The Caballero’s Way

The Cisco Kid had killed six men in more or less fair scrimmages, had murdered twice as many (mostly Mexicans), and had winged a larger number whom he modestly forbore to count. Therefore a woman loved him. The Kid was twenty-five, looked twenty; and a careful insurance company would have estimated the probable time of his demise at, say, twenty-six. His habitat was anywhere between the Frio and the Rio Grande. He killed for the love of it—because he was quick-tempered—to avoid arrest—for his own amusement—any reason that came to his mind would suffice. He had escaped capture because he could shoot five-sixths of a second sooner than any sheriff or ranger in the service, and because he rode a speckled roan horse that knew every cow-path in the mesquite and pear thickets from Read more [...]

The Swedish Match

On the morning of October 6, 1885, a well-dressed young man presented himself at the office of the police superintendent of the 2nd division of the S. district, and announced that his employer, a retired cornet of the guards, called Mark Ivanovitch Klyauzov, had been murdered. The young man was pale and extremely agitated as he made this announcement. His hands trembled and there was a look of horror in his eyes. "To whom have I the honour of speaking?" the superintendent asked him. "Psyekov, Klyauzov's steward. Agricultural and engineering expert." The police superintendent, on reaching the spot with Psyekov and the necessary witnesses, found the position as follows. Masses of people were crowding about the lodge in which Klyauzov lived. The news of the event had flown round the neighbourhood Read more [...]

The Mystery Of Marie Roget

There are few persons, even among the calmest thinkers, who have not occasionally been startled into a vague yet thrilling half-credence in the supernatural, by coincidences of so seemingly marvellous a character that, as mere coincidences, the intellect has been unable to receive them. Such sentiments - for the half-credences of which I speak have never the full force of thought - such sentiments are seldom thoroughly stifled unless by reference to the doctrine of chance, or, as it is technically termed, the Calculus of Probabilities. Now this Calculus is, in its essence, purely mathematical; and thus we have the anomaly of the most rigidly exact in science applied to the shadow and spirituality of the most intangible in speculation. The extraordinary details which I am now called upon to Read more [...]

How The Redoubt Was Taken

A friend of mine, a soldier, who died in Greece of fever some years since, described to me one day his first engagement. His story so impressed me that I wrote it down from memory. It was as follows: I joined my regiment on September 4th. It was evening. I found the colonel in the camp. He received me rather bruskly, but having read the general's introductory letter he changed his manner and addressed me courteously. By him I was presented to my captain, who had just come in from reconnoitring. This captain, whose acquaintance I had scarcely time to make, was a tall, dark man, of harsh, repelling aspect. He had been a private soldier, and had won his cross and epaulettes upon the field of battle. His voice, which was hoarse and feeble, contrasted strangely with his gigantic stature. Read more [...]

A Tour In The Forest

FIRST DAY The sight of the vast pinewood, embracing the whole horizon, the sight of the 'Forest,' recalls the sight of the ocean. And the sensations it arouses are the same; the same primaeval untouched force lies outstretched in its breadth and majesty before the eyes of the spectator. From the heart of the eternal forest, from the undying bosom of the waters, comes the same voice: 'I have nothing to do with thee,'--nature says to man, 'I reign supreme, while do thou bestir thyself to thy utmost to escape dying.' But the forest is gloomier and more monotonous than the sea, especially the pine forest, which is always alike and almost soundless. The ocean menaces and caresses, it frolics with every colour, speaks with every voice; it reflects the sky, from which too comes the breath of Read more [...]

The Haunted House

  CHAPTER I—THE MOR­TALS IN THE HOUSE Un­der none of the ac­cred­ited ghostly cir­cum­stances, and en­vironed by none of the con­ven­tion­al ghostly sur­round­ings, did I first make ac­quaint­ance with the house which is the sub­ject of this Christ­mas piece. I saw it in the day­light, with the sun upon it. There was no wind, no rain, no light­ning, no thun­der, no aw­ful or un­wonted cir­cum­stance, of any kind, to height­en its ef­fect. More than that: I had come to it dir­ect from a rail­way sta­tion: it was not more than a mile dis­tant from the rail­way sta­tion; and, as I stood out­side the house, look­ing back upon the way I had come, I could see Read more [...]

