Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Have a nice 2009

Click on the image below to see the full size photo.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

A Christmas Carol (animated film)

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens)

A man who hates Christmas is visited by three spirits who will show see Life in a different way.
Click on the image below to download the story.

Chapter Summaries copied from Bookrags

Chapter 1
Dickens begins his story by assuring his readers that Jacob Marley is, indeed, dead. He explains that without this assurance, the true miracle of the tale he is about to relate would not be fully understood. From there, he goes on to introduce Marley's former business partner Ebenezer Scrooge, a cold, bitter, miser; in the words of Dickens' narrator, Scrooge is a "squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner." It is quickly apparent that Scrooge has shown this miserly persona to the world for years, and he likes it that way.
As the story begins, Scrooge is being assaulted by the Christmas season. First, to try to bring him some Christmas cheer is his nephew, whose invitation to Christmas dinner is met with a series of hearty "Bah Humbugs!" Next are two gentlemen.....

Chapter 2
Having fallen asleep after his ghostly visit with Marley, Scrooge wakes to the sound of the clock chiming twelve. He is perplexed how could it be only twelve when he went to bed sometime after two? Then he recollects that Marley's ghost told him his first spirit would visit him when the clock struck one. He vows to stay awake until that time passes to disprove the silly notion of the ghost, and yet, as the clock chimes once, his bed curtains are parted.
Scrooge's first spirit visitor identifies itself as the Ghost of Christmas Past. After much discussion, the Ghost takes Scrooge back in time to a holiday season long forgotten. Here, Scrooge sees himself as a very young boy, left alone at school during Christmas when all of his friends are joyfully.....

Chapter 3
After his encounter with the Ghost of Christmas Past, Scrooge is once again asleep. As Chapter 3 opens, Scrooge wakes himself up with a particularly loud snore. He's ready this time for a ghostly visitor, even opening his bed curtains so as to be prepared for whatever appears. His preparations, however, are all for nothing, because when the clock strikes one, no apparition appears. Instead, Scrooge finds himself bathed in a mysterious light.
Once recovered from NOT seeing a spirit, Scrooge determines that the source of the strange light seems to reside in the room connected to his. He discovers in this adjoining room that the room itself has been transformed onto a holiday wonderland, and that it is indeed occupied by the second spirit, who identifies himself as the Ghost of Christmas Present......

Chapter 4
Unlike the two Ghosts that precede it, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come does not speak; in fact, it is Scrooge himself who says aloud who this spirit is. The spirit, for its part, does nothing but point one outstretched hand to lead the way, and yet, for some reason, this Ghost fills Scrooge with more fear and foreboding than any of the past spirits he has seen.
The first stop for Scrooge and this third spirit is the city street. Here, they listen in on the conversation of a group of gentlemen who seem to be discussing the death of someone that they did not care for. As he moves on from this group, Scrooge overhears a group of wealthy businessmen whom he had always tried to make a favorable impression on.....

Chapter 5
In this last chapter, Scrooge wholeheartedly joins the land of the living. He promises to "live in the Past, the Present, and the Future!" and begins his day by shocking a young boy outside his window with a request for him to take Scrooge's money and buy the prize turkey. He has this turkey sent anonymously to the Cratchits. Then, meeting one of the men he had refused a donation to on the previous day, he makes a generous donation for both the present and the past. Finally, he arrives at the home of Fred and enjoys dinner with his nephew's family and friends. Throughout his day, Scrooge marvels at the joy he experiences by interacting with the world around him.
The next day, he can scarcely wait for Bob Cratchit to arrive at.....

Sunday, 14 December 2008

The Happy Prince (Oscar Wilde)

High above the city, on a tall column, stood the statue of the Happy Prince. He was gilded all over with thin leaves of fine gold, for eyes he had two bright sapphires, and a large red ruby glowed on his sword-hilt.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Penguin Tasters

You can read an extract of a book thanks to Penguin Tasters. These are the novels whose first chapter you can download:
- The Widows of Eastwick by John Updike: Those of us acquainted with their sordid and scandalous story were not surprised to hear, by way of rumors from the various localities where the sorceresses had settled after fleeing our pleasant town of Eastwick...
- Arctic Drift by Clive Cussler: The cry rattled through the ship like the howl of a wounded jungle beast, a mournful wail that sounded like a plea for death. The moan incited a second voice, and then a third, until a ghoulish chorus echoed through the darkness.
- The Lost Throne by Chris Kuzneski: The monk felt the wind on his face as he plummeted to his death, a journey that started with a scream and ended with a thud.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

New book of J.K. Rowling

Information taken from Yahoo! News.

Rowling offers Potter fans a gift with new book

By DEEPTI HAJELA, Associated Press Writer

"The Tales of Beedle the Bard" (Children's High Level Group, $12.99, 111 pages), by J.K. Rowling: Just in time for the holidays, J.K. Rowling has given Harry Potter fans a little gift.
No, not a new book about the young wizard — THAT would be like a birthday combined with Christmas! Instead, she's written a charming confection of a book from the world of Harry Potter with the sparkle and wit that remind us why she became a publishing sensation in the first place.
The title of the book, "The Tales of Beedle the Bard," should be instantly familiar to all Potter fans. That was the book Harry's friend Hermione Granger was bequeathed following the death of Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster at their school. One tale in the collection of childrens' stories played a part in Harry figuring out how to destroy his enemy, the evil Lord Voldemort.
Following the publication of the last of the Potter books last year, Rowling created seven copies of the Beedle book, writing and illustrating the five stories. She gave six of the copies to friends and the last one to the Children's High Level Group, a charity she helped create. The charity auctioned the book, which Amazon bought for $4 million, and has released an edition for the general public to raise more money.
In this edition, Rowling tells us, the tales were translated from the Ancient Runes by none other than Hermione. And adding a special flair, the stories are accompanied by notes from Dumbledore, expounding on their larger meaning. In her introduction, Rowling says the notes date to about 18 months before Dumbledore's death.
If anything, the new book shows us Rowling hasn't lost her touch since finishing her series. It's all here — cleverly written stories, little details that add to the enjoyment of readers who spot them, deeper points about the choices people make and their consequences. The yarns are ostensibly meant to be read by wizard children, so they're short, but they don't lack for action, or in some cases, rather gruesome imagery and some violence. Apparently wizard children are a hardy bunch.
This isn't a full-length book, though, so it doesn't have the depth and emotional heft that were the hallmark of the series. But it really is a gift to fans. It rewards them for their dedication to the world of Harry Potter by giving them more glimpses into that place. Dumbledore's commentary is a particular pleasure, especially when he recounts details that make certain aspects of the series a little clearer.
Fans saddened that the series had to end will now have a reason to smile a little.


