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Was It Heaven or Hell

By: Mark Twain

The family consisted of four persons: Margaret Lester, widow, aged thirty six; Helen Lester, her daughter, aged sixteen; Mrs. Lester's maiden aunts, Hannah and Hester Gray, twins, aged sixty-seven. Waking and sleeping, the three women spent their days and night in adoring the young girl; in watching the movements of her sweet spirit in the mirror of her face; in refreshing their souls with the vision of her bloom and beauty; in listening to the music of her voice; in gra...

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The Kneeling Christian

PREFACE: A traveller in China visited a heathen temple on a great feast-day. Many were the worshippers of the hideous idol enclosed in a sacred shrine. The visitor noticed that most of the devotees brought with them small pieces of paper on which prayers had been written or printed. These they would wrap up in little balls of stiff mud and fling at the idol. He enquired the reason for this strange proceeding, and was told that if the mud ball stuck fast to the idol, then...

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On Prayer

By: Tertullian

The Spirit of God, and the Word of God, and the Reason of God—Word of Reason, and Reason and Spirit of Word —Jesus Christ our Lord, namely, who is both the one and the other, [2]—has determined for us, the disciples of the New Testament, a new form of prayer; for in this particular also it was needful that new wine should be laid up in new skins, and a new breadth be sewn to a new garment. [3] Besides, whatever had been in bygone days, has either been quite changed, as c...

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Tales from Two Hemispheres

By: Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen

ON the second day of June, 186—, a young Norseman, Halfdan Bjerk by name, landed on the pier at Castle Garden. He passed through the straight and narrow gate where he was asked his name, birthplace, and how much money he had,—at which he grew very much frightened.

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Appeal to My Russian Brothers

By: Michael Bakunin

Excerpt: By a cruel, systematic repression, as well as by infamous means, the Russian government seems to want to provoke insurrection in Poland; for this reason, it will be just as useful for the Polish people as for the Russians to restrain themselves. This adjournment to a more favorable time will be just as beneficial for both countries. We must therefore concentrate all our efforts on this point without, however, denying the Polish people either their sacred rights ...

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Maitre Cornelius

By: Honoré de Balzac

In 1479, on All Saints' day, the moment at which this history begins, vespers were ending in the cathedral of Tours. The archbishop Helie de Bourdeilles was rising from his seat to give the benediction himself to the faithful. The sermon had been long; darkness had fallen during the service, and in certain parts of the noble church (the towers of which were not yet finished) the deepest obscurity prevailed. Nevertheless a goodly number of tapers were burning in honor of ...

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Lile des Pingouins

By: Anatole France

Preface: Malgre la diversite apparente des amusements qui semblent m'attirer, ma vie n'a qu'un objet. Elle est tendue tout entiere vers l'accomplissement d'un grand dessein. J'ecris l'histoire des Pingouins. J'y travaille assidument, sans me laisser rebuter par des difficultes frequentes et qui, parfois, semblent insurmontables. J'ai creuse la terre pour y decouvrir les monuments ensevelis de ce peuple. Les premiers livres des hommes furent des pierres. J'ai etudie les p...

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The District Doctor

By: Ivan Turgenev

ONE day, in autumn, on my way home from the distant fields, I caught cold, and was taken ill. Fortunately, the fever overtook me in the county-town, in the hotel. I sent for the doctor. Half an hour later, the district physician made his appearance, a man of short stature, thin and black-haired. He prescribed for me the customary sudorific, ordered the application of mustard-plasters, very deftly tucked my five-ruble bank-note under his cuff,—but emitted a dry cough and ...

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The Man from Atlantis

By: Alice H. Sill

HAVING finished reading Irving's Legend of the Arabian Astrologer, I closed my book, and idly swinging in my hammock, was musing on those beautiful stories of the Alhambra. My mind was busy rehearsing the story just read. Before me were the two old graybeards quarreling over the rosy-checked princess; I heard the astrologer exclaim The monarch of a mole-hill to claim sway over him who possesses the talisman of Solomon! As he smote the earth and sank with the Gothic princ...

