Twelve Tales by Grant Allen

Twelve Tales

byGrant Allen

Kobo ebook | June 6, 2013

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The existence of this volume is due, not to my own initiative, but to that of my enterprising kinsman and publisher, Mr. Grant Richards. He it was who first suggested to me the idea that it might be worth while to collect in one volume such of my scattered short stories as I judged to possess most permanent value. In order for us to carry out his plan, however, it became necessary to obtain the friendly co-operation of Messrs. Chatto and Windus, to whom belong the copyrights of my three previous volumes of Collected Tales, published respectively under the titles of Strange Stories, The Beckoning Hand, and Ivan Greet's Masterpiece, some pieces from each of which series I desired to include in the present selection. Fortunately, Messrs. Chatto and Windus fell in with our scheme with that kindness which I have learned to expect from them in all their dealings; and an arrangement was thus effected by which I am enabled to present here certain stories from their three volumes. Together with these I have arranged an equal number of tales from other sources—most of which have hitherto appeared in periodicals only, while one is entirely new, never having been before printed.

I may perhaps be permitted, without blame, to seize the occasion of this selected edition in order to offer a few bibliographical remarks on the origin and inception of my short stories. For many years after I took to the trade of author, I confined my writings to scientific or quasi-scientific subjects, having indeed little or no idea that I possessed in the germ the faculty of story-telling. But on one occasion, about the year 1880 (if I recollect aright), wishing to contribute an article to Belgravia on the improbability of a man's being able to recognise a ghost as such, even if he saw one, and the impossibility of his being able to apply any test of credibility to an apparition's statements, I ventured for the better development of my subject to throw the argument into the form of a narrative. I did not regard this narrative as a story: I looked upon it merely as a convenient method of displaying a scientific truth. However, the gods and Mr. Chatto thought otherwise. For, a month or two later, Mr. Chatto wrote to ask me if I could supply Belgravia with 'another story.' Not a little surprised at this request, I sat down, like an obedient workman, and tried to write one at my employer's bidding. I distrusted my own ability to do so, it is true: but Mr. Chatto, I thought, being a dealer in the article, must know better than I; and I was far too poor a craftsman at that time to refuse any reasonable offer of employment. So I did my best, crassa Minerva. To my great astonishment, my second story was accepted and printed like my first: the curious in such matters (if there be any) will find them both in the volume entitled Strange Stories (published by Messrs. Chatto and Windus) under the headings of 'Our Scientific Observations on a Ghost,' and 'My New Year's Eve among the Mummies.'

From that day forward for some years I continued at Mr. Chatto's request to supply short stories from time to time to Belgravia, a magazine which he then edited. But I did not regard these my tentative tales in any serious light: and, fearing that they might stand in the way of such little scientific reputation as I possessed, I published them all under the prudent pseudonym of J. Arbuthnot Wilson. I do not know that I should have got much further on the downward path which leads to fiction, had it not been for the intervention of my good friend the late Mr. James Payn. When he undertook the editorship of the Cornhill, he determined at first to turn it into a magazine of stories only, and began to look about him for fresh blood to press into the service. Among the writers he then secured (I seem to recollect) were Dr. Conan Doyle and Mr. Stanley Weyman. Now, under Mr. Leslie Stephen's editorship, I had been accustomed to

Title:Twelve TalesFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:June 6, 2013Publisher:WDS PublishingLanguage:English

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