Thursday, 20 November 2008

Closed For Holidays

I will write more about Literature and Filmmaking in December.

Monday, 17 November 2008

The Hound of the Baskervilles

Behind the curse

Sir Charles Baskerville, a rich landowner, is found dead apparently caused by a heart attack. Dr. Mortimer, his best friend, thinks he was killed by a supernatural creature with blazing eyes, so he asks Sherlock Holmes for investigate what has really happened.

If you want to read the full story, please, click on the image below.

© Cristina Fuster Bertrand

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Sherlock Holmes is a character not an author

Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was born on May 22, 1859, in Edinburgh, Scotland. His father was an alcoholic. On the other hand, his mother was in love with books and was skilled at telling stories.

When he was 9 years old, he was sent to England to a boarding school named Hodder Place (nowadays it is called Stonyhurst Saint Mary's Hall) and then he went to Stonyhurst College.He didn’t seem to enjoy himself at all while he was there but only when he was playing cricket, at which he was very good. Nevertheless he discovered he was a good storyteller, like his mom, when he found himself surrounded by students listening to his stories.

He left school in 1875 and from 1876 to 1881 he studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh. In those years he wrote short stories. In 1887 he published the first novel of a very famous detective character in the literature world, Sherlock Holmes.

These are the Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories:
  • - A Study in Scarlet (1887)
  • - The Sign of Four (1890))
  • - The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892)
  • - The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894
  • - The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902)
  • - The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1905)
  • - The Valley of Fear (1915)
  • - His Last Bow (1917)
  • - The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (1927)
  • - The Complete Sherlock Holmes Short Stories (1928)

More biography details of Conan Doyle at Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Homepage.

Below these lines you can read the first chapter of The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Title: The Hound of the Baskervilles
Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Chapter 1 – Mr. Sherlock Holmes

Mr. Sherlock Holmes, who was usually very late in the mornings, save upon those not infrequent occasions when he was up all night, was seated at the breakfast table. I stood upon the hearth-rug and picked up the stick which our visitor had left behind him the night before. It was a fine, thick piece of wood, bulbous-headed, of the sort which is known as a "Penang lawyer." Just under the head was a broad silver band nearly an inch across. "To James Mortimer, M.R.C.S., from his friends of the C.C.H.," was engraved upon it, with the date "1884." It was just such a stick as the old-fashioned family practitioner used to carry -- dignified, solid, and reassuring.

"Well, Watson, what do you make of it?"

Holmes was sitting with his back to me, and I had given him no sign of my occupation.

"How did you know what I was doing? I believe you have eyes in the back of your head."

"I have, at least, a well-polished, silver-plated coffee-pot in front of me," said he. "But, tell me, Watson, what do you make of our visitor's stick? Since we have been so unfortunate as to miss him and have no notion of his errand, this accidental souvenir becomes of importance. Let me hear you reconstruct the man by an examination of it."

"I think," said I, following as far as I could the methods of my companion, "that Dr. Mortimer is a successful, elderly medical man, well-esteemed since those who know him give him this mark of their appreciation."

"Good!" said Holmes. "Excellent!"

"I think also that the probability is in favour of his being a country practitioner who does a great deal of his visiting on foot."

"Why so?"

"Because this stick, though originally a very handsome one has been so knocked about that I can hardly imagine a town practitioner carrying it. The thick-iron ferrule is worn down, so it is evident that he has done a great amount of walking with it."

"Perfectly sound!" said Holmes.

"And then again, there is the 'friends of the C.C.H.' I should guess that to be the Something Hunt, the local hunt to whose members he has possibly given some surgical assistance, and which has made him a small presentation in return."

"Really, Watson, you excel yourself," said Holmes, pushing back his chair and lighting a cigarette. "I am bound to say that in all the accounts which you have been so good as to give of my own small achievements you have habitually underrated your own abilities. It may be that you are not yourself luminous, but you are a conductor of light. Some people without possessing genius have a remarkable power of stimulating it. I confess, my dear fellow, that I am very much in your debt."

He had never said as much before, and I must admit that his words gave me keen pleasure, for I had often been piqued by his indifference to my admiration and to the attempts which I had made to give publicity to his methods. I was proud, too, to think that I had so far mastered his system as to apply it in a way which earned his approval. He now took the stick from my hands and examined it for a few minutes with his naked eyes. Then with an expression of interest he laid down his cigarette, and carrying the cane to the window, he looked over it again with a convex lens.

"Interesting, though elementary," said he as he returned to his favourite corner of the settee. "There are certainly one or two indications upon the stick. It gives us the basis for several deductions."

"Has anything escaped me?" I asked with some self-importance. "I trust that there is nothing of consequence which I have overlooked?"

"I am afraid, my dear Watson, that most of your conclusions were erroneous. When I said that you stimulated me I meant, to be frank, that in noting your fallacies I was occasionally guided towards the truth. Not that you are entirely wrong in this instance. The man is certainly a country practitioner. And he walks a good deal."

"Then I was right."

"To that extent."

"But that was all."

"No, no, my dear Watson, not all -- by no means all. I would suggest, for example, that a presentation to a doctor is more likely to come from a hospital than from a hunt, and that when the initials 'C.C.' are placed before that hospital the words 'Charing Cross' very naturally suggest themselves."

"You may be right."

"The probability lies in that direction. And if we take this as a working hypothesis we have a fresh basis from which to start our construction of this unknown visitor."

"Well, then, supposing that 'C.C.H.' does stand for 'Charing Cross Hospital,' what further inferences may we draw?"

"Do none suggest themselves? You know my methods. Apply them!"

"I can only think of the obvious conclusion that the man has practised in town before going to the country."

