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84 Works of Jerome K Jerome

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“Charmed. Very hot weather we’ve been having of late–I mean cold. Let me see, I did not quite catch your name just now. Thank you so much. Yes, it is a bit close.” And a silence falls, neither of us being able to think what next to say. What has happened is this: My host […]

There is so much I could do to improve things generally in and about Europe, if only I had a free hand. I should not propose any great fundamental changes. These poor people have got used to their own ways; it would be unwise to reform them all at once. But there are many little […]

Pretty women are going to have a hard time of it later on. Hitherto, they have had things far too much their own way. In the future there are going to be no pretty girls, for the simple reason there will be no plain girls against which to contrast them. Of late I have done […]

That we Englishmen attach too much importance to sport goes without saying–or, rather, it has been said so often as to have become a commonplace. One of these days some reforming English novelist will write a book, showing the evil effects of over-indulgence in sport: the neglected business, the ruined home, the slow but sure […]

It was in Paris, many years ago, that I fell by chance into this habit of early rising. My night–by reasons that I need not enter into–had been a troubled one. Tired of the hot bed that gave no sleep, I rose and dressed myself, crept down the creaking stairs, experiencing the sensations of a […]

I am chary nowadays of offering counsel in connection with subjects concerning which I am not and cannot be an authority. Long ago I once took upon myself to write a paper about babies. It did not aim to be a textbook on the subject. It did not even claim to exhaust the topic. I […]

My desire was once to pass a peaceful and pleasant winter in Brussels, attending to my work, improving my mind. Brussels is a bright and cheerful town, and I think I could have succeeded had it not been for the Belgian Army. The Belgian Army would follow me about and worry me. Judging of it […]

On a newspaper placard, the other day, I saw announced a new novel by a celebrated author. I bought a copy of the paper, and turned eagerly to the last page. I was disappointed to find that I had missed the first six chapters. The story had commenced the previous Saturday; this was Friday. I […]

There was once upon a time a charming young lady, possessed of much taste, who was asked by her anxious parent, the years passing and family expenditure not decreasing, which of the numerous and eligible young men then paying court to her she liked the best. She replied, that was her difficulty; she could not […]

I ought to like Russia better than I do, if only for the sake of the many good friends I am proud to possess amongst the Russians. A large square photograph I keep always on my mantel-piece; it helps me to maintain my head at that degree of distention necessary for the performance of all […]

Folks suffering from Jingoism, Spreadeagleism, Chauvinism–all such like isms, to whatever country they belong–would be well advised to take a tour in Holland. It is the idea of the moment that size spells happiness. The bigger the country the better one is for living there. The happiest Frenchman cannot possibly be as happy as the […]

A mad friend of mine will have it that the characteristic of the age is Make-Believe. He argues that all social intercourse is founded on make-believe. A servant enters to say that Mr. and Mrs. Bore are in the drawing-room. “Oh, damn!” says the man. “Hush!” says the woman. “Shut the door, Susan. How often […]

I am glad I am not an American husband. At first sight this may appear a remark uncomplimentary to the American wife. It is nothing of the sort. It is the other way about. We, in Europe, have plenty of opportunity of judging the American wife. In America you hear of the American wife, you […]

I am told that American professors are “mourning the lack of ideals” at Columbia University–possibly also at other universities scattered through the United States. If it be any consolation to these mourning American professors, I can assure them that they do not mourn alone. I live not far from Oxford, and enjoy the advantage of […]

It is a delightful stroll on a sunny summer morning from the Hague to the Huis ten Bosch, the little “house in the wood,” built for Princess Amalia, widow of Stadtholter Frederick Henry, under whom Holland escaped finally from the bondage of her foes and entered into the promised land of Liberty. Leaving the quiet […]

The argument of the late Herr Wagner was that grand opera–the music drama, as he called it–included, and therefore did away with the necessity for–all other arts. Music in all its branches, of course, it provides: so much I will concede to the late Herr Wagner. There are times, I confess, when my musical yearnings […]

Last year, travelling on the Underground Railway, I met a man; he was one of the saddest-looking men I had seen for years. I used to know him well in the old days when we were journalists together. I asked him, in a sympathetic tone, how things were going with him. I expected his response […]

What is wrong with marriage, anyhow? I find myself pondering this question so often, when reading high-class literature. I put it to myself again the other evening, during a performance of Faust. Why could not Faust have married the girl? I would not have married her myself for any consideration whatsoever; but that is not […]

“What is all this talk I ‘ear about the Chinese?” said Mrs. Wilkins to me the other morning. We generally indulge in a little chat while Mrs. Wilkins is laying the breakfast-table. Letters and newspapers do not arrive in my part of the Temple much before nine. From half- past eight to nine I am […]

