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THE LEGEND OF MONTE DEL DIABLO. The cautious reader will detect a lack of authenticity in the following pages. I am not a cautious reader myself, yet I confess with some concern to the absence of much documentary evidence in support of the singular incident I am about to relate. Disjointed memoranda, the proceedings of ayuntamientos and early departmental juntas, with other records of a primitive and superstitious people, have been my inadequate... more...

HER LETTER   I'm sitting alone by the fire,Dressed just as I came from the dance,In a robe even you would admire,—It cost a cool thousand in France;I'm be-diamonded out of all reason,My hair is done up in a cue:In short, sir, "the belle of the season"Is wasting an hour upon you.     In short, sir, "the belle of the season"Is wasting an hour upon you   A dozen engagements I've broken;I left in the midst... more...

CHAPTER I. Just where the red track of the Los Gatos road streams on and upward like the sinuous trail of a fiery rocket until it is extinguished in the blue shadows of the Coast Range, there is an embayed terrace near the summit, hedged by dwarf firs. At every bend of the heat-laden road the eye rested upon it wistfully; all along the flank of the mountain, which seemed to pant and quiver in the oven-like air, through rising dust, the slow... more...

A NIECE OF SNAPSHOT HARRY'S I There was a slight jarring though the whole frame of the coach, a grinding and hissing from the brakes, and then a sudden jolt as the vehicle ran upon and recoiled from the taut pole-straps of the now arrested horses. The murmur of a voice in the road was heard, followed by the impatient accents of Yuba Bill, the driver. "Wha-a-t? Speak up, can't ye?" Here the voice uttered something in a louder key, but equally... more...

A VENERABLE IMPOSTOR. As I glance across my table, I am somewhat distracted by the spectacle of a venerable head whose crown occasionally appears beyond, at about its level. The apparition of a very small hand—whose fingers are bunchy and have the appearance of being slightly webbed—which is frequently lifted above the table in a vain and impotent attempt to reach the inkstand, always affects me as a novelty at each recurrence of the... more...


JIMMY'S BIG BROTHER FROM CALIFORNIA As night crept up from the valley that stormy afternoon, Sawyer's Ledge was at first quite blotted out by wind and rain, but presently reappeared in little nebulous star-like points along the mountain side, as the straggling cabins of the settlement were one by one lit up by the miners returning from tunnel and claim. These stars were of varying brilliancy that evening, two notably so—one that eventually... more...

The Prodigals. "SANDY".. Son of Alexander Morton, sen. JOHN OAKHURST.. His former partner, personating the prodigal son, Sandy. COL. STARBOTTLE.. Alexander Morton, sen.'s, legal adviser. OLD MORTON.. Alexander Morton, sen. DON JOSE.. Father of Jovita Castro. CAPPER.. A detective. CONCHO.. Major-domo of Don Jose's rancho. YORK.. An old friend of Oakhurst. PRITCHARD.. An Australian convict. SOAPY & SILKY.. His pals. JACKSON..... more...

TRENT'S TRUST I Randolph Trent stepped from the Stockton boat on the San Francisco wharf, penniless, friendless, and unknown. Hunger might have been added to his trials, for, having paid his last coin in passage money, he had been a day and a half without food. Yet he knew it only by an occasional lapse into weakness as much mental as physical. Nevertheless, he was first on the gangplank to land, and hurried feverishly ashore, in that vague... more...

CHAPTER I. A CLOUD ON THE MOUNTAIN. They lived on the verge of a vast stony level, upheaved so far above the surrounding country that its vague outlines, viewed from the nearest valley, seemed a mere cloud-streak resting upon the lesser hills. The rush and roar of the turbulent river that washed its eastern base were lost at that height; the winds that strove with the giant pines that half way climbed its flanks spent their fury below the... more...

PROLOGUE. The sun was going down on the Black Spur Range. The red light it had kindled there was still eating its way along the serried crest, showing through gaps in the ranks of pines, etching out the interstices of broken boughs, fading away and then flashing suddenly out again like sparks in burnt-up paper. Then the night wind swept down the whole mountain side, and began its usual struggle with the shadows upclimbing from the valley, only... more...