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CHAPTER I When I was a small boy at the beginning of the century I remember an old man who wore knee-breeches and worsted stockings, and who used to hobble about the street of our village with the help of a stick.  He must have been getting on for eighty in the year 1807, earlier than which date I suppose I can hardly remember him, for I was born in 1802.  A few white locks hung about his ears, his shoulders were bent and his knees... more...

CHAPTER I A cloud floated slowly above the mountain peak. Vast, fleecy and white as the crested foam of a sea-wave, it sailed through the sky with a divine air of majesty, seeming almost to express a consciousness of its own grandeur. Over a spacious tract of Southern California it extended its snowy canopy, moving from the distant Pacific Ocean across the heights of the Sierra Madre, now and then catching fire at its extreme edge from the... more...

PART 1 — CAMBRIDGE I "The cow is there," said Ansell, lighting a match and holding it out over the carpet. No one spoke. He waited till the end of the match fell off. Then he said again, "She is there, the cow. There, now." "You have not proved it," said a voice. "I have proved it to myself." "I have proved to myself that she isn't," said the voice. "The cow is not there." Ansell frowned and lit another match. "She's there for me," he... more...

Observe, I do not mean to suggest that the custom of lying has suffered any decay or interruption—no, for the Lie, as a Virtue, A Principle, is eternal; the Lie, as a recreation, a solace, a refuge in time of need, the fourth Grace, the tenth Muse, man's best and surest friend, is immortal, and cannot perish from the earth while this club remains. My complaint simply concerns the decay of the art of lying. No high-minded man, no man of... more...

LETTER the FIRST From ISABEL to LAURA How often, in answer to my repeated intreaties that you would give my Daughter a regular detail of the Misfortunes and Adventures of your Life, have you said "No, my freind never will I comply with your request till I may be no longer in Danger of again experiencing such dreadful ones." Surely that time is now at hand. You are this day 55. If a woman may ever be said to be in safety from the determined... more...


I "Such hair! Such eyes! Such color! Laugh if you will, Whittemore, but I swear that she was the handsomest girl I've ever laid my eyes upon!" There was an artist's enthusiasm in Gregson's girlishly sensitive face as he looked across the table at Whittemore and lighted a cigarette. "She wouldn't so much as give me a look when I stared," he added. "I couldn't help it. Gad, I'm going to make a full-page 'cover' of her to-morrow for Burke's.... more...

THE FIRE If I were 'seeing over' a house, and found in every room an iron cage let into the wall, and were told by the caretaker that these cages were for me to keep lions in, I think I should open my eyes rather wide. Yet nothing seems to me more natural than a fire in the grate. Doubtless, when I began to walk, one of my first excursions was to the fender, that I might gaze more nearly at the live thing roaring and raging behind it; and I... more...

There existed formerly, in diplomatic circles, a curious custom, since fallen into disuse, entitled the Pêle Mêle, contrived doubtless by some distracted Master of Ceremonies to quell the endless jealousies and quarrels for precedence between courtiers and diplomatists of contending pretensions.  Under this rule no rank was recognized, each person being allowed at banquet, fête, or other public ceremony only such place as... 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...