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CHAPTER I The Dressmaker's Apprentice at Work  There is an assize-town in one of the eastern counties which was much distinguished by the Tudor sovereigns, and, in consequence of their favour and protection, attained a degree of importance that surprises the modern traveller. A hundred years ago its appearance was that of picturesque grandeur. The old houses, which were the temporary residences of such of the county-families as contented... 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...

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...

ESPERANCE, THE SON OF MONTE-CRISTO. Esperance, the son of Monte-Cristo, lay sleeping in the comfortable bed provided for him in the house of Fanfar, the French colonist, as related at the close of the preceding volume, "The Wife of Monte-Cristo." The prostration and exhaustion brought on by the excitement and fatigue of his terrible adventure with the remorseless Khouans rendered his sleep as leaden as the sleep of death; indeed, had it not been... more...

A WHITE ROSE Even when Annesley Grayle turned out of the Strand toward the Savoy she was uncertain whether she would have courage to walk into the hotel. With each step the thing, the dreadful thing, that she had come to do, loomed blacker. It was monstrous, impossible, like opening the door of the lions' cage at the Zoo and stepping inside. There was time still to change her mind. She had only to turn now ... jump into an omnibus ... jump out... more...


CHAPTER I THE PRINCESS CINDERELLA When the society editor of "America's foremost newspaper," as in its trademark it proclaims itself to be, announced that the Rodney Aldriches had taken the Allison McCreas' house, furnished, for a year, beginning in October, she spoke of it as an ideal arrangement. As everybody knew, it was an ideal house for a young married couple, and it was equally evident that the Rodney Aldriches were an ideal couple for... more...

On a dreary afternoon of November, when London was closely wrapped in a yellow fog, Hermione Lester was sitting by the fire in her house in Eaton Place reading a bundle of letters, which she had just taken out of her writing-table drawer. She was expecting a visit from the writer of the letters, Emile Artois, who had wired to her on the previous day that he was coming over from Paris by the night train and boat. Miss Lester was a woman of... more...

Chapter 1 Sir Walter Elliot, of Kellynch Hall, in Somersetshire, was a man who, for his own amusement, never took up any book but the Baronetage; there he found occupation for an idle hour, and consolation in a distressed one; there his faculties were roused into admiration and respect, by contemplating the limited remnant of the earliest patents; there any unwelcome sensations, arising from domestic affairs changed naturally into pity and... more...

TO YOU Blue Wednesday The first Wednesday in every month was a Perfectly Awful Day—a day to be awaited with dread, endured with courage and forgotten with haste. Every floor must be spotless, every chair dustless, and every bed without a wrinkle. Ninety-seven squirming little orphans must be scrubbed and combed and buttoned into freshly starched ginghams; and all ninety-seven reminded of their manners, and told to say, 'Yes, sir,' 'No,... 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...