Dear patron. The book you requested from this library, an HTML-version of Old People and the Things that Pass, is now available at the Internet Archive. Please accept our apologies for our tardiness; the transcription took a little longer than expected.

I made no efforts to get a correct transcription—that would have taken 20 hours more of time I don’t have. Let’s hope Project Gutenberg or similar pick up the ball. You will especially come across the following errors in my transcription: “scannos”, missing italicization, and missing paragraph breaks. If you would like to see these corrected ASAP, your best bet is probably to use Wikisource for a collaborative clean-up operation.

At least there are no nasty ownership claims in this work. Some people hatesss them. The file is in valid XHTML 1.0 Strict with a sprinkling of valid CSS 2.1.

See my transcription notes at the end of the file for a list of things that I have done.

Finally, for your enjoyment and abandon-driven perusal here’s a partial New York Times Book Review of this work from 1918:

That extraordinary gift for portraying the faintest shades of character and temperament, the divergencies, little and big, the varying differences in viewpoint existing in members of the same family, which Louis Couperus revealed to us in the three volumes already in this country, is very evident in this new one, “Old People and the Things That Pass.” It is a book more nearly akin to “Small Souls,” perhaps, than to either of the other two, though it has little of the bitter wit which distinguished that very interesting novel, and contains more than a little of the grayness, the effect as of a murky, sombre day, so noticeable in “The Twilight of the Souls.” For nearly all its characters are old people, while of the very few young ones, Charles Pauws, known to the family as “Lot,” is haunted by a nervous, hysterical dread of growing old. Only Elly, Lot’s young wife, longs for “great, faraway things,” and feels within her the call “to strive as far as she could,” finding unendurable the aimless life which contents the man whose soul is “neutral tinted,” who is incapable of “scarlet things,” yet at the last finds himself hiding “an innocent secret * * * torturing as a hidden, gnawing disease.”

It is, however, with two very old people, the man 93, the woman 97, and with a secret which was very far from innocent, that the novel is principally concerned. It was the secret of that which had happened one night in a lonely bungalow among the mountains of Java—a night of fierce tempest and fiercer passions, sixty years before the time the novel begins. […]

[…] The story is admirably handled throughout, the events following one another quite simply and naturally. But clever and skillfully developed as the plot is, it is in the sureness and subtlety of its psychology, and in the effect which it produces of dark forces lurking behind lives which are nearly all of them failures, that this book makes its strongest claim on the attention of discriminating readers. It is a very sombre, but an unusually interesting novel.

Source: The New York Times Book Review, Sunday March 31, 1918.


  1. Ik vond de nederlandse vertaling van Dumas’ “De drie musketiers” , geüpload door ene Branko Collins. Hoopvol bekeek ik de betreffende tekst … en de tranen sprongen mij bijna in de ogen! Het is vrijwel onleesbaar van de automatisch gegenereerde tekst – en taalfouten. Wat een verspilling van internetruimte! Zéééér teleurstellend.

  2. Dear MartinSr,

    I suggest you look for the Project Gutenberg version of De Drie Musketiers, which has been checked by at least two human proofreaders (possibly more). The version you stumbled upon was indeed generated by a computer.

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