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FOREWORD This book is a faithful record, so far as I can make it, of the most marvellous phenomena which have come under my observation during the last sixteen or seventeen years. I have used my notes (made immediately after the sittings) and also my reports to the American Psychical Society (of which I was at one time a director) as the basis of my story. For literary purposes I have substituted fictitious names for real names, and imaginary... more...

THE GRUB-STAKER I "There's gold in the Sierra Blanca country—everybody admits it," Sherman F. Bidwell was saying as the Widow Delaney, who kept the Palace Home Cooking Restaurant in the town of Delaney (named after her husband, old Dan Delaney), came into the dining-room. Mrs. Delaney paused with a plate of steaming potatoes, and her face was a mask of scorn as she addressed the group, but her words were aimed especially at Bidwell, who... more...

THE HAPPY GIRL The stage line which ran from Williams to Bear Tooth (one of the most authentic then to be found in all the West) possessed at least one genuine Concord coach, so faded, so saddened, so cracked, and so splintered that its passengers entered it under protest, and alighted from it with thanksgiving, and yet it must have been built by honorable men, for in 190- it still made the run of one hundred and twenty miles twice each week... more...

AT THE BEGINNING. She was in the box; he was far above in the gallery. He looked down and across and saw her sitting there fair as a flower and robed like a royal courtesan in flame and snow. Like a red torch flamed the ruby in her hair. Her shoulders were framed in her cloak, white as marble warmed with firelight. Her gloved hands held an opera glass which also glowed with flashing light. His face grew dark and stern. He looked down at... more...

HIS YOUTH Harold was about ten years of age when his father, the Rev. Mr. Excell, took the pastorate of the First Church in Rock River. Many of the people in his first congregation remarked upon "the handsome lad." The clear brown of his face, his big yellow-brown eyes, his slender hands, and the grace of his movements gave him distinction quite aside from that arising from his connection with the minister. Rev. John Excell was a personable... more...


WILLIAM BACON'S MAN I The yellow March sun lay powerfully on the bare Iowa prairie, where the ploughed fields were already turning warm and brown, and only here and there in a corner or on the north side of the fence did the sullen drifts remain, and they were so dark and low that they hardly appeared to break the mellow brown of the fields. There passed also an occasional flock of geese, cheerful harbingers of spring, and the... more...

THE CLERK OF THE GOLDEN EAGLE Sibley Junction is in the sub-tropic zone of Colorado. It lies in a hot, dry, but immensely productive valley at an altitude of some four thousand feet above the sea, a village laced with irrigating ditches, shaded by big cotton-wood-trees, and beat upon by a genial, generous-minded sun. The boarders at the Golden Eagle Hotel can sit on the front stoop and see the snow-filled ravines of the mountains to the south,... more...

—I—To My New Readers In the summer of 1893, after nine years of hard but happy literary life in Boston and New York, I decided to surrender my residence in the East and reëstablish my home in the West, a decision which seemed to be—as it was—a most important event in my career. This change of headquarters was due not to a diminishing love for New England, but to a deepening desire to be near my aging parents, whom I... more...

VICTOR READS THE FATEFUL STAR Saturday had been a strenuous day for the baseball team of Winona University, and Victor Ollnee, its redoubtable catcher, slept late. Breakfast at the Beta Kappa Fraternity House on Sunday started without him, and Gilbert Frenson, who never played ball or tennis, and Arnold Macey, who was too effeminate to swing a bat, divided the Sunday morning Star between them. "See here, Gil," called Macey, holding up an... more...

THE SETTING The village of Colorow is enclosed by a colossal amphitheatre of dove-gray stone, in whose niches wind-warped pines stand like spectators silent and waiting. Six thousand feet above the valley floor green and orange slopes run to the edges of perennial ice-fields, while farther away, and peering above these almost inaccessible defences, like tents of besieging Titans, rise three great mountains gleaming with snow and thunderous... more...