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Project Gutenberg · 59, free ebooks · 27 by Ambrose Bierce. The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce. No cover Download This eBook. Biographical note. American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist and satirist. Bierce employed a distinctive style of writing, especially in his stories. Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Ambrose Bierce was an American writer, critic and war veteran. Bierce fought for the Union Army during the American Civil .
Often when Miss Martha sat down to her chops and light rolls and jam and tea she would sigh, and wish that the gentle-mannered artist might share her tasty meal instead of eating his dry crust in that draughty attic. Miss Martha's heart, as you have been told, was a sympathetic one.
In order to test her theory as to his occupation, she brought from her room one day a painting that she had bought at a sale, and set it against the shelves behind the bread counter. It was a Venetian scene. A splendid marble palazzio so it said on the picture stood in the foreground -- or rather forewater.
For the rest there were gondolas with the lady trailing her hand in the water , clouds, sky, and chiaro-oscuro in plenty. No artist could fail to notice it. Two days afterward the customer came in. Der bairspective of it is not true. Goot morning, madame. Yes, he must be an artist. Miss Martha took the picture back to her room. How gentle and kindly his eyes shone behind his spectacles!
What a broad brow he had! To be able to judge perspective at a glance -- and to live on stale bread! But genius often has to struggle before it is recognized.
More books from this author: Ambrose Bierce
What a thing it would be for art and perspective if genius were backed by two thousand dollars in bank, a bakery, and a sympathetic heart to -- But these were day-dreams, Miss Martha. Often now when he came he would chat for a while across the showcase. He seemed to crave Miss Martha's cheerful words.
He kept on downloading stale bread. Never a cake, never a pie, never one of her delicious Sally Lunns. She thought he began to look thinner and discouraged.
Her heart ached to add something good to eat to his meagre download, but her courage failed at the act. She did not dare affront him. She knew the pride of artists. Miss Martha took to wearing her blue-dotted silk waist behind the counter. In the back room she cooked a mysterious compound of quince seeds and borax. Ever so many people use it for the complexion. One day the customer came in as usual, laid his nickel on the showcase, and called for his stale loaves.
While Miss Martha was reaching for them there was a great tooting and clanging, and a fire-engine came lumbering past. The customer hurried to the door to look, as any one will. Suddenly inspired, Miss Martha seized the opportunity. On the bottom shelf behind the counter was a pound of fresh butter that the dairyman had left ten minutes before. With a bread knife Miss Martha made a deep slash in each of the stale loaves, inserted a generous quantity of butter, and pressed the loaves tight again.
When the customer turned once more she was tying the paper around them. When he had gone, after an unusually pleasant little chat, Miss Martha smiled to herself, but not without a slight fluttering of the heart. Had she been too bold? Would he take offense?
But surely not. There was no language of edibles. Butter was no emblem of unmaidenly forwardness.
For a long time that day her mind dwelt on the subject. She imagined the scene when he should discover her little deception. He would lay down his brushes and palette.
There would stand his easel with the picture he was painting in which the perspective was beyond criticism. He would prepare for his luncheon of dry bread and water. He would slice into a loaf -- ah! Miss Martha blushed. Would he think of the hand that placed it there as he ate? Would he -- The front door bell jangled viciously.
Somebody was coming in, making a great deal of noise. Miss Martha hurried to the front. Two men were there. One was a young man smoking a pipe -- a man she had never seen before.
The other was her artist. His face was very red, his hat was on the back of his head, his hair was wildly rumpled. He clinched his two fists and shook them ferociously at Miss Martha.
At Miss Martha. The young man tried to draw him away. You vas von meddingsome old cat! The young man took the other by the collar. That's Blumberger.
He's an architectural draftsman. I work in the same office with him. It was a prize competition. He finished inking the lines yesterday. You know, a draftsman always makes his drawing in pencil first. When it's done he rubs out the pencil lines with handfuls of stale bread crumbs.
That's better than India rubber. Well, to-day -- well, you know, ma'am, that butter isn't -- well, Blumberger's plan isn't good for anything now except to cut up into railroad sandwiches. She took off the blue-dotted silk waist and put on the old brown serge she used to wear.
Then she poured the quince seed and borax mixture out of the window into the ash can. About the author O. Henry O. This Amercian Short Story writer has a rich canon and his short stories are well known throughout the world; noted for their witticism, clever wordplay, and unexpected twist endings.