“I am glad to see, Mrs. Wilkins,” I said, “that the Women’s Domestic Guild of America has succeeded in solving the servant girl problem– none too soon, one might almost say.” “Ah,” said Mrs. Wilkins, as she took the cover off the bacon and gave an extra polish to the mustard-pot with her apron, “they […]

The advantage that the foreigner possesses over the Englishman is that he is born good. He does not have to try to be good, as we do. He does not have to start the New Year with the resolution to be good, and succeed, bar accidents, in being so till the middle of January. He […]

“Now, which would you advise, dear? You see, with the red I shan’t be able to wear my magenta hat.” “Well then, why not have the grey?” “Yes–yes, I think the grey will be MORE useful.” “It’s a good material.” “Yes, and it’s a PRETTY grey. You know what I mean, dear; not a COMMON […]

Long, long ago, when you and I, dear Reader, were young, when the fairies dwelt in the hearts of the roses, when the moonbeams bent each night beneath the weight of angels’ feet, there lived a good, wise man. Or rather, I should say, there had lived, for at the time of which I speak […]

I can remember–but then I can remember a long time ago. You, gentle Reader, just entering upon the prime of life, that age by thoughtless youth called middle, I cannot, of course, expect to follow me–when there was in great demand a certain periodical ycleped The Amateur. Its aim was noble. It sought to teach […]

Occasionally a friend will ask me some such question as this, Do you prefer dark women or fair? Another will say, Do you like tall women or short? A third, Do you think light-hearted women, or serious, the more agreeable company? I find myself in the position that, once upon a time, overtook a certain […]

My study window looks down upon Hyde Park, and often, to quote the familiar promise of each new magazine, it amuses and instructs me to watch from my tower the epitome of human life that passes to and fro beneath. At the opening of the gates, creeps in the woman of the streets. Her pitiful […]

I talked to a woman once on the subject of honeymoons. I said, “Would you recommend a long honeymoon, or a Saturday to Monday somewhere?” A silence fell upon her. I gathered she was looking back rather than forward to her answer. “I would advise a long honeymoon,” she replied at length, “the old-fashioned month.” […]

I walked one bright September morning in the Strand. I love London best in the autumn. Then only can one see the gleam of its white pavements, the bold, unbroken outline of its streets. I love the cool vistas one comes across of mornings in the parks, the soft twilights that linger in the empty […]

Have you ever noticed the going out of a woman? When a man goes out, he says–“I’m going out, shan’t be long.” “Oh, George,” cries his wife from the other end of the house, “don’t go for a moment. I want you to–” She hears a falling of hats, followed by the slamming of the […]

AN old Anglicized Frenchman, I used to meet often in my earlier journalistic days, held a theory, concerning man’s future state, that has since come to afford me more food for reflection than, at the time, I should have deemed possible. He was a bright-eyed, eager little man. One felt no Lotus land could be […]

It was only a piece of broken glass. From its shape and colour, I should say it had, in its happier days, formed portion of a cheap scent-bottle. Lying isolated on the grass, shone upon by the early morning sun, it certainly appeared at its best. It attracted him. He cocked his head, and looked […]

I was pacing the Euston platform late one winter’s night, waiting for the last train to Watford, when I noticed a man cursing an automatic machine. Twice he shook his fist at it. I expected every moment to see him strike it. Naturally curious, I drew near softly. I wanted to catch what he was […]

He began the day badly. He took me out and lost me. It would be so much better, would he consent to the usual arrangement, and allow me to take him out. I am far the abler leader: I say it without conceit. I am older than he is, and I am less excitable. I […]

The advantage of literature over life is that its characters are clearly defined, and act consistently. Nature, always inartistic, takes pleasure in creating the impossible. Reginald Blake was as typical a specimen of the well-bred cad as one could hope to find between Piccadilly Circus and Hyde Park Corner. Vicious without passion, and possessing brain […]

Speaking personally, I do not like the Countess of —. She is not the type of woman I could love. I hesitate the less giving expression to this sentiment by reason of the conviction that the Countess of — would not be unduly depressed even were the fact to reach her ears. I cannot conceive […]

Between a junior resident master of twenty-one, and a backward lad of fifteen, there yawns an impassable gulf. Between a struggling journalist of one-and-thirty, and an M.D. of twenty-five, with a brilliant record behind him, and a career of exceptional promise before him, a close friendship is however permissible. My introduction to Cyril Harjohn was […]

