CHAPTER I AT THE STAGE DOOR Courtlandt sat perfectly straight; his ample shoulders did not touch the back of his chair; and his arms were folded tightly across his chest. The characteristic of his attitude was tenseness. The nostrils were well defined, as in one who sets the upper jaw hard upon the nether. His brown eyes—their gaze directed toward the stage whence came the voice of the prima donna—epitomized the tension, expressed... more...

At half-past two of a sunny, sultry afternoon late in the month of August, Mr. Benjamin Staff sat at table in the dining-room of the Authors’ Club, moodily munching a morsel of cheese and a segment of cast-iron biscuit and wondering what he must do to be saved from the death-in-life of sheer ennui. A long, lank gentleman, surprisingly thin, of a slightly saturnine cast: he was not only unhappy, he looked it. He was alone and he was lonely;... more...

I DISAPPOINTED IN LIFE Mary Alice came home quietly from the party. Most of the doors in the house were closed, because it was cold, and the halls were hard to heat. Mary Alice knew exactly what she should see and hear if she opened that door at her right as she entered the house, and went into the sitting-room. There was a soft-coal fire in the small, old-fashioned grate under the old, old-fashioned white marble mantel. Dozing—always... more...

To my Readers: It will be remembered, doubtless, that the chronicles of my very dear friend, Colonel Carter (published some years ago), make mention of but one festival of importance—a dinner given at Carter Hall, near Cartersville, Virginia; the Colonel’s ancestral home. This dinner, as you already know, was to celebrate two important events—the sale to the English syndicate of the coal lands, the exclusive property of the... more...