Daniel Elton Harmon
South Carolina Chronicler & Editor

For frequent updates, read the author's lively Web log ("blog") for nuggets of history, humor & more.
Visit Mysterious Expeditions for information & commentary on historical mystery fact & fiction.

NOW AVAILABLE: "The Harper Chronicles" in e-book (PDF) format. Order now!
Blithering Antiquity, the author's compendium of historical oddities.






 SAMPLE A STORY FROM "THE HARPER CHRONICLES"! "The Swindlers Circle," one of the shorter episodes from Volume One, appears in Volume 22 of HandHeldCrime, an online mystery magazine. A second short work from the book, "The Derelict Seaman," has been published online by Mysterical-E.

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Selected Reading

I'm a horribly slow reader -- also, redundant. When I pick up a piece of reading matter on the way out the door to take along on my weekly solo lunch excursion, it's far more likely to be a century-old short story collection than any current literature. If I select one of the shorter stories in the volume when I sit down to table, I may be able to finish it during lunch that day. More often than not, it's a story I've read many times before, like "Quality" by Galsworthy or "The Phantom Coach" by Edwards or "The Red Room" by Wells.

Here are some snippets of the kinds of reading I relish. Hope you enjoy! -- DEH

* * *

It is better to meet a mother bear robbed of her cubs than to meet some fool busy with a stupid project. -- Proverbs 17:12 (TEV)

* * *

He pointed to a low black door at the opposite side of the hall. I crossed over, rapped somewhat loudly, and went in, without waiting for an invitation. A huge, white-haired old man rose from a table covered with books and papers, and confronted me sternly.

"Who are you?" he said. "How came you here? What do you want?"

"James Murray, barrister-at-law. On foot across the moor. Meat, drink, and sleep." -- Amelia B. Edwards, from "The Phantom Coach," 1864

* * *

After crossing Roto Tarawera we embarked in a small canoe upon a lake of boiling water. One part through which we passed boiled so fiercely that our small boat tumbled about like a cork in a seething foam, and we freely speculated on what our fate would be if we capsized or fell overboard. -- Robert Quinton, from The Strange Adventures of Captain Quinton, Being a Truthful Record of the Experiences and Escapes of Robert Quinton During His Life Among the Cannibals of the South Seas, 1912

* * *

They would have lynched me / Had I not been secretly hurried away / To the jail at Peoria. -- Edgar Lee Masters, from "Jack McGuire" (Spoon River Anthology), 1915

* * *

At first starting we were so feeble as scarcely to be able to move forwards, and the descent of the bank of the river through the deep snow was a severe labor. When we came upon the ice, where the snow was less deep, we got on better, but after walking six hours we had only gained four miles, and were then compelled by fatigue to encamp on the borders of Round-Rock Lake. Augustus tried for fish here, but without success, so that our fare was skin and tea. Composing ourselves to rest, we lay close to each other for warmth. We found the night bitterly cold, and the wind pierced through our famished frames. -- John Franklin, from Thirty Years in the Arctic Regions; the Adventures of Sir John Franklin, 1859 (published posthumously)

* * *

Lord, accept me; I here present myself, praying to live only in Thee and to Thee. Let me be as the bullock, which stands between the plough and the altar, to work or to be sacrificed; and let my motto be, "Ready for either." -- Charles Spurgeon, from Morning & Evening: Daily Readings

* * *

She was the largest craft afloat and the greatest of the works of men. In her construction and maintenance were involved every science, profession, and trade known to civilization. . . . Unsinkable -- indestructible, she carried as few boats as would satisfy the laws. These, twenty-four in number, were securely covered and lashed down to their chocks on the upper deck, and if launched would hold five hundred people. She carried no useless, cumbersome life-rafts. -- Morgan Robertson, from The Wreck of the Titan, 1898 (a book some suggest "foretold" the Titanic disaster 14 years later)

* * *

In those days . . . there was no theatre, no opera; there were in Oldtown no parties or balls, except, perhaps, the annual election, or Thanksgiving festival; and when winter came, and the sun went down at half past four o'clock, and left the long, dark hours of evening to be provided for, the necessity of amusement became urgent. Hence, in those days, chimney-corner story-telling became an art and an accomplishment. Society was then full of traditions and narratives which had all the uncertain glow and shifting mystery of the firelit hearth upon them. They were told to sympathetic audiences, by the rising and falling light of the solemn embers, with the hearth-crickets filling up every pause. Then the aged told their stories to the young—tales of early life; tales of war and adventure, of forest days, of Indian captivities and escapes, of bears and wildcats and panthers, of rattlesnakes, of witches and wizards, and strange and wonderful dreams and appearances. . . . -- Harriet Beecher Stowe, from "The Ghost in the Mill" (Oldtown Fireside Stories), 1871

* * *

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the earth hear His voice! / Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, Let the people rejoice! / O come to the Father thro' Jesus the Son / And give Him the glory, great things He hath done. -- Fanny Crosby, from "To God Be the Glory," 1875

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© 2002-2012, Daniel Elton Harmon