Did you know this is an older book? And there’s an older movie, too (not the one with Richard Pryor)!
Here’s a part of a reader review from the original book; About all I’ll say in comparing the 2 versions is this: the one and only similarity is they both center around a man named Montgomery Brewster having to dispose of a certain sum of willed money within a specified time period, without telling anyone why, in order to be eligible for a larger fortune. That’s it. The novel’s amounts are different, Mr. Brewster’s profession and friends are different, and even the reason for the whole game is totally different – more complex and interesting in the novel, I thought. So it follows that Monty’s methods of spending his money and the adventures, setbacks, and romances he experiences along the way make the novel a completely different story. Without giving away the book’s ending, I will say that’s different too, but equally satisfying.
The Upper Berth
by F. Marion Crawford
I can tell this isn’t my cup of tea- it’s a horror story, or a ghost story. But if you like that sort of thing, this is supposed to be very well done.
An American Politician
From the first chapter: Mrs. Sam Wyndham was generally at home after five o’clock. The established custom whereby the ladies who live in Beacon Street all receive their friends on Monday afternoon did not seem to her satisfactory. She was willing to conform to the practice, but she reserved the right of seeing people on other days as well.
Mrs. Sam Wyndham was never very popular. That is to say, she was not one of those women who are seemingly never spoken ill of, and are invited as a matter of course, or rather as an element of success, to every dinner, musical party, and dance in the season.
Women did not all regard her with envy, all young men did not think she was capital fun, nor did all old men come and confide to her the weaknesses of their approaching second childhood. She was not invariably quoted as the standard authority on dress, classical music, and Boston literature, and it was not an unpardonable heresy to say that some other women might be, had been, or could be, more amusing in ordinary conversation. Nevertheless, Mrs. Sam Wyndham held a position in Boston which Boston acknowledged, and which Boston insisted that foreigners such as New Yorkers, Philadelphians and the like, should acknowledge also in that spirit of reverence which is justly due to a descent on both sides from several signers of the Declaration of Independence, and to the wife of one of the ruling financial spirits of the aristocratic part of Boston business.
As a matter of fact, Mrs. Wyndham was about forty years of age, as all her friends of course knew; for it is as easy for a Bostonian to conceal a question of age as for a crowned head. In a place where one half of society calls the other half cousin, and went to school with it, every one knows and accurately remembers just how old everybody else is.
From somewhere in the middle: They shook hands cordially, and John Harrington turned down Charles Street, while Vancouver pursued his way up the hill. He had been going in the opposite direction when he met Harrington, but he seemed to have changed his mind. He was not seen again that day until he went to dine with Mrs. Sam Wyndham.
There was no one there but Mr. Topeka and young John C. Hannibal, well-dressed men of five-and-thirty and five-and-twenty respectively, belonging to good families of immense fortune, and educated regardless of expense. No homely Boston phrase defiled their anglicized lips, their great collars stood up under their chins in an ecstasy of stiffness, and their shirt-fronts bore two buttons, avoiding the antiquity of three and the vulgarity of one. Well-bred Anglo-maniacs both, but gentlemen withal, and courteous to the ladies. Mr. Topeka was a widower, John C. Hannibal was understood to be looking for a wife.
They came, they dined, and they retired to Sam Wyndham’s rooms to don their boots and skating clothes. At nine o’clock the remaining ladies arrived, and then the whole party got into a great sleigh and were driven rapidly out of town over the smooth snow to Jamaica Pond. John Harrington had not come, and only three persons missed him–Joe Thorn, Mrs. Sam, and Pocock Vancouver.
The ice had been cut away in great quantities for storing and the thaw had kept the pond open for a day or two. Then came the sharpest frost of the winter, and in a few hours the water was covered with a broad sheet of black ice that would bear any weight. It was a rare piece of good fortune, but the fashion of skating had become so antiquated that no one took advantage of the opportunity; and as the party got out of the sleigh and made their way down the bank, they saw that there was but one skater before them, sweeping in vast solitary circles out in the middle of the pond, under the cold moonlight. The party sat on the bank in the shadow of some tall pine trees, preparing for the amusement, piling spare coats and shawls on the shoulders of a patient groom, and screwing and buckling their skates on their feet.
