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CHAPTER THE FIRST ~~ CONCERNING A BOOK THAT WAS NEVER WRITTEN 1 Since I came to this place I have been very restless, wasting my energies in the futile beginning of ill-conceived books. One does not settle down very readily at two and forty to a new way of living, and I have found myself with the teeming interests of the life I have abandoned still buzzing like a swarm of homeless bees in my head. My mind has been full of confused protests and... more...

INTRODUCTION. ON February the First 1887, the Lady Vain was lost by collision with a derelict when about the latitude 1° S. and longitude 107° W. On January the Fifth, 1888—that is eleven months and four days after—my uncle, Edward Prendick, a private gentleman, who certainly went aboard the Lady Vain at Callao, and who had been considered drowned, was picked up in latitude 5° 3′ S. and longitude 101° W. in a... more...

Miriam I It is an illogical consequence of one human being’s ill-treatment that we should fly immediately to another, but that is the way with us. It seemed to Mr. Polly that only a human touch could assuage the smart of his humiliation. Moreover it had for some undefined reason to be a feminine touch, and the number of women in his world was limited. He thought of the Larkins family—the Larkins whom he had not been near now for... more...

THE DOOR IN THE WALL I One confidential evening, not three months ago, Lionel Wallace told me this story of the Door in the Wall. And at the time I thought that so far as he was concerned it was a true story. He told it me with such a direct simplicity of conviction that I could not do otherwise than believe in him. But in the morning, in my own flat, I woke to a different atmosphere, and as I lay in bed and recalled the things he had told me,... more...

I. THE JILTING OF JANE. As I sit writing in my study, I can hear our Jane bumping her way downstairs with a brush and dust-pan. She used in the old days to sing hymn tunes, or the British national song for the time being, to these instruments, but latterly she has been silent and even careful over her work. Time was when I prayed with fervour for such silence, and my wife with sighs for such care, but now they have come we are not so glad as we... more...


In the year 1884 I was invited to give tuition by correspondence, in Biology. Although disposed at the time to ridicule the idea of imparting instruction in natural science by letter, I gladly accepted the opportunity thus afforded me of ascertaining for myself what could and could not be accomplished in that direction. Anyone familiar with the scope of biological enquiry, and the methods of biological instruction, will not need to be reminded... more...

CHAPTER THE FIRST - THE DREAM (1) IT was a scene of bitter disputation. A hawk-nosed young man with a pointing finger was prominent. His face worked violently, his lips moved very rapidly, but what he said was inaudible. Behind him the little rufous man with the big eyes twitched at his robe and offered suggestions. And behind these two clustered a great multitude of heated, excited, swarthy faces.... The emperor sat on his golden throne in... more...

OF CONVERSATION AND THE ANATOMY OF FASHION This uncle of mine, you must understand, having attained—by the purest accident—some trifles of distinction and a certain affluence in South Africa, came over at the earliest opportunity to London to be photographed and lionised. He took to fame easily, as one who had long prepared in secret. He lurked in my chambers for a week while the new dress suit was a-making—his old one I really... more...

Section 1 The maid was a young woman of great natural calmness; she was accustomed to let in visitors who had this air of being annoyed and finding one umbrella too numerous for them. It mattered nothing to her that the gentleman was asking for Dr. Martineau as if he was asking for something with an unpleasant taste. Almost imperceptibly she relieved him of his umbrella and juggled his hat and coat on to a massive mahogany stand. "What name,... more...

The present writer has long been deeply interested in the Socialist movement in Great Britain and America, and in all those complicated issues one lumps together as “social questions.” In the last few years he has gone into it personally and studied the Socialist movement closely and intimately at first hand; he has made the acquaintance of many of its leaders upon both sides of the Atlantic, joined numerous organizations, attended... more...