Blase Billy

Story type: Literature

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It was towards the end of August. He and I appeared to be the only two men left to the Club. He was sitting by an open window, the Times lying on the floor beside him. I drew my chair a little closer and remarked:–“Good morning.” He suppressed a yawn, and replied “Mornin’”–dropping the “g.” […]

Portrait Of A Lady

Story type: Literature

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My work pressed upon me, but the louder it challenged me–such is the heart of the timid fighter–the less stomach I felt for the contest. I wrestled with it in my study, only to be driven to my books. I walked out to meet it in the streets, only to seek shelter from it in […]

The fault that most people will find with this story is that it is unconvincing. Its scheme is improbable, its atmosphere artificial. To confess that the thing really happened–not as I am about to set it down, for the pen of the professional writer cannot but adorn and embroider, even to the detriment of his […]

The first time we met, to speak, he was sitting with his back against a pollard willow, smoking a clay pipe. He smoked it very slowly, but very conscientiously. After each whiff he removed the pipe from his mouth and fanned away the smoke with his cap. “Feeling bad?” I asked from behind a tree, […]

It has been told me by those in a position to know–and I can believe it–that at nineteen months of age he wept because his grandmother would not allow him to feed her with a spoon, and that at three and a half he was fished, in an exhausted condition, out of the water-butt, whither […]

The Absent-Minded Man

Story type: Literature

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You ask him to dine with you on Thursday to meet a few people who are anxious to know him. “Now don’t make a muddle of it,” you say, recollectful of former mishaps, “and come on the Wednesday.” He laughs good-naturedly as he hunts through the room for his diary. “Shan’t be able to come […]

A Man Of Habit

Story type: Literature

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There were three of us in the smoke-room of the Alexandra–a very good friend of mine, myself, and, in the opposite corner, a shy-looking, unobtrusive man, the editor, as we subsequently learned, of a New York Sunday paper. My friend and I were discussing habits, good and bad. “After the first few months,” said my […]

Whibley’s Spirit

Story type: Literature

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I never met it myself, but I knew Whibley very well indeed, so that I came to hear a goodish deal about it. It appeared to be devoted to Whibley, and Whibley was extremely fond of it. Personally I am not interested in spirits, and no spirit has ever interested itself in me. But I […]

A Charming Woman

Story type: Literature

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“Not the Mr. —, really?“ In her deep brown eyes there lurked pleased surprise, struggling with wonder. She looked from myself to the friend who introduced us with a bewitching smile of incredulity, tempered by hope. He assured her, adding laughingly, “The only genuine and original,” and left us. “I’ve always thought of you as […]

The Hobby Rider

Story type: Literature

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Bump. Bump. Bump-bump. Bump. I sat up in bed and listened intently. It seemed to me as if someone with a muffled hammer were trying to knock bricks out of the wall. “Burglars,” I said to myself (one assumes, as a matter of course, that everything happening in this world after 1 a.m. is due […]

The Man Who Went Wrong

Story type: Literature

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I first met Jack Burridge nearly ten years ago on a certain North-country race-course. The saddling bell had just rung for the chief event of the day. I was sauntering along with my hands in my pockets, more interested in the crowd than in the race, when a sporting friend, crossing on his way to […]

Dick Dunkerman’s Cat

Story type: Literature

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Richard Dunkerman and I had been old school-fellows, if a gentleman belonging to the Upper Sixth, and arriving each morning in a “topper” and a pair of gloves, and “a discredit to the Lower Fourth,” in a Scotch cap, can by any manner of means be classed together. And though in those early days a […]

He got in at Ipswich with seven different weekly papers under his arm. I noticed that each one insured its reader against death or injury by railway accident. He arranged his luggage upon the rack above him, took off his hat and laid it on the seat beside him, mopped his bald head with a […]

The City Of The Sea

Story type: Literature

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They say, the chroniclers who have written the history of that low-lying, wind-swept coast, that years ago the foam fringe of the ocean lay further to the east; so that where now the North Sea creeps among the treacherous sand-reefs, it was once dry land. In those days, between the Abbey and the sea, there […]

“It doesn’t suit you at all,” I answered. “You’re very disagreeable,” said she, “I shan’t ever ask your advice again.” “Nobody,” I hastened to add, “would look well in it. You, of course, look less awful in it than any other woman would, but it’s not your style.” “He means,” exclaimed the Minor Poet, “that […]

Driftwood

Story type: Literature

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CHARACTERS MR. TRAVERS. MRS. TRAVERS. MARION [their daughter]. DAN [a gentleman of no position]. * * * * * SCENE: A room opening upon a garden. The shadows creep from their corners, driving before them the fading twilight. MRS. TRAVERS sits in a wickerwork easy chair. MR. TRAVERS, smoking a cigar, sits the other side […]