The Overcoat

In the department of -- but it is better not to mention the department. There is nothing more irritable than departments, regiments, courts of justice, and, in a word, every branch of public service. Each individual attached to them nowadays thinks all society insulted in his person. Quite recently a complaint was received from a justice of the peace, in which he plainly demonstrated that all the imperial institutions were going to the dogs, and that the Czar's sacred name was being taken in vain; and in proof he appended to the complaint a romance in which the justice of the peace is made to appear about once every ten lines, and sometimes in a drunken condition. Therefore, in order to avoid all unpleasantness, it will be better to describe the department in question only as a certain Read more [...]

The Queen of Spades

AT the house of Naroumov, a cav­alry of­fi­cer, the long win­ter night had been passed in gam­bling. At five in the morn­ing break­fast was served to the weary play­ers. The win­ners ate with rel­ish; the losers, on the con­trary, pushed back their plates and sat brood­ing gloomily. Under the in­flu­ence of the good wine, how­ever, the con­ver­sa­tion then be­came gen­eral."Well, Sourine?" said the host in­quir­ingly."Oh, I lost as usual. My luck is abom­inable. No mat­ter how cool I keep, I never win.""How is it, Her­man, that you never touch a card?" re­marked one of the men, ad­dress­ing a young of­fi­cer of the En­gi­neer­ing Corps. "Here you are with the rest of us at five o'clock in the morn­ing, and you have nei­ther played nor bet all night.""Play Read more [...]

Lebedyan

One of the prin­ci­pal ad­van­tages of hunt­ing, my dear read­ers, con­sists in its forc­ing you to be con­stantly mov­ing from place to place, which is highly agree­able for a man of no oc­cu­pa­tion. It is true that some­times, es­pe­cially in wet weather, it's not over pleas­ant to roam over by-roads, to cut 'across coun­try,' to stop every peas­ant you meet with the ques­tion, 'Hey! my good man! how are we to get to Mor­dovka?' and at Mor­dovka to try to ex­tract from a half-wit­ted peas­ant woman (the work­ing pop­u­la­tion are all in the fields) whether it is far to an inn on the high-road, and how to get to it—and then when you have gone on eight miles far­ther, in­stead of an inn, to come upon the de­serted vil­lage of Hu­dobub­nova, to the great Read more [...]

Byezhin Prairie

 It was a glo­ri­ous July day, one of those days which only come after many days of fine weather. From ear­li­est morn­ing the sky is clear; the sun­rise does not glow with fire; it is suf­fused with a soft roseate flush. The sun, not fiery, not red-hot as in time of sti­fling drought, not dull pur­ple as be­fore a storm, but with a bright and ge­nial ra­di­ance, rises peace­fully be­hind a long and nar­row cloud, shines out freshly, and plunges again into its lilac mist. The del­i­cate upper edge of the strip of cloud flashes in lit­tle gleam­ing snakes; their bril­liance is like pol­ished sil­ver. But, lo! the danc­ing rays flash forth again, and in solemn joy, as though fly­ing up­ward, rises the mighty orb. About mid-day there is wont to be, high up in the Read more [...]

The Adventure of the Speckled Band

On glancing over my notes of the seventy odd cases in which I have during the last eight years studied the methods of my friend Sherlock Holmes, I find many tragic, some comic, a large number merely strange, but none commonplace; for, working as he did rather for the love of his art than for the acquirement of wealth, he refused to associate himself with any investigation which did not tend towards the unusual, and even the fantastic. Of all these varied cases, however, I cannot recall any which presented more singular features than that which was associated with the well-known Surrey family of the Roylotts of Stoke Moran. The events in question occurred in the early days of my association with Holmes, when we were sharing rooms as bachelors in Baker Street. It is possible that I might have Read more [...]

Mateo Falcone

On leav­ing Porto-Vec­chio from the north­west and di­rect­ing his steps to­wards the in­te­rior of the is­land, the trav­eller will no­tice that the land rises rapidly, and after three hours' walk­ing over tor­tu­ous paths ob­structed by great masses of rock and some­times cut by ravines, he will find him­self on the bor­der of a great mâquis. The mâquis is the do­main of the Cor­si­can shep­herds and of those who are at vari­ance with jus­tice. It must be known that, in order to save him­self the trou­ble of ma­nur­ing his field, the Cor­si­can hus­band­man sets fire to a piece of wood­land. If the flame spread far­ther than is nec­es­sary, so much the worse! In any case he is cer­tain of a good crop from the land fer­til­ized by the ashes of the trees Read more [...]

