The Land of Contrasts eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 243 pages of information about The Land of Contrasts.
Mondes.  Bret Harte and Frank Stockton are so eminently short-story writers that the longer their stories become, the nearer do they approach the brink of failure.  Other names that suggest themselves in a list that might be indefinitely extended are those of Miss Jewett, Mrs. Elizabeth Phelps Ward, Mr. Richard Harding Davis, Mr. T.B.  Aldrich, Mr. Thos.  Nelson Page, Mr. Owen Wister, Mr. Hamlin Garland, Mr. G.W.  Cable, and (in a lighter vein) Mr. H.C.  Bunner.

This chapter may fitly close with a straw of startling literary contrast, that seems to me alone almost enough to bring American literature under the rubric of this volume’s title.  If a critic familiar only with the work chiefly associated with the author’s name were asked to indicate the source of the following quotations, I should be surprised if he were to guess correctly in his first hundred efforts.  Indeed, I should not be astonished if some of his shots missed the mark by centuries of time as well as oceans of space.  One hesitates to use lightly the word Elizabethan; but at present I do not recall any other modern work that suggests it more strongly than some of the lines I quote below: 

“So wanton are all emblems that the cloak
Which folds a king will kiss a crooked nail
As quickly as a beggar’s gabardine
Will do like office.”

* * * * *

“Thou art so like to substance that I’d think
Myself a shadow ere thyself a dream.”

* * * * *

“Not so much beauty, sire,
As would make full the pocket of thine eye.”

* * * * *

                              “A vein

That spilt its tender blue upon her eyelid,
As though the cunning hand that dyed her eyes
Had slipped for joy of its own work.”

* * * * *

“What am I who doth rail against the fate
That binds mankind?  The atom of an atom,
Particle of this particle the earth,
That with its million kindred worlds doth spin
Like motes within the universal light. 
What if I sin—­am lost—­do crack my life
Against the gateless walls of Fate’s decree? 
Is the world fouler for a gnat’s corpse?  Nay,
The ocean, is it shallower for the drop
It leaves upon a blade of grass?”

* * * * *

“There is a boy in Essex, they do say,
Can crack an ox’s ribs in one arm-crotch.”

All these passages are taken from the tragedy of “Athelwold,” written by Miss Amelie Rives, the author of a novel entitled “The Quick and the Dead.”

FOOTNOTES: 

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The Land of Contrasts from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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