The Comic Man

Story type: Essay

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He follows the hero all over the world. This is rough on the hero. What makes him so gone on the hero is that when they were boys together the hero used to knock him down and kick him. The comic man remembers this with a glow of pride when he is grown up, and […]

The Heroine

Story type: Essay

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She is always in trouble–and don’t she let you know it, too! Her life is undeniably a hard one. Nothing goes right with her. We all have our troubles, but the stage heroine never has anything else. If she only got one afternoon a week off from trouble or had her Sundays free it would […]

The Villain

Story type: Essay

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He wears a clean collar and smokes a cigarette; that is how we know he is a villain. In real life it is often difficult to tell a villain from an honest man, and this gives rise to mistakes; but on the stage, as we have said villains wear clean collars and smoke cigarettes, and […]

The Adventuress

Story type: Essay

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She sits on a table and smokes a cigarette. A cigarette on the stage is always the badge of infamy. In real life the cigarette is usually the hall-mark of the particularly mild and harmless individual. It is the dissipation of the Y.M.C.A.; the innocent joy of the pure-hearted boy long ere the demoralizing influence […]

The Lawyer

Story type: Essay

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He is very old, and very long, and very thin. He has white hair. He dresses in the costume of the last generation but seven. He has bushy eyebrows and is clean shaven. His chin itches considerably, so that he has to be always scratching it. His favorite remark is “Ah!” In real life we […]

Oh, they are funny! The comic lovers’ mission in life is to serve as a sort of “relief” to the misery caused the audience by the other characters in the play; and all that is wanted now is something that will be a relief to the comic lovers. They have nothing to do with the […]

There are two types of servant-girl to be met with on the stage. This is an unusual allowance for one profession. There is the lodging-house slavey. She has a good heart and a smutty face and is always dressed according to the latest fashion in scarecrows. Her leading occupation is the cleaning of boots. She […]

He has lost his wife. But he knows where she is–among the angels! She isn’t all gone, because the heroine has her hair. “Ah, you’ve got your mother’s hair,” says the good old man, feeling the girl’s head all over as she kneels beside him. Then they all wipe away a tear. The people on […]

The Peasants

Story type: Essay

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They are so clean. We have seen peasantry off the stage, and it has presented an untidy–occasionally a disreputable and unwashed–appearance; but the stage peasant seems to spend all his wages on soap and hair-oil. They are always round the corner–or rather round the two corners–and they come on in a couple of streams and […]

The Detective

Story type: Essay

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Ah! he is a cute one, he is. Possibly in real life he would not be deemed anything extraordinary, but by contrast with the average of stage men and women, any one who is not a born fool naturally appears somewhat Machiavellian. He is the only man in the play who does not swallow all […]

The Irishman

Story type: Essay

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He says “Shure” and “Bedad” and in moments of exultation “Beghorra.” That is all the Irish he knows. He is very poor, but scrupulously honest. His great ambition is to pay his rent, and he is devoted to his landlord. He is always cheerful and always good. We never knew a bad Irishman on the […]

The Sailor

Story type: Essay

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He does suffer so with his trousers. He has to stop and pull them up about twice every minute. One of these days, if he is not careful, there will be an accident happen to those trousers. If the stage sailor will follow our advice, he will be warned in time and will get a […]

Told After Supper

Story type: Literature

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Collection of short stories INTRODUCTORY It was Christmas Eve. I begin this way because it is the proper, orthodox, respectable way to begin, and I have been brought up in a proper, orthodox, respectable way, and taught to always do the proper, orthodox, respectable thing; and the habit clings to me. Of course, as a […]

Myself, I do not believe this story. Six persons are persuaded of its truth; and the hope of these six is to convince themselves it was an hallucination. Their difficulty is there are six of them. Each one alone perceives clearly that it never could have been. Unfortunately, they are close friends, and cannot get […]

Evergreens

Story type: Essay

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They look so dull and dowdy in the spring weather, when the snow drops and the crocuses are putting on their dainty frocks of white and mauve and yellow, and the baby-buds from every branch are peeping with bright eyes out on the world, and stretching forth soft little leaves toward the coming gladness of […]

The neighbourhood of Bloomsbury Square towards four o’clock of a November afternoon is not so crowded as to secure to the stranger, of appearance anything out of the common, immunity from observation. Tibb’s boy, screaming at the top of his voice that she was his honey, stopped suddenly, stepped backwards on to the toes of […]

