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CHAPTER I. SPILLED OUT. Sylvie Argenter was driving about in her mother's little basket-phæton. There was a story about this little basket-phæton, a story, and a bit of domestic diplomacy. The story would branch away, back and forward; which I cannot, right here in this first page, let it do. It would tell—taking the little carriage for a text and key—ever so much about aims and ways and principles, and the drift of a... more...

It was four o'clock in the morning. Mrs. Walter Majendie still lay on the extreme edge of the bed, with her face turned to the dim line of sea discernible through the open window of the hotel bedroom. Since midnight, when she had gone to bed, she had lain in that uncomfortable position, motionless, irremediably awake. Mrs. Walter Majendie was thinking. At first the night had gone by her unperceived, black and timeless. Now she could measure... more...

WE THREE I When I know that Lucy is going to Palm Beach for the winter I shall go to Aiken. When I know that she is going to Aiken, I shall go to Palm Beach. And I shall play the same game with Bar Harbor, Newport, Europe, and other summer resorts. So we shall only meet by accident, and hardly ever. We've been asked not to. But I ought to begin further back. It would do no harm to begin at the beginning. There is even a king's advice to that... more...

THE VICAR'S FAMILY. With that regal indolent air she hadSo confident of her charm. Owen Meredith. Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear. Shakespeare. Amongst the divers domestic complications into which short-sighted man is prone to fall there is none which has been more conclusively proved to be an utter and egregious failure than that family arrangement which, for lack of a better name, I will call a "composite household." No one... more...

PREFACE. This slightly-built romance was the outcome of a wish to set the emotional history of two infinitesimal lives against the stupendous background of the stellar universe, and to impart to readers the sentiment that of these contrasting magnitudes the smaller might be the greater to them as men. But, on the publication of the book people seemed to be less struck with these high aims of the author than with their own opinion, first, that... more...


CHAPTER I Enter Eleanor A child in a faded tam-o’-shanter that had once been baby blue, and a shoddy coat of a glaring, unpropitious newness, was sitting uncomfortably on the edge of a hansom seat, and gazing soberly out at the traffic of Fifth Avenue. The young man beside her, a blond, sleek, narrow-headed youth in eye-glasses, was literally making conversation with her. That is, he was engaged in a palpable effort to make... more...

CHAPTER I AT THE SIGN OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN "That it may please Thee to preserve all that travel by land or by water . . . all sick persons, and young children."—THE LITANY. "I love my love with a H'aitch, because he's 'andsome—" Tilda turned over on her right side—she could do so now without pain— and lifting herself a little, eyed the occupant of the next bed. The other six beds in the ward were empty. "I 'ate 'im,... more...

A man who is not born with the novel-writing gift has a troublesome time of it when he tries to build a novel. I know this from experience. He has no clear idea of his story; in fact he has no story. He merely has some people in his mind, and an incident or two, also a locality. He knows these people, he knows the selected locality, and he trusts that he can plunge those people into those incidents with interesting results. So he goes to work. To... more...

CHAPTER I. THE YOUNG OUTLAW. "Boy, is this Canal Street?" The speaker was evidently from the country. He was a tall man, with prominent features, and a face seamed and wrinkled by the passage of nearly seventy years. He wore a rusty cloak, in the style of thirty years gone by, and his clothing generally was of a fashion seldom seen on Broadway. The boy addressed was leaning against a lamppost, with both hands in his pockets. His clothes were... more...

I. Mrs. Dewsbury's lawn was held by those who knew it the loveliest in Surrey. The smooth and springy sward that stretched in front of the house was all composed of a tiny yellow clover. It gave beneath the foot like the pile on velvet. One's gaze looked forth from it upon the endless middle distances of the oak-clad Weald, with the uncertain blue line of the South Downs in the background. Ridge behind ridge, the long, low hills of paludina... more...