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PROLOGUE I never met Gabrielle Hewish. I suppose I should really call her by that name, for her marriage took the colour out of it as surely as if she had entered a nunnery, and adopted the frigid and sisterly label of some female saint. Nobody had ever heard of her husband before she married him, and nobody ever heard of Gabrielle afterwards, except those who were acquainted with the story of Arthur Payne, as I was, and, perhaps, a coroner's... 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...

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...

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...


1. I. A SUPPOSITITIOUS PRESENTMENT OF HER A person who differed from the local wayfarers was climbing the steep road which leads through the sea-skirted townlet definable as the Street of Wells, and forms a pass into that Gibraltar of Wessex, the singular peninsula once an island, and still called such, that stretches out like the head of a bird into the English Channel. It is connected with the mainland by a long thin neck of pebbles 'cast up... more...

CHAPTER I. ANCIENT HEADS OF THE FAMILY. Not more than a mile from the brisk little town of Nyack, on the Hudson river, and near where the road makes a sharp turn and winds up into the mountain, there lived, in the year 1803, an honest old farmer of the name of Hanz Toodleburg. Hanz was held in high esteem by his neighbors, many of whom persisted in pronouncing his name Toodlebug, and also electing him hog-reef every year, an honor he would... more...

MR. NEVILL TYSON There were only two or three houses in Drayton Parva where Mr. and Mrs. Nevill Tyson were received. A thrill of guilty expectation used to go through the room when they were announced, and people watched them with a fearful interest, as if they were the actors in some enthralling but forbidden drama. Perhaps, if she had been tried by a jury of her peers—but Mrs. Nevill Tyson had no peers in Drayton Parva. She was tried by... more...

CHAPTER I The husband and wife were of a literary turn of mind, and as they had the money to cultivate their artistic tastes he wrote a little and she painted. They also played and sang duets together, at least they had done so when they were first married; now they went to concerts and the opera more frequently instead. They were liked wherever they went, they had friends, they were called "charming people," and still something was wanting to... more...

CHAPTER I. The Overture—After which the Curtain rises upon a Drinking Chorus A crow, who had flown away with a cheese from a dairy-window, sate perched on a tree looking down at a great big frog in a pool underneath him. The frog's hideous large eyes were goggling out of his head in a manner which appeared quite ridiculous to the old blackamoor, who watched the splay-footed slimy wretch with that peculiar grim humour belonging to crows.... more...