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CHAPTER I THE CABLE PROM MERVO A pretty girl in a blue dress came out of the house, and began to walk slowly across the terrace to where Elsa Keith sat with Marvin Rossiter in the shade of the big sycamore. Elsa and Marvin had become engaged some few days before, and were generally to be found at this time sitting together in some shaded spot in the grounds of the Keith's Long Island home. "What's troubling Betty, I wonder," said Elsa. "She... more...

CHAPTER ONE Through the curtained windows of the furnished apartment which Mrs. Horace Hignett had rented for her stay in New York rays of golden sunlight peeped in like the foremost spies of some advancing army. It was a fine summer morning. The hands of the Dutch clock in the hall pointed to thirteen minutes past nine; those of the ormolu clock in the sitting-room to eleven minutes past ten; those of the carriage clock on the bookshelf to... more...

PREFACE There is an old story of a punctiliously polite Greek, who, while performing the funeral of an infant daughter, felt bound to make his excuses to the spectators for "bringing out such a ridiculously small corpse to so large a crowd." The Author, although he trusts that the present production has more vitality than the Greek gentleman's child, still feels that in these days of philosophical fiction, metaphysical romance, and novels with... more...

CHAPTER I. SALLY GIVES A PARTY 1 Sally looked contentedly down the long table. She felt happy at last. Everybody was talking and laughing now, and her party, rallying after an uncertain start, was plainly the success she had hoped it would be. The first atmosphere of uncomfortable restraint, caused, she was only too well aware, by her brother Fillmore's white evening waistcoat, had worn off; and the male and female patrons of Mrs. Meecher's... more...

A Busy Day William awoke and rubbed his eyes. It was Christmas Day—the day to which he had looked forward with mingled feelings for twelve months. It was a jolly day, of course—presents and turkey and crackers and staying up late. On the other hand, there were generally too many relations about, too much was often expected of one, the curious taste displayed by people who gave one presents often marred one's pleasure. He looked... more...


LITERARY LAPSES My Financial Career When I go into a bank I get rattled. The clerks rattle me; the wickets rattle me; the sight of the money rattles me; everything rattles me. The moment I cross the threshold of a bank and attempt to transact business there, I become an irresponsible idiot. I knew this beforehand, but my salary had been raised to fifty dollars a month and I felt that the bank was the only place for it. So I shambled in and... more...

CHAPTER I To the door of an inn in the provincial town of N. there drew up a smart britchka—a light spring-carriage of the sort affected by bachelors, retired lieutenant-colonels, staff-captains, land-owners possessed of about a hundred souls, and, in short, all persons who rank as gentlemen of the intermediate category. In the britchka was seated such a gentleman—a man who, though not handsome, was not ill-favoured, not over-fat,... more...

INTRODUCTION Ever since 1759, when Voltaire wrote "Candide" in ridicule of the notion that this is the best of all possible worlds, this world has been a gayer place for readers. Voltaire wrote it in three days, and five or six generations have found that its laughter does not grow old. "Candide" has not aged. Yet how different the book would have looked if Voltaire had written it a hundred and fifty years later than 1759. It would have been,... more...

Mrs. Ballinger is one of the ladies who pursue Culture in bands, as though it were dangerous to meet alone. To this end she had founded the Lunch Club, an association composed of herself and several other indomitable huntresses of erudition. The Lunch Club, after three or four winters of lunching and debate, had acquired such local distinction that the entertainment of distinguished strangers became one of its accepted functions; in recognition... more...

CHAPTER I THROWN ON THE WORLD "Miss Winnifred," said the Old Lawyer, looking keenly over and through his shaggy eyebrows at the fair young creature seated before him, "you are this morning twenty-one." Winnifred Clair raised her deep mourning veil, lowered her eyes and folded her hands. "This morning," continued Mr. Bonehead, "my guardianship is at an end." There was a tone of something like emotion in the voice of the stern old lawyer,... more...