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Sweethearts at Home   By: (1860-1914)

Sweethearts at Home by Samuel R. Crockett

First Page:

SWEETHEARTS AT HOME

BY S. R. CROCKETT

AUTHOR OF "SWEETHEART TRAVELLERS," ETC.

ASSISTED BY SWEETHEART HERSELF, AND WITH ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS BY HUGH JOHN, SIR TOADY LION, MAID MARGARET, AND MISS ELIZABETH FORTINBRAS

NEW YORK FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY PUBLISHERS

[Illustration: "WHEN I TURNED ABOUT WHY, IT NEARLY TOOK MY BREATH AWAY"]

List of Illustrations

"WHEN I TURNED ABOUT WHY, IT NEARLY TOOK MY BREATH AWAY"

"DOING KOW TOW TO THIS FALSE GOD"

"HELP HER! ME, BUTCHER DONNAN!"

"I USED TO SWOP CURRANTS AND SUGAR FOR NUTS AND LOVELY SPICY FRUITS"

THE EDITOR'S CHAPTERS

HE TELLS HOW IT ALL CAME ABOUT

I

A sleepy Sunday morning and no need for any one to go to church.

It was at Neuch√Ętel, under the trees by the lake, that I first became conscious of what wonderful assistance Sweetheart might be to me in my literary work. She corrected me as to the date upon which we had made our pilgrimage to Chaumont, as to the color of the hair of the pretty daughter of the innkeeper whom we had seen there in her way quite a Swiss Elizabeth Fortinbras. In a word, I became aware that she had kept a diary. Sweetheart, like her nearest literary relative, began with "poetry." That was what we called it then. We have both revised our judgments since. Only Sweetheart has been more wise than I should have been at her age. She has resisted temptation, and rigorously ruled out all verse from the Diary as at present published! This is wonderful. I published mine.

Since then, she and I have been preparing the present volume, just as eagerly as if we had "yielded to the solicitations of numerous friends," as the privately printed books say.

No, it was quite the contrary with us. Nobody, except one nice publisher, knows anything about it. He asked us to let him print it, and even he has not seen the very least little scrap. All he knows is that Sweetheart has a good many thousand friends scattered up and down two hemispheres, and he believes (as we also are vain enough to believe) that they will not let Sweetheart's Diary go a begging to be bought.

There is something curiously dreamy about the Lake of Neuch√Ętel. I knew it and the school down by the pier long ago, when the little town still preserved distinct traces of the hundred and fifty years of Prussian drill sergeants. Here and there the arms of Brandenburg were to be seen curiously mixed, and almost entwined, with the strong red cross of the Swiss Confederation.

Specially interesting is the opposite side of the lake, for there the Cantons push forward their narrow necks of territory to the very lake shore possibly as the price of their support against the Eagles of the North, whose claws have never let go their hold but this once. There, within a day's easy walk, you can pass from Canton Vaud into Canton Friburg and back again into Vaud. Then, Morat way, you come on a little inset square of Canton Berne, whose emblematic bears also have their claws in every pie thereabout. And all the way, never a hotel for the fleecing of the foreigner! Here and there, indeed, one passes a country inn with sanded floor. More often it is only a rather superior house with a bush hung out French fashion over the threshold.

It is best, as Sweetheart and I found, to make for one of these. Generally I had known them of old, and though since then the years had done some stiff route marching, most of their hosts and hostesses remembered me.

How do you get there? Well, you cross the lake almost at its narrowest part. A little stream drains into it, slowly and in Dutch fashion, as if it were smoking a peaceful pipe by the way. Indeed, for a little while you might fancy yourself actually in Holland, so thickly are the flowers set. Only only (and oh! the difference!) they are all wild... Continue reading book >>




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