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Half-Hours with Great Story-Tellers

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190 pages
Project Gutenberg's Half-Hours with Great Story-Tellers, by VariousCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country beforedownloading or redistributing this or any other Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do not remove it. Do notchange or edit the header without written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and other information about the eBook and Project Gutenberg at the bottom ofthis file. Included is important information about your specific rights and restrictions in how the file may be used. Youcan also find out about how to make a donation to Project Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts****eBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971*******These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers!*****Title: Half-Hours with Great Story-TellersAuthor: VariousRelease Date: August, 2004 [EBook #6326] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was firstposted on November 27, 2002]Edition: 10Language: English*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK GREAT STORY-TELLERS ***Produced by Scott Pfenninger, Juliet Sutherland, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.HALF-HOURSWITHGREAT STORY TELLERS.ARTEMUS WARD, GEORGE MACDONALD, MAX ADELER, SAMUEL LOVER, AND OTHERS.1891CONTENTS.GREY DOLPHIN Richard ...
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Project Gutenberg's Half-Hours with Great Story-Tellers, by VariousCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Besure to check the copyright laws for your countrybefore downloading or redistributing this or anyother Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen whenviewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do notremove it. Do not change or edit the headerwithout written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and otherinformation about the eBook and ProjectGutenberg at the bottom of this file. Included isimportant information about your specific rights andrestrictions in how the file may be used. You canalso find out about how to make a donation toProject Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain VanillaElectronic Texts****eBooks Readable By Both Humans and ByComputers, Since 1971*******These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousandsof Volunteers!*****Title: Half-Hours with Great Story-Tellers
Author: VariousRelease Date: August, 2004 [EBook #6326] [Yes,we are more than one year ahead of schedule][This file was first posted on November 27, 2002]Edition: 10Language: English* START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG**EBOOK GREAT STORY-TELLERS ***Produced by Scott Pfenninger, Juliet Sutherland,Charles Franks and the Online DistributedProofreading Team.
HALF-HOURSWITHGREAT STORY TELLERS.ARTEMUS WARD, GEORGE MACDONALD, MAXADELER, SAMUEL LOVER, AND OTHERS.1891
CONTENTS.GREY DOLPHIN Richard Harris BarhamMOSES, THE SASSY Artemus WardMR. COLUMBUS CORIANDER'S GORILLATHE FATE OF YOUNG CHUBB Max AdelerBOOTS AT THE HOLLY-TREE INN CharlesDickensTHE ENTHUSIAST IN ANATOMY John Oxenford"THE LIGHT PRINCESS" George MacdonaldLEGEND OF THE LITTLE WEAVER Samuel LoverGREY DOLPHIN."He won't—won't he? Then bring me my boots",
said the Baron.Consternation was at its height in the castle ofShurland—a catiff had dared to disobey the Baron;and—the Baron had called for his boots!A thunderbolt in the great hall had been a bagatelleto it.A few days before, a notable miracle had beenwrought in the neighborhood; and in those timesmiracles were not so common as they are now; noroyal balloons, no steam, no railroads,—while thefew saints who took the trouble to walk with theirheads under their arms, or to pull the Devil by thenose, scarcely appeared above once in a century:—so the affair made the greatest sensation.The clock had done striking twelve, and the Clerkof Chatham was untrussing his points preparatoryto seeking his truckle-bed; a half- emptied tankardof mild ale stood at his elbow, the roasted crab yetfloating on its surface. Midnight had surprised theworthy functionary while occupied in discussing it,and with his task yet unaccomplished. Hemeditated a mighty draft: one hand was fumblingwith his tags, while the other was extended in theact of grasping the jorum, when a knock on theportal, solemn and sonorous, arrested his fingers.It was repeated thrice ere Emmanuel Saddletonhad presence of mind sufficient to inquire whosought admittance at that untimeous hour."Open! open! good Clerk of St. Bridget's," said afemale voice, small yet distinct and sweet,—an
female voice, small yet distinct and sweet,—anexcellent thing in woman.The Clerk arose, crossed to the doorway, andundid the latchet.On the threshold stood a lady of surpassingbeauty: her robes were rich, and large, and full;and a diadem, sparkling with gems that shed ahalo around, crowned her brow: she beckoned theClerk as he stood in astonishment before her."Emmanuel!" said the lady; and her tones soundedlike those of a silver flute. "Emmanuel Saddleton,truss up your points, and follow me!"The worthy Clerk stated aghast at the vision; thepurple robe, the cymar, the coronet,—above all,the smile; no, there was no mistaking her; it wasthe blessed St. Bridget herself!And what could have brought the sainted lady outof her warm shrine at such a time of night? and onsuch a night? for it was dark as pitch, andmetaphorically speaking, 'rained cats and dogs.'Emmanuel could not speak, so he looked thequestion."No matter for that," said the saint, answering tohis thought. "No matter for that, EmmanuelSaddleton; only follow me, and you'll see!"The Clerk turned a wistful eye at the cornercupboard.
