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THE KEY The young doctor stamped vehemently up the marble steps, to warm his feet, and once in the warm, flower-scented halls, let a little shiver escape him. The butler was new—he was always new, the doctor thought—and actually didn't know him. "Mrs. Allen is at bridge, sir, with a party: she asks to be excused," he began mechanically. ("That's good!" Stanchon felt tempted to say, "and I hope the girls are out, too!") As if in... more...

The colonel entered his sister's room abruptly, sat down on her bed, and scattered a drawerful of fluffy things laid out for packing. "You don't seem to think about my side of the matter," he said gloomily. "What am I to do here all alone, for Heaven's sake?" "That is so like a man," she murmured, one arm in a trunk. "Let me see: party-boots, the children's arctics, Dick's sweater—did you think I could live here forever, Cal?" "Then you... more...

They were having tea on the terrace. As Varian strolled up to the group he wished that Hunter could see the picture they made—Hunter, who had not been in America for thirty years, and who had been so honestly surprised when Varian had spoken of Mrs. Dud's pretty maids—she always had pretty ones, even to the cook's third assistant. "Maids? Maids? It used to be 'help,'" he had protested. "You don't mean to say they have waitresses in... more...

"You don't think it's too young for me, girls?" "Young for you—par exemple! I should say not," her niece replied, perking the quivering aigrette still more obliquely upon her aunt's head. Carolyn used par exemple as a good cook uses onion—a hint of it in everything. There were those who said that she interpolated it in the Litany; but Carolyn, who was born Caroline and a Baptist, was too much impressed by the liturgy of what she... more...

TO Belden, pacing the library doggedly, the waiting seemed interminable, the strain unnecessarily prolonged. A half-hour ago quick feet had echoed through the upper halls, windows had opened, doors all but slammed, vague whisperings and drawn breaths had hovered impalpably about the whole place; but now all was utterly quiet. His own regular footfall alone disturbed the unnatural stillness of a large house. Outside, the delicious October sun... more...


THE HUT IN THE WOOD The woman who told me this, and other strange tales which I may one day try to put together, had no gift of writing, but only a pathetic regard for those who had. I say pathetic, because to me her extraordinary experiences so far outvalue the tinkling art of recording them as to make her simple admiration for the artist little short of absurd. She had herself a pretty talent for painting, of which I knew her to have made much... more...

She had never felt so tired of it all, it seemed to her. The sun streamed hot across the backs of the shining seats into her eyes, but she was too tired to get the window-pole. She watched the incoming class listlessly, wondering whether it would be worth while to ask one of them to close the shutter. They chattered and giggled and bustled in, rattling the chairs about, and begging one another's pardon vociferously, with that insistent politeness... more...

"I suspected him from the first," said Miss Gould, with some irritation, to her lodger. She spoke with irritation because of the amused smile of the lodger. He bowed with the grace that characterized all his lazy movements. "He looked very much like that Tom Waters that I had at the Reformed Drunkards' League last year. I even thought he was Tom—" "I do not know Tom?" hazarded the lodger. "No. I don't know whether I ever mentioned him to... more...

AN IDYL OF THE ROAD   aroline rocked herself back and forth from her waist, defying the uncompromisingly straight chair which inclosed her portly little person. "Bounded 'n th' north by Mass'joosetts; bounded 'n th' north by Mass'joosetts; bounded 'n th' north by Mass'joosetts," she intoned in a monotonous chant. But her eyes were not upon the map; like those of the gentleman in the poem, they were with her heart, and that was far away.... more...

BEST NONSENSE VERSES FATHER WILLIAM OU are old, father William," the young man said,"And your hair has become very white:And yet you incessantly stand on your head—Do you think, at your age, it is right?""In my youth," father William replied to his son,"I feared it might injure the brain:But now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,Why, I do it again and again.""You are old," said the youth, "as I mentioned before,And have grown most... more...