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87 Works of Charles Dudley Warner

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The Story of Pocahantas

Story type: Literature

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The simple story of the life of Pocahontas is sufficiently romantic without the embellishments which have been wrought on it either by the vanity of Captain Smith or the natural pride of the descendants of this dusky princess who have been ennobled by the smallest rivulet of her red blood. That she was a child […]


Story type: Essay

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Here is June again! It never was more welcome in these Northern latitudes. It seems a pity that such a month cannot be twice as long. It has been the pet of the poets, but it is not spoiled, and is just as full of enchantment as ever. The secret of this is that it […]

INTRODUCTION Thirty years ago and more those who read and valued good books in this country made the acquaintance of Mr. Warner, and since the publication of “My Summer In a Garden” no work of his has needed any other introduction than the presence of his name on the title-page; and now that reputation has […]

This is a very interesting age. Within the memory of men not yet come to middle life the time of the trotting horse has been reduced from two minutes forty seconds to two minutes eight and a quarter seconds. During the past fifteen years a universal and wholesome pastime of boys has been developed into […]

The Declaration of Independence opens with the statement of a great and fruitful political truth. But if it had said:–“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created unequal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” it […]

This December evening, the imagination, by a law of contrast, recalls another December night two hundred and seventy years ago. The circle of darkness is drawn about a little group of Pilgrims who have come ashore on a sandy and inhospitable coast. On one side is a vexed and wintry sea, three thousand miles of […]

The problem of dealing with the criminal class seems insolvable, and it undoubtedly is with present methods. It has never been attempted on a fully scientific basis, with due regard to the protection of society and to the interests of the criminal. It is purely an economic and educational problem, and must rest upon the […]

This is the first public meeting of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. The original members were selected by an invitation from the American Social Science Association, which acted under the power of its charter from the Congress of the United States. The members thus selected, who joined the Social Science Association, were given […]

CONTENTS: BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH BY THOMAS R. LOUNSBURY. THE RELATION OF LITERATURE TO LIFE BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH The county of Franklin in Northwestern Massachusetts, if not rivaling in certain ways the adjoining Berkshire, has still a romantic beauty of its own. In the former half of the nineteenth century its population was largely given up to the […]


Story type: Essay

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In accordance with the advice of Diogenes of Apollonia in the beginning of his treatise on Natural Philosophy–“It appears to me to be well for every one who commences any sort of philosophical treatise to lay down some undeniable principle to start with”–we offer this: All men are created unequal. It would be a most […]


Story type: Essay

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England has played a part in modern history altogether out of proportion to its size. The whole of Great Britain, including Ireland, has only eleven thousand more square miles than Italy; and England and Wales alone are not half so large as Italy. England alone is about the size of North Carolina. It is, as […]

Modern Fiction

Story type: Essay

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One of the worst characteristics of modern fiction is its so-called truth to nature. For fiction is an art, as painting is, as sculpture is, as acting is. A photograph of a natural object is not art; nor is the plaster cast of a man’s face, nor is the bare setting on the stage of […]

There has been a great improvement in the physical condition of the people of the United States within two generations. This is more noticeable in the West than in the East, but it is marked everywhere; and the foreign traveler who once detected a race deterioration, which he attributed to a dry and stimulating atmosphere […]

By Charles Dudley Warner Queen Elizabeth being dead about ten o’clock in the morning, March 24, 1603, Sir Robert Cary posted away, unsent, to King James of Scotland to inform him of the “accident,” and got made a baron of the realm for his ride. On his way down to take possession of his new […]

At the close of the war for the Union about five millions of negroes were added to the citizenship of the United States. By the census of 1890 this number had become over seven and a half millions. I use the word negro because the descriptive term black or colored is not determinative. There are […]

To revisit this earth, some ages after their departure from it, is a common wish among men. We frequently hear men say that they would give so many months or years of their lives in exchange for a less number on the globe one or two or three centuries from now. Merely to see the […]

Delivered before the Alumni of Hamilton College, Clinton, N. Y., Wednesday, June 26, 1872 Twenty-one years ago in this house I heard a voice calling me to ascend the platform, and there to stand and deliver. The voice was the voice of President North; the language was an excellent imitation of that used by Cicero […]

