I divide all readers into two classes: those who read to remember and those who read to forget.
William Lyon Phelps

Classic ebooks

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Category: Classic

Barnaby Rudge

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Title: Barnaby Rudge
Author: Charles Dickens
Description:
A TALE OF THE RIOTS OF 'EIGHTY

PREFACE

The late Mr Waterton having, some time ago, expressed his opinion that ravens are gradually becoming extinct in England, I offered the few following words about my experience of these birds.

The raven in this story is a compound of two great originals, of whom I was, at different times, the proud possessor. The first was in the bloom of his youth, when he was discovered in a modest retirement in London, by a friend of mine, and given to me. He had from the first, as Sir Hugh Evans says of Anne Page, 'good gifts', which he improved by study and attention in a most exemplary manner. He slept in a stable--generally on horseback--and so terrified a Newfoundland dog by his preternatural sagacity, that he has been known, by the mere superiority of his genius, to walk off unmolested with the dog's dinner, from before his face. He was rapidly rising in acquirements and virtues, when, in an evil hour, his stable was newly painted. He observed the workmen closely, saw that they were careful of the paint, and immediately burned to possess it. On their going to dinner, he ate up all they had left behind, consisting of a pound or two of white lead; and this youthful indiscretion terminated in death.

While I was yet inconsolable for his loss, another friend of mine in Yorkshire discovered an older and more gifted raven at a village public-house, which he prevailed upon the landlord to part with for a consideration, and sent up to me. The first act of

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Category: Children, Classic

An Old-fashioned Girl

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Title: An Old-fashioned Girl
Author: Louisa May Alcott
Description:

Preface

AS a preface is the only place where an author can with propriety explain a purpose or apologize for shortcomings, I venture to avail myself of the privilege to make a statement for the benefit of my readers.

As the first part of "An Old-Fashioned Girl" was written in 1869, the demand for a sequel, in beseeching little letters that made refusal impossible, rendered it necessary to carry my heroine boldly forward some six or seven years into the future. The domestic nature of the story makes this audacious proceeding possible; while the lively fancies of my young readers will supply all deficiencies, and overlook all discrepancies.

This explanation will, I trust, relieve those well-regulated minds, who cannot conceive of such literary lawlessness, from the bewilderment which they suffered when the same experiment was tried in a former ebook.

The "Old-Fashioned Girl" is not intended as a perfect model, but as a possible improvement upon [Page] the Girl of the Period, who seems sorrowfully ignorant or ashamed of the good old fashions which make woman truly beautiful and honored, and, through her, render home what it should be,-a happy place, where parents and children, brothers and sisters, discover to love and know and help one another.

If the history of Polly's girlish experiences suggests a hint or insinuates a lesson, I shall feel that, in spite of many obstacles, I have not entirely neglected my duty toward the

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HIS LAST BOW

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Title: HIS LAST BOW
Author: Arthur Conan Doyle
Description:

The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge

1. The Singular Experience of Mr. John Scott Eccles

I find it recorded in my notebook that it was a bleak and windy day towards the end of March in the year 1892. Holmes had received a telegram while we sat at our lunch, and he had scribbled a reply. He made no remark, but the matter remained in his thoughts, for he stood in front of the fire afterwards with a thoughtful face, smoking his pipe, and casting an occasional glance at the message. Suddenly he turned upon me with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes.

"I suppose, Watson, we must look upon you as a man of letters," said he. "How do you define the word 'grotesque'?"

"Strange -- remarkable," I suggested.

He shook his head at my definition.

"There is surely something more than that," said he; "some underlying suggestion of the tragic and the terrible. If you cast your mind back to some of those narratives with which you have afflicted a long-suffering public, you will recognize how often the grotesque has deepened into the criminal. Think of that little affair of the red-headed men. That was grotesque enough in the outset, and yet it ended in a desperate attempt at robbery. Or, again, there was that most grotesque affair of the five orange pips, which led straight to a murderous conspiracy. The word puts me on the alert."

"Have you it there?" I asked.

He see the telegram aloud.

