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PREFACE Writing not long ago to my oldest literary friend, I expressed in a moment of heedless sentiment the wish that we might have again one of our talks of long-past days, over the purposes and methods of our art. And my friend, wiser than I, as he has always been, replied with this doubting phrase "Could we recapture the zest of that old time?" I would not like to believe that our faith in the value of imaginative art has diminished, that... more...

CHAPTER I THE CURSE Julian's father and mother dwelt in a castle built on the slope of a hill, in the heart of the woods. The towers at its four corners had pointed roofs covered with leaden tiles, and the foundation rested upon solid rocks, which descended abruptly to the bottom of the moat. In the courtyard, the stone flagging was as immaculate as the floor of a church. Long rain-spouts, representing dragons with yawning jaws, directed the... more...

Returning from Sydney at the end of October 1890, Stevenson and his wife at once took up their abode in the wooden four-roomed cottage, or “rough barrack,” as he calls it, which had been built for them in the clearing at Vailima during the months of their absence at Sydney and on their cruise in the Equator. Mr. Lloyd Osbourne in the meantime had started for England to wind up the family affairs at Bournemouth. During the first few... more...

"After all," Count d'Avorsy said, stirring his tea with the slow movements of a prelate, "what truth was there in anything that was said at Court, almost without any restraint, and did the Empress, whose beauty has been ruined by some secret grief, who will no longer see anyone and who soothes her continual mental weariness by some journeys without an object and without a rest, in foggy and melancholy islands, and did she really forget Caesar's... more...

The most robust and masculine of recent French novelists is a typical Norman, sprung from an ancient noble family, originally of Lorraine, but long settled in the Pays de Caux. The traveler from England towards Paris, soon after leaving Dieppe, sees on his left hand, immediately beyond the station of St. Aubin, a handsome sixteenth-century house, the Château de Miromesnil, on a hill above the railway. Here, surrounded by the relics of his... more...


The first aim of art, no doubt, is the representation of things as they are. But then things are as our eyes see them and as our minds make them; and it is thus of primary importance for the critic to distinguish the precise qualities of the eyes and minds which make the world into imaginative literature. Reality may be so definite and so false, just as it may be so fantastic and so true; and, among work which we can apprehend as dealing justly... more...

LETTER 264 CHARLES LAMB TO DOROTHY WORDSWORTH [P.M. January 8, 1821.] Mary perfectly approves of the appropriat'n of the feathers, and wishes them Peacocks for your fair niece's sake! Dear Miss Wordsworth, I had just written the above endearing words when Monkhouse tapped me on the shoulder with an invitation to cold goose pye, which I was not Bird of that sort enough to decline. Mrs. M. I am most happy to say is better. Mary has been... more...

This edition of the correspondence of Charles and Mary Lamb contains 618 letters, of which 45 are by Mary Lamb alone. It is the only edition to contain all Mary Lamb's letters and also a reference to, or abstract of, every letter of Charles Lamb's that cannot, for reasons of copyright, be included. Canon Ainger's last edition contains 467 letters and the Every-man's Library Edition contains 572. In 1905 the Boston Bibliophile Society, a wealthy... more...

I Early in the autumn of 1826 the Abbe Birotteau, the principal personage of this history, was overtaken by a shower of rain as he returned home from a friend's house, where he had been passing the evening. He therefore crossed, as quickly as his corpulence would allow, the deserted little square called "The Cloister," which lies directly behind the chancel of the cathedral of Saint-Gatien at Tours. The Abbe Birotteau, a short little man,... more...

CHAPTER I In 1792 the townspeople of Issoudun enjoyed the services of a physician named Rouget, whom they held to be a man of consummate malignity. Were we to believe certain bold tongues, he made his wife extremely unhappy, although she was the most beautiful woman of the neighborhood. Perhaps, indeed, she was rather silly. But the prying of friends, the slander of enemies, and the gossip of acquaintances, had never succeeded in laying bare the... more...