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CHAPTER I. A Pretty Horsebreaker. The moon had newly risen, a late October moon, a pale almost imperceptible crescent, above the dark pine spires in the thicket through which Roderick Vawdrey came, gun in hand, after a long day's rabbit-shooting. It was not his nearest way home, but he liked the broad clearing in the pine wood, which had a ghostly look at dusk, and was so still and lonely that the dart of a squirrel through the fallen leaves... more...

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...

EL VERDUGO The clock of the little town of Menda had just struck midnight. At that moment a young French officer, leaning on the parapet of a long terrace which bordered the gardens of the chateau de Menda, seemed buried in thoughts that were deeper than comported with the light-hearted carelessness of military life; though it must be said that never were hour, scene, or night more propitious for meditation. The beautiful sky of Spain spread its... more...

CHAPTER I THE VANQUISHED ROMAN Seven years long had the armies of Justinian warred against the Goths in Italy. Victor from Rhegium to Ravenna, the great commander Belisarius had returned to the East, Carrying captive a Gothic king. The cities of the conquered land were garrisoned by barbarians of many tongues, who bore the name of Roman soldiers; the Italian people, brought low by slaughter, dearth, and plague, crouched under the rapacious... more...

CHAPTER I. PROLOGUE In the year 1800, toward the close of October, a foreigner, accompanied by a woman and a little girl, was standing for a long time in front of the palace of the Tuileries, near the ruins of a house recently pulled down, at the point where in our day the wing begins which was intended to unite the chateau of Catherine de Medici with the Louvre of the Valois. The man stood there with folded arms and a bowed head, which he... more...


CHAPTER I.—An Irish Pair and Spoileen Tent —A Marriage Proposal—An Under Agent—An Old Irish Squire and Union Lord. The town of Castle Cumber it is not our intention to describe at more length than simply to say, that it consists of two long streets, intersecting each other, and two or three lanes of cabins—many of them mud ones—that stretch out of it on each side at right angles. This street, and these... more...

MY DEAR COLVIN, - As I rode down last night about six, I saw a sight I must try to tell you of. In front of me, right over the top of the forest into which I was descending was a vast cloud. The front of it accurately represented the somewhat rugged, long-nosed, and beetle-browed profile of a man, crowned by a huge Kalmuck cap; the flesh part was of a heavenly pink, the cap, the moustache, the eyebrows were of a bluish gray; to see this with its... more...

CHAPTER I. THE FRIGHTENED HEIRS Entering Nemours by the road to Paris, we cross the canal du Loing, the steep banks of which serve the double purpose of ramparts to the fields and of picturesque promenades for the inhabitants of that pretty little town. Since 1830 several houses had unfortunately been built on the farther side of the bridge. If this sort of suburb increases, the place will lose its present aspect of graceful originality. In... more...

A VENERABLE IMPOSTOR. As I glance across my table, I am somewhat distracted by the spectacle of a venerable head whose crown occasionally appears beyond, at about its level. The apparition of a very small hand—whose fingers are bunchy and have the appearance of being slightly webbed—which is frequently lifted above the table in a vain and impotent attempt to reach the inkstand, always affects me as a novelty at each recurrence of the... more...

An April Day My study has been a dull place of late; even the open fire, which still lingers on the hearth, has failed to exorcise a certain gray and weary spirit which has somehow taken possession of the premises. As I was thinking this morning about the best way of ejecting this unwelcome inmate, it suddenly occurred to me that for some time past my study has been simply a workshop; the fire has been lighted early and burned late, the windows... more...