we hold the memories of days and nights, the blooming of our lives, and

the lives of those we love. The petals of our own flowers and of their flowers, those

that fall separately and those that fall at the same time, those that are mingled with the

sweet winds of spring, those that drift down in the nights of Indian summer and in

calm evenings of moonlight ... Petals of the blooms of the hearts we love and that we

must cherish and hold because of their eternal existence."


The Chinaman sighed a porcelain sigh and an air of melancholy enwrapped him.


"There, O Poet," he mused once more, "is an amber star reflecting its light in your vase;

it is as a beacon light to innumerable little craft blown forth upon the sea of thoughts.


"Even so, we do not know when we are guiding a little boat into a calm and reassuring

harbour. And perhaps it is more beautiful not to know when our star-like light is of

the greatest loving service to another, because in not knowing, we must shine amidst

storms and winds just as serenely as when the sea is calm."


The poet has finished his poem and now he must dust his desk. I think the movement

of his dust rage turned the little Chinese philosopher around, so that, for an indefinite

time, he must look at the ink-covered bristles on the brass pig's back. Though of that

I am not sure, for whilst the poet was dusting his desk, I read the poem.