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MADAME D'ARBLAY. BY LORD MACAULAY. Frances Burney was descended from a family which bore the name of Macburney, and which, though probably of Irish origin, had been long settled in Shropshire and was possessed of considerable estates in that county. Unhappily, many years before her birth, the Macburneys began, as if of set purpose and in a spirit of determined rivalry, to expose and ruin themselves. The heir apparent, Mr. James Macburney... more...

Chapter I. Books may be written in all sorts of places. Verbal inspiration may enter the berth of a mariner on board a ship frozen fast in a river in the middle of a town; and since saints are supposed to look benignantly on humble believers, I indulge in the pleasant fancy that the shade of old Flaubert—who imagined himself to be (amongst other things) a descendant of Vikings—might have hovered with amused interest over the decks of... more...

The Dashing Duchess,—the impulsive, ebullient beauty whose smile swayed ministers, and for whose favor princes were beggars! A loveliness of manner, as of feature, such seductive color,—glowing carnations,—and such golden-brown hair, with a fine figure, made up an opulent personality, than which no more consummate type of beauty has been preserved to us by painter or poet. Georgiana Spencer was the daughter of Lord Spencer,... more...

NAT TURNER Back 'fore the sixties, I can 'member my Mistress, Miss Sara Ann, comin' to de window an' hollerin', "De niggers is arisin'! De niggers is arisin'! De niggers is killin' all de white folks, killin' all de babies in de cradle!" It must have been Nat Turner's Insurrection; which wuz sometime 'fo de breakin' of de Civil War. I wuz waitin' on table in dinin' room an' dis day dey had finished eatin' early an' I wuz cleanin' off table.... more...

Chapter 1 A FORESHADOWING THE Patriarch of Alexandria, Egypt was expecting company. He stood at the window of his palace looking down the long road, that at the first sign of his guests' arrival he might go forth and welcome them. Before him, like a white pearl in the blue waters of the Mediterranean, lay the city of Alexandria—"the beautiful," as men loved to call it. Across the harbor the marble tower of the great lighthouse soared up... more...


I. USES OF GREAT MEN. It is natural to believe in great men. If the companions of our childhood should turn out to be heroes, and their condition regal, it would not surprise us. All mythology opens with demigods, and the circumstance is high and poetic; that is, their genius is paramount. In the legends of the Gautama, the first men ate the earth, and found it deliciously sweet. Nature seems to exist for the excellent. The world is upheld by... more...

LIFE OF NIKIAS. As it appears to me that the life of Nikias forms a good parallel to that of Crassus, and that the misfortunes of the former in Sicily may be well compared with those of the latter in Parthia, I must beg of my readers to believe that in writing upon a subject which has been described by Thucydides with inimitable grace, clearness, and pathos, I have no ambition to imitate Timæus, who, when writing his history, hoped to... more...

CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION—PARENTAGE—LIFE IN SCOTLAND IN THE LAST CENTURY—EARLY EDUCATION—SCHOOL. The life of a woman entirely devoted to her family duties and to scientific pursuits affords little scope for a biography. There are in it neither stirring events nor brilliant deeds to record; and as my Mother was strongly averse to gossip, and to revelations of private life or of intimate correspondence, nothing of the kind... more...

I The Zone Of Paris From the balcony you look down upon massed and variegated tree- tops as though you were looking down upon a valley forest from a mountain height. Those trees, whose hidden trunks make alleys and squares, are rooted in the history of France. On the dusty gravel of the promenade which runs between the garden and the street a very young man and a girl, tiny figures, are playing with rackets at one of those second-rate ball games... more...

BRAVE DEEDS OF RESCUE BY WOMEN ALICE AYRES AND THE UNION STREET FIRE 'FIRE! FIRE!' It was two o'clock in the morning when this cry was heard in Union Street, Borough, London, and the people who ran to the spot saw an oil shop in flames, and at a window above it a servant girl, Alice Ayres, screaming for help. Some rushed off to summon the fire-brigade, but those who remained feared that before it could arrive the place would be gutted.... more...