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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Holly-Tree, by Charles Dickens
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
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Title: The Holly-Tree
Author: Charles Dickens
Release Date: April 3, 2005 [eBook #1394]
Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)
***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE HOLLY-TREE***
Transcribed from the 1894 Chapman and Hall edition of "Christmas Stories"
by David Price, email email@example.com
THE HOLLY-TREE--THREE BRANCHES
I have kept one secret in the course of my life. I am a bashful man.
Nobody would suppose it, nobody ever does suppose it, nobody ever did
suppose it, but I am naturally a bashful man. This is the secret which I
have never breathed until now.
I might greatly move the reader by some account of the innumerable places
I have not been to, the innumerable people I have not called upon or
received, the innumerable social evasions I have been guilty of, solely
because I am by original constitution and character a bashful man. But I
will leave the reader unmoved, and proceed with the object before me.
That object is to give a plain account of my travels and discoveries in
the Holly-Tree Inn; in which place of good entertainment for man and
beast I was once snowed up.
It happened in the memorable year when I parted for ever from Angela
Leath, whom I was shortly to have married, on making the discovery that
she preferred my bosom friend. From our school-days I had freely
admitted Edwin, in my own mind, to be far superior to myself; and, though
I was grievously wounded at heart, I felt the preference to be natural,
and tried to forgive them both. It was under these circumstances that I
resolved to go to America--on my way to the Devil.
Communicating my discovery neither to Angela nor to Edwin, but resolving
to write each of them an affecting letter conveying my blessing and
forgiveness, which the steam-tender for shore should carry to the post
when I myself should be bound for the New World, far beyond recall,--I
say, locking up my grief in my own breast, and consoling myself as I
could with the prospect of being generous, I quietly left all I held
dear, and started on the desolate journey I have mentioned.
The dead winter-time was in full dreariness when I left my chambers for
ever, at five o'clock in the morning. I had shaved by candle-light, of
course, and was miserably cold, and experienced that general
all-pervading sensation of getting up to be hanged which I have usually
found inseparable from untimely rising under such circumstances.