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CHAPTER I. Walter Scott.[1] It was reserved for Walter Scott, "the Ariosto of the North," "the historiographer royal of feudalism," to accomplish the task which his eighteenth-century forerunners had essayed in vain. He possessed the true enchanter's wand, the historic imagination. With this in his hand, he raised the dead past to life, made it once more conceivable, made it even actual. Before Scott no genius of the highest order had lent... more...

CHAPTER I AN UNDERGRADUATE AT LEISURE Wilfrid Athel went down invalided a few days after the beginning of Trinity term. The event was not unanticipated. At Christmas it had been clear enough that he was overtaxing himself; his father remarked on the fact with anxiety, and urged moderation, his own peculiar virtue. Wilfrid, whose battle with circumstances was all before him, declined to believe that the body was anything but the very humble... more...

BRITANNIA. I. The people that now occupies England was formed, like the French people, by the fusion of several superimposed races. In both countries the same races met and mingled at about the same period, but in different proportions and under dissimilar social conditions. Hence the striking resemblances and sharply defined contrasts that exist in the genius of the two nations. Hence also the contradictory sentiments which mutually animated... more...

CHAPTER I—THE VILLAGE “And a mighty sing’lar and pretty place it is, as ever I saw in all the days of my life!” said Captain Jorgan, looking up at it. Captain Jorgan had to look high to look at it, for the village was built sheer up the face of a steep and lofty cliff.  There was no road in it, there was no wheeled vehicle in it, there was not a level yard in it.  From the sea-beach to the cliff-top two... more...

Chapter 1 Many years ago, how many need not be recorded, there lived in his ancestral castle, in the far north of Scotland, the last Earl of Cairnforth. You will not find his name in "Lodge's Peerage," for, as I say, he was the last earl, and with him the title became extinct. It had been borne for centuries by many noble and gallant men, who had lived worthily or died bravely. But I think among what we call "heroic" lives—lives the story... more...


ABBOTT, JACOB (1803-1879). —Educationalist and miscellaneous author, b. at Hallowell, Maine, ed. at Bowdoin Coll. and Andover, entered the ministry of the Congregational Church, but was best known as an educationist and writer of religious and other books, mainly for the young. Among them are Beechnut Tales and The Rollo Books, both of which still have a very wide circulation. ABBOTT, JOHN STEVENS CABOT (1805-1877). —Historian,... more...

CHAPTER I. A young lady sat pricking a framed canvas in the drawing-room of Kent Villa, a mile from Gravesend; she was making, at a cost of time and tinted wool, a chair cover, admirably unfit to be sat upon—except by some severe artist, bent on obliterating discordant colors. To do her justice, her mind was not in her work; for she rustled softly with restlessness as she sat, and she rose three times in twenty minutes, and went to the... more...

IN A BACK ROOM "For one shall grasp, and one resign,One drink life's rue, and one its wine,And God shall make the balance good." —Whittier. Elsie Kilner had a battle to fight, and it must be fought after her own fashion. It was the kind of battle which is fought every day and every hour; but the battlefield is always a silent place, and there is neither broken weapon nor crimson stain to tell us where the strife has been. Elsie's... more...

CHAPTER I. One summer afternoon, Helen Woodbourne returned from her daily walk with her sisters, and immediately repaired to the school-room, in order to put the finishing touches to a drawing, with which she had been engaged during the greater part of the morning. She had not been long established there, before her sister Katherine came in, and, taking her favourite station, leaning against the window shutter so as to command a good view of the... more...

CHAPTER I: ADVENTURES AMONG BOOKS I In an age of reminiscences, is there room for the confessions of a veteran, who remembers a great deal about books and very little about people?  I have often wondered that a Biographia Literaria has so seldom been attempted—a biography or autobiography of a man in his relations with other minds.  Coleridge, to be sure, gave this name to a work of his, but he wandered from his apparent purpose... more...