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The Beautiful Slave or Valcour and Zeila

By: Antoine Jean Dumaniant

Excerpt: VALCOUR: (dressed as a slave, to Ali) What! in these parts? ALI: Yes, in these parts. VALCOUR: I am going to see once more all that I loved? ALI: Don't doubt it, it?s she herself. VALCOUR: Delicious moments! I succumb to my impatience; No one can ever burn with so much passion. ALI: French lord, be prudent. One word can ruin both of us. TOGETHER: VALCOUR: ALI: My heart is full of fire Restrain your passion Blazing with impatience. And be less impatient. VALCOUR:...

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The Gift of the Magi

By: William Sydney Porter (O’Henry)

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and he butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

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Essays of Travel

By: Robert Louis Stevenson

I FIRST encountered my fellow-passengers on the Broomielaw in Glasgow. Thence we descended the Clyde in no familiar spirit, but looking askance on each other as on possible enemies. A few Scandinavians, who had already grown acquainted on the North Sea, were friendly and voluble over their long pipes; but among English speakers distance and suspicion reigned supreme. The sun was soon overclouded, the wind freshened and grew sharp as we continued to descend the widening e...

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John Temple's House

By: Winston S. Churchill

Excerpt: THEY were lonely days after that for a boy used to activity, and only the damp garden paths and lawns to run on. The creek at the back of the garden was stagnant and marshy when the water fell, and overhung by leafy boughs. On each side of the garden was a high brick wall. And though I was often tempted to climb it, I felt that disobedience was disloyalty to my father. Then there was the great house, dark and lonely in its magnificence, over which I roamed until...

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In the King's Name

By: George Manville Fenn

Excerpt: Chapter One. On Board the ?Kestrel.? Morning on board the Kestrel, his Britannic majesty?s cutter, lying on and off the south coast on the lookout for larks, or what were to her the dainty little birds that the little falcon, her namesake, would pick up. For the Kestrel?s wings were widespread to the soft south?easterly breeze that barely rippled the water; and mainsail, gaff topsail, staysail, and jib were so new and white that they seemed to shine like silver ...

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Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)

By: Jerome K. Jerome

Excerpt: Chapter 1. Three invalids. Sufferings of george and harris. A victim to one hundred and seven fatal maladies. Useful prescriptions. Cure for liver complaint in children. We agree that we are overworked, and need rest. A week on the rolling deep??george suggests the river. Montmorency lodges an objection. Original motion carried by majority of three to one.

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Chapters of Opera

By: H.E. Krehbiel

Preface: The making of this book was prompted by the fact that with the season 1907?08 the Metropolitan Opera House in New York completed an existence of twenty?five years. Through all this period at public representations I have occupied stall D?15 on the ground floor as reviewer of musical affairs for The New York Tribune newspaper. I have, therefore, been a witness of the vicissitudes through which the institution has passed in a quarter?century, and a chronicler of a...

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Gorgias

By: Plato

INTRODUCTION: In several of the dialogues of Plato, doubts have arisen among his interpreters as to which of the various subjects discussed in them is the main thesis. The speakers have the freedom of conversation; no severe rules of art restrict them, and sometimes we are inclined to think, with one of the dramatis personae in the Theaetetus, that the digressions have the greater interest. Yet in the most irregular of the dialogues there is also a certain natural growth...

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Child's New Story Book

Excerpt: THE Little Ship. ?I have made a nice little ship, of cork, and am going to let it sail in this great basin of water. Now let us fancy this water to be the North?Pacific Ocean, and those small pieces of cork on the side of the basin, to be the Friendly Islands, and this little man standing on the deck of the ship, to be the famous navigator, Captain Cook, going to find them.? ?Do you know that the Friendly Islands were raised by corals?? ?I suppose they were.? ?D...

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A May Evening

By: Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol

THERE were sounds of merriment in the village, and a chorus of song murmured, stream-like, through its single street. It was the hour when lads and lasses, after their hard day's work, meet in the mellow gloaming to express their feelings in melodies which, though glad, are never without a strain of sadness. The pensive eventide was dreamily embracing the blue heaven, and transforming every visible object into something vague, shadowy, and ghost-like. The brooding gloom ...

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Never Take Another Puff

By: Joel Spitzer

Conversion to PDF format and indexing by BillW. Bill wanted readers of the book to know that he is not a professional publisher, nor an editor or a typist. Bill is a rocket scientist by profession. Bill is proud of that. But he is also proud of the fact that as of the day we have put this book together he has quit for one year and four months. His contribution in laying out and indexing this book is most invaluable and appreciated. The author feels the need to point out ...

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