The boy who would not go to sea. “Here you, Syd, pass the port.” Sydney Belton took hold of the silver decanter-stand and slid it carefully along the polished mahogany table towards where Admiral Belton sat back in his chair. “Avast!” The ruddy-faced old gentleman roared out that adjuration in so thunderous a way that the good-looking boy who was passing the decanter started and nearly turned it over.... more...

Chapter 1: The Wreck on the Devon Coast. It was a Stormy morning in the month of May, 1572; and the fishermen of the little village of Westport, situate about five miles from Plymouth, clustered in the public house of the place; and discussed, not the storm, for that was a common topic, but the fact that Master Francis Drake, whose ships lay now at Plymouth, was visiting the Squire of Treadwood, had passed through the village over night, and... more...

Professor Von Schalckenberg makes a startling Suggestion. The “Migrants’” Club stands on the most delightful site in all London; and it is, as the few who are intimately acquainted with it know full well, one of the most cosy and comfortable clubs in the great metropolis. It is by no means a famous club; the building itself has a very simple, unpretentious elevation, with nothing whatever about it to attract the attention of... more...

CHAPTER I.The Troubles of King Prigio.   “I’m sure I don’t know what to do with that boy!” said King Prigio of Pantouflia. “If you don’t know, my dear,” said Queen Rosalind, his illustrious consort, “I can’t see what is to be done.  You are so clever.” The king and queen were sitting in the royal library, of which the shelves were full of the most delightful fairy books in... more...

PREFACE. In compiling the following History from the Archives of Pantouflia, the Editor has incurred several obligations to the Learned.  The Return of Benson (chapter xii.) is the fruit of the research of the late Mr. Allen Quatermain, while the final wish of Prince Prigio was suggested by the invention or erudition of a Lady. A study of the Firedrake in South Africa—where he is called the Nanaboulélé, a difficult... more...


Preface. The Siege of Gibraltar stands almost alone in the annals of warfare, alike in its duration and in the immense preparations made, by the united powers of France and Spain, for the capture of the fortress. A greater number of guns were employed than in any operation up to that time; although in number, and still more in calibre, the artillery then used have in, modern times, been thrown into the shade by the sieges of Sebastopol and... more...

EVIL TIDINGS.  row of brick-built houses with slate roofs, at the edge of a large mining village in Staffordshire. The houses are dingy and colourless, and without relief of any kind. So are those in the next row, so in the street beyond, and throughout the whole village. There is a dreary monotony about the place; and if some giant could come and pick up all the rows of houses, and change their places one with another, it is a question... more...

Self and Friends. Bigley Uggleston always said that it was in 1753, because he vowed that was the hot year when we had gone home for the midsummer holidays from Barnstaple Grammar-school. Bob Chowne stuck out, as he always would when he knew he was wrong, that it was in 1755, and when I asked him why he put it then, he held up his left hand with his fingers and thumb spread out, which was always his way, and then pointing with the first finger... more...

How I made my Plans and they were Endorsed. “Now, Master Joseph, do adone now, do. I’m sure your poor dear eyes’ll go afore you’re forty, and think of that!” “Bother!” “What say, my dear?” “Don’t bother.” “You’re always running your finger over that map thing, my dear. I can’t abear to see it.” Nurse Brown looked over the top of her spectacles at... more...