Within the milky-smooth pages of the volume (thank you, Modern Library, for your attention to tactile detail), in a letter to longtime New Yorker contributer Alexander Woollcott, a brusque and comically distracted Ross tells Woollcott he's going to try to visit soon, signing off with:
I don't know how to get to Vermont, or to the lake after I get there, but will take this matter up later. I am very anxious to see you. Sincerely, RossI know that anxious, over time, has in many quarters become an acceptable synonym for eager, but the fact remains that many usage mavens--Bryson; Bernstein; Garner; Barbara Wallraff; the American Heritage Dictionary; my high school English teacher, Mrs. Thompson--will point out that the word derives from anxiety and is best used when an element of worry or trepidation, and not merely anticipation, is involved. Considering that the above missive comes from the famously punctilious Harold Ross of the famously punctilious New Yorker, I feel justified in taking the legendary editor to task. Luckily for him, he's been dead for sixty years, and has mercifully escaped the sting of my critical lash.