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Classic Flash

Before Your Next Critique Group…

Have you writers ever been critiqued in such a scathing, vicious fashion that you don’t know whether you want to crawl into a hole or beat the critquer with a bat? Can you imagine getting that kind of critique from Mark Twain? I don’t know what James Fenimore Cooper did on reading Twain’s critique of […]

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The Winner’s Loss

“Bet you fifty!” “Aw, make it worth while.” “Two hundred!” “You’re on. Let Jack hold the stakes.” “Suits me.” Four hundred dollars was placed in the hands of Jack Strong by the disputatious sports, and he carefully put it away with the lone five-dollar bill of which he was possessed. Jack, although sportily inclined, lacked […]

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A Tobacco Plant

Punch, November 11, 1941 I had done the second hole (from the vegetable-marrow frame to the mulberry-tree) in two, and was about to proceed to the third hole by the potting-shed when I thought I would go in and convey the glad news to Joan. I found her seated at the table in the breakfast-room […]

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The Day of the Poll

In the town by the sea it was the day of the poll, and the poet regarded it sadly when he woke and saw the light of it coming in at his window between two small curtains of gauze. And the day of the poll was beautifully bright; stray bird-songs came to the poet at […]

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The Hen

All along the farmyard gables the swallows sat a-row, twittering uneasily to one another, telling of many things, but thinking only of Summer and the South, for Autumn was afoot and the North wind waiting. And suddenly one day they were all quite gone. And everyone spoke of the swallows and the South. “I think […]

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The First Puritan Christmas Tree

A little context: The Puritans disparaged Christmas as “Foolstide” and thoroughly discouraged its celebration. The Plymouth Pilgrims even spent their first Christmas Day in the New World putting up a building, thereby showing their complete contempt for the holiday. You can find more information about this at Wikipedia. This story is set during that time […]

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A Living Calendar

State-Councillor Sharamykin’s drawing-room is wrapped in a pleasant half-darkness. The big bronze lamp with the green shade, makes the walls, the furniture, the faces, all green, couleur “Nuit d’Ukraine.” Occasionally a smouldering log flares up in the dying fire and for a moment casts a red glow over the faces; but this does not spoil […]

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Cutting Down

Punch, September 23, 1914 “Everybody’s doing it,” I said, “so as to have more for the Funds. Also for other reasons. The only question is what?” “Well,” said Ursula, “let’s make a beginning.” She produced a silver pencil and some celluloid tablets that are supposed to look like ivory. “What first?” she asked, frowning. I […]

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Another Ruined Trade

Punch, November 11, 1914 A little humor about civilians in World War I. I had secured an empty compartment. Something in my blood makes me rush for an empty compartment. I suppose it is because I am a Briton, yet it was another Briton who intruded upon my privacy. At the first glance I saw […]

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Doctor Chevalier’s Lie

The quick report of a pistol rang through the quiet autumn night. It was no unusual sound in the unsavory quarter where Dr. Chevalier had his office. Screams commonly went with it. This time there had been none. Midnight had already rung in the old cathedral tower. The doctor closed the book over which he […]

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