“What beautiful ice!” exclaimed Joe, when Vancouver had done his duty by the straps and fastenings. She tapped the steel blade twice or thrice on the hard black surface, still leaning on Vancouver’s arm, and then, without a word of warning, shot away in a long sweeping roll. The glorious vitality in her was all alive, and her blood thrilled and beat wildly in utter enjoyment. She did not go far at first, but seeing the others were long in their preparations, she turned and faced them, skating away backwards, leaning far over to right and left on each changing stroke, and listening with intense pleasure to the musical ring of the clanging steel on the clean ice. Some pride she felt, too, at showing the little knot of Bostonians how thoroughly at home she was in a sport they seemed to consider essentially American.
Reader Review: This story takes place during WW1 and it holds a great mystery but the book is more than that,it has I thought some of the funniest dialogue and funny scenes that I have seen in a long time,so download and read and enjoy.
Random Excerpt: “You must let me take you on to the Tavern in the car,” she said. “Turn about is fair play. I cannot allow you to—”
“Never mind about me,” he broke in cheerily. He had been wondering if she would make the offer, and he felt better now that she had done so. “I’m accustomed to roughing it. I don’t mind a soaking. I’ve had hundreds of ‘em.”
“Just the same, you shall not have one to-night,” she announced firmly. The car stopped beside them. “Get in behind. I shall sit with the driver.”
If any one had told him that this rattling, dilapidated automobile,—ten years old, at the very least, he would have sworn,—was capable of covering the mile in less than two minutes, he would have laughed in his face. Almost before he realised that they were on the way up the straight, dark road, the lights in the windows of Hart’s Tavern came into view. Once more the bounding, swaying car came to a stop under brakes, and he was relaxing after the strain of the most hair-raising ride he had ever experienced.
Not a word had been spoken during the trip. The front windows were lowered. The driver,—an old, hatchet-faced man,—had uttered a single word just before throwing in the clutch at the cross-roads in response to the young woman’s crisp command to drive to Hart’s Tavern. That word was uttered under his breath and it is not necessary to repeat it here.”
And here’s another:
“I see. My name is Jones, Putnam Jones. I run this place. My father an’ grandfather run it before me. Glad to meet you, Mr. Barnes. We used to have a hostler here named Barnes. What’s your idea fer footin’ it this time o’ the year?”
“I do something like this every spring. A month or six weeks of it puts me in fine shape for a vacation later on,” supplied Mr. Barnes whimsically.
Mr. Jones allowed a grin to steal over his seamed face. He re-inserted the corn-cob pipe and took a couple of pulls at it.
“I never been to New York, but it must be a heavenly place for a vacation, if a feller c’n judge by what some of my present boarders have to say about it. It’s a sort of play-actor’s paradise, ain’t it?”
“It is paradise to every actor who happens to be on the road, Mr. Jones,” said Barnes, slipping his big pack from his shoulders and letting it slide to the floor.
“Hear that feller in the tap-room talkin’? Well, he is one of the leading actors in New York,—in the world, for that matter. He’s been talkin’ about Broadway for nearly a week now, steady.”
“May I enquire what he is doing up here in the wilds?”
“At present he ain’t doing anything except talk. Last week he was treadin’ the boards, as he puts it himself. Busted. Up the flue. Showed last Saturday night in Hornville, eighteen mile north of here, and immediately after the performance him and his whole troupe started to walk back to New York, a good four hunderd mile. They started out the back way of the opery house and nobody missed ‘em till next mornin’ except the sheriff, and he didn’t miss ‘em till they’d got over the county line into our bailiwick. Four of ‘em are still stoppin’ here just because I ain’t got the heart to turn ‘em out ner the spare money to buy ‘em tickets to New York. Here comes one of ‘em now. Mr. Dillingford, will you show this gentleman to room eleven, and carry his baggage up fer him? And maybe he’ll want a pitcher of warm water to wash and shave in.” He turned to the new guest and smiled apologetically.”
And one last bit:
“”I don’t mind having a cocktail. Will you join me?”
