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II—HOW TO OPEN A CONVERSATION After the ceremony of introduction is completed the next thing to consider is the proper way to open a conversation. The beginning of conversation is really the hardest part. It is the social equivalent to "going over the top." It may best be studied in the setting and surroundings of the Evening Reception, where people stand upright and agonise, balancing a dish of ice-cream. Here conversation reaches its... more...

I. The Balance of Trade in Impressions FOR some years past a rising tide of lecturers and literary men from England has washed upon the shores of our North American continent. The purpose of each one of them is to make a new discovery of America. They come over to us travelling in great simplicity, and they return in the ducal suite of the Aquitania. They carry away with them their impressions of America, and when they reach England they sell... more...

(I) AN IRREDUCIBLE DETECTIVE STORY HANGED BY A HAIR OR A MURDER MYSTERY MINIMISED The mystery had now reached its climax. First, the man had been undoubtedly murdered. Secondly, it was absolutely certain that no conceivable person had done it. It was therefore time to call in the great detective. He gave one searching glance at the corpse. In a moment he whipped out a microscope. "Ha! ha!" he said, as he picked a hair off the lapel of the... more...

Act I.—Behind the Beyond THE curtain rises, disclosing the ushers of the theater still moving up and down the aisles. Cries of "Program!" "Program!" are heard. There is a buzz of brilliant conversation, illuminated with flashes of opera glasses and the rattle of expensive jewelry. Then suddenly, almost unexpectedly, in fact just as if done, so to speak, by machinery, the lights all over the theater, except on the stage, are extinguished.... more...

CHAPTER I THROWN ON THE WORLD "Miss Winnifred," said the Old Lawyer, looking keenly over and through his shaggy eyebrows at the fair young creature seated before him, "you are this morning twenty-one." Winnifred Clair raised her deep mourning veil, lowered her eyes and folded her hands. "This morning," continued Mr. Bonehead, "my guardianship is at an end." There was a tone of something like emotion in the voice of the stern old lawyer,... more...


THESE are troubled times. As the echoes of the war die away the sound of a new conflict rises on our ears. All the world is filled with industrial unrest. Strike follows upon strike. A world that has known five years of fighting has lost its taste for the honest drudgery of work. Cincinnatus will not back to his plow, or, at the best, stands sullenly between his plow-handles arguing for a higher wage. The wheels of industry are threatening to... more...

Preface I know no way in which a writer may more fittingly introduce his work to the public than by giving a brief account of who and what he is. By this means some of the blame for what he has done is very properly shifted to the extenuating circumstances of his life. I was born at Swanmoor, Hants, England, on December 30, 1869. I am not aware that there was any particular conjunction of the planets at the time, but should think it extremely... more...

LITERARY LAPSES My Financial Career When I go into a bank I get rattled. The clerks rattle me; the wickets rattle me; the sight of the money rattles me; everything rattles me. The moment I cross the threshold of a bank and attempt to transact business there, I become an irresponsible idiot. I knew this beforehand, but my salary had been raised to fifty dollars a month and I felt that the bank was the only place for it. So I shambled in and... more...

I. My Revelations as a Spy In many people the very name "Spy" excites a shudder of apprehension; we Spies, in fact, get quite used to being shuddered at. None of us Spies mind it at all. Whenever I enter a hotel and register myself as a Spy I am quite accustomed to see a thrill of fear run round the clerks, or clerk, behind the desk. Us Spies or We Spies—for we call ourselves both—are thus a race apart. None know us. All fear us.... more...

CHAPTER ONE: A Little Dinner with Mr. Lucullus Fyshe The Mausoleum Club stands on the quietest corner of the best residential street in the City. It is a Grecian building of white stone. About it are great elm trees with birds—the most expensive kind of birds—singing in the branches. The street in the softer hours of the morning has an almost reverential quiet. Great motors move drowsily along it, with solitary chauffeurs returning... more...