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I. The Period It was the best of times,it was the worst of times,it was the age of wisdom,it was the age of foolishness,it was the epoch of belief,it was the epoch of incredulity,it was the season of Light,it was the season of Darkness,it was the spring of hope,it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way— in short, the... more...

Chapter I “We,” said Mrs. Solomon Black with weighty emphasis, “are going to get up a church fair and raise that money, and we are going to pay your salary. We can't stand it another minute. We had better run in debt to the butcher and baker than to the Lord.” Wesley Elliot regarded her gloomily. “I never liked the idea of church fairs very well,” he returned hesitatingly. “It has always seemed to me... more...

BEFORE THE CURTAIN As the manager of the Performance sits before the curtain on the boards and looks into the Fair, a feeling of profound melancholy comes over him in his survey of the bustling place. There is a great quantity of eating and drinking, making love and jilting, laughing and the contrary, smoking, cheating, fighting, dancing and fiddling; there are bullies pushing about, bucks ogling the women, knaves picking pockets, policemen on... more...

CHAPTER I I SET OFF UPON MY JOURNEY TO THE HOUSE OF SHAWS I will begin the story of my adventures with a certain morning early in the month of June, the year of grace 1751, when I took the key for the last time out of the door of my father's house. The sun began to shine upon the summit of the hills as I went down the road; and by the time I had come as far as the manse, the blackbirds were whistling in the garden lilacs, and the mist that hung... more...

CHAPTER 1. I AM BORN Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday, at twelve o'clock at night. It was remarked that the clock began to strike, and I began to cry, simultaneously. In consideration of the day and hour of my birth, it was... more...


Preface. In the following pages I have endeavoured to give a vivid picture of the wonderful events of the ten years, which at their commencement saw Madras in the hands of the French--Calcutta at the mercy of the Nabob of Bengal--and English influence apparently at the point of extinction in India--and which ended in the final triumph of the English, both in Bengal and Madras. There were yet great battles to be fought, great efforts to be made,... more...

CHAPTER I. THE PICKWICKIANS The first ray of light which illumines the gloom, and converts into a dazzling brilliancy that obscurity in which the earlier history of the public career of the immortal Pickwick would appear to be involved, is derived from the perusal of the following entry in the Transactions of the Pickwick Club, which the editor of these papers feels the highest pleasure in laying before his readers, as a proof of the careful... more...

THE ESMONDS OF VIRGINIA. The estate of Castlewood, in Virginia, which was given to our ancestors by King Charles the First, as some return for the sacrifices made in his Majesty's cause by the Esmond family, lies in Westmoreland county, between the rivers Potomac and Rappahannock, and was once as great as an English Principality, though in the early times its revenues were but small. Indeed, for near eighty years after our forefathers possessed... more...

Vol. 1 LONDON,Printed for J. DODSLEY, in Pall Mall.MDCCLXIX. TO HIS EXCELLENCY GUY CARLETON, Esq. GOVERNOR AND COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF His Majesty’s Province of QUEBEC, &c. &c. &c. SIR, As the scene of so great a part of the following work is laid in Canada, I flatter myself there is a peculiar propriety in addressing it to your excellency, to whose probity and enlightened attention the colony owes its happiness, and... more...

OUR PARISH CHAPTER I—THE BEADLE.  THE PARISH ENGINE.  THE SCHOOLMASTER How much is conveyed in those two short words—‘The Parish!’  And with how many tales of distress and misery, of broken fortune and ruined hopes, too often of unrelieved wretchedness and successful knavery, are they associated!  A poor man, with small earnings, and a large family, just manages to live on from hand to mouth, and to... more...