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CHAPTER I In Which the Reader Is Introduced to a Man of Humanity Late in the afternoon of a chilly day in February, two gentlemen were sitting alone over their wine, in a well-furnished dining parlor, in the town of P——, in Kentucky. There were no servants present, and the gentlemen, with chairs closely approaching, seemed to be discussing some subject with great earnestness. For convenience sake, we have said, hitherto, two... more...

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. 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...

Towards the end of November, during a thaw, at nine o'clock one morning, a train on the Warsaw and Petersburg railway was approaching the latter city at full speed. The morning was so damp and misty that it was only with great difficulty that the day succeeded in breaking; and it was impossible to distinguish anything more than a few yards away from the carriage windows. Some of the passengers by this particular train were returning from abroad;... more...

CHAPTER I. PROLOGUE. That Truth is, by far, stranger than Fiction, the lessons of our daily lives teach us who dwell in the marts of civilization, and therefore we cannot wonder that those who live in scenes where the rifle, revolver and knife are in constant use, to protect and take life, can strange tales tell of thrilling perils met and subdued, and romantic incidents occurring that are far removed from the stern realities of existence. 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...

THE KING OF THE REBU. The sun was blazing down upon a city on the western shore of the Caspian. It was a primitive city, and yet its size and population rendered it worthy of the term. It consisted of a vast aggregation of buildings, which were for the most part mere huts. Among them rose, however, a few of more solid build and of higher pretensions. These were the abodes of the chiefs and great men, the temples, and places of assembly. But... more...

JAMES FENIMORE COOPER "I believe I could write a better story myself!" With these words, since become famous, James Fenimore Cooper laid aside the English novel which he was reading aloud to his wife. A few days later he submitted several pages of manuscript for her approval, and then settled down to the task of making good his boast. In November, 1820, he gave the public a novel in two volumes, entitled Precaution. But it was published... more...

CHAPTER I. THE COLISEUM. "Butchered to make a Roman holiday." It was a great festival day in Rome. From all quarters vast numbers of people came pouring forth to one common destination. Over the Capitoline Hill, through the Forum, past the Temple of Peace and the Arch of Titus and the imperial palace; on they went till they reached the Coliseum, where they entered its hundred doors and disappeared within. There a wonderful scene presented... more...

CENTURION'S STORY I am an old man now; the burden of fourscore years is resting upon me. But the events of a certain April day in the year 783 A.U.C.—full half a century ago—are as fresh in my memory as if they had happened yesterday. At that time I was stationed with my Hundred on garrison duty at the Castle of Antonia, in Jerusalem. I had been ordered to take charge of the execution of a malefactor who had just been sentenced to... more...