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YOUTH This could have occurred nowhere but in England, where men and sea interpenetrate, so to speak—the sea entering into the life of most men, and the men knowing something or everything about the sea, in the way of amusement, of travel, or of bread-winning. We were sitting round a mahogany table that reflected the bottle, the claret-glasses, and our faces as we leaned on our elbows. There was a director of companies, an accountant, a... more...

My going to Valencia was entirely an accident. But the more often I stated that fact, the more satisfied was everyone at the capital that I had come on some secret mission. Even the venerable politician who acted as our minister, the night of my arrival, after dinner, said confidentially, "Now, Mr. Crosby, between ourselves, what's the game?" "What's what game?" I asked. "You know what I mean," he returned. "What are you here for?" But when,... more...

THE FORBIDDEN PASTURE She sat hunched up in the middle of the silent pasture, where the tall, thin grass ran ripening before the breeze in waves the hue of burnished bronze. Her cow pony grazed greedily a few yards away, lifting his head now and then to gaze inquiringly at her, and then returning to his gluttony with a satisfied snort, commendatory of this long rest. The girl had removed her small sombrero to adjust the masses of tawny hair... more...

CHAPTER I "You chump," I thought contemptuously. I was seven years old at the time, and the gentleman to whom I referred was Henry Ward Beecher. What it was that aroused my contempt for the man will be more fully understood if I tell first of the grudge that I bore him. I was sitting in my mother's pew in the old church in Brooklyn. I was altogether too small for the pew, it was much too wide for the bend at my knees; and my legs, which were... more...

CHAPTER IBEING STAGE DIRECTIONS, AND A CAST OF CHARACTERS Sunshine and prairie grass–well in the foreground. For the background, perhaps a thousand miles away or more than half a decade removed in time, is the American Civil War. In the blue sky a meadow lark’s love song, and in the grass the boom of the prairie chicken’s wings are the only sounds that break the primeval silence, excepting the lisping of the wind which dimples... more...


CHAPTER I   How the Christmas Saint was Proved The whispering died away as they heard heavy steps and saw a line of light under the shut door. Then a last muffled caution from the larger boy on the cot. "Now, remember! There ain't any, but don't you let on there ain't—else he won't bring you a single thing! "Before the despairing soul on the trundle-bed could pierce the vulnerable heel of this, the door opened slowly to the broad... more...

FIRST BRANCH—MYSELF I have kept one secret in the course of my life.  I am a bashful man.  Nobody would suppose it, nobody ever does suppose it, nobody ever did suppose it, but I am naturally a bashful man.  This is the secret which I have never breathed until now. I might greatly move the reader by some account of the innumerable places I have not been to, the innumerable people I have not called upon or received, the... more...

PROLOGUE A straight stretch of dusty Norman road dappled with grotesque shadows of the ancient apple-trees that, bent as if in patient endurance of the weight of their thick-set scarlet fruit, edged it on both sides. Under one of the trees, his back against its gnarled trunk, sat an old man playing a cracked fiddle. He played horribly, wrenching discords from the poor instrument, grinning with a kind of vacant malice as it shrieked aloud in... more...

CHAPTER I. THE HOUSE PARTY The piers of the main entrance of Chadlands were of red brick, and upon each reposed a mighty sphere of grey granite. Behind them stretched away the park, where forest trees, nearly shorn of their leaves at the edge of winter, still answered the setting sun with fires of thinning foliage. They sank away through stretches of brake fern, and already amid their trunks arose a thin, blue haze—breath of earth made... more...

CHAPTER I INTRODUCING MALCOLM HAY If a man is not eager for adventure at the age of twenty-two, the enticement of romantic possibilities will never come to him. The chairman of the Ukraine Oil Company looked with a little amusement at the young man who sat on the edge of a chair by the chairman's desk, and noted how the eye of the youth had kindled at every fresh discouragement which the chairman had put forward. Enthusiasm, reflected the... more...