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Sir, Notwithstanding your constant refusal, when I have asked leave to prefix your name to this dedication, I must still insist on my right to desire your protection of this work. To you, Sir, it is owing that this history was ever begun. It was by your desire that I first thought of such a composition. So many years have since past, that you may have, perhaps, forgotten this circumstance: but your desires are to me in the nature of commands;... more...

CHAPTER ONE Through the curtained windows of the furnished apartment which Mrs. Horace Hignett had rented for her stay in New York rays of golden sunlight peeped in like the foremost spies of some advancing army. It was a fine summer morning. The hands of the Dutch clock in the hall pointed to thirteen minutes past nine; those of the ormolu clock in the sitting-room to eleven minutes past ten; those of the carriage clock on the bookshelf to... more...

BILL THE BLOODHOUND There's a divinity that shapes our ends. Consider the case of HenryPifield Rice, detective. I must explain Henry early, to avoid disappointment. If I simply said he was a detective, and let it go at that, I should be obtaining the reader's interest under false pretences. He was really only a sort of detective, a species of sleuth. At Stafford's International Investigation Bureau, in the Strand, where he was employed, they... more...

I was feeling blithe, almost jocund. I put a match to my cigar, and just then the morning's mail was handed in. The first superscription I glanced at was in a handwriting that sent a thrill of pleasure through and through me. It was Aunt Mary's; and she was the person I loved and honored most in all the world, outside of my own household. She had been my boyhood's idol; maturity, which is fatal to so many enchantments, had not been able to... more...

Mrs. Ballinger is one of the ladies who pursue Culture in bands, as though it were dangerous to meet alone. To this end she had founded the Lunch Club, an association composed of herself and several other indomitable huntresses of erudition. The Lunch Club, after three or four winters of lunching and debate, had acquired such local distinction that the entertainment of distinguished strangers became one of its accepted functions; in recognition... more...


CHAPTER I THROWN ON THE WORLD "Miss Winnifred," said the Old Lawyer, looking keenly over and through his shaggy eyebrows at the fair young creature seated before him, "you are this morning twenty-one." Winnifred Clair raised her deep mourning veil, lowered her eyes and folded her hands. "This morning," continued Mr. Bonehead, "my guardianship is at an end." There was a tone of something like emotion in the voice of the stern old lawyer,... more...

CHAPTER I ON THE WAY WITH CECIL It was a case of declarin' time out on the house. Uh-huh—a whole afternoon. What's the use bein' a private sec. in good standin' unless you can put one over on the time-clock now and then? Besides, I had a social date; and, now Mr. Robert is back on the job so steady and is gettin' so domestic in his habits, somebody's got to represent the Corrugated Trust at these function things. The event was the... more...

WATCH-DOGS "It's a'most the only enj'yment I've got left," said the oldest inhabitant, taking a long, slow draught of beer, "that and a pipe o' baccy. Neither of 'em wants chewing, and that's a great thing when you ain't got anything worth speaking about left to chew with." He put his mug on the table and, ignoring the stillness of the summer air, sheltered the flame of a match between his cupped hands and conveyed it with infinite care to... more...

PREFACE There is an old story of a punctiliously polite Greek, who, while performing the funeral of an infant daughter, felt bound to make his excuses to the spectators for "bringing out such a ridiculously small corpse to so large a crowd." The Author, although he trusts that the present production has more vitality than the Greek gentleman's child, still feels that in these days of philosophical fiction, metaphysical romance, and novels with... more...

CHAPTER I THE UP CALL FOR TORCHY Well, it's come! Uh-huh! And sudden, too, like I knew it would, if it came at all. No climbin' the ladder for me, not while they run express elevators. And, believe me, when the gate opened, I was right there with my foot out. It was like this: One mornin' I'm in my old place behind the brass rail, at the jump-end of the buzzer. I'm everybody's slave in general, and Piddie's football in particular. You... more...