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CHAPTER I. MY FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES The odds and ends of humanity, so plentiful in London's great city, have for many years largely constituted my circle of friends and acquaintances. They are strange people, for each of them is, or was, possessed of some dominating vice, passion, whim or weakness which made him incapable of fulfilling the ordinary duties of respectable citizenship. They had all descended from the Upper World, to live out... more...

I The Woman in the Case On a sultry August afternoon in 1903, a dapper, if somewhat anaemic, young man entered the Broadway store of Rogers, Peet & Company, in New York City, and asked to be allowed to look at a suit of clothes. Having selected one to his fancy and arranged for some alterations, he produced from his wallet a check for $280, drawn to the order of George B. Lang, and signed E. Bierstadt, and remarked to the attentive... more...

INTRODUCTION There are other manifestations of greatness than to relieve suffering or to wreck an empire. Julius Cæsar and John Howard are not the only heroes who have smiled upon the world. In the supreme adaptation of means to an end there is a constant nobility, for neither ambition nor virtue is the essential of a perfect action. How shall you contemplate with indifference the career of an artist whom genius or good guidance has... more...

CHAPTER I. THE STATISTICS OF CRIME. It is only within the present century, and in some countries it is only within the present generation, that the possibility has arisen of conducting the study of criminal problems on anything approaching an exact and scientific basis. Before the introduction of a system of criminal statistics—a step taken by most peoples within the memory of men still living—it was impossible for civilised... more...

About the end of the reign of the Emperor Paul I—that is to say, towards the middle of the first year of the nineteenth century—just as four o'clock in the afternoon was sounding from the church of St. Peter and St. Paul, whose gilded vane overlooks the ramparts of the fortress, a crowd, composed of all sorts and conditions of people, began to gather in front of a house which belonged to General Count Tchermayloff, formerly military... more...


I WHAT IS CRIME?   There can be no sane discussion of "crime" and "criminals" without an investigation of the meaning of the words. A large majority of men, even among the educated, speak of a "criminal" as if the word had a clearly defined meaning and as if men were divided by a plain and distinct line into the criminal and the virtuous. As a matter of fact, there is no such division, and from the nature of things, there never can be... more...

TWELVE CAUSES OF DISHONESTY Only extraordinary circumstances can give the appearance of dishonesty to an honest man. Usually, not to seem honest, is not to be so. The quality must not be doubtful like twilight, lingering between night and day and taking hues from both; it must be day-light, clear, and effulgent. This is the doctrine of the Bible: Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. In... more...

PREFACE In offering this study of the American desperado, the author constitutes himself no apologist for the acts of any desperado; yet neither does he feel that apology is needed for the theme itself. The outlaw, the desperado—that somewhat distinct and easily recognizable figure generally known in the West as the "bad man"—is a character unique in our national history, and one whose like scarcely has been produced in any land... more...

About the end of the year 1639, a troop of horsemen arrived, towards midday, in a little village at the northern extremity of the province of Auvergne, from the direction of Paris. The country folk assembled at the noise, and found it to proceed from the provost of the mounted police and his men. The heat was excessive, the horses were bathed in sweat, the horsemen covered with dust, and the party seemed on its return from an important... more...

INTRODUCTION The contents of these volumes of 'Celebrated Crimes', as well as the motives which led to their inception, are unique. They are a series of stories based upon historical records, from the pen of Alexandre Dumas, pere, when he was not "the elder," nor yet the author of D'Artagnan or Monte Cristo, but was a rising young dramatist and a lion in the literary set and world of fashion. Dumas, in fact, wrote his 'Crimes Celebres' just... more...