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PREFACE The ways of telling a story are as many as the tellers themselves. It is impossible to lay down precise rules by which any one may perfect himself in the art, but it is possible to offer suggestions by which to guide practise in narration toward a gratifying success. Broadly distinguished, there are two methods of telling a story. One uses the extreme of brevity, and makes its chief reliance on the point. The other devotes itself in... more...

FOREWORD Having recently passed into what my great-grandson Shem calls my Anecdotage, it has occurred to me that perhaps some of the recollections of a more or less extended existence upon this globular mass of dust and water that we are pleased to call the earth, may prove of interest to posterity, and I have accordingly, at the earnest solicitation of my grandson, Noah, and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japhet, consented to put them into permanent... more...

A PLEA FOR HUMOR More than half a dozen years have passed since Mr. Andrew Lang, startled for once out of his customary light-heartedness, asked himself, and his readers, and the ghost of Charles Dickens—all three powerless to answer—whether the dismal seriousness of the present day was going to last forever; or whether, when the great wave of earnestness had rippled over our heads, we would pluck up heart to be merry and, if needs... more...

A ADAM(1) (last name unknown), ancestor, explorer, gardener, and inaugurator of history. Biographers differ as to his parentage. Born first Saturday of year 1. Little is known of his childhood. Education: Self-educated. Entered the gardening and orchard business when a young man. Was a strong anti-polygamist. Married Eve, a close relative. Children, Cain and Abel (see them). Was prosperous for some years, but eventually fell prey to his wife's... more...

CHAPTER ONE: THE ETIQUETTE OF COURTSHIP A FEW WORDS ABOUT LOVE Courtship is one of the oldest of social customs, even antedating in some countries such long-established usages as marriage, or the wearing of white neckties with full evening dress. The beginnings of the etiquette of courtship were apparently connected in some way with the custom of "love" between the sexes, and many of the old amatory forms still survive in the modern courtship.... more...


PREFACE. Some eighteen months ago I took this brilliant bunch of brain burrs to my esteemed Publisher and with much enthusiasm invited him to spend a lot of money thereon. The Main Stem in the Works informed me that he had his fingers on the public pulse and just as soon as that pulse began to jump and yell for something from my fiery pen he would throw the Silly Syclopedia at it. Then he placed my MS. in the forward turret of his... more...

THEPIRATE'S POCKET BOOK This book you hold in your hand belonged once to a very celebrated Pirate. He was so celebrated that the newspapers—of that time—always said nice things about him, and always knew what he was doing before he did himself. As he was a very truthful man, he did the things, so that the editors might not get into trouble. Which was kind. By which I do not mean that he was always kind.   Map of Tomb's... more...

PART I. A Sublime Elopement IT WAS clearly a runaway match—never indeed was such a sublime elopement. The four horses were coal-black, with blood-red manes and tails; and they were shod with rubies. They were harnessed to a basaltic car by a single rein of flame. Waving his double-pronged trident in the air, the god struck the blue breast of Cyane, and the waters instantly parted. In rushed the wild chariot, the pale and insensible... more...


SCENE I. "Walked twenty miles over night: up before peep o' day again got a capital place; fell fast asleep; tide rose up to my knees; my hat was changed, my pockets picked, and a fish ran away with my hook; dreamt of being on a Polar expedition and having my toes frozen."   O! IZAAK WALTON!—Izaak Walton!—you have truly got me into a precious line, and I certainly deserve the rod for having, like a gudgeon, so... more...