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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...

I THE PLEASURES OF IGNORANCE It is impossible to take a walk in the country with an average townsman—especially, perhaps, in April or May—without being amazed at the vast continent of his ignorance. It is impossible to take a walk in the country oneself without being amazed at the vast continent of one's own ignorance. Thousands of men and women live and die without knowing the difference between a beech and an elm, between the song... more...

PART 1 — CAMBRIDGE I "The cow is there," said Ansell, lighting a match and holding it out over the carpet. No one spoke. He waited till the end of the match fell off. Then he said again, "She is there, the cow. There, now." "You have not proved it," said a voice. "I have proved it to myself." "I have proved to myself that she isn't," said the voice. "The cow is not there." Ansell frowned and lit another match. "She's there for me," he... more...

BURNS'S LETTERS. It is not perhaps generally known that the prose of Burns exceeds in quantity his verse. The world remembers him as a poet, and forgets or overlooks his letters. His place among the poets has never been denied—it is in the first rank; nor is he lowest, though little remembered, among letter-writers. His letters gave Jeffrey a higher opinion of him as a man than did his poetry, though on both alike the critic saw the seal... more...

THE LETTERS OF ROBERT BROWNING AND ELIZABETH BARRETT BARRETT 1845-1846 R.B. to E.B.B. New Cross, Hatcham, Surrey.[Post-mark, January 10, 1845.] I love your verses with all my heart, dear Miss Barrett,—and this is no off-hand complimentary letter that I shall write,—whatever else, no prompt matter-of-course recognition of your genius, and there a graceful and natural end of the thing. Since the day last week when I first... more...


LETTER I.   Vanguard, off Malta,  Oct. 24, 1798. MY DEAR MADAM, After a long passage, we are arrived; and it is as I suspected—the ministers at Naples know nothing of the situation of the island. Not a house or bastion of the town is in possession of the islanders; and the Marquis de Niza tells me, they want arms, victuals, and support. He does not know, that any Neapolitan officers are in the island; perhaps,... more...

LETTER XL.   Victory, under Majorca,  January 13th, 1804. MY OWN DEAR BELOVED EMMA, I received, on the 9th, your letters of September 29th, October 2, 7, 10, 12, 17th, November 5th, 8th, to the 24th: and I am truly sensible of all your kindness and affectionate regard for me; which, I am sure, is reciprocal, in every respect, from your own Nelson. If that Lady Bitch knew of that person's coming to her house, it was a... more...

Letter 1 To Sir David Dalrymple.(1)Arlington Street, Jan. 1, 1770. (page 25) Sir, I have read with great pleasure and information, your History of Scottish Councils. It gave me much more satisfaction than I could have expected from so dry a subject. It will be perused, do not doubt it, by men of taste and judgment; and it is happy that it will be read Without occasioning a controversy. The curse of modern times is, that almost every thing does... more...

Letter 1 To George Montagu, Esq.Arlington Street, Nov. 17, 1759. (page 25) I rejoice over your brother's honours, though I certainly had no hand in them. He probably received his staff from the board of trade. If any part of the consequences could be placed to partiality for me, it would be the prevention of your coming to town, which I wished. My lady Cutts(1) is indubitably your own grandmother: the Trevors would once have had it, but by some... more...

CHAPTER VII 1851-1852 Since they first settled in Florence the Brownings had made no long or distant expeditions from their new home. Their summer excursions to Vallombrosa, Lucca, or Siena had been of the nature of short holidays, and had not taken them beyond the limits of Tuscany. Now they had planned a far wider series of travels, which, beginning with Rome, Naples, Venice, and Milan, should then be extended across the Alps, and comprehend... more...