The Shot

CHAP­TER I. We were sta­tioned in the lit­tle town of N—. The life of an of­fi­cer in the army is well known. In the morn­ing, drill and the rid­ing-school; din­ner with the Colonel or at a Jew­ish restau­rant; in the evening, punch and cards. In N—- there was not one open house, not a sin­gle mar­riage­able girl. We used to meet in each other's rooms, where, ex­cept our uni­forms, we never saw any­thing. One civil­ian only was ad­mit­ted into our so­ci­ety. He was about thirty- five years of age, and there­fore we looked upon him as an old fel­low. His ex­pe­ri­ence gave him great ad­van­tage over us, and his ha­bit­ual tac­i­tur­nity, stern dis­po­si­tion, and caus­tic tongue pro­duced a deep im­pres­sion upon our young minds. Some mys­tery Read more [...]

The Calash

The town of B-- had become very lively since a cavalry regiment had taken up its quarters in it. Up to that date it had been mortally wearisome there. When you happened to pass through the town and glanced at its little mud houses with their incredibly gloomy aspect, the pen refuses to express what you felt. You suffered a terrible uneasiness as if you had just lost all your money at play, or had committed some terrible blunder in company. The plaster covering the houses, soaked by the rain, had fallen away in many places from their walls, which from white had become streaked and spotted, whilst old reeds served to thatch them.Following a custom very common in the towns of South Russia, the chief of police has long since had all the trees in the gardens cut down to improve the view. One never Read more [...]

Kassyan of Fair Springs

 I was re­turn­ing from hunt­ing in a jolt­ing lit­tle trap, and over­come by the sti­fling heat of a cloudy sum­mer day (it is well known that the heat is often more in­sup­port­able on such days than in bright days, es­pe­cially when there is no wind), I dozed and was shaken about, re­sign­ing my­self with sullen for­ti­tude to being per­se­cuted by the fine white dust which was in­ces­santly raised from the beaten road by the warped and creak­ing wheels, when sud­denly my at­ten­tion was aroused by the ex­tra­or­di­nary un­easi­ness and ag­i­tated move­ments of my coach­man, who had till that in­stant been more soundly doz­ing than I. He began tug­ging at the reins, moved un­easily on the box, and started shout­ing to the horses, star­ing all Read more [...]

The Boscombe Valley Mystery

We were seated at break­fast one morn­ing, my wife and I, when the maid brought in a tele­gram. It was from Sher­lock Holmes and ran in this way:Have you a couple of days to spare? Have just been wired for from the west of Eng­land in con­nec­tion with Boscombe Val­ley tragedy. Shall be glad if you will come with me. Air and scenery per­fect. Leave Pad­ding­ton by the 11:15."What do you say, dear?" said my wife, look­ing across at me. "Will you go?""I really don’t know what to say. I have a fairly long list at present.""Oh, An­struth­er would do your work for you. You have been look­ing a little pale lately. I think that the change would do you good, and you are al­ways so in­ter­ested in Mr. Sher­lock Holmes’s cases.""I should be un­grate­ful if I were not, see­ing Read more [...]

Birjuk

  I was com­ing back from hunt­ing one evening alone in a rac­ing droshky. I was six miles from home; my good trot­ting mare gal­loped bravely along the dusty road, prick­ing up her ears with an oc­ca­sional snort; my weary dog stuck close to the hind-wheels, as though he were fas­tened there. A tem­pest was com­ing on. In front, a huge, pur­plish storm-cloud slowly rose from be­hind the for­est; long grey rain-clouds flew over my head and to meet me; the wil­lows stirred and whis­pered rest­lessly. The suf­fo­cat­ing heat changed sud­denly to a damp chill­i­ness; the dark­ness rapidly thick­ened. I gave the horse a lash with the reins, de­scended a steep slope, pushed across a dry wa­ter-course over­grown with brush­wood, mounted the hill, and drove into Read more [...]

London Recreations

by Charles Dickens The wish of per­sons in the hum­bler classes of life, to ape the man­ners and cus­toms of those whom for­tune has placed above them, is often the sub­ject of re­mark, and not un­fre­quently of com­plaint. The in­cli­na­tion may, and no doubt does, exist to a great ex­tent, among the small gen­til­ity—the would-be aris­to­crats—of the mid­dle classes. Trades­men and clerks, with fash­ion­able novel-read­ing fam­i­lies, and cir­cu­lat­ing-li­brary-sub­scrib­ing daugh­ters, get up small as­sem­blies in hum­ble im­i­ta­tion of Al­mack’s, and prom­e­nade the dingy ‘large room’ of some sec­ond-rate hotel with as much com­pla­cency as the en­vi­able few who are priv­i­leged to ex­hibit their mag­nif­i­cence in that Read more [...]