"I think that we might venture a little farther than this. Look at it in this light. On what occasion would it be most probable that such a presentation would be made? When would his friends unite to give him a pledge of their good will? Obviously at the moment when Dr. Mortimer withdrew from the service of the hospital in order to start in practice for himself. We know there has been a presentation. We believe there has been a change from a town hospital to a country practice. Is it, then, stretching our inference too far to say that the presentation was on the occasion of the change?"

"It certainly seems probable."

"Now, you will observe that he could not have been on the staff of ohe hospital, since only a man well-established in a London practice could hold such a position, and such a one would not drift into the country. What was he, then? If he was in the hospital and yet not on the staff he could only have been a house-surpeon or a house-physician -- little more than a senior student. And he left five years ago -- the date is on the stick. So your grave, middle-aged family practitioner vanishes into thin air, my dear Watson, and there emerges a young fellow under thirty, amiable, unambitious, absent-minded, and the possessor of a favourite dog, which I should describe roughly as being larger than a terrier and smaller than a mastiff."

I laughed incredulously as Sherlock Holmes leaned back in his settee and blew little wavering rings of smoke up to the ceiling.

"As to the latter part, I have no means of checking you," said I, "but at least it is not difficult to find out a few particulars about the man's age and professional career." From my small medical shelf I took down the Medical Directory and turned up the name. There were several Mortimers, but only one who could be our visitor. I read his record aloud.

"Mortimer, James, M.R.C.S., 1882, Grimpen, Dartmoor, Devon. House-surgeon, from 1882 to 1884, at Charing Cross Hospital. Winner of the Jackson prize for Comparative Pathology, with essay entitled 'Is Disease a Reversion?' Corresponding member of the Swedish Pathological Society. Author of 'Some Freaks of Atavism' (Lancet 1882). 'Do We Progress?' (Journal of Psychology, March, 1883). Medical Officer for the parishes of Grimpen, Thorsley, and High Barrow."

"No mention of that local hunt, Watson," said Holmes with a mischievous smile, "but a country doctor, as you very astutely observed. I think that I am fairly justified in my inferences. As to the adjectives, I said, if I remember right, amiable, unambitious, and absent-minded. It is my experience that it is only an amiable man in this world who receives testimonials, only an unambitious one who abandons a London career for the country, and only an absent-minded one who leaves his stick and not his visiting-card after waiting an hour in your room."

"And the dog?"

"Has been in the habit of carrying this stick behind his master. Being a heavy stick the dog has held it tightly by the middle, and the marks of his teeth are very plainly visible. The dog's jaw, as shown in the space between these marks, is too broad in my opinion for a terrier and not broad enough for a mastiff. It may have been -- yes, by Jove, it is a curly-haired spaniel."

He had risen and paced the room as he spoke. Now he halted in the recess of the window. There was such a ring of conviction in his voice that I glanced up in surprise.

"My dear fellow, how can you possibly be so sure of that?"

"For the very simple reason that I see the dog himself on our very door-step, and there is the ring of its owner. Don't move, I beg you, Watson. He is a professional brother of yours, and your presence may be of assistance to me. Now is the dramatic moment of fate, Watson, when you hear a step upon the stair which is walking into your life, and you know not whether for good or ill. What does Dr. James Mortimer, the man of science, ask of Sherlock Holmes, the specialist in crime? Come in!"

The appearance of our visitor was a surprise to me, since I had expected a typical country practitioner. He was a very tall, thin man, with a long nose like a beak, which jutted out between two keen, gray eyes, set closely together and sparkling brightly from behind a pair of gold-rimmed glasses. He was clad in a professional but rather slovenly fashion, for his frock-coat was dingy and his trousers frayed. Though young, his long back was already bowed, and he walked with a forward thrust of his head and a general air of peering benevolence. As he entered his eyes fell upon the stick in Holmes's hand, and he ran towards it with an exclamation of joy. "I am so very glad," said he. "I was not sure whether I had left it here or in the Shipping Office. I would not lose that stick for the world."

"A presentation, I see," said Holmes.

"Yes, sir."

"From Charing Cross Hospital?"

"From one or two friends there on the occasion of my marriage."

"Dear, dear, that's bad!" said Holmes, shaking his head.

Dr. Mortimer blinked through his glasses in mild astonishment.

"Why was it bad?"

"Only that you have disarranged our little deductions. Your marriage, you say?"

"Yes, sir. I married, and so left the hospital, and with it all hopes of a consulting practice. It was necessary to make a home of my own."

"Come, come, we are not so far wrong, after all," said Holmes. "And now, Dr. James Mortimer --"

"Mister, sir, Mister -- a humble M.R.C.S."

"And a man of precise mind, evidently."

"A dabbler in science, Mr. Holmes, a picker up of shells on the shores of the great unknown ocean. I presume that it is Mr. Sherlock Holmes whom I am addressing and not --"

"No, this is my friend Dr. Watson."

"Glad to meet you, sir. I have heard your name mentioned in connection with that of your friend. You interest me very much, Mr. Holmes. I had hardly expected so dolichocephalic a skull or such well-marked supra-orbital development. Would you have any objection to my running my finger along your parietal fissure? A cast of your skull, sir, until the original is available, would be an ornament to any anthropological museum. It is not my intention to be fulsome, but I confess that I covet your skull."

Sherlock Holmes waved our strange visitor into a chair. "You are an enthusiast in your line of thought, I perceive, sir, as I am in mine," said he. "I observe from your forefinger that you make your own cigarettes. Have no hesitation in lighting one."

The man drew out paper and tobacco and twirled the one up in the other with surprising dexterity. He had long, quivering fingers as agile and restless as the antennae of an insect.

Holmes was silent, but his little darting glances showed me the interest which he took in our curious companion.

"I presume, sir," said he at last, "that it was not merely for the purpose of examining my skull that you have done me the honour to call here last night and again to-day?"

"No, sir, no; though I am happy to have had the opportunity of doing that as well. I came to you, Mr. Holmes, because I recognized that I am myself an unpractical man and because I am suddenly confronted with a most serious and extraordinary problem. Recognizing, as I do, that you are the second highest expert in Europe --"

"Indeed, sir! May I inquire who has the honour to be the first?" asked Holmes with some asperity.

"To the man of precisely scientific mind the work of Monsieur Bertillon must always appeal strongly."

"Then had you not better consult him?"

