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The Ape, the Idiot & Other People   By: (1853-1923)

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The Ape, The Idiot and Other People Fourth Edition





Copyright, 1897 By J. B. Lippincott Company

The stories in this volume are published with the kind permission of the periodicals in which they originally appeared Lippincott's Magazine , Philadelphia, and the Overland Monthly , the Argonaut , the Examiner , the News Letter , and the Call , all of San Francisco.



The Resurrection of Little Wang Tai 9

The Hero of the Plague 24

His Unconquerable Enemy 48

The Permanent Stiletto 67

Over an Absinthe Bottle 90

The Inmate of the Dungeon 109

A Game of Honor 134

Treacherous Velasco 147

An Uncommon View of It 168

A Story Told by the Sea 188

The Monster Maker 213

An Original Revenge 245

Two Singular Men 256

The Faithful Amulet 275

The Resurrection of Little Wang Tai

A train of circus wagons, strung along a dusty road, in the Santa Clara Valley, crept slowly under the beating heat of a July sun. The dust rolled in clouds over the gaudy wagons of the menagerie. The outer doors of the cages had been opened to give access of air to the panting animals, but with the air came the dust, and the dust annoyed Romulus greatly. Never before had he longed for freedom so intensely. Ever since he could remember he had been in a cage like this; it had been so all through his childhood and youth. There was no trace in his memory of days when he of a time had been free. Not the faintest recollection existed of the time when he might have swung in the branches of equatorial forests. To him life was a desolation and a despair, and the poignancy of it all was sharpened by the clouds of dust which rolled through the grated door.

Romulus, thereupon, sought means of escape. Nimble, deft, sharp sighted, he found a weak place in his prison, worked it open, and leaped forth upon the highway a free anthropoid ape. None of the sleepy, weary drivers noticed his escape, and a proper sense of caution caused him to seek security under a way side shrub until the procession had safely passed. Then the whole world lay before him.

His freedom was large and sweet, but, for a while, perplexing. An almost instinctive leap to catch the trapeze bar that had hung in his cage brought his hands in contact with only unresisting air. This confused and somewhat frightened him. The world seemed much broader and brighter since the black bars of his prison no longer striped his vision. And then, to his amazement, in place of the dingy covering of his cage appeared a vast and awful expanse of blue heaven, the tremendous depth and distance of which terrified him.

The scampering of a ground squirrel seeking its burrow soon caught his notice, and he watched the little animal with great curiosity. Then he ran to the burrow, and hurt his feet on the sharp wheat stubble. This made him more cautious. Not finding the squirrel, he looked about and discovered two owls sitting on a little mound not far away. Their solemn gaze fastened upon him inspired him with awe, but his curiosity would not permit him to forego a closer view. He cautiously crept towards them; then he stopped, sat down, and made grotesque faces at them. This had no effect. He scratched his head and thought. Then he made a feint as though he would pounce upon them, and they flew. Romulus gazed at them with the greatest amazement, for never before had he seen anything skim through the air... Continue reading book >>

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