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1. One evening of late summer, before the nineteenth century had reached one-third of its span, a young man and woman, the latter carrying a child, were approaching the large village of Weydon-Priors, in Upper Wessex, on foot. They were plainly but not ill clad, though the thick hoar of dust which had accumulated on their shoes and garments from an obviously long journey lent a disadvantageous shabbiness to their appearance just now. The man... 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...

INTRODUCTION Of all the novels and stories which Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley left in manuscript, only one novelette, Mathilda, is complete. It exists in both rough draft and final copy. In this story, as in all Mary Shelley's writing, there is much that is autobiographical: it would be hard to find a more self-revealing work. For an understanding of Mary's character, especially as she saw herself, and of her attitude toward Shelley and toward... more...

CHAPTER I One morning, in the fall of 1880, a middle-aged woman, accompanied by a young girl of eighteen, presented herself at the clerk's desk of the principal hotel in Columbus, Ohio, and made inquiry as to whether there was anything about the place that she could do. She was of a helpless, fleshy build, with a frank, open countenance and an innocent, diffident manner. Her eyes were large and patient, and in them dwelt such a shadow of... 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...