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The Spread Eagle and Other Stories   By: (1876-1953)

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I had thought to sit in the ruler's chair, But three pretty girls are sitting there Elsie, Patsie, and Kate. I had thought to lord it with eyes of gray, I had thought to be master, and have my way; But six blue eyes vote : nay, nay, nay! Elsie, Patsie, and Kate.

Of Petticoats three I am sore afraid, (Though Kate's is more like a candle shade), Elsie, Patsie, and Kate. And I must confess (with shame) to you That time there was when Petticoats two Were enough to govern me through and through, Elsie, Patsie, and Kate.

Oh Patsie, third of a bullying crew, And Elsie, and Kate, be it known to you To Elsie, Patsie, and Kate, That Elsie alone was strong enough To smother a motion, or call a bluff, Or any small pitiful atom thereof Elsie, Patsie, and Kate.

So, though I've renounced that ruler's part To which I was born (as is writ in my heart), Elsie, Patsie, and Kate, Though I do what I'm told (yes, you know I do) And am made to write stories (and sell them, too). Still I wish to God I had more like you, Elsie, Patsie, and Kate .

BAR HARBOR, August , 1910.


Certain persons have told me (for nothing) that "White Muscats of Alexandria" resembles a tale in the Arabian Nights. And so it does. Most damningly. And this is printed in the hope of saving other persons postage.


The Spread Eagle Targets The Boot The Despoiler One More Martyr "Ma'am?" Mr. Holiday White Muscats of Alexandria Without a Lawyer The "Monitor" and the "Merrimac" The McTavish The Parrot On the Spot; or, The Idler's House Party


In his extreme youth the adulation of all with whom he came in contact was not a cross to Fitzhugh Williams. It was the fear of expatriation that darkened his soul. From the age of five to the age of fourteen he was dragged about Europe by the hair of his head. I use his own subsequent expression. His father wanted him to be a good American; his mother wanted him to be a polite American, And to be polite, in her mind, was to be at home in French and German, to speak English (or American) with the accent of no particular locality, to know famous pictures when you saw them, and, if little, to be bosom friends with little dukes and duchesses and counts of the Empire, to play in the gravel gardens of St. Germain, to know French history, and to have for exercise the mild English variations of American games cricket instead of base ball; instead of football, Rugby, or, in winter, lugeing above Montreux. To luge upon a sled you sit like a timid, sheltered girl, and hold the ropes in your hand as if you were playing horse, and descend inclines; whereas, as Fitzhugh Williams well knew, in America rich boys and poor take their hills head first, lying upon the democratic turn.

It wasn't always Switzerland in winter. Now and again it was Nice or Cannes. And there you were taught by a canny Scot to hit a golf ball cunningly from a pinch of sand. But you blushed with shame the while, for in America at that time golf had not yet become a manly game, the maker young of men as good as dead, the talk of cabinets But there was lawn tennis also, which you might play without losing caste "at home," Fitzhugh Williams never used that term but with the one meaning. He would say, for instance, to the little Duchess of Popinjay or one just as good having kissed her to make up for having pushed her into her ancestral pond, "Now I am going to the house," meaning Perth House, that Mrs... Continue reading book >>

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