The Red Bonnet

Story type: Essay

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The Drawer has no wish to make Lent easier for anybody, or rather to diminish the benefit of the penitential season. But in this period of human anxiety and repentance it must be said that not enough account is made of the moral responsibility of Things. The doctrine is sound; the only difficulty is in […]

The Drawer will still bet on the rose. This is not a wager, but only a strong expression of opinion. The rose will win. It does not look so now. To all appearances, this is the age of the chrysanthemum. What this gaudy flower will be, daily expanding and varying to suit the whim of […]

Have we yet hit upon the right idea of civilization? The process which has been going on ever since the world began seems to have a defect in it; strength, vital power, somehow escapes. When you’ve got a man thoroughly civilized you cannot do anything more with him. And it is worth reflection what we […]

Is it true that cultivation, what we call refinement, kills individuality? Or, worse than that even, that one loses his taste by over-cultivation? Those persons are uninteresting, certainly, who have gone so far in culture that they accept conventional standards supposed to be correct, to which they refer everything, and by which they measure everybody. […]

Of all the contrivances for amusement in this agreeable world the “Reception” is the most ingenious, and would probably most excite the wonder of an angel sent down to inspect our social life. If he should pause at the entrance of the house where one is in progress, he would be puzzled. The noise that […]

We are all more or less devoted to ‘liberte’, ‘egalite’, and considerable ‘fraternite’, and we have various ways of showing it. It is the opinion of many that women do not care much about politics, and that if they are interested at all in them, they are by nature aristocrats. It is said, indeed, that […]

The Drawer has never undervalued clothes. Whatever other heresies it may have had, however it may have insisted that the more a woman learns, the more she knows of books, the higher her education is carried in all the knowledges, the more interesting she will be, not only for an hour, but as a companion […]

There appears to be a great quantity of conceit around, especially concerning women. The statement was recently set afloat that a well-known lady had admitted that George Meredith understands women better than any writer who has preceded him. This may be true, and it may be a wily statement to again throw men off the […]

The Broad A

Story type: Essay

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It cannot for a moment be supposed that the Drawer would discourage self-culture and refinement of manner and of speech. But it would not hesitate to give a note of warning if it believed that the present devotion to literature and the pursuits of the mind were likely, by the highest authorities, to be considered […]

It does not seem to be decided yet whether women are to take the Senate or the House at Washington in the new development of what is called the dual government. There are disadvantages in both. The members of the Senate are so few that the women of the country would not be adequately represented […]

Chewing Gum

Story type: Essay

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No language that is unfortunately understood by the greater portion of the people who speak English, thousands are saying on the first of January–in 1890, a far-off date that it is wonderful any one has lived to see–“Let us have a new deal!” It is a natural exclamation, and does not necessarily mean any change […]

The condescension to literature and to the stage is one of the notable characteristics of this agreeable time. We have to admit that literature is rather the fashion, without the violent presumption that the author and the writer have the same social position that is conferred by money, or by the mysterious virtue there is […]

The shyness of man–meaning the “other sex” referred to in the woman’s journals–has often been noticed in novels, and sometimes in real life. This shyness is, however, so exceptional as to be suspicious. The shy young man may provoke curiosity, but he does not always inspire respect. Roughly estimated, shyness is not considered a manly […]

The Drawer would like to emphasize the noble, self-sacrificing spirit of American women. There are none like them in the world. They take up all the burdens of artificial foreign usage, where social caste prevails, and bear them with a heroism worthy of a worse cause. They indeed represent these usages to be a burden […]


Story type: Essay

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Christmas is supposed to be an altruistic festival. Then, if ever, we allow ourselves to go out to others in sympathy expressed by gifts and good wishes. Then self-forgetfulness in the happiness of others becomes a temporary fashion. And we find–do we not?–the indulgence of the feeling so remunerative that we wish there were other […]


Story type: Essay

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Is it possible for a person to be entirely naturalized?–that is, to be denationalized, to cast off the prejudice and traditions of one country and take up those of another; to give up what may be called the instinctive tendencies of one race and take up those of another. It is easy enough to swear […]

Many people suppose that it is the easiest thing in the world to dine if you can get plenty to eat. This error is the foundation of much social misery. The world that never dines, and fancies it has a grievance justifying anarchy on that account, does not know how much misery it escapes. A […]

