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The stories contained in this little volume were chosen, by virtue of a sort of literary civil-service examination, in order that they might be grouped together as a representative class of the author's best-known work in this line. Several of these stories have points of peculiar interest to the author. For instance, Negative Gravity was composed in Switzerland when the author was temporarily confined to the house in full view of unreachable Alps. His Wife's Deceased Sister was suggested by an editorial disposition to compare all the author's work with one previous production, and to discard everything which did not accord exactly with the particular story which had been selected as a standard of merit. The Lady, or the Tiger? was printed in the hope that the author might receive the cheerful cooperation of some of his readers in a satisfactory solution of the problem contained in the little story; but although he has had much valuable assistance in this direction he has also been the recipient of a great deal of scolding. After reading several stories by Clark Russell, the author's mind was led to consider the possibility of inventing some sort of shipwreck which had never yet been made the subject of a story. His efforts in this line resulted in The Remarkable Wreck of the 'Thomas Hyke.' A Piece of Red Calico is a description, with exaggerated points, of an actual experience.
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