When he wasn’t shooting people, or hi-jacking trucks of contraband, or shaking down the weak and the lawless, or kidnapping a competitor, notorious Jack Legs Diamond was, of all things, an avid reader. Go figure…
He read the newspaper, cover to cover. He clipped articles about his adventures—of which there were many—and stored them in stationery boxes. He loved books, his favorite authors included James Oliver Curwood and Zane Gray. Both authors were prolific in the 1920’s and their works were, for the most part, action-adventure. Diamond also read pulp magazines such Adventure and Action Stories. But oddly enough one of Jack Diamond’s favorite reads–so favorite that it became one of his regular gifts to his very baffled associates—was written by French Renaissance author Francois Rabelais.
Among other things, Rabelais wrote fantasy novels about giants. His two best known Pantagruel (1532) and Gargantua (1534) were part of the five book series that Diamond most likely read. Rabelais was a witty writer who tended toward satire. The situations he wrote about could be rather grotesque-plenty of potty humor long before there were toilets. But oddly enough, this amazing intellectual, who also needed body guards at different points in his life, had a fan in Jack Diamond. Diamond spent many an hour recuperating from his multiple gunshot wounds chuckling over Rabelais’ tales of the giants and their acquaintances.♥♦♥♦
Rabelais started his studies of Greek, Latin, science, philology and law with the Franciscans–as did the eighteen year old Jack Hart, on the other side of the ocean, about four hundred years later. Except Hart ditched the Greek and philology and picked up courses in English, philosophy, theology and sociology. As young Jack Hart studied the arts and the sciences, he simultaneously learned a trait that would…in years to come…be his ticket to Europe. ♥♦♥♦
Up next: Harts and Diamonds: Two Jacks, Different Decades, Two Very Distinctive Treks Across Europe
If you missed Parts I and II and want to catch up–follow these links:
Harts and Diamonds: A Tale of Two Jacks ©2014, 2013 Michiko McElfresh