“As a matter of fact, I’m expected to,” confessed Mr. Dillingford. “We’ve been drawing quite a bit of custom to the tap-room. The rubes like to sit around and listen to conversation about Broadway and Bunker Hill and Old Point Comfort and other places, and then go home and tell the neighbours that they know quite a number of stage people. Human nature, I guess. I used to think that if I could ever meet an actress I’d be the happiest thing in the world. Well, I’ve met a lot of ‘em, and God knows I’m not as happy as I was when I was WISHING I could meet one of them.”
Her Weight in Gold
A collection of short stories. Here’s the beginning of the first:
“Well the question is: how much does she weigh?” asked Eddie Ten Eyck with satirical good humour.
His somewhat flippant inquiry followed the heated remark of General Horatio Gamble, who, in desperation, had declared that his step-daughter, Martha, was worth her weight in gold.
The General was quite a figure in the town of Essex. He was the president of the Town and Country Club and, besides owning a splendid stud, was also the possessor of a genuine Gainsborough, picked up at the shop of an obscure dealer in antiques in New York City for a ridiculously low price (two hundred dollars, it has been said), and which, according to a rumour started by himself, was worth a hundred thousand if it was worth a dollar, although he contrived to keep the secret from the ears of the county tax collector. He had married late in life, after accumulating a fortune that no woman could despise, and of late years had taken to frequenting the Club with a far greater assiduity than is customary in most presidents.
Young Mr. Ten Eyck’s sarcasm was inspired by a mind’s-eye picture of Miss Martha Gamble. To quote Jo Grigsby, she was “so plain that all comparison began and ended with her.” Without desiring to appear ungallant, I may say that there were many homely young women in Essex; but each of them had the delicate satisfaction of knowing that Martha was incomparably her superior in that respect.
“I am not jesting, sir,” said the General with asperity. “Martha may not be as good-looking as—er—some girls that I’ve seen, but she is a jewel, just the same. The man who gets her for a wife will be a blamed sight luckier than the fellows who marry the brainless little fools we see trotting around like butterflies.” (It was the first time that Eddie had heard of trotting butterflies.)
The Little City of Hope A Christmas Story
HOW JOHN HENRY OVERHOLT SAT ON PANDORA’S BOX
“Hope is very cheap. There’s always plenty of it about.”
“Fortunately for poor men. Good morning.”
With this mild retort and civil salutation John Henry Overholt rose and went towards the door, quite forgetting to shake hands with Mr. Burnside, though the latter made a motion to do so. Mr. Burnside always gave his hand in a friendly way, even when he had flatly refused to do what people had asked of him. It was cheap; so he gave it.
But he was not pleased when they did not take it, for whatever he chose to give seemed of some value to him as soon as it was offered; even his hand. Therefore, when his visitor forgot to take it, out of pure absence of mind, he was offended, and spoke to him sharply before he had time to leave the private office.
“You need not go away like that, Mr. Overholt, without shaking hands.”
The visitor stopped and turned back at once. He was thin and rather shabbily dressed. I know many poor men who are fat, and some who dress very well; but this was not that kind of poor man.
“Excuse me,” he said mildly. “I didn’t mean to be rude. I quite forgot.”
He came back, and Mr. Burnside shook hands with becoming coldness, as having just given a lesson in manners. He was not a bad man, nor a miser, nor a Scrooge, but he was a great stickler for manners, especially with people who had nothing to give him. Besides, he had already lent Overholt money; or, to put it nicely, he had invested a little in his invention, and he did not see any reason why he should invest any more until it succeeded. Overholt called it selling shares, but Mr. Burnside called it borrowing money. Overholt was sure that if he could raise more funds, not much more, he could make a success of the “Air-Motor”; Mr. Burnside was equally sure that nothing would ever come of it. They had been explaining their respective points of view to each other, and in sheer absence of mind Overholt had forgotten to shake hands.
Mr. Burnside had no head for mechanics, but Overholt had already made an invention which was considered very successful, though he had got little or nothing for it. The mechanic who had helped him in its construction had stolen his principal idea before the device was patented, and had taken out a patent for a cheap little article which every one at once used, and which made a fortune for him. Overholt’s instrument took its place in every laboratory in the world; but the mechanic’s labour-saving utensil took its place in every house. It was on the strength of the valuable tool of science that Mr. Burnside had invested two thousand dollars in the Air-Motor without really having the smallest idea whether it was to be a machine that would move the air, or was to be moved by it. A number of business men had done the same thing.
