My mother died in giving me birth. My father was a very rich man, a railway magnate, so called, absorbed in great business enterprises. Thus it happened that I was brought up between two fires,—my father's sister, Aunt Agnes; and my mother's sister, Aunt Helen. Aunt Agnes was prim but cultivated. She wrote for reviews and wore eye-glasses, and her library table was habitually littered with pamphlets and tomes. On the other hand, Aunt Helen... more...

CHAPTER I. RIPON HOUSE. There are few Americans who went to England before the late wars but will remember Ripon House. The curious student of history—a study, perhaps, too little in vogue with us—could find no better example of the palace of an old feudal lord. Dating almost from the time of the first George—and some even say it was built by the same Wren who designed that St. Paul's Cathedral whose ruins we may still see to... more...

CHAPTER I. Babcock and Selma White were among the last of the wedding guests to take their departure. It was a brilliant September night with a touch of autumn vigor in the atmosphere, which had not been without its effect on the company, who had driven off in gay spirits, most of them in hay-carts or other vehicles capable of carrying a party. Their songs and laughter floated back along the winding country road. Selma, comfortable in her wraps... more...

THE OPINIONS OF A PHILOSOPHER I My wife Josephine declares that I have become a philosopher in my old age, and perhaps she is right. Now that I am forty, and a trifle less elastic in my movements, with patches of gray about my ears which give me a more venerable appearance, I certainly have a tendency to look at the world as through a glass. Yet not altogether darkly be it said. That is, I trust I am no cynic like that fellow Diogenes who set... more...

THE LAW-BREAKERS I George Colfax was in an outraged frame of mind, and properly so. Politically speaking, George was what might be called, for lack of a better term, a passive reformer. That is, he read religiously the New York Nation, was totally opposed to the spoils system of party rewards, and was ostensibly as right-minded a citizen as one would expect to find in a Sabbath day's journey. He subscribed one dollar a year to the civil-service... more...