"I said, sir, to the precisely scientific mind. But as a practical man of affairs it is acknowledged that you stand alone. I trust, sir, that I have not inadvertently --"

"Just a little," said Holmes. "I think, Dr. Mortimer, you would do wisely if without more ado you would kindly tell me plainly what the exact nature of the problem is in which you demand my assistance."

© Cristina Fuster Bertrand

Friday, 7 November 2008

Lord Arthur Savile's Crime

Lord Arthur is introduced to a chiromantist, who reads his palm and tells him that it is in his future that he will be a murderer. As he wants to get married, he decides he will have the right of marrying after he has killed a person. Does it have to become a murderer because of destiny?

Click on the image below to download the story.

© Cristina Fuster Bertrand




Friday, 31 October 2008

2 November films


Bella Swan moves in with his father. In this new place she falls in love with Edward Cullen, a boy who hides something and she wants to find it out. She discovers he is a vampire.

Quantum of Solace

The new James Bond adventure.

Betrayed by Vesper, the woman he loved, 007 fights the urge to make his latest mission personal. Pursuing his determination to uncover the truth, Bond and M interrogate Mr. White who reveals the organization which blackmailed Vesper is far more complex and dangerous than anyone had imagined.




Thursday, 16 October 2008

Penguin Tasters

You can read an extract of a book thanks to Penguin Tasters. These are the novels whose first chapter you can download:

- The Birthday Present by Barbara Vine: Thirty-three is the age we shall all be when we meet in heaven because Christ was thirty-three when he died. It's an interesting idea. One can't help thinking that the people who invent these things chose it because it's an ideal age, no longer one's first youth but not ageing either.
The Chase by Clive Cussler: It rose from the depths like an evil monster in a Mesozoic sea. A coat of green slime covered the cab and boiler while gray-brown silt from the lake bottom slid and fell off the eighty-one-inch drive wheels and splashed into the cold waters of the lake.
The Believers by Zoë Heller: At a party in a bedsit just off Gower Street, a young woman stood alone at the window, her elbows pinned to her sides in an attempt to hide the dark flowers of perspiration blossoming at the armholes of her dress.
Life Begins by Amanda Brookfield: I sit where only the tips of the waves can reach, slapping my palms at the foamy water. The sand is gritty between my toes, the ties of my sun bonnet tight under my chin. Big hands scoop me high. My father's face is close, leathered and smiling, his blue eyes sharp against his tan.

© Cristina Fuster Bertrand

Monday, 6 October 2008

"The Canterville Ghost" by Oscar Wilde

If you like reading a nice and well written story, you can choose one whose author is Oscar Wilde: The Canterville Ghost. I have already posted the chapters in this blog. Nevertheless, you can download the whole story by clicking here.

© Cristina Fuster Bertrand




Friday, 26 September 2008

Bartleby the scrivener or how to refuse doing tasks

Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 – September 28, 1891) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist and poet. He is nowadays very famous because of his novel Moby Dick.

I just have read Bartleby the scrivener. It is a short story about an elderly lawyer who has employed two scriveners. The first one is Turkey who is sober in the morning and gets drunk in the afternoons. The second one is Nippers, who suffers from indigestion in the mornings and is calmed down in the afternoons.

The lawyer is the narrator of the story and tells the readers this stuff before going to describe Bartleby, who is the third scrivener he hires. Bartleby is a very quiet man indeed. He almost doesn't move from his desk.

One day the lawyer asks his third scrivener to examine a paper with him but, to his surprise, Bartleby replies, "I would prefer not to". With this sentence, he refuses to that task and leaves his employee and his colleagues astonished.

I will not give further details of the story. I think it is a worthy reading. Click on the image to download the written work.

© Cristina Fuster Bertrand


Thursday, 18 September 2008

About love and life

A girl is going to get married and decides she wants her father to be in her wedding and to walk her down the aisle. Nevertheless she doesn't know who her father is. She comes across her mother's diary and discovers that there are three different men who could be her father so she invites the three of them....

It's a film in which the main characters are starred by women. It's a funny and sad movie. Those 3 men arrive at the Greek Island and the girl's mother sees them again. She had an affair with all of them during a summer a long time ago. Now her past is back and she must deal with it.

It's worth watching this movie because of the actresses, the music and songs, the choreography, the scenes... On the other hand there is just something I dislike: Pierce Brosnan singing. He is not good at it though he must have tried his best. Anyway, it is something we can forgive him after all his other performances as, for example, in Remington Steele, The Tailor of Panama, The Fourth Protocol, or the James Bond films.

This is the track listing:

Actors: Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard.
Directed by:
Phyllida Lloyd.
Produced by:
Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Benny Andersson.
ABBA (Source Material from songs), Judy Craymer (Source Material from original concept).
Genres: Comedy, Musical/Performing Arts and Adaptation.
Running Time: 1 hr. 48 min.
Release Date: July 18th, 2008 (wide).
Filming Locations: GreeceLondon, England, United Kingdom.
Produced in:United States.

© Cristina Fuster Bertrand




Friday, 5 September 2008

Reading a chapter, buying a book

Penguin Group is a one of the most important trade book publisher. It plays a leading role in publishing in the USA, Canada, Ireland, UK, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa and China.

Penguin Tasters is a useful application which you can only find at the UK website. Internet users are able to read and print out the first chapter of a huge number of books. This is an advantage for reader because there is no need of buying a copy without having any knowledge of the product.

Here there are some books whose first chapter you can read:

  • - Fallen Angel (Kevin Lewis)
    Father Patrick Connelly, the stooped and elderly incumbent of the church of St Andrew's in Peckham High Street, was uncomfortably warm as he hurried along the path towards his place of worship.
  • - Life Class (Pat Barker)
    They'd been drawing for over half an hour. There was no sound except for the slurring of pencils on Michelet paper or the barely perceptible squeak of charcoal. At the centre of the circle of students, close to the dais, a stove cast a barred red light on to the floor.
  • - Gypsy (Lesley Pearse)
    'Stop playing that Devil's music and come and help me,' Alice Bolton yelled angrily from the kitchen. Fifteen-year-old Beth smirked at her mother's description of her fiddle playing and was tempted to continue louder and wilder.
  • - Secret Servant (Daniel Silva)
    It was Professor Solomon Rosner who sounded the first alarm, though his name would never be linked to the affair except in the secure rooms of a drab office building in downtown Tel Aviv.
  • - Got You Back (Jane Fallon)
    Stephanie closed her eyes and held out her hands, her son's almost uncontrollable excitement rubbing off on her and making her feel like a child again herself. It was hard to believe it had been nine years.

