I would sooner read a timetable or a catalogue than nothing at all.
Somerset Maugham

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Category: Classic

Dr. Moreau

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Title: Dr. Moreau
Author: Herbert George Wells
Description:

INTRODUCTION.

ON February the First 1887, the Lady Vain was lost by collision with a derelict when about the latitude 1' S. and longitude 107' W.
On January the Fifth, 1888--that is eleven months and four days after-- my uncle, Edward Prendick, a private gentleman, who certainly went aboard the Lady Vain at Callao, and who had been considered drowned, was picked up in latitude 5' 3" S. and longitude 101' W. in a small open boat of which the name was illegible, but which is supposed to have belonged to the missing schooner Ipecacuanha.
He gave such a strange account of himself that he was supposed demented.
Subsequently he alleged that his mind was a blank from the moment of his escape from the Lady Vain. His case was discussed among psychologists at the time as a curious instance of the lapse of memory consequent upon physical and mental stress.
The following narrative was found among his papers by the undersigned, his nephew and heir, but unaccompanied by any definite request for publication.
The only island known to exist in the region in which my uncle was picked up is Noble's Isle, a small volcanic islet and uninhabited.
It was visited in 1891 by H. M. S. Scorpion. A party of sailors then landed, but found nothing living thereon except certain curious white moths, some hogs and rabbits, and some rather peculiar rats.
So that this narrative is without confirmation in its most essential particular. With that understood, there

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Category: Adventure, Classic

Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

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Title: Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
Author: Arthur Conan Doyle
Description:

Adventure I

Silver Blaze

"I am afraid, Watson, that I shall have to go," said Holmes, as we sat down together to our breakfast one morning.

"Go! Where to?"

"To Dartmoor; to King's Pyland."

I was not surprised. Indeed, my only wonder was that he had not already been mixed upon this extraordinary case, which was the one topic of conversation through the length and breadth of England. For a whole day my companion had rambled about the room with his chin upon his chest and his brows knitted, charging and recharging his pipe with the strongest black tobacco, and absolutely deaf to any of my questions or remarks. Fresh editions of every paper had been sent up by our news agent, only to be glanced over and tossed down into a corner. Yet, silent as he was, I knew perfectly well what it was over which he was brooding. There was but one problem before the public which could challenge his powers of analysis, and that was the singular disappearance of the favorite for the Wessex Cup, and the tragic murder of its trainer. When, therefore, he suddenly announced his intention of setting out for the scene of the drama it was only what I had both expected and hoped for.

"I should be most happy to go down with you if I should not be in the way," said I.

"My dear Watson, you would confer a great favor upon me by coming. And I think that your time will not be misspent, for there are points about the case which promise to make it an

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Category: Classic

God The Invisible King

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Title: God The Invisible King
Author: Herbert George Wells
Description:

PREFACE

This e-book sets out as forcibly and exactly as possible the religious belief of the writer. That belief is not orthodox Christianity; it is not, indeed, Christianity at all; its core nevertheless is a profound belief in a personal and intimate God. There is nothing in its statements that need shock or offend anyone who is prepared for the expression of a faith different from and perhaps in several particulars opposed to his own. The writer will be found to be sympathetic with all sincere religious feeling. Nevertheless it is well to prepare the prospective reader for statements that may jar harshly against deeply rooted mental habits. It is well to warn him at the outset that the departure from accepted beliefs is here no vague scepticism, but a quite sharply defined objection to dogmas very widely revered. Let the writer state the most probable occasion of trouble forthwith. An issue upon which this e-book will be found particularly uncompromising is the dogma of the Trinity. The writer is of opinion that the Council of Nicaea, which forcibly crystallised the controversies of two centuries and formulated the creed upon which all the existing Christian churches are based, was one of the most disastrous and one of the least venerable of all religious gatherings, and he holds that the Alexandrine speculations which were then conclusively imposed upon Christianity merit only disrespectful attention at the present time. There you have a chief possibility of

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Category: Classic

The Violet Fairy Book

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Title: The Violet Fairy Book
Author: Andrew Lang
Description:

PREFACE

THE Editor takes this opportunity to repeat what he has often said before, that he is not the author of the stories in the Fairy Ebooks; that he did not invent them `out of his own head.' He is accustomed to being asked, by ladies, `Have you written anything else except the Fairy Ebooks?' He is then obliged to explain that he has not written the Fairy Ebooks, but, save these, has written almost everything else, except hymns, sermons, and dramatic works.

