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Scene: A plantation of thin young trees, in a misty and rainy twilight; some woodland blossom showing the patches on the earth between the stems. The Stranger is discovered, a cloaked figure with a pointed hood. His costume might belong to modern or any other time, and the conical hood is so drawn over the head that little can be seen of the face. A distant voice, a woman's, is heard, half-singing, half-chanting, unintelligible words. The... more...

INTRODUCTION It will be very reasonably asked why I should consent, though upon a sort of challenge, to write even a popular essay in English history, who make no pretence to particular scholarship and am merely a member of the public. The answer is that I know just enough to know one thing: that a history from the standpoint of a member of the public has not been written. What we call the popular histories should rather be called the... more...

I. THE MEDICAL MISTAKE A book of modern social inquiry has a shape that is somewhat sharply defined. It begins as a rule with an analysis, with statistics, tables of population, decrease of crime among Congregationalists, growth of hysteria among policemen, and similar ascertained facts; it ends with a chapter that is generally called "The Remedy." It is almost wholly due to this careful, solid, and scientific method that "The Remedy" is never... more...

What is America? I have never managed to lose my old conviction that travel narrows the mind. At least a man must make a double effort of moral humility and imaginative energy to prevent it from narrowing his mind. Indeed there is something touching and even tragic about the thought of the thoughtless tourist, who might have stayed at home loving Laplanders, embracing Chinamen, and clasping Patagonians to his heart in Hampstead or Surbiton, but... more...

CHARLOTTE BRONTË Objection is often raised against realistic biography because it reveals so much that is important and even sacred about a man's life. The real objection to it will rather be found in the fact that it reveals about a man the precise points which are unimportant. It reveals and asserts and insists on exactly those things in a man's life of which the man himself is wholly unconscious; his exact class in society, the... more...


A SONG OF SWORDS "A drove of cattle came into a village called Swords; and was stopped by the rioters."—Daily Paper. In the place called Swords on the Irish roadIt is told for a new renownHow we held the horns of the cattle, and howWe will hold the horns of the devils nowEre the lord of hell with the horn on his browIs crowned in Dublin town. Light in the East and light in the West,And light on the cruel lords,On the souls that suddenly... more...

CHARLOTTE BRONTË Objection is often raised against realistic biography because it reveals so much that is important and even sacred about a man's life. The real objection to it will rather be found in the fact that it reveals about a man the precise points which are unimportant. It reveals and asserts and insists on exactly those things in a man's life of which the man himself is wholly unconscious; his exact class in society, the... more...

I. Tremendous Trifles Once upon a time there were two little boys who lived chiefly in the front garden, because their villa was a model one. The front garden was about the same size as the dinner table; it consisted of four strips of gravel, a square of turf with some mysterious pieces of cork standing up in the middle and one flower bed with a row of red daisies. One morning while they were at play in these romantic grounds, a passing... more...

ONE — The Absence of Mr Glass THE consulting-rooms of Dr Orion Hood, the eminent criminologist and specialist in certain moral disorders, lay along the sea-front at Scarborough, in a series of very large and well-lighted french windows, which showed the North Sea like one endless outer wall of blue-green marble. In such a place the sea had something of the monotony of a blue-green dado: for the chambers themselves were ruled throughout by... more...

BY THE BABE UNBORN If trees were tall and grasses short,  As in some crazy tale,If here and there a sea were blue  Beyond the breaking pale, If a fixed fire hung in the air  To warm me one day through,If deep green hair grew on great hills,  I know what I should do. In dark I lie: dreaming that there  Are great eyes cold or kind,And twisted streets and silent doors,  And living men... more...