Have a try. Reading a chapter can mean buying later a good book indeed.

© Cristina Fuster Bertrand


Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Just You

There are moments when you think about yourself. You are kind of lost and you want or you need to reinvent yourself. Maybe it's not that you are doing bad at work, your family is apart or your health is not as it used to be, but it's just You. Or mabye it's that you lost your job, you are getting divorced or you have a serious health problem. It is also You who has to deal with it and with Yourself.

Anyway, you start reading your horoscope though you don't believe what it says.

"Today may find you longing for some spots of color in your life". Suddenly, everything you do, listening to music, watching a film, reading a book... links to your mood.

What do you want to do? There's no time for wasting more of you precious time. The better you get rid of that crappy mood, the better you'll feel good with yourself. Life is difficult and you must get better to face it.
Books you can read:
  • - "Watermelon" by Marian Keyes: Claire Walsh is 29 nine years old. She has a lovely husband, they live in a nice apartment and her job is quite good. But her husband leaves her the day she gives birth to her first baby.

  • - "Rachel's Holiday" by Marian Keyes: Rachel Walsh loses her job, best friend and her boyfriend because of the drugs. She enters a Health Clinic because she thinks she will find famous people and will enjoy her spa treatments not because she has problems with drugs (though she later on realises she does have a problem with drugs).

  • - "Angels" by Marian Keyes: Maggie Walsh has always been the white sheep within her sisters (Claire, Rachel, Anna and Helen). She's got a job and she lives happily in an apartment with her husband. Nevertheless, one day her husband has been unfaithful and in a few days she loses her job. She flies to Los Angeles to spend a month with a friend of her. She will deal with the divorce and the rest of her life when she gets back to Dublin.

  • - "Anybody Out There?" by Marian Keyes: Anna Walsh is at her parents' place in Dublin and wants to get back to New York with her loving husband and going to work. She flies back and goes to work. She tries to contact her husband by making phone calls and sending e-mails but he never replies back. She thinks she sees him in the street. Some time later she will realise what's going on.

  • - "Your Erroneous Zones" by Dr. Wayne Dyer: If you are worried and you think in negative, it might be because you have erroneus zones in your mind. You can control your thoughts and feelings.

  • - "Mutant Message Down Under" by Marlo Morgan: the author goes on a "Walkabout" with an Australian Aboriginal tribe (the Real People). She learns their culture and also what the important things of life are.
A song which may also help you to think about yourself.
  • The First Day Of My Life (sung by Melanie C)

    So I found a reason to stay alive
    Try a little harder see the other side
    Talking to myself
    Too many sleepless nights
    Trying to find a meaning to this stupid life
    I don’t want your sympathy Sometimes
    I don’t know who to be
    Hey what you’re looking for
    No one has the answer
    They just want more
    Hey who’s gonna make it back
    This could be the first Day of my life

    So I found a reason
    To let it go
    Tell you that I’m smiling
    But I still need to grow
    Will I find salvation in the arms of love
    Will it stop me searching will it be enough

    I don’t want your sympathy
    Sometimes I don’t know who to be
    Hey what you're looking for
    No one has the answer but you just want more
    Hey who’s gonna make it back
    This could be the first day of my life

    The first time to really feel alive
    The first time to break the chain
    The first time to walk away from pain

    Hey what you're looking for
    No one has the answer we just want more
    Hey who’s gonna make it back
    This could be the first day of your life
    Hey what you're looking for
    No one has the answer they just want more
    Hey who’s gonna shine a light?
    This could be the first day of my life

© Cristina Fuster Bertrand




Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Books on the Internet

Here are some webs where is easy to download books of different genres: fiction, sports, travel, computer, business, ....

© Cristina Fuster Bertrand


Sunday, 10 August 2008

The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde (7/7)