The stories in this Violet Fairy Ebook, as in all the others of the series, have been translated out of the popular traditional tales in a number of different languages. These stories are as old as anything that men have invented. They are narrated by naked savage women to naked savage children. They have been inherited by our earliest civilised ancestors, who really believed that beasts and trees and stones can talk if they choose, and behave kindly or unkindly. The stories are full of the oldest ideas of ages when science did not exist, and magic took the place of science. Anybody who has the curiosity to see the `Legendary Australian Tales,' which Mrs. Langloh Parker has collected from the lips of the Australian savages, will find that these tales are closely akin to our own. Who were the first authors of them nobody knows -- probably the first men and women Eve may have told these tales to amuse Cain and Abel. As people grew more civilised and had kings and queens, princes and princesses,

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Dickory Cronke

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Title: Dickory Cronke
Author: Daniel Defoe
Description:
THE DUMB PHILOSOPHER, OR, GREAT BRITAIN'S WONDER

CONTAINING:
I. A faithful and very surprising Account how Dickory Cronke, a Tinner's son, in the County of Cornwall, was born Dumb, and continued so for Fifty-eight years; and how, some days before he died, he came to his Speech; with Memoirs of his Life, and the Manner of his Death.
II. A Declaration of his Faith and Principles in Religion; with a Collection of Select Meditations, composed in his Retirement.
III. His Prophetical Observations upon the Affairs of Europe, more particularly of Great Britain, from 1720 to 1729. The whole extracted from his Original Papers, and confirmed by unquestionable Authority.

PREFACE

The formality of a preface to this little ebook might have been very well omitted, if it were not to gratify the curiosity of some inquisitive people, who, I foresee, will be apt to make objections against the reality of the narrative.

Indeed the public has too often been imposed upon by fictitious stories, and some of a very late date, so that I think myself obliged by the usual respect which is paid to candid and impartial readers, to acquaint them, by way of introduction, with what they are to expect, and what they may depend upon, and yet with this caution too, that it is an indication of ill nature or ill manners, if not both, to pry into a secret that is industriously concealed.

However, that there may be nothing wanting on my part, I do hereby assure the reader, that the papers from whence the

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Category: Adventure, Children, Classic

The Marvelous Land of Oz

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Title: The Marvelous Land of Oz
Author: Frank Baum
Description:

Author's Note

AFTER the publication of "The Wonderful Wizard of OZ" I began to receive letters from children, telling me of their pleasure in reading the story and asking me to "write something more" about the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman. At first I considered these little letters, frank and earnest though they were, in the light of pretty compliments; but the letters continued to come during succeeding months, and even years.

Finally I promised one little girl, who made a long journey to see me and prefer her request, -- and she is a "Dorothy," by the way -- that when a thousand little girls had written me a thousand little letters asking for the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman I would write the ebook, Either little Dorothy was a fairy in disguise, and waved her magic wand, or the success of the stage production of "The Wizard of OZ" made new friends for the story, For the thousand letters reached their destination long since -- and many more followed them.

And now, although pleading guilty to long delay, I have kept my promise in this ebook.

L. FRANK BAUM.

Chicago, June, 1904

 

Tip Manufactures a Pumpkinhead

In the Country of the Gillikins, which is at the North of the Land of Oz, lived a youth called Tip. There was more to his name than that, for old Mombi often declared that his whole name was Tippetarius; but no one was expected to say such a long word when "Tip"

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Category: Classic

Everybody's Business Is Nobody's Business

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Title: Everybody's Business Is Nobody's Business
Author: Daniel Defoe
Description:

PRIVATE ABUSES, PUBLIC GRIEVANCES: EXEMPLIFIED
In the Pride, Insolence, and exorbitant Wages of our Women, Servants, Footmen,

THE PREFACE

Since this little ebook appeared in print, it has had no less than three answers, and fresh attacks are daily expected from the powers of Grub-street; but should threescore antagonists more arise, unless they say more to the purpose than the forementioned, they shall not tempt me to reply.

Nor shall I engage in a paper war, but leave my ebook to answer for itself, having advanced nothing therein but evident truths, and incontestible matters of fact.

The general objection is against my style; I do not set up for an author, but write only to be understood, no matter how plain.

As my intentions are good, so have they had the good fortune to meet with approbation from the sober and substantial part of mankind; as for the vicious and vagabond, their ill-will is my ambition.

