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CHAPTER I From Monte Motterone you survey the Lombard plain. It is a towering dome of green among a hundred pinnacles of grey and rust-red crags. At dawn the summit of the mountain has an eagle eye for the far Venetian boundary and the barrier of the Apennines; but with sunrise come the mists. The vast brown level is seen narrowing in; the Ticino and the Sesia waters, nearest, quiver on the air like sleepy lakes; the plain is engulphed up to the... more...

CHAPTER I An unresisted lady-killer is probably less aware that he roams the pastures in pursuit of a coquette, than is the diligent Arachne that her web is for the devouring lion. At an early age Clotilde von Rudiger was dissatisfied with her conquests, though they were already numerous in her seventeenth year, for she began precociously, having at her dawn a lively fancy, a womanly person, and singular attractions of colour, eyes, and style.... more...

THE THWACKINGS It was ordained that Shibli Bagarag, nephew to the renowned Baba Mustapha, chief barber to the Court of Persia, should shave Shagpat, the son of Shimpoor, the son of Shoolpi, the son of Shullum; and they had been clothiers for generations, even to the time of Shagpat, the illustrious. Now, the story of Shibli Bagarag, and of the ball he followed, and of the subterranean kingdom he came to, and of the enchanted palace he entered,... more...

CHAPTER I. ENTER DAME GOSSIP AS CHORUS Everybody has heard of the beautiful Countess of Cressett, who was one of the lights of this country at the time when crowned heads were running over Europe, crying out for charity's sake to be amused after their tiresome work of slaughter: and you know what a dread they have of moping. She was famous for her fun and high spirits besides her good looks, which you may judge of for yourself on a walk down... more...

CHAPTER I. I AM A SUBJECT OF CONTENTION One midnight of a winter month the sleepers in Riversley Grange were awakened by a ringing of the outer bell and blows upon the great hall-doors. Squire Beltham was master there: the other members of the household were, his daughter Dorothy Beltham; a married daughter Mrs. Richmond; Benjamin Sewis, an old half-caste butler; various domestic servants; and a little boy, christened Harry Lepel Richmond, the... more...


CHAPTER I We are to make acquaintance with some serious damsels, as this English generation knows them, and at a season verging upon May. The ladies of Brookfield, Arabella, Cornelia, and Adela Pole, daughters of a flourishing City-of-London merchant, had been told of a singular thing: that in the neighbouring fir-wood a voice was to be heard by night, so wonderfully sweet and richly toned, that it required their strong sense to correct strange... more...

CHAPTER I Remains of our good yeomanry blood will be found in Kent, developing stiff, solid, unobtrusive men, and very personable women. The distinction survives there between Kentish women and women of Kent, as a true South-eastern dame will let you know, if it is her fortune to belong to that favoured portion of the county where the great battle was fought, in which the gentler sex performed manful work, but on what luckless heads we hear not;... more...

I The sister Hours in circles linked,Daughters of men, of men the mates,Are gone on flow with the day that winked,With the night that spanned at golden gates.Mothers, they leave us, quickening seed;They bear us grain or flower or weed,As we have sown; is nought extinctFor them we fill to be our Fates.Life of the breath is but the loan;Passing death what we have sown. Pearly are they till the pale inherited stainDeepens in us, and the mirrors... more...

XXXIV O, take to your fancy a sculptor whose fresh marble offspringappearsBefore him, shiningly perfect, the laurel-crown'd issue of years:Is heaven offended? for lightning behold from its bosom escape,And those are mocking fragments that made the harmonious shape!He cannot love the ruins, till, feeling that ruins aloneAre left, he loves them threefold. So passed the old grandfather'smoan. XXXV John's text for a sermon on Slaughter he heard,... more...

CHAPTER I Some years ago a book was published under the title of "The Pilgrim's Scrip." It consisted of a selection of original aphorisms by an anonymous gentleman, who in this bashful manner gave a bruised heart to the world. He made no pretension to novelty. "Our new thoughts have thrilled dead bosoms," he wrote; by which avowal it may be seen that youth had manifestly gone from him, since he had ceased to be jealous of the ancients. There... more...