Love Of Display

Story type: Essay

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It is fortunate that a passion for display is implanted in human nature; and if we owe a debt of gratitude to anybody, it is to those who make the display for us. It would be such a dull, colorless world without it! We try in vain to imagine a city without brass bands, and […]

He was saying, when he awoke one morning, “I wish I were governor of a small island, and had nothing to do but to get up and govern.” It was an observation quite worthy of him, and one of general application, for there are many men who find it very difficult to get a living […]

The vitality of a fallacy is incalculable. Although the Drawer has been going many years, there are still remaining people who believe that “things which are equal to the same thing are equal to each other.” This mathematical axiom, which is well enough in its place, has been extended into the field of morals and […]

It is difficult enough to keep the world straight without the interposition of fiction. But the conduct of the novelists and the painters makes the task of the conservators of society doubly perplexing. Neither the writers nor the artists have a due sense of the responsibilities of their creations. The trouble appears to arise from […]

One of the burning questions now in the colleges for the higher education of women is whether the undergraduates shall wear the cap and gown. The subject is a delicate one, and should not be confused with the broader one, what is the purpose of the higher education? Some hold that the purpose is to […]

This ingenious age, when studied, seems not less remarkable for its division of labor than for the disposition of people to shift labor on to others’ shoulders. Perhaps it is only another aspect of the spirit of altruism, a sort of backhanded vicariousness. In taking an inventory of tendencies, this demands some attention. The notion […]

It was in the time of the Second Empire. To be exact, it was the night of the 18th of June, 1868; I remember the date, because, contrary to the astronomical theory of short nights at this season, this was the longest night I ever saw. It was the loveliest time of the year in […]

Either we have been indulging in an expensive mistake, or a great foreign novelist who preaches the gospel of despair is locoed. This word, which may be new to most of our readers, has long been current in the Far West, and is likely to be adopted into the language, and become as indispensable as […]

Perhaps the most curious and interesting phrase ever put into a public document is “the pursuit of happiness.” It is declared to be an inalienable right. It cannot be sold. It cannot be given away. It is doubtful if it could be left by will. The right of every man to be six feet high, […]


Story type: Essay

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Truthfulness is as essential in literature as it is in conduct, in fiction as it is in the report of an actual occurrence. Falsehood vitiates a poem, a painting, exactly as it does a life. Truthfulness is a quality like simplicity. Simplicity in literature is mainly a matter of clear vision and lucid expression, however […]

In the minds of the public there is a mystery about the practice of medicine. It deals more or less with the unknown, with the occult, it appeals to the imagination. Doubtless confidence in its practitioners is still somewhat due to the belief that they are familiar with the secret processes of nature, if they […]

Is the divorce of Literature and the Stage complete, or is it still only partial? As the lawyers say, is it a ‘vinculo’, or only a ‘mensa et thoro?’ And if this divorce is permanent, is it a good thing for literature or the stage? Is the present condition of the stage a degeneration, as […]


Story type: Essay

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No doubt one of the most charming creations in all poetry is Nausicaa, the white-armed daughter of King Alcinous. There is no scene, no picture, in the heroic times more pleasing than the meeting of Ulysses with this damsel on the wild seashore of Scheria, where the Wanderer had been tossed ashore by the tempest. […]

It seems somehow more nearly an irreparable loss to us than to “H. H.” that she did not live to taste her very substantial fame in Southern California. We should have had such delight in her unaffected pleasure in it, and it would have been one of those satisfactions somewhat adequate to our sense of […]

The most painful event since the bombardment of Alexandria has been what is called by an English writer the “invasion” of “American Literature in England.” The hostile forces, with an advanced guard of what was regarded as an “awkward squad,” had been gradually effecting a landing and a lodgment not unwelcome to the unsuspicious natives. […]

In a Memorial Day address at New Haven in 1881, the Hon. Richard D. Hubbard suggested the erection of a statue to Nathan Hale in the State Capitol. With the exception of the monument in Coventry no memorial of the young hero existed. The suggestion was acted on by the Hon. E. S. Cleveland, who […]

Our President

Story type: Essay

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We are so much accustomed to kings and queens and other privileged persons of that sort in this world that it is only on reflection that we wonder how they became so. The mystery is not their continuance, but how did they get a start? We take little help from studying the bees –originally no […]