It is with uncommon satisfaction I see the magistracy begin to put the laws against vagabonds in force with the utmost vigour, a great many of those vermin, the japanners, having lately been taken up and sent to the several work-houses in and about this city; and indeed high time, for they grow every day more and more pernicious.

My project for putting watchmen under commissioners, will, I hope, be put in practice; for it is scarce safe to go by water unless you know your man.

As for the

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Category: Children, Classic

Flower Fables

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Title: Flower Fables
Author: Louisa May Alcott
Description:

"Pondering shadows, colors, clouds Grass-buds, and caterpillar shrouds Boughs on which the wild bees settle, Tints that spot the violet's petal."

EMERSON'S WOOD-NOTES

The Frost King: or, The Power of Love

THREE little Fairies sat in the fields eating their breakfast; each among the leaves of her favorite flower, Daisy, Primrose, and Violet, were happy as Elves need be.

The morning wind gently rocked them to and fro, and the sun shone warmly down upon the dewy grass, where butterflies spread their gay wings, and bees with their deep voices sung among the flowers; while the little birds hopped merrily about to peep at them.

On a silvery mushroom was spread the breakfast; little cakes of flower-dust lay on a broad green leaf, beside a crimson strawberry, which, with sugar from the violet, and cream from the yellow milkweed, made a fairy meal, and their drink was the dew from the flowers' bright leaves.

"Ah me," sighed Primrose, throwing herself languidly back, "how warm the sun grows! give me another piece of strawberry, and then I must hasten away to the shadow of the ferns. But while I eat, tell me, dear Violet, why are you all so sad? I have scarce seen a happy face since my return from Rose Land; dear friend, what means it?"

"I will tell you," replied little Violet, the tears gathering in her soft eyes. "Our good Queen is ever striving to keep the dear flowers from the power of

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The Sign Of The Four

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Title: The Sign Of The Four
Author: Arthur Conan Doyle
Description:
OR, THE PROBLEM OF THE SHOLTOS.

I. THE SCIENCE OF DEDUCTION.

SHERLOCK HOLMES took his bottle from the corner of the mantel-piece and his hypodermic syringe from its neat morocco case. With his long, white, nervous fingers he adjusted the delicate needle, and rolled back his left shirt-cuff. For some little time his eyes rested thoughtfully upon the sinewy forearm and wrist all dotted and scarred with innumerable puncture-marks. Finally he thrust the sharp point home, pressed down the tiny piston, and sank back into the velvet-lined arm-chair with a long sigh of satisfaction.

Three times a day for many months I had witnessed this performance, but custom had not reconciled my mind to it. On the contrary, from day to day I had become more irritable at the sight, and my conscience swelled nightly within me at the thought that I had lacked the courage to protest. Again and again I had registered a vow that I should deliver my soul upon the subject, but there was that in the cool, nonchalant air of my companion which made him the last man with whom one would care to take anything approaching to a liberty. His great powers, his masterly manner, and the experience which I had had of his many extraordinary qualities, all made me diffident and backward in crossing him.

Yet upon that afternoon, whether it was the Beaune which I had taken with my lunch, or the additional exasperation produced by the extreme deliberation of his manner, I suddenly felt that I could hold out no

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Jack and Jill

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Title: Jack and Jill
Author: Louisa May Alcott
Description:

To the schoolmates of ELLSWORTH DEVENS, Whose lovely character will not soon be forgotten, This Village Story is affectionately inscribed by their friend,

L.M.A.
1880

Jack and Jill

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To coast with fun and laughter;
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.

Chapter 1 The Catastrophe

"Clear the lulla!" was the general cry on a bright December afternoon, when all the boys and girls of Harmony Village were out enjoying the first good snow of the season. Up and down three long coasts they went as fast as legs and sleds could carry them. One smooth path led into the meadow, and here the little folk congregated; one swept across the pond, where skaters were darting about like water-bugs; and the third, from the very top of the steep hill, ended abruptly at a rail fence on the high bank above the road. There was a group of lads and lasses sitting or leaning on this fence to rest after an exciting race, and, as they reposed, they amused themselves with criticising their mates, still absorbed in this most delightful of out-door sports.

"Here comes Frank Minot, looking as solemn as a judge," cried one, as a tall fellow of sixteen spun by, with a set look about the mouth and a keen sparkle of the eyes, fixed on the distant goal with a do-or-die expression.

"Here's Molly Loo
And little Boo?

sang out another; and

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