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WHEN GOD LAUGHS (with compliments to Harry Cowell) "The gods, the gods are stronger; timeFalls down before them, all men's kneesBow, all men's prayers and sorrows climbLike incense toward them; yea, for theseAre gods, Felise." Carquinez had relaxed finally. He stole a glance at the rattling windows, looked upward at the beamed roof, and listened for a moment to the savage roar of the south-easter as it caught the bungalow in its bellowing jaws.... more...

THE situation of American literature is anomalous. It has no centre, or, if it have, it is like that of the sphere of Hermes. It is, divided into many systems, each revolving round its several suns, and often presenting to the rest only the faint glimmer of a milk-and-water way. Our capital city, unlike London or Paris, is not a great central heart from which life and vigor radiate to the extremities, but resembles more an isolated umbilicus... more...

I. SHANGHAIED This is to be a story of a battle, at least one murder, and several sudden deaths. For that reason it begins with a pink tea and among the mingled odors of many delicate perfumes and the hale, frank smell of Caroline Testout roses. There had been a great number of debutantes "coming out" that season in San Francisco by means of afternoon teas, pink, lavender, and otherwise. This particular tea was intended to celebrate the fact... more...

A VENERABLE IMPOSTOR. As I glance across my table, I am somewhat distracted by the spectacle of a venerable head whose crown occasionally appears beyond, at about its level. The apparition of a very small hand—whose fingers are bunchy and have the appearance of being slightly webbed—which is frequently lifted above the table in a vain and impotent attempt to reach the inkstand, always affects me as a novelty at each recurrence of the... more...

JIMMY'S BIG BROTHER FROM CALIFORNIA As night crept up from the valley that stormy afternoon, Sawyer's Ledge was at first quite blotted out by wind and rain, but presently reappeared in little nebulous star-like points along the mountain side, as the straggling cabins of the settlement were one by one lit up by the miners returning from tunnel and claim. These stars were of varying brilliancy that evening, two notably so—one that eventually... more...


"I won't study another word to-day!" Helena tipped the table, spilling the books to the floor. "I want to go out in the sun. Go home, Miss Phelps, that's a dear. Anyhow, it won't do you a bit of good to stay." Miss Phelps, young herself, glanced angrily at her briery charge, longingly at the brilliant blue of sky and bay beyond the long window. "I leave it to Miss Yorba." Her voice, fashioned to cut, vibrated a little with the vigour of its... more...

INTRODUCTION I was talking the other day to Alfred Coppard, who has steered more successfully than most English story writers away from the Scylla and Charybdis of the modern artist. He told me that he had been reading several new novels and volumes of short stories by contemporary American writers with that awakened interest in the civilization we are framing which is so noticeable among English writers during the past three years. He asked me... more...

Grateful acknowledgment for permission to include the stories and other material in this volume is made to the following authors, editors, publishers, and copyright holders: To The Pictorial Review Company and Miss Edwina Stanton Babcock for permission to reprint "The Excursion," first published in The Pictorial Review; to The Century Company and Mr. Thomas Beer for permission to reprint "Onnie," first published in The Century Magazine; to... more...

CHAPTER I. Where the North Fork of the Stanislaus River begins to lose its youthful grace, vigor, and agility, and broadens more maturely into the plain, there is a little promontory which at certain high stages of water lies like a small island in the stream. To the strongly-marked heroics of Sierran landscape it contrasts a singular, pastoral calm. White and gray mosses from the overhanging rocks and feathery alders trail their filaments in... more...

CHAPTER I It must be admitted that the civilizing processes of Rough and Ready were not marked by any of the ameliorating conditions of other improved camps. After the discovery of the famous "Eureka" lead, there was the usual influx of gamblers and saloon-keepers; but that was accepted as a matter of course. But it was thought hard that, after a church was built and a new school erected, it should suddenly be found necessary to have doors that... more...