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I. The Period It was the best of times,it was the worst of times,it was the age of wisdom,it was the age of foolishness,it was the epoch of belief,it was the epoch of incredulity,it was the season of Light,it was the season of Darkness,it was the spring of hope,it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way— in short, the... more...

The Author of the Waverley Novels had hitherto proceeded in an unabated course of popularity, and might, in his peculiar district of literature, have been termed "L'Enfant Gate" of success. It was plain, however, that frequent publication must finally wear out the public favour, unless some mode could be devised to give an appearance of novelty to subsequent productions. Scottish manners, Scottish dialect, and Scottish characters of note, being... more...

I must have been no more than fifteen or sixteen years old when I first chanced upon Winesburg, Ohio. Gripped by these stories and sketches of Sherwood Anderson's small-town "grotesques," I felt that he was opening for me new depths of experience, touching upon half-buried truths which nothing in my young life had prepared me for. A New York City boy who never saw the crops grow or spent time in the small towns that lay sprinkled across America,... more...

CHAPTER I. THE PICKWICKIANS The first ray of light which illumines the gloom, and converts into a dazzling brilliancy that obscurity in which the earlier history of the public career of the immortal Pickwick would appear to be involved, is derived from the perusal of the following entry in the Transactions of the Pickwick Club, which the editor of these papers feels the highest pleasure in laying before his readers, as a proof of the careful... more...

Chapter I All is quiet in Moscow. The squeak of wheels is seldom heard in the snow-covered street. There are no lights left in the windows and the street lamps have been extinguished. Only the sound of bells, borne over the city from the church towers, suggests the approach of morning. The streets are deserted. At rare intervals a night-cabman's sledge kneads up the snow and sand in the street as the driver makes his way to another corner where... more...


OUR PARISH CHAPTER I—THE BEADLE.  THE PARISH ENGINE.  THE SCHOOLMASTER How much is conveyed in those two short words—‘The Parish!’  And with how many tales of distress and misery, of broken fortune and ruined hopes, too often of unrelieved wretchedness and successful knavery, are they associated!  A poor man, with small earnings, and a large family, just manages to live on from hand to mouth, and to... more...

CHAPTER I. "Since I can do no good because a woman,Reach constantly at something that is near it.—The Maid's Tragedy: BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER. Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress. Her hand and wrist were so finely formed that she could wear sleeves not less bare of style than those in which the Blessed Virgin appeared to Italian painters; and her profile as well as her stature and bearing... more...

ENSIGN KNIGHTLEY. It was eleven o'clock at night when Surgeon Wyley of His Majesty's ship Bonetta washed his hands, drew on his coat, and walked from the hospital up the narrow cobbled street of Tangier to the Main-Guard by the Catherine Port. In the upper room of the Main-Guard he found Major Shackleton of the Tangier Foot taking a hand at bassette with Lieutenant Scrope of Trelawney's Regiment and young Captain Tessin of the King's Battalion.... more...

CHAPTER 1. I AM BORN Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday, at twelve o'clock at night. It was remarked that the clock began to strike, and I began to cry, simultaneously. In consideration of the day and hour of my birth, it was... more...

CHAPTER I The landlord, the lady, and Mr. Charles Wogan were all three, it seemed, in luck's way that September morning of the year 1719. Wogan was not surprised, his luck for the moment was altogether in, so that even when his horse stumbled and went lame at a desolate part of the road from Florence to Bologna, he had no doubt but that somehow fortune would serve him. His horse stepped gingerly on for a few yards, stopped, and looked round at... more...