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JAMES FENIMORE COOPER     The light of this world fell on James Fenimore Cooper September 15, 1789. The founder of American romance was born in a quaint, two-storied house of stuccoed brick which now numbers 457 Main St., Burlington, New Jersey. It was then "the last house but one as you go into the country" and among the best of the town. In a like house next door lived the father of the naval hero, Capt. James Lawrence. These two... more...

CHAPTER I "CHARLIE GORDON" Sixty years ago, at Woolwich, the town on the Thames where the gunners of our army are trained, there lived a mischievous, curly-haired, blue-eyed boy, whose name was Charlie Gordon. The Gordons were a Scotch family, and Charlie came of a race of soldiers. His great-grandfather had fought for King George, and was taken prisoner at the battle of Prestonpans, when many other Gordons were fighting for Prince Charlie.... more...

CHAPTER I HIS ANCESTORS If origin, if early training and habits of life, if tastes, and character, and associations, fix a man's nationality, then John Ruskin must be reckoned a Scotsman. He was born in London, but his family was from Scotland. He was brought up in England, but the friends and teachers, the standards and influences of his early life, were chiefly Scottish. The writers who directed him into the main lines of his thought and work... more...

CHAPTER I THE FIRST BENTINCK A HERO What a delightful story is that of the Portland peerage, in which fidelity, heroism, chivalry and romance are blended and interwoven in the annals of the noble families of England. Who that has been to Welbeck Abbey, that magnificent palace in the heart of Sherwood Forest, with its legends of Robin Hood and his merrie men, with its stately oaks and undulating woodlands, stretching away to fertile pastures,... more...

CHAPTER I. John Bunyan, the author of the book which has probably passed through more editions, had a greater number of readers, and been translated into more languages than any other book in the English tongue, was born in the parish of Elstow, in Bedfordshire, in the latter part of the year 1628, and was baptized in the parish church of the village on the last day of November of that year. The year of John Bunyan’s birth was a momentous... more...


PREFACE The purpose of this book is to help in making literature and the makers of literature alive and interesting. Few schools have libraries including the bound volumes of the magazines of the past quarter of a century. But what an aid such a collection is to the appreciation of literature! The dignified and abbreviated history of literature cannot indulge in such delightful gossip as is found in the freer essay and fuller biography. To... more...

FOREWORD Naturally, there are chapters of my autobiography which cannot now be written. It seems to me that, for the nation as for the individual, what is most important is to insist on the vital need of combining certain sets of qualities, which separately are common enough, and, alas, useless enough. Practical efficiency is common, and lofty idealism not uncommon; it is the combination which is necessary, and the combination is rare. Love of... more...

I A BOYHOOD IN SCOTLAND Earliest Recollections—The "Dandy Doctor" Terror—Deeds of Daring—The Savagery of Boys—School and Fighting—Birds'-nesting. When I was a boy in Scotland I was fond of everything that was wild, and all my life I've been growing fonder and fonder of wild places and wild creatures. Fortunately around my native town of Dunbar, by the stormy North Sea, there was no lack of wildness, though... more...

DR. HÜ KING ENG I CHILDHOOD IN A CHRISTIAN HOME Among the earliest converts to Christianity in South China was Hü Yong Mi, the son of a military mandarin of Foochow. He had been a very devout Buddhist, whose struggles after spiritual peace, and whose efforts to obtain it through fasting, sacrifice, earnest study, and the most scrupulous obedience to all the forms of Buddhist worship, remind one strongly of the experiences of Saul of... more...

My maiden name was Marthy Cannary. I was born in Princeton, Missourri, May 1st, 1852. Father and mother were natives of Ohio. I had two brothers and three sisters, I being the oldest of the children. As a child I always had a fondness for adventure and out-door exercise and especial fondness for horses which I began to ride at an early age and continued to do so until I became an expert rider being able to ride the most vicious and stubborn of... more...