It seems hardly worth while to say that this would be a more interesting country if there were more interesting people in it. But the remark is worth consideration in a land where things are so much estimated by what they cost. It is a very expensive country, especially so in the matter of education, […]

A fair correspondent–has the phrase an old-time sound?–thinks we should pay more attention to men. In a revolutionary time, when great questions are in issue, minor matters, which may nevertheless be very important, are apt to escape the consideration they deserve. We share our correspondent’s interest in men, but must plead the pressure of circumstances. […]

The American man only develops himself and spreads himself and grows “for all he is worth” in the Great West. He is more free and limber there, and unfolds those generous peculiarities and largenesses of humanity which never blossomed before. The “environment” has much to do with it. The great spaces over which he roams […]

Those who are anxious about the fate of Christmas, whether it is not becoming too worldly and too expensive a holiday to be indulged in except by the very poor, mark with pleasure any indications that the true spirit of the day–brotherhood and self-abnegation and charity–is infusing itself into modern society. The sentimental Christmas of […]

Give the men a chance. Upon the young women of America lies a great responsibility. The next generation will be pretty much what they choose to make it; and what are they doing for the elevation of young men? It is true that there are the colleges for men, which still perform a good work–though […]

Can a husband open his wife’s letters? That would depend, many would say, upon what kind of a husband he is. But it cannot be put aside in that flippant manner, for it is a legal right that is in question, and it has recently been decided in a Paris tribunal that the husband has […]

We are quite in the electric way. We boast that we have made electricity our slave, but the slave whom we do not understand is our master. And before we know him we shall be transformed. Mr. Edison proposes to send us over the country at the rate of one hundred miles an hour. This […]

A Leisure Class

Story type: Essay

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Foreign critics have apologized for real or imagined social and literary shortcomings in this country on the ground that the American people have little leisure. It is supposed that when we have a leisure class we shall not only make a better showing in these respects, but we shall be as agreeable–having time to devote […]

There used to be a notion going round that it would be a good thing for people if they were more “self-centred.” Perhaps there was talk of adding a course to the college curriculum, in addition to that for training the all-competent “journalist,” for the self-centring of the young. To apply the term to a […]

The month of February in all latitudes in the United States is uncertain. The birth of George Washington in it has not raised it in public esteem. In the North, it is a month to flee from; in the South, at best it is a waiting month–a month of rain and fickle skies. A good […]

Juventus Mundi

Story type: Essay

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Sometimes the world seems very old. It appeared so to Bernard of Cluny in the twelfth century, when he wrote: “The world is very evil, The times are waning late.” There was a general impression among the Christians of the first century of our era that the end was near. The world must have seemed […]

In Autumn the thoughts lightly turn to Age. If the writer has seemed to be interested, sometimes to the neglect of other topics, in the American young woman, it was not because she is interested in herself, but because she is on the way to be one of the most agreeable objects in this lovely […]

On one of the most charming of the many wonderfully picturesque little beaches on the Pacific coast, near Monterey, is the idlest if not the most disagreeable social group in the world. Just off the shore, farther than a stone’s-throw, lies a mass of broken rocks. The surf comes leaping and laughing in, sending up, […]

The idea of the relation of climate to happiness is modern. It is probably born of the telegraph and of the possibility of rapid travel, and it is more disturbing to serenity of mind than any other. Providence had so ordered it that if we sat still in almost any region of the globe except […]

There must be something very good in human nature, or people would not experience so much pleasure in giving; there must be something very bad in human nature, or more people would try the experiment of giving. Those who do try it become enamored of it, and get their chief pleasure in life out of […]

What we want is repose. We take infinite trouble and go to the ends of the world to get it. That is what makes us all so restless. If we could only find a spot where we could sit down, content to let the world go by, away from the Sunday newspapers and the chronicles […]

In times past there have been expressed desire and fear that there should be an American aristocracy, and the materials for its formation have been a good deal canvassed. In a political point of view it is of course impossible, but it has been hoped by many, and feared by more, that a social state […]

We have not by any means got to the bottom of Realism. It matters very little what the novelists and critics say about it–what it is and what it is not; the attitude of society towards it is the important thing. Even if the critic could prove that nature and art are the same thing, […]

Is there any such thing as conversation? It is a delicate subject to touch, because many people understand conversation to be talk; not the exchange of ideas, but of words; and we would not like to say anything to increase the flow of the latter. We read of times and salons in which real conversation […]