Once upon a time in Zandam, which is by the Zuider Zee, there lived a wicked man named Nicholas Snyders. He was mean and hard and cruel, and loved but one thing in the world, and that was gold. And even that not for its own sake. He loved the power gold gave him–the power […]

Variety patter

Story type: Literature

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My first appearance at a Music Hall was in the year one thousand eight hundred and s—. Well, I would rather not mention the exact date. I was fourteen at the time. It was during the Christmas holidays, and my aunt had given me five shillings to go and see Phelps–I think it was Phelps–in […]

The Woman of the Saeter

Story type: Literature

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Wild-reindeer stalking is hardly so exciting a sport as the evening’s verandah talk in Norroway hotels would lead the trustful traveller to suppose. Under the charge of your guide, a very young man with the dreamy, wistful eyes of those who live in valleys, you leave the farmstead early in the forenoon, arriving towards twilight […]

A STORY OF OLD LONDON, IN TWO CHAPTERS CHAPTER I. If you take the Underground Railway to Whitechapel Road (the East station), and from there take one of the yellow tramcars that start from that point, and go down the Commercial Road, past the George, in front of which starts–or used to stand–a high flagstaff, […]

“I do mean it,” declared Mrs. Korner, “I like a man to be a man.” “But you would not like Christopher–I mean Mr. Korner–to be that sort of man,” suggested her bosom friend. “I don’t mean that I should like it if he did it often. But I should like to feel that he was […]

This story is about a shop: many stories are. One Sunday evening this Bishop had to preach a sermon at St. Paul’s Cathedral. The occasion was a very special and important one, and every God-fearing newspaper in the kingdom sent its own special representative to report the proceedings. Now, of the three reporters thus commissioned, […]

Silhouettes

Story type: Literature

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I fear I must be of a somewhat gruesome turn of mind. My sympathies are always with the melancholy side of life and nature. I love the chill October days, when the brown leaves lie thick and sodden underneath your feet, and a low sound as of stifled sobbing is heard in the damp woods–the […]

Perhaps of all, it troubled most the Herr Pfarrer. Was he not the father of the village? And as such did it not fall to him to see his children marry well and suitably? marry in any case. It was the duty of every worthy citizen to keep alive throughout the ages the sacred hearth […]

Sylvia Of The Letters

Story type: Literature

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Old Ab Herrick, so most people called him. Not that he was actually old; the term was an expression of liking rather than any reflection on his years. He lived in an old-fashioned house–old-fashioned, that is, for New York–on the south side of West Twentieth Street: once upon a time, but that was long ago, […]

His Evening Out

Story type: Literature

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The evidence of the park-keeper, David Bristow, of Gilder Street, Camden Town, is as follows: I was on duty in St. James’s Park on Thursday evening, my sphere extending from the Mall to the northern shore of the ornamental water east of the suspension bridge. At five-and-twenty to seven I took up a position between […]

I had turned off from the Edgware Road into a street leading west, the atmosphere of which had appealed to me. It was a place of quiet houses standing behind little gardens. They had the usual names printed on the stuccoed gateposts. The fading twilight was just sufficient to enable one to read them. There […]

Malvina of Brittany

Story type: Literature

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THE PREFACE. The Doctor never did believe this story, but claims for it that, to a great extent, it has altered his whole outlook on life. “Of course, what actually happened–what took place under my own nose,” continued the Doctor, “I do not dispute. And then there is the case of Mrs. Marigold. That was […]

The Fawn Gloves

Story type: Literature

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Always he remembered her as he saw her first: the little spiritual face, the little brown shoes pointed downwards, their toes just touching the ground; the little fawn gloves folded upon her lap. He was not conscious of having noticed her with any particular attention: a plainly dressed, childish-looking figure alone on a seat between […]

Clocks

Story type: Essay

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There are two kinds of clocks. There is the clock that is always wrong, and that knows it is wrong, and glories in it; and there is the clock that is always right–except when you rely upon it, and then it is more wrong than you would think a clock could be in a civilized […]

The Cost of Kindness

Story type: Literature

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“Kindness,” argued little Mrs. Pennycoop, “costs nothing.” “And, speaking generally, my dear, is valued precisely at cost price,” retorted Mr. Pennycoop, who, as an auctioneer of twenty years’ experience, had enjoyed much opportunity of testing the attitude of the public towards sentiment. “I don’t care what you say, George,” persisted his wife; “he may be […]

Tea-Table Talk

Story type: Literature

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CHAPTER I “They are very pretty, some of them,” said the Woman of the World; “not the sort of letters I should have written myself.” “I should like to see a love-letter of yours,” interrupted the Minor Poet. “It is very kind of you to say so,” replied the Woman of the World. “It never […]