"Oh! never mind the lantern, Emmanuel; you'll notwant it; but you may bring a mattock and a shovel."As she spoke, the beautiful apparition held up herdelicate hand. From the tip of each of her longtaper fingers issued a lambent flame of suchsurpassing brilliancy as would have plunged awhole gas company into despair—it was a 'Hand ofGlory,' [Footnote: One of the uses to which thismystic chandelier was put, was the protection ofsecreted treasure. Blow out all the fingers at onepuff, and you had the money.] such a one astradition tells us yet burns in Rochester Castleevery St. Mark's Eve. Many are the daringindividuals who have watched in Gundulph's Tower,hoping to find it, and the treasure it guards; butnone of them ever did."This way, Emmanuel!" and a flame of peculiarradiance streamed from her little finger as itpointed to the pathway leading to the churchyard.Saddleton shouldered his tools and followed insilence.The cemetery of St. Bridget's was some half-miledistant from the Clerk's domicile, and adjoined achapel dedicated to that illustrious lady, who, afterleading but a so-so life, had died in the odor ofsanctity. Emmanuel Saddleton was fat and scant ofbreath, the mattock was heavy, and the Saintwalked too fast for him: he paused to take secondwind at the end of the first furlong."Emmanuel," said the holy lady, good-humoredly,
for she heard him puffing: "rest awhile Emmanuel,and I'll tell you what I want with you."Her auditor wiped his brow with the back of hishand, and looked all attention and obedience."Emmanuel," continued she "what did you andFather Fothergill, and the rest of you, meanyesterday by burying that drowned man so close tome? He died in mortal sin, Emmanuel; no shrift, nounction, no absolution: why he might as well havebeen excommunicated. He plagues me with hisgrinning, and I can't have any peace in my shrine.You must howk him up again, Emmanuel.""To be sure, madame,—my lady,—that is, yourholiness," stammered Saddleton, trembling at thethought of the task assigned him. "To be sure, yourladyship; only—that is—""Emmanuel," said the saint, "you'll do my bidding;or it would be better you had!" and her eyechanged from a dove's eye to that of a hawk, anda flash came from it as bright as the one from herlittle finger. The Clerk shook in his shoes; and,again dashing the cold perspiration from his brow,followed the footsteps of his mysterious guide.The next morning all Chatham was in an uproar.The Clerk of St. Bridget's had found himself athome at daybreak, seated in his own armchair, thefire out,—and—the tankard of ale out too! Whohad drunk it?—where had he been?—how had hegot home?—all was mystery!—he remembered "amass of things, but nothing distinctly;" all was fog
mass of things, but nothing distinctly;" all was fogand fantasy. What he could clearly recollect was,that he had dug up the Grinning Sailor, and thatthe Saint had helped to throw him into the riveragain. All was thenceforth wonderment anddevotion. Masses were sung, tapers were kindled,bells were tolled; the monks of St. Romuald had asolemn procession, the abbot at their head, thesacristan at their tail, and the holy breeches of St.Thomas a Becket in the centre; —Father Fothergillbrewed a XXX puncheon of holy water. The Roodof Gillingham was deserted; the chapel of Rainhamforsaken; every one who had a soul to be saved,flocked with his offering to St. Bridget's shrine, andEmmanual Saddleton gathered more fees from thepromiscuous piety of that one week, than he hadpocketed during the twelve preceding months.Meanwhile, the corpse of the ejected reprobateoscillated like a pendulum between Sheerness andGillingham Reach. Now borne by the Medway intothe Western Swale,—now carried by the refluenttide back to the vicinity of its old quarters,—itseemed as though the River god and Neptunewere amusing themselves with a game ofsubaqueous battledore, and had chosen thisunfortunate carcass as a marine shuttlecock. Forsome time the alternation was kept up with greatspirit, till Boreas, interfering in the shape of astiffish "Nor'- wester," drifted the bone (and flesh)of contention ashore on the Shurland domain,where it lay in all the majesty of mud. It was soondiscovered by the retainers, and dragged from itsoozy bed, grinning worse than ever. Tidings of thegodsend were of course carried instantly to the
castle; for the Baron was a very great man; and ifa dun cow had flown across his propertyunannounced by the warder, the Baron would havepecked him, the said warder, from the topmostbattlement into the bottommost ditch,—a descentof peril, and one which "Ludwig the Leaper," or theillustrious Trenck himself, might well have shrunkfrom encountering."An't please your lordship—" said Peter Periwinkle."No, villain! it does not please!" roared the Baron.His lordship was deeply engaged with a peck ofFaversham oysters,—he doted on shellfish, hatedinterruption at meals, and had not yet despatchedmore than twenty dozen of the "natives.""There's a body, my lord, washed ashore in thelower creek," said the seneschal.The Baron was going to throw the shells at hishead; but paused in the act, and said with muchdignity,"Turn out the fellow's pockets!"But the defunct had before been subjected to thedouble scrutiny of Father Fothergill and the Clerk ofSt. Bridget's. It was ill gleaning after such hands;there was not a single maravedi.We have already said that Sir Robert de Shurland,Lord of the Isle of Sheppey, and of many a fairmanor on the main land, was a man of worship. He
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