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Algernon Blackwood's Shorter Supernatural Fiction (2 vols.)

Terrys Texas Rangers

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Sabre and Foil Fighting

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The Collected Supernatural and Weird Fiction of John Kendrick Bangs: Volume 2

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The Collected Supernatural and Weird Fiction of John Kendrick Bangs: Volume 2
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Author(s): John Kendrick Bangs
Date Published: 2010/08
Page Count: 348
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-328-1
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-0-85706-327-4

The second volume of three Kendrick Bangs in the land beyond the Styx

American author John Kendrick Bangs was a well known writer and editor whose work appeared in Life, Harper’s Bazaar and Harper’s Magazine. His speciality was making his readers laugh and he was delightfully termed the editor in charge of the Department of Humour for all three publications. This job profile no doubt gave him enormous satisfaction and he went on to edit both The Metropolitan Magazine and Puck which was the foremost American humour magazine at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth century. It is by no means unusual for those with a taste for the weird and ghostly to also enjoy humour, for often is the sharp intake of a breath of fright followed by a burst of laughter—if only in relief? However, John Kendrick Bangs could combine both the other worldly and genuine satire in his stories to create truly humorous supernatural tales. The 'Associated Shades' novellas that appear in volume two of this Leonaur three volume collection are a good example; in them we follow real (but deceased) historical personalities as they 'live again' and join forces with famous fictional characters in incredible adventures on the banks of the River Styx. Although Bangs always looked for the opportunity to raise a smile in his stories readers may be assured that they can also be genuinely chilling. John Kendrick Bangs is a true 'original' of supernatural fiction and this special Leonaur collection, available in softcover and hardback with dust jacket, will enable collectors and aficionados alike to read and own this unique talent in an attractive matched set.
Volume two contains four novellas of the strange and unusual—‘A House-Boat on the Styx,’ ‘The Pursuit of the House-Boat,’ ‘The Enchanted Typewriter’ and ‘Mr. Munchausen.’

“I never should have gone crazy over a man if I’d remained unmarried forty thousand years,” she retorted, severely. “I married Socrates because I loved him and admired his sculpture; but when he gave up sculpture and became a thinker he simply tried me beyond all endurance, he was so thoughtless, with the result that, having ventured once or twice to show my natural resentment, I have been handed down to posterity as a shrew. I’ve never complained, and I don’t complain now; but when a woman is married to a philosopher who is so taken up with his studies that when he rises in the morning he doesn’t look what he is doing, and goes off to his business in his wife’s clothes, I think she is entitled to a certain amount of sympathy.”<br>
“And yet you wish to wear his,” persisted Ophelia.<br>
“Turnabout is fair-play,” said Xanthippe. “I’ve suffered so much on his account that on the principle of averages he deserves to have a little drop of bitters in his nectar.”<br>
“You are simply the victim of man’s deceit,” said Elizabeth, wishing to mollify the now angry Xanthippe, who was on the verge of tears. “I understood men, fortunately, and so never married. I knew my father, and even if I hadn’t been a wise enough child to know him, I should not have wed, because he married enough to last one family for several years.”<br>
“You must have had a hard time refusing all those lovely men, though,” sighed Ophelia. “Of course, Sir Walter wasn’t as handsome as my dear Hamlet, but he was very fetching.”<br>
“I cannot deny that,” said Elizabeth, “and I didn’t really have the heart to say no when he asked me; but I did tell him that if he married me I should not become Mrs. Raleigh, but that he should become King Elizabeth. He fled to Virginia on the next steamer. My diplomacy rid me of a very unpleasant duty.”<br>
Chatting thus, the three famous spirits passed slowly along the path until they came to the sheltered nook in which the house-boat lay at anchor.<br>
“There’s a case in point,” said Xanthippe, as the house-boat loomed up before them. “All that luxury is for men; we women are not permitted to cross the gangplank. Our husbands and brothers and friends go there; the door closes on them, and they are as completely lost to us as though they never existed. We don’t know what goes on in there. Socrates tells me that their amusements are of a most innocent nature, but how do I know what he means by that? Furthermore, it keeps him from home, while I have to stay at home and be entertained by my sons, whom the Encyclopædia Britannica rightly calls dull and fatuous. In other words, club life for him, and dullness and fatuity for me.”<br>
“I think myself they’re rather queer about letting women into that boat,” said Queen Elizabeth. “But it isn’t Sir Walter’s fault. He told me he tried to have them establish a Ladies’ Day, and that they agreed to do so, but have since resisted all his efforts to have a date set for the function.”<br>
“It would be great fun to steal in there now, wouldn’t it,” giggled Ophelia. “There doesn’t seem to be anybody about to prevent our doing so.”<br>
“That’s true,” said Xanthippe. “All the windows are closed, as if there wasn’t a soul there. I’ve half a mind to take a peep in at the house.”<br>
“I am with you,” said Elizabeth, her face lighting up with pleasure. It was a great novelty, and an unpleasant one to her, to find someplace where she could not go. “Let’s do it,” she added.<br>
So the three women tiptoed softly up the gang-plank, and, silently boarding the house-boat, peeped in at the windows. What they saw merely whetted their curiosity.<br>
“I must see more,” cried Elizabeth, rushing around to the door, which opened at her touch. Xanthippe and Ophelia followed close on her heels, and shortly they found themselves, open-mouthed in wondering admiration, in the billiard-room of the floating palace, and Richard, the ghost of the best billiard-room attendant in or out of Hades, stood before them.<br>
“Excuse me,” he said, very much upset by the sudden apparition of the ladies. “I’m very sorry, but ladies are not admitted here.”<br>
“We are equally sorry,” retorted Elizabeth, assuming her most imperious manner, “that your masters have seen fit to prohibit our being here; but, now that we are here, we intend to make the most of the opportunity, particularly as there seem to be no members about. What has become of them all?”<br>
Richard smiled broadly. “I don’t know where they are,” he replied; but it was evident that he was not telling the exact truth.<br>
“Oh, come, my boy,” said the Queen, kindly, “you do know. Sir Walter told me you knew everything. Where are they?”<br>
“Well, if you must know, ma’am,” returned Richard, captivated by the Queen’s manner, “they’ve all gone down the river to see a prize-fight between Goliath and Samson.”<br>
“See there!” cried Xanthippe. “That’s what this club makes possible. Socrates told me he was coming here to take luncheon with Carlyle, and they’ve both of ’em gone off to a disgusting prize-fight!”<br>
“Yes, ma’am, they have,” said Richard; “and if Goliath wins, I don’t think Mr. Socrates will get home this evening.”
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