Four days after these curious incidents a funeral started from Canterville Chase at about eleven o'clock at night. The hearse was drawn by eight black horses, each of which carried on its head a great tuft of nodding ostrich-plumes, and the leaden coffin was covered by a rich purple pall, on which was embroidered in gold the Canterville coat-of-arms. By the side of the hearse and the coaches walked the servants with lighted torches, and the whole procession was wonderfully impressive. Lord Canterville was the chief mourner, having come up specially from Wales to attend the funeral, and sat in the first carriage along with little Virginia. Then came the United States Minister and his wife, then Washington and the three boys, and in the last carriage was Mrs. Umney. It was generally felt that, as she had been frightened by the ghost for more than fifty years of her life, she had a right to see the last of him. A deep grave had been dug in the corner of the churchyard, just under the old yew-tree, and the service was read in the most impressive manner by the Rev. Augustus Dampier. When the ceremony was over, the servants, according to an old custom observed in the Canterville family, extinguished their torches, and, as the coffin was being lowered into the grave, Virginia stepped forward and laid on it a large cross made of white and pink almond-blossoms. As she did so, the moon came out from behind a cloud, and flooded with its silent silver the little churchyard, and from a distant copse a nightingale began to sing. She thought of the ghost's description of the Garden of Death, her eyes became dim with tears, and she hardly spoke a word during the drive home.
The next morning, before Lord Canterville went up to town, Mr. Otis had an interview with him on the subject of the jewels the ghost had given to Virginia. They were perfectly magnificent, especially a certain ruby necklace with old Venetian setting, which was really a superb specimen of sixteenth-century work, and their value was so great that Mr. Otis felt considerable scruples about allowing his daughter to accept them.
'My lord,' he said, 'I know that in this country mortmain is held to apply to trinkets as well as to land, and it is quite clear to me that these jewels are, or should be, heirlooms in your family. I must beg you, accordingly, to take them to London with you, and to regard them simply as a portion of your property which has been restored to you under certain strange conditions. As for my daughter, she is merely a child, and has as yet, I am glad to say, but little interest in such appurtenances of idle luxury. I am also informed by Mrs. Otis, who, I may say, is no mean authority upon Art--having had the privilege of spending several winters in Boston when she was a girl--that these gems are of great monetary worth, and if offered for sale would fetch a tall price. Under these circumstances, Lord Canterville, I feel sure that you will recognise how impossible it would be for me to allow them to remain in the possession of any member of my family; and, indeed, all such vain gauds and toys, however suitable or necessary to the dignity of the British aristocracy, would be completely out of place among those who have been brought up on the severe, and I believe immortal, principles of republican simplicity. Perhaps I should mention that Virginia is very anxious that you should allow her to retain the box as a memento of your unfortunate but misguided ancestor. As it is extremely old, and consequently a good deal out of repair, you may perhaps think fit to comply with her request. For my own part, I confess I am a good deal surprised to find a child of mine expressing sympathy with mediaevalism in any form, and can only account for it by the fact that Virginia was born in one of your London suburbs shortly after Mrs. Otis had returned from a trip to Athens.'
Lord Canterville listened very gravely to the worthy Minister's speech, pulling his grey moustache now and then to hide an involuntary smile, and when Mr. Otis had ended, he shook him cordially by the hand, and said, 'My dear sir, your charming little daughter rendered my unlucky ancestor, Sir Simon, a very important service, and I and my family are much indebted to her for her marvellous courage and pluck. The jewels are clearly hers, and, egad, I believe that if I were heartless enough to take them from her, the wicked old fellow would be out of his grave in a fortnight, leading me the devil of a life. As for their being heirlooms, nothing is an heirloom that is not so mentioned in a will or legal document, and the existence of these jewels has been quite unknown. I assure you I have no more claim on them than your butler, and when Miss Virginia grows up I daresay she will be pleased to have pretty things to wear. Besides, you forget, Mr. Otis, that you took the furniture and the ghost at a valuation, and anything that belonged to the ghost passed at once into your possession, as, whatever activity Sir Simon may have shown in the corridor at night, in point of law he was really dead, and you acquired his property by purchase.'
Mr. Otis was a good deal distressed at Lord Canterville's refusal, and begged him to reconsider his decision, but the good-natured peer was quite firm, and finally induced the Minister to allow his daughter to retain the present the ghost had given her, and when, in the spring of 1890, the young Duchess of Cheshire was presented at the Queen's first drawing-room on the occasion of her marriage, her jewels were the universal theme of admiration. For Virginia received the coronet, which is the reward of all good little American girls, and was married to her boy-lover as soon as he came of age. They were both so charming, and they loved each other so much, that every one was delighted at the match, except the old Marchioness of Dumbleton, who had tried to catch the Duke for one of her seven unmarried daughters, and had given no less than three expensive dinner-parties for that purpose, and, strange to say, Mr. Otis himself. Mr. Otis was extremely fond of the young Duke personally, but, theoretically, he objected to titles, and, to use his own words, 'was not without apprehension lest, amid the enervating influences of a pleasure-loving aristocracy, the true principles of republican simplicity should be forgotten.' His objections, however, were completely overruled, and I believe that when he walked up the aisle of St. George's, Hanover Square, with his daughter leaning on his arm, there was not a prouder man in the whole length and breadth of England.
The Duke and Duchess, after the honeymoon was over, went down to Canterville Chase, and on the day after their arrival they walked over in the afternoon to the lonely churchyard by the pine-woods. There had been a great deal of difficulty at first about the inscription on Sir Simon's tombstone, but finally it had been decided to engrave on it simply the initials of the old gentleman's name, and the verse from the library window. The Duchess had brought with her some lovely roses, which she strewed upon the grave, and after they had stood by it for some time they strolled into the ruined chancel of the old abbey. There the Duchess sat down on a fallen pillar, while her husband lay at her feet smoking a cigarette and looking up at her beautiful eyes. Suddenly he threw his cigarette away, took hold of her hand, and said to her, 'Virginia, a wife should have no secrets from her husband.'
'Dear Cecil! I have no secrets from you.'
'Yes, you have,' he answered, smiling, 'you have never told me what happened to you when you were locked up with the ghost.'
'I have never told any one, Cecil,' said Virginia gravely.
'I know that, but you might tell me.'
'Please don't ask me, Cecil, I cannot tell you. Poor Sir Simon! I owe him a great deal. Yes, don't laugh, Cecil, I really do. He made me see what Life is, and what Death signifies, and why Love is stronger than both.'
The Duke rose and kissed his wife lovingly.
'You can have your secret as long as I have your heart,' he murmured.
'You have always had that, Cecil.'
'And you will tell our children some day, won't you?'
Virginia blushed.


Oscar Wilde's short story: The Canterville Ghost

Thursday, 7 August 2008

The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde (6/7)

