Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

Tales of the Wonder Club, Volume I   By:

Book cover

First Page:

TALES OF THE WONDER CLUB.

BY DRYASDUST

[Decoration]

ILLUSTRATED BY JOHN JELLICOE AND VAL PRINCE, AFTER DESIGNS BY THE AUTHOR.

HARRISON & SONS, 59, PALL MALL, Booksellers to the Queen and H.R.H. the Prince of Wales.

All rights reserved.

LONDON: PRINTED BY A. HUDSON AND CO., 16, WANDSWORTH ROAD, S.W.

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

PAGE

FRONTISPIECE

TITLE PAGE

THE PHANTOM FLEA 17

THE SPIRIT LOVERS 57

THE GLACIER KING 118

THE MERMAID 129

THE PIGMY QUEEN 202

THE SPIRIT LEG 314

LOST IN THE CATACOMBS 373

INTRODUCTION.

A PEEP AT THE WONDER CLUB.

Towards the close of the last century there stood in one of the Midland counties of England, in the centre of two cross roads, a venerable hostelry, built in the reign of Elizabeth, and known by the sign of "Ye Headless Lady." Its ancient gables were shaded by luxuriant elms and beech trees. The woodwork of the building and its weather stained walls of brick were partially overgrown with thick ivy, while its high, dingy red roof was tinted with every variety of lichen. The windows were narrow, and the framework heavy, as is usual in houses of that period.

The host of this establishment, one Jack Hearty, was one of the old school of landlords robust, jovial, and never above his business. His fathers had owned the inn before him, and "he never wished to be a better man than his father, nor a worse either, for the matter of that," as he would say. All day long, when not engaged with his customers indoors, he was to be seen at the door of his inn, with his apron girt around him, and a "yard of clay" at his lips, straining his eyes down the long cross roads for the first glimpse of a customer.

Often after gazing long and intently into the distance he would turn back with a sigh, knock the ashes from his pipe, refill it, take a deep draught of his own home brewed ale, then, if none of his customers required anything, and the affairs of his household permitted it, he would sally out again. This time, perhaps, his eyes would be greeted by the sight of a solitary wayfarer, or, better still, the stage coach. Then it was that the honest landlord's face would brighten up, as it was certain to bring him some of the "big wigs" from town. He would rub his hands and chuckle, while Dame Hearty would begin to bustle about to welcome the fresh arrivals. It was not often, however, that the "Headless Lady" was entirely deserted.

A small clique or brotherhood, known as "The Wonder Club," had been nightly in the habit of assembling here for years, and this served to bring grist to the mill. Some of the eminent men from the neighbouring village, among whom were the doctor, the lawyer, an antiquary, an analytical chemist, and others, had formed among themselves a club, which was to consist only of very choice spirits, like themselves, and if any guest were introduced among them, it was only to be with a letter of introduction and the full consent of all parties. By these strict rules they hoped to keep the club select. A room at the inn was set apart for them, into which no one not belonging to the club ever presumed to enter, unless it was the landlord, who would be called every now and then to replenish the bowl, and whom sometimes the guests of the club would "draw out," as it was whispered in the village that the landlord of the "Headless Lady" knew a rare lot of stories, he did; also how to tell 'em, too, my word! but these he generally reserved for his more intimate customers. One strict law of the club that we have not yet mentioned was that no guest invited was to be a "business man... Continue reading book >>




eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book



Popular Genres
More Genres
Languages
Paid Books