Idleness seems to be the last accomplishment of civilization. To be idle gracefully and contentedly and picturesquely is an art. It is one in which the Americans, who do so many things well, do not excel. They have made the excuse that they have not time, or, if they have leisure, that their temperament and […]

Many people regard the keeping of a diary as a meritorious occupation. The young are urged to take up this cross; it is supposed to benefit girls especially. Whether women should do it is to some minds not an open question, although there is on record the case of the Frenchman who tried to shoot […]

The Tall Girl

Story type: Essay

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It is the fashion for girls to be tall. This is much more than saying that tall girls are the fashion. It means not only that the tall girl has come in, but that girls are tall, and are becoming tall, because it is the fashion, and because there is a demand for that sort […]

The wisdom of our ancestors packed away in proverbial sayings may always be a little suspected. We have a vague respect for a popular proverb, as embodying folk-experience, and expressing not the wit of one, but the common thought of a race. We accept the saying unquestioning, as a sort of inspiration out of the […]

The “old soldier” is beginning to outline himself upon the public mind as a distant character in American life. Literature has not yet got hold of him, and perhaps his evolution is not far enough advanced to make him as serviceable as the soldier of the Republic and the Empire, the relic of the Old […]

We have been remiss in not proposing a remedy for our present social and economic condition. Looking backward, we see this. The scheme may not be practical, any more than the Utopian plans that have been put forward, but it is radical and interesting, and requires, as the other schemes do, a total change in […]

To the northward of Hispaniola lies the island of Bimini. It may not be one of the spice islands, but it grows the best ginger to be found in the world. In it is a fair city, and beside the city a lofty mountain, at the foot of which is a noble spring called the […]

Our theme for the hour is the American Newspaper. It is a subject in which everybody is interested, and about which it is not polite to say that anybody is not well informed; for, although there are scattered through the land many persons, I am sorry to say, unable to pay for a newspaper, I […]

So many conflicting accounts have appeared about my casual encounter with an Adirondack bear last summer that in justice to the public, to myself, and to the bear, it is necessary to make a plain statement of the facts. Besides, it is so seldom I have occasion to kill a bear, that the celebration of […]

If civilization owes a debt of gratitude to the self-sacrificing sportsmen who have cleared the Adirondack regions of catamounts and savage trout, what shall be said of the army which has so nobly relieved them of the terror of the deer? The deer-slayers have somewhat celebrated their exploits in print; but I think that justice […]

There has been a lively inquiry after the primeval man. Wanted, a man who would satisfy the conditions of the miocene environment, and yet would be good enough for an ancestor. We are not particular about our ancestors, if they are sufficiently remote; but we must have something. Failing to apprehend the primeval man, science […]

Camping Out

Story type: Essay

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It seems to be agreed that civilization is kept up only by a constant effort: Nature claims its own speedily when the effort is relaxed. If you clear a patch of fertile ground in the forest, uproot the stumps, and plant it, year after year, in potatoes and maize, you say you have subdued it. […]

It ought to be said, by way of explanation, that my being lost in the woods was not premeditated. Nothing could have been more informal. This apology can be necessary only to those who are familiar with the Adirondack literature. Any person not familiar with it would see the absurdity of one going to the […]

Trout fishing in the Adirondacks would be a more attractive pastime than it is but for the popular notion of its danger. The trout is a retiring and harmless animal, except when he is aroused and forced into a combat; and then his agility, fierceness, and vindictiveness become apparent. No one who has studied the […]

New England is the battle-ground of the seasons. It is La Vendee. Toconquer it is only to begin the fight. When it is completely subdued,what kind of weather have you? None whatever. What is this New England? A country? No: a camp. It is alternatelyinvaded by the hyperborean legions and by the wilting sirens of […]

At the south end of Keene Valley, in the Adirondacks, stands Noon Mark, a shapely peak thirty-five hundred feet above the sea, which, with the aid of the sun, tells the Keene people when it is time to eat dinner. From its summit you look south into a vast wilderness basin, a great stretch of […]

My readers were promised an account of Spaniard’s Cave on Nipple-Top Mountain in the Adirondacks, if such a cave exists, and could be found. There is none but negative evidence that this is a mere cave of the imagination, the void fancy of a vacant hour; but it is the duty of the historian to […]