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    Walter Besant

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    The reader of these Essays, which are not chronologically arranged, is asked to notice the date in each case affixed to them. Almost without exception, those passages which cannot fail to strike him as nearly exact repetitions, whether of argument or of example, will be seen to have been written at considerable intervals of time.... Read More
    A survey of London, a record of the greatest of all cities, that should preserve her history, her historical and literary associations, her mighty buildings, past and present, a book that should comprise all that Londoners love, all that they ought to know of their heritage from the past—this was the work on which Sir... Read More
    The happiest day of my life, up to that time, because I should be the basest and the most ungrateful of men were I not to confess that I have since enjoyed many days far excelling in happiness that day, was the 20th day of June, in the year of grace, seventeen hundred and forty-seven.... Read More
    IT is perhaps well to explain that this story first appeared as a serial early in 1899: that on revision it was found desirable partly to rewrite certain chapters and to enlarge upon certain points. The structure of the story, the characters, and the situations remain unaltered. The question with which the story deals is... Read More
    On a certain afternoon in May, about four or five of the clock, I was standing at the open window of my room in that Palace to which Fortune leads her choicest favourites—the College, or Prison, as some call it, of the King's Bench. I was at the time a prisoner for debt, with very... Read More
    "Pray be seated, madam." The doctor offered his visitor a chair. Then he closed the door, with perhaps a more marked manner than one generally displays in this simple operation. "I am happy to inform you," he began, "that the arrangements—the arrangements," he repeated with meaning, "are now completed." The lady was quite young—not more... Read More
    A Romance of To-day
    It was the evening of a fine September day. Through the square window, built out so as to form another room almost as large as that which had been thus enlarged, the autumn sun, now fast declining to the west, poured in warm and strong; but not too warm or too strong for the girl... Read More
    IN the month of August 1889, and in the middle of the seaside holiday, a message came to me from Wilkie Collins, then, though we hoped otherwise, on his death-bed. It was conveyed to me by Mr. A. P. Watt. He told me that his son had just come from Wilkie Collins: that they had... Read More
    The morning of Sunday, August 23, in the year of grace 1662, should have been black and gloomy with the artillery of rolling thunder, dreadful flashes of lightning, and driving hail and wind to strip the orchards and lay low the corn. For on that day was done a thing which filled the whole country... Read More
    I DEDICATE THIS MEMORIAL, IN THE EARNEST HOPE THAT IT MAY NOT BE FOUND WHOLLY UNWORTHY OF ITS SUBJECT. In the body of this work I have sufficiently explained the reasons why I was entrusted with the task of writing this memoir of Richard Jefferies. I have only here to express my thanks, first to... Read More
    "Professor!" cried the Director, rushing to meet their guest and lecturer as the door was thrown open, and the great man appeared, calm and composed, as if there was nothing more in the wind than an ordinary Scientific Discourse. "You are always welcome, my friend, always welcome"—the two enthusiasts for science wrung hands—"and never more... Read More
    If everyone were allowed beforehand to choose and select for himself the most pleasant method of performing this earthly pilgrimage, there would be, I have always thought, an immediate run upon that way of getting to the Delectable Mountains which is known as the Craft and Mystery of Second-hand Bookselling. If, further, one were allowed... Read More
    An Impossible Story
    TO The Memory OF JAMES RICE The ten years' partnership of myself and my late friend Mr. James Rice has been terminated by death. I am persuaded that nothing short of death would have put an end to a partnership which was conducted throughout with perfect accord, and without the least difference of opinion. The... Read More
    IT is now fourteen years since this book appeared anonymously. At first the story stood cold and shivering, disregarded by the world. Six weeks, however, after its production a highly appreciative review in one of the most important journals caused people to inquire after it. Since then it has gone through many editions. Every one... Read More
    My life has been (above any merits of my own) so blessed by Providence, that methinks its history should be begun with the ringing of bells, the singing of psalms, the sound of cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of music. For surely the contemplation of a happy course should, even towards its... Read More
    TO EDMUND YATES, EDITOR OF "THE WORLD," IN WHICH PAPER "THE GOLDEN BUTTERFLY" WAS FIRST PUBLISHED, THIS STORY IS INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHORS. The Golden Butterfly, which gives a name to this novel, was seen by an English traveller, two years ago, preserved as a curiosity in a mining city near Sacramento, where it probably... Read More