About ten minutes later, the bell rang for tea, and, as Virginia did not come down, Mrs. Otis sent up one of the footmen to tell her. After a little time he returned and said that he could not find Miss Virginia anywhere. As she was in the habit of going out to the garden every evening to get flowers for the dinner-table, Mrs. Otis was not at all alarmed at first, but when six o'clock struck, and Virginia did not appear, she became really agitated, and sent the boys out to look for her, while she herself and Mr. Otis searched every room in the house. At half-past six the boys came back and said that they could find no trace of their sister anywhere. They were all now in the greatest state of excitement, and did not know what to do, when Mr. Otis suddenly remembered that, some few days before, he had given a band of gypsies permission to camp in the park. He accordingly at once set off for Blackfell Hollow, where he knew they were, accompanied by his eldest son and two of the farm-servants. The little Duke of Cheshire, who was perfectly frantic with anxiety, begged hard to be allowed to go too, but Mr. Otis would not allow him, as he was afraid there might be a scuffle. On arriving at the spot, however, he found that the gypsies had gone, and it was evident that their departure had been rather sudden, as the fire was still burning, and some plates were lying on the grass. Having sent off Washington and the two men to scour the district, he ran home, and despatched telegrams to all the police inspectors in the county, telling them to look out for a little girl who had been kidnapped by tramps or gypsies. He then ordered his horse to be brought round, and, after insisting on his wife and the three boys sitting down to dinner, rode off down the Ascot Road with a groom. He had hardly, however, gone a couple of miles when he heard somebody galloping after him, and, looking round, saw the little Duke coming up on his pony, with his face very flushed and no hat. 'I'm awfully sorry, Mr. Otis,' gasped out the boy, 'but I can't eat any dinner as long as Virginia is lost. Please, don't be angry with me; if you had let us be engaged last year, there would never have been all this trouble. You won't send me back, will you? I can't go! I won't go!'
The Minister could not help smiling at the handsome young scapegrace, and was a good deal touched at his devotion to Virginia, so leaning down from his horse, he patted him kindly on the shoulders, and said, 'Well, Cecil, if you won't go back I suppose you must come with me, but I must get you a hat at Ascot.'
'Oh, bother my hat! I want Virginia!' cried the little Duke, laughing, and they galloped on to the railway station. There Mr. Otis inquired of the station-master if any one answering the description of Virginia had been seen on the platform, but could get no news of her. The station-master, however, wired up and down the line, and assured him that a strict watch would be kept for her, and, after having bought a hat for the little Duke from a linen-draper, who was just putting up his shutters, Mr. Otis rode off to Bexley, a village about four miles away, which he was told was a well-known haunt of the gypsies, as there was a large common next to it. Here they roused up the rural policeman, but could get no information from him, and, after riding all over the common, they turned their horses' heads homewards, and reached the Chase about eleven o'clock, dead-tired and almost heart-broken. They found Washington and the twins waiting for them at the gate-house with lanterns, as the avenue was very dark. Not the slightest trace of Virginia had been discovered. The gypsies had been caught on Brockley meadows, but she was not with them, and they had explained their sudden departure by saying that they had mistaken the date of Chorton Fair, and had gone off in a hurry for fear they might be late. Indeed, they had been quite distressed at hearing of Virginia's disappearance, as they were very grateful to Mr. Otis for having allowed them to camp in his park, and four of their number had stayed behind to help in the search. The carp-pond had been dragged, and the whole Chase thoroughly gone over, but without any result. It was evident that, for that night at any rate, Virginia was lost to them; and it was in a state of the deepest depression that Mr Otis and the boys walked up to the house, the groom following behind with the two horses and the pony. In the hall they found a group of frightened servants, and lying on a sofa in the library was poor Mrs. Otis, almost out of her mind with terror and anxiety, and having her forehead bathed with eau-de-cologne by the old housekeeper. Mr. Otis at once insisted on her having something to eat, and ordered up supper for the whole party. It was a melancholy meal, as hardly any one spoke, and even the twins were awestruck and subdued, as they were very fond of their sister. When they had finished, Mr. Otis, in spite of the entreaties of the little Duke, ordered them all to bed, saying that nothing more could be done that night, and that he would telegraph in the morning to Scotland Yard for some detectives to be sent down immediately. Just as they were passing out of the dining-room, midnight began to boom from the clock tower, and when the last stroke sounded they heard a crash and a sudden shrill cry; a dreadful peal of thunder shook the house, a strain of unearthly music floated through the air, a panel at the top of the staircase flew back with a loud noise, and out on the landing, looking very pale and white, with a little casket in her hand, stepped Virginia. In a moment they had all rushed up to her. Mrs. Otis clasped her passionately in her arms, the Duke smothered her with violent kisses, and the twins executed a wild war-dance round the group.
'Good heavens! child, where have you been?' said Mr. Otis, rather angrily, thinking that she had been playing some foolish trick on them. 'Cecil and I have been riding all over the country looking for you, and your mother has been frightened to death. You must never play these practical jokes any more.'
'Except on the Ghost! except on the Ghost!' shrieked the twins, as they capered about.
'My own darling, thank God you are found; you must never leave my side again,' murmured Mrs. Otis, as she kissed the trembling child, and smoothed the tangled gold of her hair.
'Papa,' said Virginia quietly, 'I have been with the Ghost. He is dead, and you must come and see him. He had been very wicked, but he was really sorry for all that he had done, and he gave me this box of beautiful jewels before he died.'
The whole family gazed at her in mute amazement, but she was quite grave and serious; and, turning round, she led them through the opening in the wainscoting down a narrow secret corridor, Washington following with a lighted candle, which he had caught up from the table. Finally, they came to a great oak door, studded with rusty nails. When Virginia touched it, it swung back on its heavy hinges, and they found themselves in a little low room, with a vaulted ceiling, and one tiny grated window. Imbedded in the wall was a huge iron ring, and chained to it was a gaunt skeleton, that was stretched out at full length on the stone floor, and seemed to be trying to grasp with its long fleshless fingers an old-fashioned trencher and ewer, that were placed just out of its reach. The jug had evidently been once filled with water, as it was covered inside with green mould. There was nothing on the trencher but a pile of dust. Virginia knelt down beside the skeleton, and, folding her little hands together, began to pray silently, while the rest of the party looked on in wonder at the terrible tragedy whose secret was now disclosed to them.
'Hallo!' suddenly exclaimed one of the twins, who had been looking out of the window to try and discover in what wing of the house the room was situated. 'Hallo! the old withered almond-tree has blossomed. I can see the flowers quite plainly in the moonlight.'
'God has forgiven him,' said Virginia gravely, as she rose to her feet, and a beautiful light seemed to illumine her face.
'What an angel you are!' cried the young Duke, and he put his arm round her neck and kissed her.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde (5/7)


