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CHAPTER IHONOURS ‘Oh, there’s that stick.  What can he want?’ sighed one of a pair of dignified elderly ladies, in black silk, to the other, as in a quiet country-town street they saw themselves about to be accosted by a man of about forty, with the air of a managing clerk, who came up breathlessly, with a flush on his usually pale cheeks. ‘Miss Lang; I beg pardon!  May I be allowed a few... more...

CHAPTER I. CHOOSING A CONFESSOR. It was in the year 1543. King Henry the Eighth of England that day once more pronounced himself the happiest and most enviable man in his kingdom, for to-day he was once more a bridegroom, and Catharine Parr, the youthful widow of Baron Latimer, had the perilous happiness of being selected as the king's sixth consort. Merrily chimed the bells of all the steeples of... more...

CHAPTER I The Bruised Reed The fair girl who was playing a banjo and singing to the wounded soldiers suddenly stopped, and, turning to the surgeon, whispered: “What’s that?” “It sounds like a mob——” With a common impulse they moved to the open window of the hospital and listened. On the soft spring air came the roar of excited thousands sweeping down the avenue from the Capitol toward the... more...

Rambling on foot in the spring of my life and the summer of the year, I came one afternoon to a point which gave me the choice of three directions. Straight before me, the main road extended its dusty length to Boston; on the left a branch went towards the sea, and would have lengthened my journey a trifle of twenty or thirty miles; while by the right-hand path, I might have gone over hills and lakes... more...

O! I have climbed high, and my reward is small. Here I stand, with wearied knees, earth, indeed, at a dizzy depth below, but heaven far, far beyond me still. O that I could soar up into the very zenith, where man never breathed, nor eagle ever flew, and where the ethereal azure melts away from the eye, and appears only a deepened shade of nothingness! And yet I shiver at that cold and solitary thought.... more...

I have sometimes produced a singular and not unpleasing effect, so far as my own mind was concerned, by imagining a train of incidents, in which the spirit and mechanism of the fairy legend should be combined with the characters and manners of familiar life. In the little tale which follows, a subdued tinge of the wild and wonderful is thrown over a sketch of New England personages and scenery, yet, it... more...

CHAPTER I. I am an innkeeper, and know my grounds,And study them; Brain o' man, I study them.I must have jovial guests to drive my ploughs,And whistling boys to bring my harvests home,Or I shall hear no flails thwack. THE NEW INN. It is the privilege of tale-tellers to open their story in an inn, the free rendezvous of all travellers, and where the humour of each displays itself without ceremony... more...

CHAPTER I In Which the Reader Is Introduced to a Man of Humanity Late in the afternoon of a chilly day in February, two gentlemen were sitting alone over their wine, in a well-furnished dining parlor, in the town of P——, in Kentucky. There were no servants present, and the gentlemen, with chairs closely approaching, seemed to be discussing some subject with great earnestness. For convenience sake,... more...

BEFORE THE CURTAIN As the manager of the Performance sits before the curtain on the boards and looks into the Fair, a feeling of profound melancholy comes over him in his survey of the bustling place. There is a great quantity of eating and drinking, making love and jilting, laughing and the contrary, smoking, cheating, fighting, dancing and fiddling; there are bullies pushing about, bucks ogling the... more...

We must ask pardon of the public for offering it this book, and give it due warning of what it will find therein. The public loves fictitious novels! this is a true novel. It loves books which make a pretence of introducing their readers to fashionable society: this book deals with the life of the street. It loves little indecent books, memoirs of courtesans, alcove confessions, erotic obscenity, the... more...