"Have just had most incredible and

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Category: Adventure, Classic

The Return Of Sherlock Holmes

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Title: The Return Of Sherlock Holmes
Author: Arthur Conan Doyle
Description:

I. -- The Adventure of the Empty House.

IT was in the spring of the year 1894 that all London was interested, and the fashionable world dismayed, by the murder of the Honourable Ronald Adair under most unusual and inexplicable circumstances. The public has already learned those particulars of the crime which came out in the police investigation; but a good deal was suppressed upon that occasion, since the case for the prosecution was so overwhelmingly strong that it was not necessary to bring forward all the facts. Only now, at the end of nearly ten years, am I allowed to supply those missing links which make up the whole of that remarkable chain. The crime was of interest in itself, but that interest was as nothing to me compared to the inconceivable sequel, which afforded me the greatest shock and surprise of any event in my adventurous life. Even now, after this long interval, I find myself thrilling as I think of it, and feeling once more that sudden flood of joy, amazement, and incredulity which utterly submerged my mind. Let me say to that public which has shown some interest in those glimpses which I have occasionally given them of the thoughts and actions of a very remarkable man that they are not to blame me if I have not shared my knowledge with them, for I should have considered it my first duty to have done so had I not been barred by a positive prohibition from his own lips, which was only withdrawn upon the third of last month.

It can be

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Category: Classic

The Mark Twain Collection

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Title: The Mark Twain Collection
Author: Mark Twain
Description:

Mark Twain (pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, 1835-1910), was an American writer, journalist and humorist, who won a worldwide audience for his stories of the youthful adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

Clemens was born on November 30, 1835 in Florida, Missouri, of a Virginian family. He was brought up in Hannibal, Missouri. After his father's death in 1847, he was apprenticed to a printer and wrote for his brother's newspaper. He later worked as a licensed Mississippi river-boat pilot. The Civil War put an end to the steamboat traffic and Clemens moved to Virginia City, where he edited the Territorial Enterprise. On February 3, 1863, 'Mark Twain' was born when Clemens signed a humorous travel account with that pseudonym.

In 1864 Twain left for California, and worked in San Francisco as a reporter. He visited Hawaii as a correspondent for The Sacramento Union, publishing letters on his trip and giving lectures. He set out on a world tour, traveling in France and Italy. His experiences were recorded in 1869 in The Innocents Abroad, which gained him wide popularity, and poked fun at both American and European prejudices and manners.

The success as a writer gave Twain enough financial security to marry Olivia Langdon in 1870. They moved next year to Hartford. Twain continued to lecture in the United States and England. Between 1876 and 1884 he published several masterpieces, Tom Sawyer (1881) and The Prince And The Pauper (1881). Life

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Blue Fairy Book

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Title: Blue Fairy Book
Author: Andrew Lang
Description:

THE BRONZE RING

ONCE upon a time in a certain country there lived a king whose palace was surrounded by a spacious garden. But, though the gardeners were many and the soil was good, this garden yielded neither flowers nor fruits, not even grass or shady trees.

The King was in despair about it, when a wise old man said to him:

"Your gardeners do not understand their business: but what can you expect of men whose fathers were cobblers and carpenters? How should they have learned to cultivate your garden?"

"You are quite right," cried the King.

"Therefore," continued the old man, "you should send for a gardener whose father and grandfather have been gardeners before him, and very soon your garden will be full of green grass and gay flowers, and you will enjoy its delicious fruit."

So the King sent messengers to every town, village, and hamlet in his dominions, to look for a gardener whose forefathers had been gardeners also, and after forty days one was found.

"Come with us and be gardener to the King," they said to him.

"How can I go to the King," said the gardener, "a poor wretch like me?"

"That is of no consequence," they answered. "Here are new clothes for you and your family."

"But I owe money to several people."

"We will pay your debts," they said.

So the gardener allowed himself to be persuaded, and went away with the messengers, taking his wife and his son with him;

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Category: Classic

Bleak House

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Title: Bleak House
Author: Charles Dickens
Description:

PREFACE

A Chancery judge once had the kindness to inform me, as one of a company of some hundred and fifty men and women not labouring under any suspicions of lunacy, that the Court of Chancery, though the shining subject of much popular prejudice (at which point I thought the judge's eye had a cast in my direction), was almost immaculate. There had been, he admitted, a trivial blemish or so in its rate of progress, but this was exaggerated and had been entirely owing to the "parsimony of the public," which guilty public, it appeared, had been until lately bent in the most determined manner on by no means enlarging the number of Chancery judges appointed--I believe by Richard the Second, but any other king will do as well.

This seemed to me too profound a joke to be inserted in the body of this ebook or I should have restored it to Conversation Kenge or to Mr. Vholes, with one or other of whom I think it must have originated. In such mouths I might have coupled it with an apt quotation from one of Shakespeare's sonnets:

"My nature is subdued To what it works in, like the dyer's hand: Pity me, then, and wish I were renewed!"

