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It is very seldom that mere ordinary people like John and myself secure ancestral halls for the summer. A colonial mansion, a hereditary estate, I would say a haunted house, and reach the height of romantic felicity—but that would be asking too much of fate! Still I will proudly declare that there is something queer about it. Else, why should it be let so cheaply? And why have stood so long untenanted? John laughs at me, of course, but... more...

CHAPTER I The White Linen Nurse was so tired that her noble expression ached. Incidentally her head ached and her shoulders ached and her lungs ached and the ankle-bones of both feet ached quite excruciatingly. But nothing of her felt permanently incapacitated except her noble expression. Like a strip of lip-colored lead suspended from her poor little nose by two tugging wire-gray wrinkles her persistently conscientious sickroom smile seemed to... more...

The difficulty was, in the first place, one of date—not the date of a month or a year, but of a generation or a century. Had Thorley Masterman found himself in love with Rosie Fay in 1760, or even in 1860, there would have been little to adjust and nothing to gainsay. In 1860 the Fays were still as good as the Thorleys, and almost as good as the Mastermans. Going back as far as 1760, the Fays might have been considered better than the... more...

I CONCERNING FANCY AND SAINT MARGARET'S Would it ever have happened at all if Trustee Day had not fallen on the 30th of April—which is May Eve, as everybody knows? This is something you must ask of those wiser than I, for I am only the story-teller, sitting in the shadow of the market-place, passing on the tale that comes to my ears. But I can remind you that May Eve is one of the most bewitched and bewitching times of the whole... more...

The "Canuck" That Saved Flour Gold "A fellow must have something against himself—he certainly must—to live down here year in and year out and never do a lick of work on a trail like this, that he's usin' constant. Gettin' off half a dozen times to lift the front end of your horse around a point, and then the back end—there's nothin' to it!" Grumbling to himself and talking whimsically to the three horses stringing behind... more...


CHAPTER I THE STRANGE MAN'S ARRIVAL The stranger came early in February, one wintry day, through a biting wind and a driving snow, the last snowfall of the year, over the down, walking from Bramblehurst railway station, and carrying a little black portmanteau in his thickly gloved hand. He was wrapped up from head to foot, and the brim of his soft felt hat hid every inch of his face but the shiny tip of his nose; the snow had piled itself... more...

THE VANISHING MAN The school of St. Margaret's Hospital was fortunate in its lecturer on Medical Jurisprudence, or Forensic Medicine, as it is sometimes described. At some schools the lecturer on this subject is appointed apparently for the reason that he lacks the qualifications to lecture on any other. But with us it was very different: John Thorndyke was not only an enthusiast, a man of profound learning and great reputation, but he was an... more...

Upon a day near the end of August, one long, brilliant South African winter, when the old Vierkleur waved over the Transvaal, and what is now the Orange River Colony was the Orange Free State, with the Dutch canton still showing on the staff-head corner of its tribarred flag, two large, heavily-laden waggons rolled over the grass-veld, only now thinking about changing from yellow into green. Many years previously the wheels of the old... more...

CHAPTER I IN WHICH CERTAIN SUSPICIONS ARE EXCITED A grey, sunless morning on the Firth of Tay. Across a wide, sandy waste stretching away to the misty sea at Budden, four men were walking. Two wore uniform—one an alert, grey-haired general, sharp and brusque in manner, with many war ribbons across his tunic; the other a tall, thin-faced staff captain, who wore the tartan of the Gordon Highlanders. With them were two civilians, both in... more...

CHAPTER I THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR What’s behind this wall? As I write, here in my surgeon’s study, I ask myself that question. What’s behind it? My neighbors? Then what do I know—really know—of them? After all, this wall which rises beyond my desk, the wall against which my glass case of instruments rests, symbolizes the boundary of knowledge—seemingly an opaque barrier. I am called a man of science, a man... more...