A few days after this, Virginia and her curly-haired cavalier went out riding on Brockley meadows, where she tore her habit so badly in getting through a hedge, that, on her return home, she made up her mind to go up by the back staircase so as not to be seen. As she was running past the Tapestry Chamber, the door of which happened to be open, she fancied she saw some one inside, and thinking it was her mother's maid, who sometimes used to bring her work there, looked in to ask her to mend her habit. To her immense surprise, however, it was the Canterville Ghost himself! He was sitting by the window, watching the ruined gold of the yellowing trees fly through the air, and the red leaves dancing madly down the long avenue. His head was leaning on his hand, and his whole attitude was one of extreme depression. Indeed, so forlorn, and so much out of repair did he look, that little Virginia, whose first idea had been to run away and lock herself in her room, was filled with pity, and determined to try and comfort him. So light was her footfall, and so deep his melancholy, that he was not aware of her presence till she spoke to him.
'I am so sorry for you,' she said, 'but my brothers are going back to Eton to-morrow, and then, if you behave yourself, no one will annoy you.'
'It is absurd asking me to behave myself,' he answered, looking round in astonishment at the pretty little girl who had ventured to address him, 'quite absurd. I must rattle my chains, and groan through keyholes, and walk about at night, if that is what you mean. It is my only reason for existing.'
'It is no reason at all for existing, and you know you have been very wicked. Mrs. Umney told us, the first day we arrived here, that you had killed your wife.'
'Well, I quite admit it,' said the Ghost petulantly, 'but it was a purely family matter, and concerned no one else.'
'It is very wrong to kill any one,' said Virginia, who at times had a sweet Puritan gravity, caught from some old New England ancestor.
'Oh, I hate the cheap severity of abstract ethics! My wife was very plain, never had my ruffs properly starched, and knew nothing about cookery. Why, there was a buck I had shot in Hogley Woods, a magnificent pricket, and do you know how she had it sent up to table? However, it is no matter now, for it is all over, and I don't think it was very nice of her brothers to starve me to death, though I did kill her.'
'Starve you to death? Oh, Mr. Ghost, I mean Sir Simon, are you hungry? I have a sandwich in my case. Would you like it?'
'No, thank you, I never eat anything now; but it is very kind of you, all the same, and you are much nicer than the rest of your horrid, rude, vulgar, dishonest family.'
'Stop!' cried Virginia, stamping her foot, 'it is you who are rude, and horrid, and vulgar, and as for dishonesty, you know you stole the paints out of my box to try and furbish up that ridiculous blood-stain in the library. First you took all my reds, including the vermilion, and I couldn't do any more sunsets, then you took the emerald-green and the chrome-yellow, and finally I had nothing left but indigo and Chinese white, and could only do moonlight scenes, which are always depressing to look at, and not at all easy to paint. I never told on you, though I was very much annoyed, and it was most ridiculous, the whole thing; for who ever heard of emerald-green blood?'
'Well, really,' said the Ghost, rather meekly, 'what was I to do? It is a very difficult thing to get real blood nowadays, and, as your brother began it all with his Paragon Detergent, I certainly saw no reason why I should not have your paints. As for colour, that is always a matter of taste: the Cantervilles have blue blood, for instance, the very bluest in England; but I know you Americans don't care for things of this kind.'
'You know nothing about it, and the best thing you can do is to emigrate and improve your mind. My father will be only too happy to give you a free passage, and though there is a heavy duty on spirits of every kind, there will be no difficulty about the Custom House, as the officers are all Democrats. Once in New York, you are sure to be a great success. I know lots of people there who would give a hundred thousand dollars to have a grandfather, and much more than that to have a family Ghost.'
'I don't think I should like America.'
'I suppose because we have no ruins and no curiosities,' said Virginia satirically.
'No ruins! no curiosities!' answered the Ghost; 'you have your navy and your manners.'
'Good evening; I will go and ask papa to get the twins an extra week's holiday.'
'Please don't go, Miss Virginia,' he cried; 'I am so lonely and so unhappy, and I really don't know what to do. I want to go to sleep and I cannot.'
'That's quite absurd! You have merely to go to bed and blow out the candle. It is very difficult sometimes to keep awake, especially at church, but there is no difficulty at all about sleeping. Why, even babies know how to do that, and they are not very clever.'
'I have not slept for three hundred years,' he said sadly, and Virginia's beautiful blue eyes opened in wonder; 'for three hundred years I have not slept, and I am so tired.'
Virginia grew quite grave, and her little lips trembled like rose-leaves. She came towards him, and kneeling down at his side, looked up into his old withered face.
'Poor, poor Ghost,' she murmured; 'have you no place where you can sleep?'
'Far away beyond the pine-woods,' he answered, in a low dreamy voice, 'there is a little garden. There the grass grows long and deep, there are the great white stars of the hemlock flower, there the nightingale sings all night long. All night long he sings, and the cold, crystal moon looks down, and the yew-tree spreads out its giant arms over the sleepers.'
Virginia's eyes grew dim with tears, and she hid her face in her hands.
'You mean the Garden of Death,' she whispered.
'Yes, Death. Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one's head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no to-morrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace. You can help me. You can open for me the portals of Death's house, for Love is always with you, and Love is stronger than Death is.'
Virginia trembled, a cold shudder ran through her, and for a few moments there was silence. She felt as if she was in a terrible dream.
Then the Ghost spoke again, and his voice sounded like the sighing of the wind.
'Have you ever read the old prophecy on the library window?'
'Oh, often,' cried the little girl, looking up; 'I know it quite well. It is painted in curious black letters, and it is difficult to read. There are only six lines:
When a golden girl can win
Prayer from out the lips of sin,
When the barren almond bears,
And a little child gives away its tears,
Then shall all the house be still
And peace come to Canterville.
But I don't know what they mean.'
'They mean,' he said sadly, 'that you must weep for me for my sins, because I have no tears, and pray with me for my soul, because I have no faith, and then, if you have always been sweet, and good, and gentle, the Angel of Death will have mercy on me. You will see fearful shapes in darkness, and wicked voices will whisper in your ear, but they will not harm you, for against the purity of a little child the powers of Hell cannot prevail.'
Virginia made no answer, and the Ghost wrung his hands in wild despair as he looked down at her bowed golden head. Suddenly she stood up, very pale, and with a strange light in her eyes. 'I am not afraid,' she said firmly, 'and I will ask the Angel to have mercy on you.'
He rose from his seat with a faint cry of joy, and taking her hand bent over it with old-fashioned grace and kissed it. His fingers were as cold as ice, and his lips burned like fire, but Virginia did not falter, as he led her across the dusky room. On the faded green tapestry were broidered little huntsmen. They blew their tasselled horns and with their tiny hands waved to her to go back. 'Go back! little Virginia,' they cried, 'go back!' but the Ghost clutched her hand more tightly, and she shut her eyes against them. Horrible animals with lizard tails, and goggle eyes, blinked at her from the carven chimney-piece, and murmured 'Beware! little Virginia, beware! we may never see you again,' but the Ghost glided on more swiftly, and Virginia did not listen. When they reached the end of the room he stopped, and muttered some words she could not understand. She opened her eyes, and saw the wall slowly fading away like a mist, and a great black cavern in front of her. A bitter cold wind swept round them, and she felt something pulling at her dress. 'Quick, quick,' cried the Ghost, 'or it will be too late,' and, in a moment, the wainscoting had closed behind them, and the Tapestry Chamber was empty.


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