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BRET HARTE (FRANCIS BRET HARTE)
American short story writer and verse writer
(1836 - 1902)
  CHECK READING LIST (3)  

As I stand here this pleasant afternoon, looking up at the old chapel (the Mission Dolores), its ragged senility contrasting with the smart spring sunshine, its two gouty pillars with the plaster dropping away like tattered bandages, its rayless windows, its crumbling entrances, the leper spots on its whitewashed wall eating through the dark adobe--I give the poor old mendicant but a year longer to sit by the highway and ask alms in the names of the blessed saints.
      - [Ruins]

Fades the light,
  And afar
    Goeth day, cometh night,
      And a star
        Leadeth all
          Speedeth all
            To their rest.
      - [Twilight]

Last night, above the whistling wind,
  I heard the welcome rain,--
    A fusillade upon the roof,
      A tattoo on the pane:
        The keyhole piped; the chimney-top
          A warlike trumpet blew.
      - [Rain]

O'er the trackless past somewhere lie the lost days of our tropic youth.
      - [Past]

Physically, they exhibited no indication of their past lives and characters. The greatest scamp had a Raphael face, with a profusion of blonde hair; Oakurst, a gambler, had the melancholy character and intellectual abstraction of a Hamlet; the coolest and most courageous man was scarcely over five feet in height, with a soft voice and an embarrassed manner.
      - [Countenance]

That for ways that are dark
  And for tricks that are vain,
    The heathen Chinese is peculiar.
      - [Craft]

The creator who could put a cancer in a believer's stomach is above being interfered with by prayers.
      - [God]

The smile that was childlike and bland.
      - [Smiles]

But still when the mists of doubt prevail,
  And we lie becalmed by the shores of age,
    We hear from the misty troubled shore
      The voce of children gone before.
        Drawing the soul to its anchorage.
      - A Greyport Legend (st. 6) [Childhood]

They were left in the lurch
  For want of more wadding--He ran to the church--
    . . . .
      With his arms full of hymnbooks . . .
        Rang his voice, "Put Watts into 'em--Boys, give 'em Watts."
      - Caldwell of Springfield [War]

Morgan!--She ain't nothing else, and I've got the papers to prove it.
  Sired by Chippewa Chief, and twelve hundred dollars won't buy her.
    Briggs of Turlumme owned her. Did you know Briggs of Turlumme?--
      Busted hisself in White Pine and blew out his brains down in Frisco?
      - Chiquita [Horses]

Snow. Everywhere. As far as the eye could reach--fifty miles, looking southward from the highest peak.
      - Gabriel Conroy (bk. 1, ch. 1)
        [Books (First Lines)]

With the smile that was childlike and bland.
      - Language of Truthful James (Heathen Chinee)
        [Smiles]

Never a tears bedims the eye
  That time and patience will not dry.
      - Lost Galleon [Tears]

Over the trackless past, somewhere,
  Lie the lost days of our tropic youth,
    Only regained by faith and prayer,
      Only recalled by prayer and plaint,
        Each lost day has its patron saint!
      - Lost Galleon (last stanza) [Youth]

If of all words of tongue and pen,
  The saddest are, "It might have been,"
    More sad are those we daily see,
      "It is, but it hadn't ought to be."
      - Mrs. Jenkins [Words]

And ever since then, when the clock strikes two,
  She walks unbidden from room to room,
    And the air is filled that she passes through
      With a subtle, sad perfume.
        The delicate odor of mignonette,
          The ghost of a dead and gone bouquet,
            Is all that tells of her story--yet
              Could she think of a sweeter way?
      - Newport Legend,
        quoted by Augustus Thomas in "The Witching Hour"
        [Perfume]

Which I wish to remark--
  And my language is plain,--
    That for ways that are dark
      And for tricks that are vain,
        The heathen Chinee is peculiar.
      - Plain Language from Truthful James,
        (Heathen Chinee) [Deceit]

An hour ago, a Star was falling.
  A star? There's nothing strange in that.
    No, nothing; but above the thicket,
      Somehow it seemed to me that God
        Somewhere had just relieved a picket.
      - Relieving Guard [War]

Your voices break and falter in the darkness,--
  Break, falter, and are still.
      - The Angelus [Bells]

There was commotion in Roaring Camp. It could not have been a fight, for in 1850 that was not novel enough to have called together the entire settlement.
      - The Luck of Roaring Camp
        [Books (First Lines)]

The delicate thought, that cannot find expression,
  For ruder speech too fair,
    That, like thy petals, trembles in possession,
      And scatters on the air.
      - The Mountain Heart's Ease [Pansies]

As Mr. John Oakhurst, gambler, stepped into the main street of Poker Flat on the morning of the twenty-third of November, 1850, he was conscious of a change in its moral atmosphere since the preceding night. Two or three men, conversing earnestly together, ceased as he approached, and exchanged significant glances. There was a Sabbath lull in the air, which, in a settlement unused to Sabbath influences, looked ominous.
      - The Outcasts of Poker Flat
        [Books (First Lines)]

Hark! I hear the tramp of thousands,
  And of armed men the hum;
    Lo, a nation's hosts have gathered
      Round the quick alarming drum--
        Saying, Come
          Freemen, Come!
            Ere your heritage be wasted,
              Said the quick alarming drum.
      - The Reveille [War]

And I hear from the outgoing ship in the bay
  The song of the sailors in glee:
    So I think of the luminous footprints that bore
      The comfort o'er dark Galilee,
        And wait for the signal to go to the shore,
          To the ship that is waiting for me.
      - The Two Ships [Death]


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