The Lock and Key Library The most interesting stories of all nations: American
A collection of classic American short stories
Ave Roma Immortalis, Vol. 1 Studies from the Chronicles of Rome
Extract: The story of Rome is the most splendid romance in all history. A few shepherds tend their flocks among volcanic hills, listening by day and night to the awful warnings of the subterranean voice,—born in danger, reared in peril, living their lives under perpetual menace of destruction, from generation to generation. Then, at last, the deep voice swells to thunder, roaring up from the earth’s heart, the lightning shoots madly round the mountain top, the ground rocks, and the air is darkened with ashes. The moment has come. One man is a leader, but not all will follow him. He leads his small band swiftly down from the[Pg 2] heights, and they drive a flock and a little herd before them, while each man carries his few belongings as best he can, and there are few women in the company. The rest would not be saved, and they perish among their huts before another day is over.
Down, always downwards, march the wanderers, rough, rugged, young with the terrible youth of those days, and wise only with the wisdom of nature. Down the steep mountain they go, down over the rich, rolling land, down through the deep forests, unhewn of man, down at last to the river, where seven low hills rise out of the wide plain. One of those hills the leader chooses, rounded and grassy; there they encamp, and they dig a trench and build huts. Pales, protectress of flocks, gives her name to the Palatine Hill. Rumon, the flowing river, names the village Rome, and Rome names the leader Romulus, the Man of the River, the Man of the Village by the River; and to our own time the twenty-first of April is kept and remembered, and even now honoured, for the very day on which the shepherds began to dig their trench on the Palatine, the date of the Foundation of Rome, from which seven hundred and fifty-four years were reckoned to the birth of Christ.
And the shepherds called their leader King, though his kingship was over but few men. Yet they were such men as begin history, and in the scant company there were all the seeds of empire. First the profound[Pg 3] faith of natural mankind, unquestioning, immovable, inseparable from every daily thought and action; then fierce strength, and courage, and love of life and of possession; last, obedience to the chosen leader, in clear liberty, when one should fail, to choose another. So the Romans began to win the world, and won it in about six hundred years.
By their camp-fires, by their firesides in their little huts, they told old tales of their race, and round the truth grew up romantic legend, ever dear to the fighting man and to the husbandman alike, with strange tales of their first leader’s birth, fit for poets, and woven to stir young hearts to daring, and young hands to smiting. Truth there was under their stories, but how much of it no man can tell: how Amulius of Alba Longa slew his sons, and slew also his daughter, loved of Mars, mother of twin sons left to die in the forest, like Œdipus, father-slayers, as Œdipus was, wolf-suckled, of whom one was born to kill the other and be the first King, and be taken up to Jupiter in storm and lightning at the last. The legend of wise Numa, next, taught by Egeria; her stony image still weeps trickling tears for her royal adept, and his earthen cup, jealously guarded, was worshipped for more than a thousand years; legends of the first Arval brotherhood, dim as the story of Melchisedec, King and priest, but lasting as Rome itself. Tales of King Tullus, when the three Horatii fought for Rome[Pg 4] against the three Curiatii, who smote for Alba and lost the day—Tullus Hostilius, grandson of that first Hostus who had fought against the Sabines; and always more legend, and more, and more, sometimes misty, sometimes clear and direct in action as a Greek tragedy. They hover upon the threshold of history, with faces of beauty or of terror, sublime, ridiculous, insignificant, some born of desperate, real deeds, many another, perhaps, first told by some black-haired shepherd mother to her wondering boys at evening, when the brazen pot simmered on the smouldering fire, and the father had not yet come home.
But down beneath the legend lies the fact, in hewn stones already far in the third thousand of their years. Digging for truth, searchers have come here and there upon the first walls and gates of the Palatine village, straight, strong and deeply founded. The men who made them meant to hold their own, and their own was whatsoever they were able to take from others by force. They built their walls round a four-sided space, wide enough for them, scarcely big enough a thousand years later for the houses of their children’s rulers, the palaces of the Cæsars of which so much still stands today.
