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Captivating Mary Carstairs   By: (1880-1930)

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( This book was first published pseudonymously in February, 1911 )

1910, 1914.



This book, representing the writer's first effort at a long story, has something of a story of its own. First planned in 1900 or 1901, it was begun in 1905, and finished at length, in a version, three years later. Through the two years succeeding it underwent various adventures, including, if memory serves, two complete overhauling. Having thus reached by stages something like its present form, it was, in August, 1910, favorably reported on by the publishers; but yet another rewriting preceded its final acceptance, a few weeks later. Meanwhile, I had turned to fresh work; and, as it chanced, "Queed" was both begun and finished in the interval while "Captivating Mary Carstairs" was taking her last journeys abroad. Turned away by two publishers, the newer manuscript shortly found welcome from a third. So it befell that I, as yet more experienced in rejections, suddenly found myself with two books, of widely different sorts and intentions, scheduled for publication by different publishers, almost simultaneously. As this seemed to be more books than society required from an unknown writer, it was decided to put out the present story which is a "story," as I conceive the terms, and not a novel over a pen name.

At that time, be it said, with an optimism that now has its humorous side, I viewed myself prospectively as a ready and fertile writer, producing a steady flow of books of very various sorts. Hence it occurred to me that a pseudonym might have a permament serviceability. So far from these anticipations proving justified, I am now moved to abandon the pseudonym in the only instance I have had occasion to use it. Writers have sometimes been charged with seeking to capitalize their own good fortune. My motive, in authorizing the republication of this story over my name, is not that. The fact is only that experience has taught me not to like pseudonymity: my feeling being that those who take an interest in my work are entitled, if they so desire, to see it as a whole .


Charleston, West Virginia, 16 March, 1914


I The Chief Conspirator Secures a Pal

II They Embark upon a Crime

III They Arrive in Hunston and Fall in with a Stranger

IV Which Concerns Politics and other Local Matters

V Introduces Mary Carstairs and Another

VI The Hero Talks with a Lady in the Dark

VII In which Mary Carstairs is Invited to the Yacht "Cypriani"

VIII Concerning Mr. Ferris Stanhope, the Popular Novelist; also Peter, the Quiet Onlooker

IX Varney Meets with a Galling Rebuff, while Peter Goes Marching On

X The Editor of the Gazette Plays a Card from His Sleeve

XI Which Shows the Hero a Fugitive

XII A Yellow Journalist Secures a Scoop but Fails to Get Away with it

XIII Varney Meets His Enemy and is Disarmed

XIV Conference between Mr. Hackley, the Dog Man, and Mr. Ryan, the Boss

XV In which Varney Does Not Pay a Visit, but Receives One

XVI Wherein Several Large Difficulties are Smoothed Away

XVII A Little Luncheon Party on the Yacht "Cypriani"

XVIII Captivating Mary

XIX In which Mr. Higginson and the Sailing Master Both Merit Punishment, and Both Escape it

XX Varney, Having Embarked upon a Crime, Finds out that there is a Price to Pay

XXI Mr. Ferris Stanhope Meets His Double; and Lets the Double Meet Everything Else

XXII Relating How Varney Fails to Die; and Why Smith Remained in Hunston; and How a Reception is Planned for Mr. Higginson

XXIII In which Varney, after all, Redeems His Promise


Captivating Mary Carstairs



In a rear room of a quaint little house uptown, a great bronzed faced man sat at a piano, a dead pipe between his teeth, and absently played the most difficult of Beethoven's sonatas... Continue reading book >>

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