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A Chosen Few Short Stories   By: (1834-1902)

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First Page:

[Illustration]

A CHOSEN FEW

SHORT STORIES

BY

FRANK R. STOCKTON

WITH AN ETCHED PORTRAIT BY W. H. W. BICKNELL

NEW YORK CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 1895

Copyright, 1895, by CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS

THE DE VINNE PRESS.

PREFACE

The stories contained in this little volume were chosen, by virtue of a sort of literary civil service examination, in order that they might be grouped together as a representative class of the author's best known work in this line.

Several of these stories have points of peculiar interest to the author. For instance, "Negative Gravity" was composed in Switzerland when the author was temporarily confined to the house in full view of unreachable Alps.

"His Wife's Deceased Sister" was suggested by an editorial disposition to compare all the author's work with one previous production, and to discard everything which did not accord exactly with the particular story which had been selected as a standard of merit.

"The Lady, or the Tiger?" was printed in the hope that the author might receive the cheerful coöperation of some of his readers in a satisfactory solution of the problem contained in the little story; but although he has had much valuable assistance in this direction he has also been the recipient of a great deal of scolding.

After reading several stories by Clark Russell, the author's mind was led to consider the possibility of inventing some sort of shipwreck which had never yet been made the subject of a story. His efforts in this line resulted in "The Remarkable Wreck of the 'Thomas Hyke.'"

"A Piece of Red Calico" is a description, with exaggerated points, of an actual experience.

CONTENTS

A TALE OF NEGATIVE GRAVITY From "The Christmas Wreck"

ASAPH From "The Watchmaker's Wife"

"HIS WIFE'S DECEASED SISTER" From "The Lady, or the Tiger?"

THE LADY, OR THE TIGER?

THE REMARKABLE WRECK OF THE "THOMAS HYKE" From "The Christmas Wreck"

OLD PIPES AND THE DRYAD From "The Bee man of Orn"

THE TRANSFERRED GHOST From "The Lady, or the Tiger?"

"THE PHILOSOPHY OF RELATIVE EXISTENCES" From "The Watchmaker's Wife"

A PIECE OF RED CALICO From "The Lady, or the Tiger?"

A TALE OF NEGATIVE GRAVITY

My wife and I were staying at a small town in northern Italy; and on a certain pleasant afternoon in spring we had taken a walk of six or seven miles to see the sun set behind some low mountains to the west of the town. Most of our walk had been along a hard, smooth highway, and then we turned into a series of narrower roads, sometimes bordered by walls, and sometimes by light fences of reed or cane. Nearing the mountain, to a low spur of which we intended to ascend, we easily scaled a wall about four feet high, and found ourselves upon pasture land, which led, sometimes by gradual ascents, and sometimes by bits of rough climbing, to the spot we wished to reach. We were afraid we were a little late, and therefore hurried on, running up the grassy hills, and bounding briskly over the rough and rocky places. I carried a knapsack strapped firmly to my shoulders, and under my wife's arm was a large, soft basket of a kind much used by tourists. Her arm was passed through the handles and around the bottom of the basket, which she pressed closely to her side. This was the way she always carried it. The basket contained two bottles of wine, one sweet for my wife, and another a little acid for myself. Sweet wines give me a headache.

When we reached the grassy bluff, well known thereabouts to lovers of sunset views, I stepped immediately to the edge to gaze upon the scene, but my wife sat down to take a sip of wine, for she was very thirsty; and then, leaving her basket, she came to my side... Continue reading book >>




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