Then came the man who built the first bridge across the river, of wooden piles and beams, bolted with bronze, because the Romans had no iron yet, and ever afterwards repaired with wood and bronze, for its sanctity, in perpetual veneration of Ancus Martius, fourth King of Rome. That was the bridge Horatius kept against Porsena of Clusium, while the fathers hewed it down behind him.
A Roman Singer
Reader Review: This is the story of a rather ugly boy with a great voice. While still non-famous he falls in love with a Count’s daughter and pretends to be a professor to gain access to his lady love while tutoring.
One day, he goes on a “field trip ” with Hedwig, her father and another man to the Roman ruins at midnight so Hedwig can see the full moon through the hole in the ampitheater ceiling. While there, in the darkness he gets the urge to sing and does so but no one can tell where the voice is coming from. Nino says it’s his cousin who has now disappeared into the night.
Hedwig falls in love with the voice and keeps asking about his cousin…
Then the day of his debut arrives and Hedwig and her father are in the audience…
To cut a long story short, the Count refuses to allow his daughter to marry a phlebian musician and he takes his daughter away to an undisclosed castle location far in the mountains of Italy.
There’s a villain, and a love story, a great escape and a subtheme of opera. Add to that, the dialog has fantastic wit which makes it a winner in my books. (see my status updates for examples)
I took it down a star because I dislike someone else narrating the story. (in this case it was Nino’s adoptive father). You miss so much with explanations of “how I know what happened “.
But its a good fairytale like story and I enjoyed it.
Excerpt: In the year 1865 Rome was still in a great measure its old self. It had not then acquired that modern air which is now beginning to pervade it. The Corso had not been widened and whitewashed; the Villa Aldobrandini had not been cut through to make the Via Nazionale; the south wing of the Palazzo Colonna still looked upon a narrow lane through which men hesitated to pass after dark; the Tiber’s course had not then been corrected below the Farnesina; the Farnesina itself was but just under repair; the iron bridge at the Ripetta was not dreamed of; and the Prati di Castello were still, as their name implies, a series of waste meadows. At the southern extremity of the city, the space between the fountain of Moses and the newly erected railway station, running past the Baths of Diocletian, was still an exercising-ground for the French cavalry. Even the people in the streets then presented an appearance very different from that which is now observed by the visitors and foreigners who come to Rome in the winter. French dragoons and hussars, French infantry and French officers, were everywhere to be seen in great numbers, mingled with a goodly sprinkling of the Papal Zouaves, whose grey Turco uniforms with bright red facings, red sashes, and short yellow gaiters, gave colour to any crowd. A fine corps of men they were, too; counting hundreds of gentlemen in their ranks, and officered by some of the best blood in France and Austria. In those days also were to be seen the great coaches of the cardinals, with their gorgeous footmen and magnificent black horses, the huge red umbrellas lying upon the top, while from the open windows the stately princes of the Church from time to time returned the salutations of the pedestrians in the street. And often in the afternoon there was heard the tramp of horse as a detachment of the noble guards trotted down the Corso on their great chargers, escorting the holy Father himself, while all who met him dropped upon one knee and uncovered their heads to receive the benediction of the mild-eyed old man with the beautiful features, the head of Church and State. Many a time, too, Pius IX. would descend from his coach and walk upon the Pincio, all clothed in white, stopping sometimes to talk with those who accompanied him, or to lay his gentle hand on the fair curls of some little English child that paused from its play in awe and admiration as the Pope went by. For he loved children well, and most of all, children with golden hair—angels, not Angles, as Gregory said.
Reader Review: This is a romance set in Rome in 1865-6. It’s about a prince who loves a duchess, but she’s married, and…if I say any more it’ll ruin the story for you since the plot isn’t very deep. It’s very well written and moves along at a good pace.
At the beginning and a couple times later in the book Crawford writes about European politics, and he does it so well that I wish that he did it more. He could have easily given Giovanni some sort of occupation and worked in some intrigue, but he preferred to write page after page about what a character is thinking or feeling.
This book is the first of a tetralogy, and at the end Crawford says that “to carry on the tale from this point would be to enter upon a new series of events more interesting than those herein detailed…,” so hopefully the succeeding books will have more to them. (The other books are Sant’Ilario, Don Orsino and Corleone.) This book is well worth reading, though, so I recommend it to anyone who likes romances, especially historic ones.
