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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...

CHAPTER I: CHARON MAKES A DISCOVERY Charon, the Ferryman of renown, was cruising slowly along the Styx one pleasant Friday morning not long ago, and as he paddled idly on he chuckled mildly to himself as he thought of the monopoly in ferriage which in the course of years he had managed to build up. “It’s a great thing,” he said, with a smirk of satisfaction—“it’s a great thing to be the go-between between two... more...

A PESSIMISTIC VIEW A little bit of Thackeray, A little bit of Scott, A modicum of Dickens just To tangle up the plot, A paraphrase of Marryat, Another from Dumas— You ask me for a novel, sir, And I say, there you are. The pen is greater than the sword, Of that there is no doubt. The pen for me whene’er I wish An enemy to rout. A pen, a pad, and say a pint Of ink with which to scrawl, To put a foe to flight is all... more...

CHAPTER I. INTRODUCING MR. HOPKINS TOPPLETON. Mr. Hopkins Toppleton, Barrister of London and New York, was considered by his intimates a most fortunate young man. He was accounted the happy possessor of an income of something over fifty thousand dollars a year, derived from investments which time had shown to be as far removed from instability, and as little influenced by the fluctuations of the stock market, as the pyramids of Egypt... more...

I The Associated Shades Take Action   The House-boat of the Associated Shades, formerly located upon the River Styx, as the reader may possibly remember, had been torn from its moorings and navigated out into unknown seas by that vengeful pirate Captain Kidd, aided and abetted by some of the most ruffianly inhabitants of Hades. Like a thief in the night had they come, and for no better reason than that the Captain had been unanimously... more...


It was before the Idiot's marriage, and in the days when he was nothing more than a plain boarder in Mrs. Smithers-Pedagog's High-class Home for Single Gentlemen, that he put what the School-master termed his "alleged mind" on plans for the amelioration of the condition of the civilized. "The trials of the barbarian are really nothing as compared with the tribulations of civilized man," he said, as the waitress passed him a piece of steak that... more...

THE IDIOT I For some weeks after the happy event which transformed the popular Mrs. Smithers into the charming Mrs. John Pedagog all went well at that lady's select home for single gentlemen. It was only proper that during the honey-moon, at least, of the happy couple hostilities between the Idiot and his fellow-boarders should cease. It was expecting too much of mankind, however, to look for a continued armistice, and the morning arrived... more...

I. THE DISCOVERY It is a strange fact, for which I do not expect ever satisfactorily to account, and which will receive little credence even among those who know that I am not given to romancing—it is a strange fact, I say, that the substance of the following pages has evolved itself during a period of six months, more or less, between the hours of midnight and four o'clock in the morning, proceeding directly from a type-writing machine... more...

THE BOOMING OF ACRE HILL Acre Hill ten years ago was as void of houses as the primeval forest. Indeed, in many ways it suggested the primeval forest. Then the Acre Hill Land Improvement Company sprang up in a night, and before the bewildered owners of its lovely solitudes and restful glades, who had been paying taxes on their property for many years, quite grasped the situation they found that they had sold out, and that their old-time... more...

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