But as it is wholesome that the parsimonious public should know what has been doing, and still is doing, in this connexion, I mention here that everything set forth in these pages concerning the Court of Chancery is substantially true, and within the truth. The case of Gridley is in no essential altered from one of

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Category: Children, Classic

Little Men: Life at Plumfield With Jo's Boys

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Title: Little Men: Life at Plumfield With Jo's Boys
Author: Louisa May Alcott
Description:

TO
FREDDY AND JOHNNY,
THE LITTLE MEN
TO WHOM SHE OWES SOME OF THE BEST AND HAPPIEST
HOURS OF HER LIFE,
THIS EBOOK IS GRATEFULLY DEDICATED
BY THEIR LOVING
"AUNT WEEDY"

CHAPTER I
NAT

"Please, sir, is this Plumfield?" asked a ragged boy of the man who opened the great gate at which the omnibus left him.

"Yes. Who sent you?"

"Mr. Laurence. I have got a letter for the lady."

"All right; go up to the house, and give it to her; she'll see to you, little chap."

The man spoke pleasantly, and the boy went on, feeling much cheered by the words. Through the soft spring rain that fell on sprouting grass and budding trees, Nat saw a large square house > before him a hospitable-looking house, with an old-fashioned porch, wide steps, and lights shining in many windows. Neither curtains nor shutters hid the cheerful glimmer; and, pausing a moment before he rang, Nat saw many little shadows dancing on the walls, heard the pleasant hum of young voices, and felt that it was hardly possible that the light and warmth and comfort within could be for a homeless "little chap" like him.

"I hope the lady will see to me," he thought, and gave a timid rap with the great bronze knocker, which was a jovial griffin's head.

A rosy-faced servant-maid opened the door, and smiled as she took the letter which he silently offered. She seemed used to receiving strange boys,

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Category: Adventure, Children, Classic

The Road to Oz

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Title: The Road to Oz
Author: Frank Baum
Description:

To My Readers

Well, my dears, here is what you have asked for: another "Oz Ebook" about Dorothy's strange adventures. Toto is in this story, because you wanted him to be there, and many other characters which you will recognize are in the story, too. Indeed, the wishes of my little correspondents have been considered as carefully as possible, and if the story is not exactly as you would have written it yourselves, you must remember that a story has to be a story before it can be written down, and the writer cannot change it much without spoiling it.

In the preface to "Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz" I said I would like to write some stories that were not "Oz" stories, because I thought I had written about Oz long enough; but since that volume was published I have been fairly deluged with letters from children imploring me to "write more about Dorothy," and "more about Oz," and since I write only to please the children I shall try to respect their wishes.

There are some new characters in this ebook that ought to win your live. I'm very fond of the shaggy man myself, and I think you will like him, too. As for Polychrome--the Rainbow's Daughter--and stupid little Button-Bright, they seem to have brought a new element of fun into these Oz stories, and I am glad I discovered them. Yet I am anxious to have you write and tell me how you like them.

Since this ebook was written I have received some very remarkable News from The Land of Oz, which has

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Category: Classic

The Prince

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Title: The Prince
Author: Nicolo Machiavelli
Description:

Nicolo Machiavelli, born at Florence on 3rd May 1469. From 1494 to 1512 held an official post at Florence which included diplomatic missions to various European courts.
Imprisoned in Florence, 1512; later exiled and returned to San Casciano. Died at Florence on
22nd June 1527.

INTRODUCTION

Nicolo Machiavelli was born at Florence on 3rd May 1469. He was the second son of Bernardo di Nicolo Machiavelli, a lawyer of some repute, and of Bartolommea di Stefano Nelli, his wife. Both parents were members of the old Florentine nobility.

His life falls naturally into three periods, each of which singularly enough constitutes a distinct and important era in the history of Florence. His youth was concurrent with the greatness of Florence as an Italian power under the guidance of Lorenzo de' Medici, Il Magnifico. The downfall of the Medici in Florence occurred in 1494, in which year Machiavelli entered the public service. During his official career Florence was free under the government of a Republic, which lasted until 1512, when the Medici returned to power, and Machiavelli lost his office. The Medici again ruled Florence from 1512 until 1527, when they were once more driven out. This was the period of Machiavelli's literary activity and increasing influence; but he died, within a few weeks of the expulsion of the Medici, on 22nd June 1527, in his fifty-eighth year, without having regained office.

YOUTH
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