Monday, December 7, 2009

Ambrose Bierce - The Moonlit Road

I AM the most unfortunate of men. Rich, respected, fairly well educated
and of sound health-with many other advantages usually valued by those
having them and coveted by those who have them not-I sometimes think
that I should be less unhappy if they had been denied me, for then the
contrast between my outer and my inner life would not be continually
demanding a painful attention. In the stress of privation and the need
of effort I might sometimes forget the sombre secret ever baffling the
conjecture that it compels.
I am the only child of Joel and Julia Hetman. The one was a
well-to-do country gentleman, the other a beautiful and accomplished
woman to whom he was passionately attached with what I now know to have
been a jealous and exacting devotion. The family home was a few miles
from Nash- ville, Tennessee, a large, irregularly built dwelling of no
particular order of architecture, a little way off the road, in a park
of trees and shrubbery.
At the time of which I write I was nineteen years old, a student at
Yale. One day I received a telegram from my father of such urgency
that in compliance with its unexplained demand I left at once for
home. At the railway station in Nashville a distant relative awaited
me to apprise me of the reason for my recall: my mother had been
barbarously murdered--why and by whom none could conjecture, but the
circumstances were these.

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Friday, December 4, 2009

P.G. Wodehouse - The White Feather

"With apologies to gent opposite," said Clowes, "I must say I don't think much of the team."
"Don't apologise to me," said Allardyce disgustedly, as he filled the teapot, "I think they're rotten."
"They ought to have got into form by now, too," said Trevor. "It's not as if this was the first game of the term."
"First game!" Allardyce laughed shortly. "Why, we've only got a couple of club matches and the return match with Ripton to end the season. It is about time they got into form, as you say."
Clowes stared pensively into the fire.
"They struck me," he said, "as the sort of team who'd get into form somewhere in the middle of the cricket season."
"That's about it," said Allardyce. "Try those biscuits, Trevor. They're about the only good thing left in the place."
"School isn't what it was?" inquired Trevor, plunging a hand into the tin that stood on the floor beside him.
"No," said Allardyce, "not only in footer but in everything. The place seems absolutely rotten. It's bad enough losing all our matches, or nearly all. Did you hear that Ripton took thirty-seven points off us last term? And we only just managed to beat Greenburgh by a try to nil."
"We got thirty points last year," he went on. "Thirty-three, and forty-two the year before. Why, we've always simply walked them. It's an understood thing that we smash them. And this year they held us all the time, and it was only a fluke that we scored at all. Their back miskicked, and let Barry in."
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