The Wings of the Morning
reader review: A little mystery, adventure, and romance in a well written book. 2 people are shipwrecked on a deserted island and fall in love while trying to survive hardships. I had a hard time puting this book down.
Excerpt; The girl choked back her emotion, and sadly essayed the task of providing a meal which was hateful to her. In doing so she saw her Bible, lying where she had placed it that morning, the leaves still open at the 91st Psalm. She had indeed forgotten the promise it contained—
“For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”
A few tears fell now and made little furrows down her soiled cheeks. But they were helpful tears, tears of resignation, not of despair. Although the “destruction that wasteth at noonday” was trying her sorely she again felt strong and sustained.
Pushing to the Front
American writer and editor ORISON SWETT MARDEN (1850-1924) was born in New England and studied at Boston University and Andover Theological Seminary. In 1897, he founded Success Magazine.
Reader Review; Orison Swett Marden was the original editor-in-chief of the now defunct “Success” magazine. In fact, he probably rolled over in his grave when the magazine went out of publication. It was a time of mourning for me. In fact, I was just in the process of renewing my subscription when I found out…”Success” was no longer successful (how ironic).
This set of books is excellent. Most of the writing is examples of successful people from the past and present (1911). This type of motivational writing tends to get repetitive, however, there is a lot of advise tucked carefully between the many examples given. It was a very different world when the author wrote this book, but as I read it I noticed, the more things change, the more they stay the same. One difference I like is the chivalry and honesty exhibited from the time period. Even the highest standards of decency today are a far cry from that time. It was a lot of fun reading some of the examples from that era and knowing they were current events. These books are well worth the read, if you can find them.
This is an old fashioned western written at the time when words like savage and half-breed were as common as the insensitivity that allowed people to use them ease.
Excerpt: Jim agreed to transport the three in his schooner, which was one point well settled. Billy suggested at least a dozen absurd methods of keeping the camp in ignorance until the start had actually been made, each one of which was laughed to scorn by the practical Jim.
“She might put on men’s clothes,” he concluded desperately.
“For the love of God, what for?” inquired Jim. “Stick to sense, Billy. Besides, there’s the kid.”
Billy tried once more.
“They might meet us ’bout a hundred mile out. He could take Jim’s schooner, here, and mosey out nor’-west, and then jest nat’rally pick us up after we gets good and started. That way, the camp thinks he palavers with Jim and us to get a schooner, and maybe they thinks Jim is a damn fool a whole lot, but Jim don’t mind that; do you, Jim?”
“No, I don’t mind that,” said Jim, “but yore scheme’s no good.”
“He wouldn’t get ten mile before somebody’d hold him up and lift his schooner off him. They’s a raft of bad men jest layin’ fer a chance like that to turn road agent.”
Billy turned a slow brick-red, and got up suddenly, overturning the coffee-pot. A dozen strides brought him to the camp of the Tennessee outfit. There he raised his voice to concert pitch.
“We aims to pull out day arter to-morrow,” he bellowed. “We also aims to take with us two tenderfeet, a woman, and a kid. Them that has objections can go to the devil.”
So saying, he turned abruptly on his heel and returned to his friends. Jim whistled; but Alfred smiled softly, and began to recap the nipples of his old-fashioned Colt’s revolvers. Alfred was at that time the best shot with a six-shooter in the middle West.
Seeing this, Billy’s frown relaxed into a grin.
“I’m thinkin’ that them that does object probably will go to the devil,” said he.
In half an hour the news was all over camp. When Michaïl Lafond heard of it, he left his dinner half eaten and went out to talk earnestly to a great variety of people.”
And here’s another:
“He was a queer man, the doctor, a pathetic little figure in the world’s progress—an outgrowth of it, in a certain way of thinking.
Born of good old New England stock, he spent his studious, hard-working boyhood on a farm. At sixteen he went to the high school, where he was adored by his teachers because he stood ninety-nine in algebra. Inconsequently, but inevitably, this rendered him shy in the presence of girls, and unwarrantably conscious of his hands and feet. So, when he went to college, he spent much time in the library, more in the laboratory, and none at all in the elemental little chaos of a world that can do so much for the wearers of queer clothes and queerer habits of thought. He graduated, a spectacled grind, bowed of shoulder, straight of hair, earnest of thought.
