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PREFACE This story of the Mellstock Quire and its old established west-gallery musicians, with some supplementary descriptions of similar officials in Two on a Tower, A Few Crusted Characters, and other places, is intended to be a fairly true picture, at first hand, of the personages, ways, and customs which were common among such orchestral bodies in the villages of fifty or sixty years ago. One is inclined to regret the displacement of these... more...

CHAPTER I Like a sudden cloudburst the dormitory had gone into a frenzy of sound. Doors slammed, feet trampled, hoarse voices reverberated, heavy bodies flung themselves along the corridor, the very electrics trembled with the cataclysm. One moment all was quiet with a contented after-dinner-peace-before-study hours; the next it was as if all the forces of the earth had broken forth. Paul Courtland stepped to his door and threw it back. "Come... more...

Chapter One. The Squatter’s Clearing. The white-headed eagle, soaring above the spray of a Tennessean forest, looks down upon the clearing of the squatter. To the eye of the bird it is alone visible; and though but a spot in the midst of that immense green sea, it is conspicuous by the colour of the trees that stand over it. They stand, but grow not: the girdling ring around their stems has deprived them of their sap; the ivory bill of... more...

CHAPTER 1 The description of the family of Wakefield; in which a kindred likeness prevails as well of minds as of persons I was ever of opinion, that the honest man who married and brought up a large family, did more service than he who continued single, and only talked of population. From this motive, I had scarce taken orders a year before I began to think seriously of matrimony, and chose my wife as she did her wedding gown, not for a fine... more...

PREFACE. The writing of prefaces is, for the most part, work thrown away; and the writing of a preface to a novel is almost always a vain thing. Nevertheless, I am tempted to prefix a few words to this novel on its completion, not expecting that many people will read them, but desirous, in doing so, of defending myself against a charge which may possibly be made against me by the critics,—as to which I shall be unwilling to revert after it... more...


CHAPTER I "Woe on you, mothers of nothing! May the scourge of Allah flay you as you go!" The mother of Iskender held the doorway of her little house in a posture of spitting defiance. Rancour, deep-rooted and boundless, ranged in her guttural snarl. Her black eyes burned to kill, their thick brows quite united by the energy of her frown as she gazed across a sand-dell, chary of vegetation but profuse in potsherds, towards the white walls and... more...

CHAPTER I It was about six o'clock of a winter's morning. In the eastern sky faint streaks of grey had come and were succeeded by flashes of red, crimson-cloaked heralds of the coming day. It had snowed the day before, but a warm wind had sprung up during the night, and the snow had partially melted, leaving the earth showing through in ugly patches of yellow clay and sooty mud. Half despoiled of their white mantle, though with enough of it left... more...

FRIDAY AFTERNOON. The Sunday sermon was finished, and the young rector of St. Mark's turned gladly from his study-table to the pleasant south window where the June roses were peeping in, and abandoned himself for a few moments to the feeling of relief he always experienced when his week's work was done. To say that no secular thoughts had intruded themselves upon the rector's mind, as he planned and wrote that sermon, would not be true; for,... more...

SISTER TERESA I As soon as Mother Philippa came into the parlour Evelyn guessed there must be serious trouble in the convent. "But what is the matter, Mother Philippa?" "Well, my dear, to tell you the truth, we have no money at all." "None at all! You must have some money." "As a matter of fact we have none, and Mother Prioress won't let us order anything from the tradespeople." "Why not?" "She will not run into debt; and she's quite... more...

Chapter IHiram's Hospital   The Rev. Septimus Harding was, a few years since, a beneficed clergyman residing in the cathedral town of ––––; let us call it Barchester. Were we to name Wells or Salisbury, Exeter, Hereford, or Gloucester, it might be presumed that something personal was intended; and as this tale will refer mainly to the cathedral dignitaries of the town in question, we are anxious that no personality... more...