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On a dreary afternoon of November, when London was closely wrapped in a yellow fog, Hermione Lester was sitting by the fire in her house in Eaton Place reading a bundle of letters, which she had just taken out of her writing-table drawer. She was expecting a visit from the writer of the letters, Emile Artois, who had wired to her on the previous day that he was coming over from Paris by the night train and boat. Miss Lester was a woman of... more...

Tuesday Night, November 3rd. Theories! What is the good of theories? They are the scourges that lash our minds in modern days, lash them into confusion, perplexity, despair. I have never been troubled by them before. Why should I be troubled by them now? And the absurdity of Professor Black's is surely obvious. A child would laugh at it. Yes, a child! I have never been a diary writer. I have never been able to understand the amusement of sitting... more...

In travelling about the world one collects a number of those trifles of all sorts, usually named "curiosities," many of them worthless if it were not for the memories they recall. The other day I was clearing out a bureau before going abroad, and in one of the drawers I came across a hedgehog's foot, set in silver, and hung upon a tarnished silver chain. I picked it up in the Sahara, and here is its history. Mohammed El Aïd Ben Ali... more...

PART I.THE RAINBOW. In London nightfall is a delirium of bustle, in the country the coming of a dream. The town scatters a dust of city men over its long and lighted streets, powders its crying thoroughfares with gaily dressed creatures who are hidden, like bats, during the hours of day, opens a thousand defiant yellow eyes that have been sealed in sleep, throws off its wrapper and shows its elaborate toilet. The country grows demure and brown,... more...

CHAPTER I IN a large and cool drawing-room of London a few people were scattered about, listening to a soprano voice that was singing to the accompaniment of a piano. The sound of the voice came from an inner room, towards which most of these people were looking earnestly. Only one or two seemed indifferent to the fascination of the singer. A little woman, with oily black hair and enormous dark eyes, leaned back on a sofa, playing with a... more...


CHAPTER I "We want a new note in English music," said Charmian, in her clear and slightly authoritative voice. "The Hallelujah Chorus era has gone at last to join all the Victorian relics. And the nation is drifting musically. Of course we have a few composers who are being silly in the attempt to be original, and a few others who still believe that all the people can stand in the way of home-grown products is a ballad or a Te Deum. But what we... more...

I had arrived at Inley Abbey that afternoon, and was sitting at dinner with Inley and his pretty wife, whom I had not seen for five years, since the day I was his best man, when we all heard faintly the tolling of a church bell. Lady Inley shook her shoulders in a rather exaggerated shudder. "Someone dead!" said her husband. "It's a mistake to build a church in the grounds of a house," Lady Inley said in her clear, drawling soprano voice. "That... more...

THE PYRAMIDS Why do you come to Egypt? Do you come to gain a dream, or to regain lost dreams of old; to gild your life with the drowsy gold of romance, to lose a creeping sorrow, to forget that too many of your hours are sullen, grey, bereft? What do you wish of Egypt? The Sphinx will not ask you, will not care. The Pyramids, lifting their unnumbered stones to the clear and wonderful skies, have held, still hold, their secrets; but they do not... more...

CHAPTER I MRS. MERILLIA IS CARRIED TO BED The great telescope of the Prophet was carefully adjusted upon its lofty, brass-bound stand in the bow window of Number One Thousand Berkeley Square. It pointed towards the remarkably bright stars which twinkled in the December sky over frosty London, those guardian stars which always seemed to the Prophet to watch with peculiar solicitude over the most respectable neighbourhood in which he resided. The... more...

In St. Petersburg society there may be met at the present time a certain Russian Princess, who is noted for her beauty, for an ugly defect—she has lost the forefinger of her left hand—and for her extraordinary attachment to the city of Tunis, where she has spent at least three months of each year since 1890—the year in which she suffered the accident that deprived her of a finger. What that accident was, and why she is so... more...