Like many other writers, O. Henry's early career aspirations were unfocused and he wandered across different activities and professions before he finally found his calling as a short story writer. He started working in his uncle's drugstore in and became a licensed pharmacist by the age of His first creative expressions came while working in the pharmacy where he would sketch the townspeople that frequented the store.
The customers reacted warmly to his drawings and he was admired for his artistry and drawing skills. Henry moved to Texas in March of hoping to get rid of a persistent cough that he had developed.
While there, he took up residence on a sheep ranch, learned shepherding, cooking, babysitting, and bits of Spanish and German from the many migrant farmhands. He had an active social life in Austin and was a fine musician, skilled with the guitar and mandolin. Over the next several years, Porter -- as he was still known -- took a number of different jobs, from pharmacy to drafting, journalism, and banking.
Here's where the twists and turns really started. Banking, in particular, was not to be O.
Henry's calling; he was quite careless with his bookkeeping, fired by the bank and charged with embezzlement in His father-in-law posted bail for him, but he fled the day before the trial in , first to New Orleans, then to Honduras, where there was no extradition treaty. He befriended a notorious train robber there, Al Jennings, who later wrote a book about their friendship.
Henry sent his wife and daughter back to Texas, after which he holed up in a hotel to write Kings and Cabbages. He learned his wife was dying of tuberculosis and could not join him in Honduras, so he returned to Austin to be with them and turned himself in to the court. His father-in-law again posted his bail so he could remain with his wife until her death in We was sentenced and served in Federal prison in Ohio for five years from During his jail time, he returned to practicing pharmacy and had a room in the hospital, never having to live in a cell.
Henry was always a lover of classic literature, and while pursuing his many ventures, O. Henry had begun writing as a hobby. Henry collected ideas for his column by loitering in hotel lobbies and observing and talking to people there.
He relied on this technique to gain creative inspiration throughout his writing career; which is a fun fact to keep in mind while reading an imaginative masterpiece of a story like Transients in Arcadia. The many twists and turns of his own life, including his travels in Latin America and time spent in prison, clearly inspired his stories' twists and wordplay. Henry's prolific writing period began in in New York City, where he wrote short stories.
Some of his best and least known work is contained in Cabbages and Kings, his first collection of published stories, set in a central American town, in which sub-plots and larger plots are interwoven in an engaging manner.
His second collection of stories, The Four Million, was released in The stories are set in New York City, and the title is based on the population of the city at that time. The collection contained several short story masterpieces, including The Gift of the Magi, The Cop and the Anthem, and many others. Henry had an obvious affection for New York City, a reverence that rises up through some of these stories. Henry's trademark is his witty, plot-twisting endings, and his warm characterization of the awkward and difficult situations and the creative ways people find to resolve them.
His most famous short story, The Gift of the Magi, epitomizes his style. It's a story about a young married couple, short on money, who wish to download each other Christmas gifts. That problem -- their lack of funds -- finds a famously endearing and ironic resolution. The Cop and the Anthem is about A New York City hobo with a creative solution for dealing with the cold city streets during winter.
Another story, A Retrieved Reformation, is about a safecracker Jimmy Valentine, fresh from prison, whose life takes an unexpected turn while casing his next crime scene.
American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist and satirist. Bierce employed a distinctive style of writing, especially in his stories. This style often embraces an abrupt beginning see cold open , dark imagery, vague references to time, limited descriptions, the theme of war, and impossible events. He wrote in a variety of literary genres. His short stories are held among the best of the 19th century, providing a popular following based on his roots.
In addition to his ghost and war stories, he also published several volumes of poetry. His Fantastic Fables anticipated the ironic style of grotesquerie that became a more common genre in the 20th century. It consists of satirical definitions of English words which lampoon cant and political double-talk.
While traveling with rebel troops, the elderly writer disappeared without a trace. Ambrose Bierce, ? Biographical note American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist and satirist. Brief Seasons of Intellectual Dissipation.
Divers Tales. The Grateful Bear. The Setting Sachem. The Legend of Immortal Truth. Converting a Prodigal. Four Jacks and a Knave.He seemed to crave Miss Martha's cheerful words.
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It is of course understood that behind the nominal bribe is commonly a more substantial one of which there is no record. At Miss Martha. It mattered not that he might already possess a wife and family, or that his affections might be engaged upon an object of his own selection: the king allowed no such subordinate arrangements to interfere with his great scheme of retribution and reward.
Two men were there.