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THE SISTINE MADONNA John turned a little to the left, going nearer to the window, where he could gain a better view of the Madonna, which he had heard so often was the most famous picture in the world. He was no technical judge of painting—he was far too young for such knowledge—but he always considered the effect of the whole upon himself, and he was satisfied with that method, feeling perhaps that he gained more from it than if he... more...

Preface. As many boys into whose hands the present volume may fall will not have read my last year's book, With Moore in Corunna, of which this is a continuation, it is necessary that a few words should be said, to enable them to take up the thread of the story. It was impossible, in the limits of one book, to give even an outline of the story of the Peninsular War, without devoting the whole space to the military operations. It would, in fact,... more...

Section I THE history of mankind is the history of the attainment of external power. Man is the tool-using, fire-making animal. From the outset of his terrestrial career we find him supplementing the natural strength and bodily weapons of a beast by the heat of burning and the rough implement of stone. So he passed beyond the ape. From that he expands. Presently he added to himself the power of the horse and the ox, he borrowed the carrying... more...

THE TWO EMPRESSES   “Look!” A fair, delicately-molded hand, on which glittered gems worth a raja’s loyalty, was extended in the direction of the sea. Half a mile out, where the light ripples melted away into a blue and white haze upon the water, a small black smudge, like the back of a porpoise, seemed to be sliding along the surface. But it was not a porpoise, for out of it there rose a thin, black shaft, scarcely... more...

CHAPTER I THE TRENCH A young man was shaving. His feet rested upon a broad plank embedded in mud, and the tiny glass in which he saw himself hung upon a wall of raw, reeking earth. A sky, somber and leaden, arched above him, and now and then flakes of snow fell in the sodden trench, but John Scott went on placidly with his task. The face that looked back at him had been changed greatly in the last six months. The smoothness of early youth was... more...


STRUGGLING IN THE WORLD. Do you know where it is -- the Hollow Land? I have been looking for it now so long, trying to find it again the Hollow Land for there I saw my love first. I wish to tell you how I found it first of all; but I am old, my memory fails me: you must wait and let me think if I perchance can tell you how it happened. Yea, in my ears is a confused noise of trumpet-blasts singing over desolate moors, in my ears and eyes a... more...

HE two rooms were not luxurious, but MacMaine hadn't expected that they would be. The walls were a flat metallic gray, unadorned and windowless. The ceilings and floors were simply continuations of the walls, except for the glow-plates overhead. One room held a small cabinet for his personal possessions, a wide, reasonably soft bed, a small but adequate desk, and, in one corner, a cubicle that contained the necessary sanitary plumbing facilities.... more...

Chapter I The Train The boy in the third wagon was suffering from exhaustion. The days and days of walking over the rolling prairie, under a brassy sun, the hard food of the train, and the short hours of rest, had put too severe a trial upon his delicate frame. Now, as he lay against the sacks and boxes that had been drawn up to form a sort of couch for him, his breath came in short gasps, and his face was very pale. His brother, older, and... more...

To save a Comrade. A sharp volley, which ran echoing along the ravine, then another, just as the faint bluish smoke from some hundred or two muskets floated up into the bright sunshine from amidst the scattered chestnuts and cork-trees that filled the lower part of the beautiful gorge, where, now hidden, now flashing out and scattering the rays of the sun, a torrent roared and foamed along its rocky course onward towards its junction with the... more...

Father and I “Argue the Point.” “Hullo, father!” I sang out, when we had got a little way out from the pontoon and opened the mouth of the harbour, noticing, as I looked over my shoulder to see how we were steering, a string of flags being run up aboard the old Saint Vincent. “They’re signalling away like mad this morning all over the shop! First, atop of the dockyard semaphore; and then the flagship and the... more...