Much reading of abstract speculation had developed in him a reverence for the impractical that amounted almost to obsession. Given a bit of useless information and a chunk of solid wisdom, he would at once bestow his preference on the former, provided, always, it were theoretical enough. He knew the dips of strata from their premonitary surface wiggles to their final plunges into unknown and heated depths. He could deliver to you a cross-section of your pasture lot, streaked like the wind-clouds of early winter; and he could explain it in the most technical language. Nothing rock-ribbed and ancient escaped him in his frequent walks. He saw everything—except, perchance, the beauty that clothes the rock-ribbed and ancient as a delicate aura, invisible to the eye of science—and he labelled what he saw, and ticketed it away in the pigeon-holes of his many-chambered mind, where he could put his finger on it at any given moment in the easiest fashion in the world.
It is very pleasant to know where the Paleozoic has faulted, and how; or why the stratifications of the ice age do not show glacial scorings in certain New England localities. To verify in regard to lamination green volumes of obese proportions, or to recognize the projection into the geological physical world of the thought of a master, this is fine, is noble; this makes to glow the kindly light in spectacled blue eyes.
Adoniram Welch left college with many honors. He returned to his little New England village, and for a space was looked upon as a local celebrity. This is a bad thing for most youths, but Adoniram it affected not at all. It availed only to draw upon him, in sweet contemplation, another pair of blue eyes, womanly, serious blue eyes, under a tangle of curly golden hair.
And so, although Prue Welch was a homely name, and Prue Winterborne a beautiful one, when Adoniram accepted the chair of geology offered him by his alma mater, the owner of the blue eyes went with him, and the new professor’s thick spectacles somehow glowed with a kindly warmth, which even fine specimens of the finest fossils had never been able to kindle. He settled down into a little white house, in a little blossomy “yard,” under a very big, motherly elm, and gave his days to the earnest mental dissection of the cuticle of the globe. His wife attacked the problem of life on six hundred dollars a year.
Now, from this state of affairs sprang two results. The professor evolved a theory, and Mrs. Professor, although she did not in the least understand what it was all about, came to believe in it, to champion it, to consider it quite the most important affair of the age. The professor thought so, too; and so they were happy and united.”
In the Bishop’s Carriage
Excerpt: When the thing was at its hottest, I bolted. Tom, like the darling he is—(Yes, you are, old fellow, you’re as precious to me as—as you are to the police—if they could only get their hands on you)—well, Tom drew off the crowd, having passed the old gentleman’s watch to me, and I made for the women’s rooms.
The station was crowded, as it always is in the afternoon, and in a minute I was strolling into the big, square room, saying slowly to myself to keep me steady:
“Nancy, you’re a college girl—just in from Bryn Mawr to meet your papa. Just see if your hat’s on straight.”
I did, going up to the big glass and looking beyond my excited face to the room behind me. There sat the woman who can never nurse her baby except where everybody can see her, in a railroad station. There was the woman who’s always hungry, nibbling chocolates out of a box; and the woman fallen asleep, with her hat on the side, and hairpins dropping out of her hair; and the woman who’s beside herself with fear that she’ll miss her train; and the woman who is taking notes about the other women’s rigs. And—
And I didn’t like the look of that man with the cap who opened the swinging door a bit and peeped in. The women’s waiting-room is no place for a man—nor for a girl who’s got somebody else’s watch inside her waist. Luckily, my back was toward him, but just as the door swung back he might have caught the reflection of my face in a mirror hanging opposite to the big one.
I retreated, going to an inner room where the ladies were having the maid brush their gowns, soiled from suburban travel and the dirty station.
The deuce is in it the way women stare. I took off my hat and jacket for a reason to stay there, and hung them up as leisurely as I could.
“Nance,” I said under my breath, to the alert-eyed, pug-nosed girl in the mirror, who gave a quick glance about the room as I bent to wash my hands, “women stare ’cause they’re women. There’s no meaning in their look. If they were men, now, you might twitter.”
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