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PREFACE: ON FLUCTUATIONS OF TASTE When Voltaire sat down to write a book on Epic Poetry, he dedicated his first chapter to "Differences of Taste in Nations." A critic of to-day might well find it necessary, on the threshold of a general inquiry, to expatiate on "Differences of Taste in Generations." Changes of standard in the arts are always taking place, but it is only with advancing... more...

PREFACE It is a harder thing than it ought to be to write openly and frankly of things private and sacred. "Secretum meum mihi!"—"My secret is my own!"—cried St. Francis in a harrowed moment. But I believe that the instinct to guard and hoard the inner life is one that ought to be resisted. Secrecy seems to me now a very uncivilised kind of virtue, after all! We have all of us, or... more...

THE MIDWAY INN. 'The hidden but the common thought of all.'   The thoughts I am about to set down are not my thoughts, for, as my friends say, I have given up the practice of thinking, or it may be, as my enemies say, I never had it. They are the thoughts of an acquaintance who thinks for me. I call him an acquaintance, though I pass as much of my time with him as with my nearest and... more...

INTRODUCTION No man since Washington has become to Americans so familiar or so beloved a figure as Abraham Lincoln. He is to them the representative and typical American, the man who best embodies the political ideals of the nation. He is typical in the fact that he sprang from the masses of the people, that he remained through his whole career a man of the people, that his chief desire was to be in... more...

CHAPTER I A WORD OF WARNING Every actress of prominence receives letters from young girls and women who wish to go on the stage, and I have my share. These letters are of all kinds. Some are extravagant, some enthusiastic, some foolish, and a few unutterably pathetic; but however their writers may differ otherwise, there is one positive conviction they unconsciously share, and there is one question... more...

TERRY DOLAN. ome years since circumstances caused me to spend the summer months in a farming district, a few miles from the village of E., and it was there I met with Terry Dolan. He had a short time previous come over from Ireland, and was engaged as a sort of chore boy by Mr. L., in whose family I resided during my stay in the neighborhood. This Terry was the oddest being with whom I ever chanced to... more...

THE GHOST. BY WILLIAM D. O'CONNOR. t the West End of Boston is a quarter of some fifty streets, more or less, commonly known as Beacon Hill. It is a rich and respectable quarter, sacred to the abodes of Our First Citizens. The very houses have become sentient of its prevailing character of riches and respectability; and, when the twilight deepens on the place, or at high noon, if your vision is... more...

The Lady Paramount I On the twenty-second anniversary of Susanna's birth, old Commendatore Fregi, her guardian, whose charge, by the provisions of her father's will, on that day terminated, gave a festa in her honour at his villa in Vallanza. Cannon had been fired in the morning: two-and-twenty salvoes, if you please, though Susanna had protested that this was false heraldry, and that it... more...

I "Hullo! No!--Yes!--upon my soul, it is Jacob! Why, Delafield, my dear fellow, how are you?" So saying--on a February evening a good many years ago--an elderly gentleman in evening dress flung himself out of his cab, which had just stopped before a house in Bruton Street, and hastily went to meet a young man who was at the same moment stepping out of another hansom a little farther down the... more...

EMERSON AND HIS JOURNALS I Emerson's fame as a writer and thinker was firmly established during his lifetime by the books he gave to the world. His Journals, published over a quarter of a century after his death, nearly or quite double the bulk of his writing, and while they do not rank in literary worth with his earlier works, they yet throw much light upon his life and character and it is a... more...