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Tales of Fantasy and Fact   By: (1852-1929)

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Transcriber's Note: Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note. Dialect spellings, contractions and discrepancies have been retained.

[Illustration: LOST AGAIN P. 136]

TALES OF FANTASY AND FACT

By

BRANDER MATTHEWS

NEW YORK HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS 1896

BOOKS BY BRANDER MATTHEWS.

THE THEATRES OF PARIS. FRENCH DRAMATISTS OF THE 19TH CENTURY. THE LAST MEETING, a Story. A SECRET OF THE SEA, and Other Stories. PEN AND INK: Essays on Subjects of More or Less Importance. A FAMILY TREE, and Other Stories. WITH MY FRIENDS: Tales Told in Partnership. A TALE OF TWENTY FIVE HOURS. TOM PAULDING, a Story for Boys. IN THE VESTIBULE LIMITED, a Story. AMERICANISMS AND BRITICISMS, with Other Essays on Other Isms. THE STORY OF A STORY, and Other Stories. THE DECISION OF THE COURT, a Comedy. STUDIES OF THE STAGE. THIS PICTURE AND THAT, a Comedy. VIGNETTES OF MANHATTAN. THE ROYAL MARINE, an Idyl of Narragansett. BOOK BINDINGS, Old and New; Notes of a Book Lover. HIS FATHER'S SON, a Novel of New York. AN INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY OF AMERICAN LITERATURE. TALES OF FANTASY AND FACT. ASPECTS OF FICTION, and Other Ventures in Criticism. (In Press.)

Copyright, 1896, by HARPER & BROTHERS. All rights reserved.

TO THE MEMORY OF MY FRIEND H. C. BUNNER

CONTENTS

Page

A PRIMER OF IMAGINARY GEOGRAPHY 3

THE KINETOSCOPE OF TIME 27

THE DREAM GOWN OF THE JAPANESE AMBASSADOR 57

THE RIVAL GHOSTS 93

SIXTEEN YEARS WITHOUT A BIRTHDAY 131

THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE 143

A CONFIDENTIAL POSTSCRIPT 207

A PRIMER OF IMAGINARY GEOGRAPHY

"Ship ahoy!"

There was an answer from our bark for such it seemed to me by this time but I could not make out the words.

"Where do you hail from?" was the next question.

I strained my ears to catch the response, being naturally anxious to know whence I had come.

"From the City of Destruction!" was what I thought I heard; and I confess that it surprised me not a little.

"Where are you bound?" was asked in turn.

Again I listened with intensest interest, and again did the reply astonish me greatly.

"Ultima Thule!" was the answer from our boat, and the voice of the man who answered was deep and melancholy.

Then I knew that I had set out strange countries for to see, and that I was all unequipped for so distant a voyage. Thule I knew, or at least I had heard of the king who reigned there once and who cast his goblet into the sea. But Ultima Thule! was not that beyond the uttermost borders of the earth?

"Any passengers?" was the next query, and I noted that the voice came now from the left and was almost abreast of us.

"One only," responded the captain of our boat.

"Where bound?" was the final inquiry.

"To the Fortunate Islands!" was the answer; and as I heard this my spirits rose again, and I was glad, as what man would not be who was on his way to the paradise where the crimson flowered meadows are full of the shade of frankincense trees and of fruits of gold?

Then the boat bounded forward again, and I heard the wash of the waves.

All this time it seemed as though I were in darkness; but now I began dimly to discern the objects about me. I found that I was lying on a settee in a state room at the stern of the vessel. Through the small round window over my head the first rays of the rising sun darted and soon lighted the little cabin.

As I looked about me with curiosity, wondering how I came to be a passenger on so unexpected a voyage, I saw the figure of a man framed in the doorway at the foot of the stairs leading to the deck above.

How it was I do not know, but I made sure at once that he was the captain of the ship, the man whose voice I had heard answering the hail... Continue reading book >>




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